A demonstrator holds a sign at a “Freedom of Speech Rally Round II” across the street from the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix, Arizona May 29, 2015. Arizona police stepped up security near a mosque on Friday ahead of a planned anti-Islam demonstration featuring displays of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, weeks after a similar contest in Texas came under attack from two gunmen. REUTERS/Nancy Wiechec
In my last blog I let you know about the anti-Muslim protests planned for this weekend. In this update, I want to share with you what just one person is doing about it.
Catherine Orsborn is from Shoulder to Shoulder, a Peace Catalyst-related organization. Here’s a letter explaining how she is rallying people to respond:
Thank you so much for all of you who have made connections with your local clergy in the lead-up to this weekend’s hate rallies targeting Muslims. We’re sending the below email out to the Shoulder to Shoulder community lists tonight to mobilize a mass social media move against the hate rallies this weekend. It’s been complicated trying to organize local communities on this because most of the Islamic Centers we have connected with do not want any extra media attention brought to these protests, and therefore are asking us to refrain from counter-events- we got coverage in the Huffington Post on this point. However, we need to be out in public showing our opposition to this hate, so have been working with some other national groups on social media strategy. It’s included in the note below.
Our asks for you: Will you 1) use your denominational or organizational owned social media to participate in this social media campaign starting this Friday at 3 pm (not before, please, to concentrate the timing with our national partners!), 2) send this note out to your communities as you’re able, and 3) have your head of denomination or other high profile clergy participate in a tweet, and send it to us (@S2SCampaign or Catherine.Orsborn@s2scampaign.org) so we can highlight many religious leaders speaking out at this critical time.
This weekend: #LoveYourNeighbor #HateUnchecked
Many of you have heard by now that there are a number of anti-Muslim events planned to take place around the country on October 10 (this Saturday). Our partners at the Center for New Community are tracking these on this site and have an interactive map where you can see the locations, with links to the Facebook pages, for the events. These are demonstrations of hate that go against the values of our religious traditions to love and extend hospitality to our neighbors, and against the highest ideals of our nation.
We know that there are Shoulder to Shoulder partners, along with concerned clergy, communities and individuals, around the country who have been actively fighting against anti-Muslim bigotry in their communities and building long-term relationships with their Muslim neighbors for a long time. Public demonstrations of hate targeting the Muslim community are the reason Shoulder to Shoulder exists as a network of religious and interfaith individuals and groups. This is a time when the Muslim community needs to hear and see our support. Our national leaders are speaking out against this, as are many local clergy.
If you have not already, we encourage you to check on this map to see if there’s an event planned near you, and reach out to your Muslim friends and neighbors, and to interfaith networks that are in conversation with the local Muslim community. Offer to help or to stand with them in solidarity, and ask them what they would like their friends from other religious communities to be doing right now to show support for American Muslims.
Many local Muslim groups have asked that people not turn out in large groups to the protests in order to avoid giving these groups more media attention than they have already gotten. Other local groups may want interfaith allies to show their support through turning out people to surround the Islamic Centers (or perhaps another Islamic Center nearby) in a ring of solidarity. Regardless, our nation and the world needs to know that this type of anti-Muslim hate doesn’t go unchallenged by our faith communities. Whether or not your local Islamic Center wants a physical display of support from their interfaith partners this weekend, and even if you live in a location with no protests, we are encouraging everyone to participate in a social media pushback against this hate.
Join us starting this Friday at 3 pm EST (please wait until then to maximize social media takeover potential) on Twitter and Facebook to begin the nationwide social media pushback against these hateful acts. We are using the hashtags #LoveYourNeighbor and #HateUnchecked, and we encourage you to post photos, videos or other sharable content with these. Here’s a Facebook event page concentrated on the #HateUnchecked piece of this campaign, and as an inter-religious organization, we have added #LoveYourNeighbor. Some ideas for social media engagement:
- Post a photo that shows positive interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims in your community (from a dinner, a service project, or just hanging out), tagged with #LoveYourNeighbor #HateUnchecked
- Post a quote from your religious tradition (scripture, a quote from a religious leader, etc) tagged with #LoveYourNeighbor #HateUnchecked
- Post a video of yourself or with others stating what in your religious tradition drives you to stand against this hate, tagged with #LoveYourNeighbor #HateUnchecked
- Post a photo of yourself (in clerical clothing, if that applies to you) – alone or with others in your community- holding the attached sign and tag with #LoveYourNeighbor #HateUnchecked
- Some sample tweets:
o Silence from the majority will destroy our country. We can no longer sit back. We must all raise our voices against #HateUnchecked. #LoveYourNeighbor
o My religious tradition teaches us to #LoveYourNeighbor. We won’t sit silently when there is #HateUnchecked.
o Our country is at its best when all communities are treated with equal dignity and respect #LoveYourNeighbor #HateUnchecked
o “Do unto others” means religious freedom for all #LoveYourNeighbor #HateUnchecked
If you want to get together with others this weekend, you might consider hosting a public watch party of Unity Production Foundation’s new short film, “American Muslims: Facts vs Fiction” or one of their many other excellent productions on Islam, and hold a conversation about the issue of anti-Muslim bigotry in America.
There are many ways to engage and stand up with your Muslim neighbors this weekend. Please tweet at us @S2SCampaign and let us know what your community does to come together in support of American Muslims this weekend!
Personally, I love Catherine’s creative response! If you’d like to see another one, I’ll leave you with a link to a very different kind of response, but equally beautiful, that was successfully tried before (the photo beginning this article comes from this event): http://tempe.redemptionaz.com/resources/blog-posts/detail/a-bright-night-for-the-church-a-recap-of-the-phoenix-mosque-protest/
Thank you for caring enough to take time to look at these links. Our country is not under attack by Islam. It is under attack by hate and prejudice. These can be found in people claiming any religious faith.
Is our love big enough to take this challenge? #LoveYourNeighbor