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What allies can do to fight Islamophobia

A group of Denver activists attend a meeting on how to support their Muslim neighbors.
A group of Denver activists attend a meeting on how to support their Muslim neighbors. Photo: Gabriela Flora / AFSC

Immediately following the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, Islamophobia and hate crimes toward Muslims spiked dramatically. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, over 1,000 incidents of hate crimes and harassment were reported between November 9 and December 12, with Muslims being the third most-targeted group. These events took place on city streets, college campuses, and even K-12 schools.

While high-profile political figures are to blame for much of this rhetoric, these trends didn’t start on November 8th. National media, for example, frequently paint a portrait of Muslim immigrants as dangerous, potential terrorists who need to be vetted before entering this country. Now this narrative has caught on, to devastating effect.

According to a June 2016 Quinnipiac poll, the number of Americans who oppose a temporary ban on Muslim immigrants are only a slight majority, with 52 percent opposed as compared to 40 percent in favor. The same poll reveals that only 55 percent of Americans believe that Islam is a peaceful religion. This narrative is fueling Islamophobia and increasing the danger that all Muslims face (as well as those who are perceived to be Muslim or Middle Eastern). This narrative has even affected children.

Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own community, and it is up to all of us to reject messages of intolerance.

How can we create communities that are welcoming and inclusive of everyone, regardless of background?

Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Check out this list of five things you and your congregation can do to confront Islamophobia.
  • Take some time to explore AFSC's resources on Sanctuary Everywhere to learn how to support refugees and immigrants of any background and stand up when you witness acts of violence or intolerance.
  • Remember that we always have the choice to reject hateful speech when we hear it and replace it with messages of love, acceptance, and inclusivity.

What are some other ways that you’re standing up for inclusiveness in your life? Tell us about them in the comments, and share this post to get the conversation started about how we can work together to create the safer, more inclusive communities we all deserve.

About the Author

Ritch Yaure is a Communications Research Intern at AFSC.