Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Suggestions from American Muslims for how non-Muslims can support you?

I'm having several conversations right now in different electronic fora (Merriam-Webster does say the plural of forum is fora) about how American non-Muslims can best support our American Muslim neighbors, especially this year.

Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of Ramadan, falls on September 10th this year, sparking fears that some non-Muslims might think Muslims are actually celebrating the attacks of September 11th, 2001; there has been a recent spike in hate crimes and domestic terrorism against American Muslims; and there are promised Qu'ran burnings on September 11th, which, while protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, are nonetheless alarming.

Some proposed actions have included:
  • Reviving scarf solidarity -- wearing scarves on September 10th, September 11th, during all of September, in support of Muslim women in particular.
  • Writing letters to the editors of local newspapers supporting Park51.
  • Intervisitation between local mosques and Islamic community centers and other religious and spiritual groups.
  • Calls to lawmakers.
  • Calling local mosques and community centers and asking if visitors of other faiths are welcome at Eid celebrations. 
  • Raising money to help pay for cleaning and repairs to damage to mosques and community centers and construction sites after recent vandalism and arson events. 
  • Hosting interfaith peace events co-planned with the local Muslim community.   
    I don't know how many of these ideas come from Muslims, how many come from well-meaning non-Muslims (of which I count myself), and how many come from Muslim/non-Muslim partnerships (which I consider preferable). 

    So, in this space, I ask any Muslim readers: what actions can American non-Muslims take that will help support you?  What would help you?  What would build community?

    What would help you feel supported and help you know you do not face this alone?

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