Framed by Islamic-style arches, Muslim Association of Hawaii President Hakim Ouansafi stands inside the library room of the group's building, Thursday, March 9, 2107, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
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Hawaii has 5,000 or so Muslims – less than 1 percent of the state's population – who are finding themselves thrust into an international spotlight after the state's top lawyer launched a challenge to President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, saying it contradicts the islands' welcoming culture that values diversity.It was difficult for the shy and reserved Elshikh to make the decision to join the lawsuit and he is not speaking publicly because of legal reasons and fears for his security in a state that has seen a rise in threats to Muslims that started just before Trump was elected, said Hakim Ouansafi, who is the president of the Muslim Association of Hawaii.The first Muslims in Hawaii can be traced back to the 1800s, Ouansafi said. Today, Hawaii's Muslims have ties to 46 countries, including Asian and Arab countries. About 80 of Hawaii's Muslim families are originally from the six countries named in the revised travel ban.The numbers of praying tourists have since declined and some Muslims who are not from countries covered by the ban don't want to travel to Hawaii anymore, Ouansafi said.
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