Stand in Love & Solidarity with the American Muslim Community
In her book 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life, Karen Armstrong encourages us to intentionally study one nation, culture, or religion different from our own. In response to her call, I decided to learn about Islam. The Unitarian Universalist Association’s participation in the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign has provided me with a number of opportunities to get to know American Muslims. I have attended symposia, town hall meetings, news conferences, and interfaith gatherings involving members of the American Muslim community–a community that reflects the multicultural diversity that my faith, Unitarian Universalism, longs for.
Through these encounters, I have also witnessed the pain that occurs in this community as a result of stereotyping, targeting, and discrimination. Mosques are vandalized, people speak hatred against Muslims, and they are terrorized in their own country. Yet Muslim American communities were among the first to stand in solidarity with those of Sikh faith after the recent attack at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Let us heed their example and reach out to people of different faiths as neighbors and act in solidarity to stop the violence and bias they suffer.
Two of our partner organizations are releasing resources this fall to help interfaith communities be in solidarity with American Muslim communities:
On Monday, October 22 at 4:00pm ET, Shoulder-to-Shoulder will provide a webinar for clergy and lay leaders about addressing bias and discrimination against American Muslims called “Engaging the Faithful: Coordinating Multi-Faith Partnerships to End Anti-Muslim Sentiment.” RSVP for the webinar by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name and affiliation.
- The Interfaith Alliance will launch an FAQ to dispel the misperceptions about our American Muslim neighbors. Click here to sign up to receive this resource after the September 20 launch date.
Tolerance is not enough if our goal is to stand on the side of love with people who are targeted because of their religious identity. Compassion–the capacity to connect to the suffering of other people–and interfaith solidarity are necessary if we are to be the country we claim to be. I hope that the SSL community will take the opportunities provided by Shoulder-to-Shoulder and the Interfaith Alliance to learn about American Muslims and Islam so we can open our hearts and minds more fully to the richness of this and other minority faith communities.
Multicultural Growth & Witness Director
Unitarian Universalist Association
The message above went out on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.