Fight Islamophobia by Increasing Your Understanding of Islam

  • Week of September 3, 2017

In February, many Americans stood in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors, held “we are all Muslim” signs and protested the Muslim ban at airports. Our institutions also sought to protect America’s value of religious tolerance--large companies, states, and non-profits sued Trump. The resistance was beautiful and inspiring. But enduring solidarity requires understanding, so let’s take a moment to learn a little more about Islam.

Friday was Eid-Al-Adha, which is the holiest day of the year for Muslims and celebrates the story of Abraham. Leaders from around the world offered statements of solidarity, uniting all-of-us. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reminded Canadians that now, more than ever, we must stand against racism and Islamaphobia and offered this statement on Twitter:  

Last Eid al-Adha, President Obama reminded us that  this “special holiday is a time to honor the sacrifice, resolve, and commitment to God demonstrated by Abraham.”  

This isn’t a partisan sentiment--in 2001, President George W. Bush’s said:

“America was built on a strong spiritual foundation, and the celebration of faith is central to our lives. As you celebrate the annual Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, you honor the great sacrifice and devotion of Abraham as recognized by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. By educating others about your religious traditions, you enrich the lives of others in your local communities.

The variety of nations and cultures represented by those who travel to Mecca each year, and the varied ways in which Muslims contribute to American life across the United States, are powerful reminders that ethnic and racial differences need not divide us when we share common values and purposes. “

Yet again, Trump has broken with decades of White House tradition and democratic standards. He ignored Eid al-Adha with its message of personal sacrifice and faith, instead focusing on his own troubles by tweeting about Hillary and Comey!

All-of-us must overcome Trump’s divisiveness. The story of Abraham, which binds Jews, Christians, and Muslims, is a powerful reminder to always have faith, even when faith seems to makes zero sense. There are so many reasons to doubt, but our resistance is beautiful and powerful. All-of-us will be united. No matter your religious or spiritual beliefs, let this Eid remind us to have collective faith in our resistance and stand united against hate.

Here’s how:

  1. Wish your Muslim friends well on this joyful holiday - tell them (belated) “Eid Mubarak” (“Happy Eid”). Islamophobia has surged in the post-Trump era. Take this chance to reconnect and ask them how it’s going.
  2. Check out The Council on American-Islamic Relations CAIR, educate yourself about Islamophobia, and support their work.
  3. Fnd your local mosque. Send them an email or a note card of support and celebration for Eid. Ask them when their next open meeting is, then plan to attend it.
  4. Watch this 2-minute video on how to be an ally to Muslim women.