Hundreds of Iowans gathered Sunday afternoon in Des Moines for an “Iowa Standing Together” rally. The crowd filtered in, many wearing red, white and blue, some clutched a flag. They saw Iowa’s political establishment — democrats and republicans — together, speaking of unity. They heard from Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders. Iowa Islamic Council chairman Taha Tawil, Imam of the Mother Mosque in Cedar Rapids, said hatred had bred madness in those who committed the attacks last week.Imam Mohammed Shamz of the Islamic Center of Des Moines said the Muslims terrorists were not true Muslims. Shamz says Islam does not promote violence, and suicide is a grave sin. Senator Tom Harkin, who lived in Ames in the 1970s, paid tribute to an Ames native who died in the World Trade Center attacks. Tim Haviland had been Harkin’s paperboy when the senator lived in Ames. Harkin said Americans will bind up our wounds and defeat the new threat of terrorism.Senator Charles Grassley said if there’s a silver lining in last Tuesday’s dark cloud of horror, it’s one of hope and renewal. Grassley says we need to hope that our actions will lead to a better tomorrow.Governor Tom Vilsack says the best thing Iowans can do now is get to work.Vilsack says it’s “extraordinarily important” for Americans to go about their business, because the nation will need a strong economy to support a war. Vilsack says he’s been working for four months to develop a plan to respond to the sluggish economy — and he’ll release the details next week.Legislators are talking about installing a key card security system for statehouse employees. Vilsack’s not ready to endorse that idea. He says he’s considering all sorts of options, like putting more troopers in the capital, installing metal detectors at entrances, or closing all but one entrance to visitors. Vilsack made his comments during an appearance on Iowa Public Television. There was also a prayer service in Davenport. The gathering brought five-to-seven-thousand people who waved flags and sang patriotic songs at Davenport’s LeClaire Park, where they heard from Christian, Jewish and Muslim speakers. Some 19-thousand dollars was raised to send to the recovery efforts following last week’s terrorist attacks.Two volunteer fire departments in Scott County collected nearly 20-thousand dollars over the weekend for the families of fallen firefighters on the East Coast. Eldridge and LeClaire firefighters were taking money from motorists at intersections by holding out their boots.
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