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A Catholic Muslim organizes civil rights event



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In the wake of travel bans and immigration raids, dozens gathered at Fresno State Monday night (February 13) to talk about the future of their civil liberties. Billed as “Know Your Rights,” a panel of attorneys and other civil rights advocates talked about the need for knowing just what the government can and cannot do.

The topics included how hate crimes are defined; what to do if the FBI comes knocking on the door; and policies either implemented or talked about by the President.

The event was organized by the Muslim Student Association, Central Valley Islamic Council, and Faith in the Valley in conjunction with the university.

One of the organizers, Thalia Arenas, spoke with GV Wire about her unique position of being a Latina Catholic who converted to Islam. She was recently featured in the Fresno Bee.

“I do share both of these fates. When I first learned that I wanted to learn about Islam, (my mother) was not very pleased. She thought I was abandoning my culture and my faith,” Thalia told GV Wire. “Through time, she realized it was not a cultural change, it was more of a spiritual growth I was partaking.

There was some less than kind comments on Facebook after the Bee story came out. “WTF?! What the heck is a Catholic Muslim?” read one comment. “This girl is lost” read another.

“I feel like it was a lack of understanding of what the religion does present….there is much more in common and we don’t have to go through the minute or the differences,” Arenas says.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email