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5 Ways Mosques Can Respond to Anti-Muslim Demonstrations

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This Friday and Saturday October 9th and 10th, 2015 the ridiculously named Global Rally for Humanity will take place outside mosques across America. Sadly, the Global Rally for Humanity is not a positive event designed to help uplift vulnerable or oppressed people like refugees; instead it’s a series of protests against Islam and Muslims.

You can learn more about the Global Rally for Humanity here:

One of the more alarming aspects of this event is the likelihood that the protesters will be heavily armed. The people behind these protests are actively encouraging their supporters to show up with assault rifles, guns and other weapons in an “open carry” style.

Insha’Allah, this article will help mosque leadership and attendees prepare for these protests by working with their neighbors, local law enforcement and interacting with the media as needed.

We hope that this guide will also help minimize the negative impact that these protests will likely have on mosque services like Jummah prayers and weekend Islamic schools.

STEP 1 – Prepare your community:

Mosque leaders have a duty to prepare for and inform the general attendance about any potentially dangerous events in a timely manner.

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The first step is to gather as much information about the demonstration and its organizers as soon as possible.

The second step is bringing the local Muslim community’s leaders together to unify and coordinate the community’s response. This meeting should include the mosque’s leadership, advocacy organizations and other leading groups unique to that community.

Next the mosque should review its safety and evacuation plans with its members. The focus should be on helping the attendees understand exactly how to safely enter and exit the facility during the event while the protesters are present.

(NOTE: These plans may have to be modified and should be reviewed by law enforcement. See step 2)

Mosques should have clearly identified and well known communication channels including in-person announcements from known mosque leaders, the mosque’s website and its official social media accounts.

If possible the mosque should address the situation with the congregation well before the protest actually happens. Also, any services, programming, lectures or khutbahs taking place during the protest should be shortened so that congregation can be reminded of the mosque’s safety and evacuation plans.

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The last step is to guide and empower the congregation in how they respond. Attendees should be instructed to avoid any direct engagement or confrontation with the protesters during the event.

Members of the congregation can and should help document the protesters, their messages and any abuse or damage that may be responsible for. They can do this by taking photos and video recording of the protest on their electronic devices as they enter and leave the mosque.

Again it is best to avoid direct interaction with protesters when possible. This will help the community maintain the moral high ground because they will be behaving in a dignified manner.

(NOTE: This can be very challenging as protesters are becoming more and more emboldened and inflammatory. Recently, protesters at other anti-Muslim events have destroyed Qur’ans, used offensive language and imagery, dressed up as and/or created effigies of “terrorists” and mocked Prophet Muhammad. They employ all these tactics to illicit a confrontation with mosque attendees in an attempt to further smear Islam and Muslims.)

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STEP 2 – Contact law enforcement:

Notify your local law enforcement agencies as soon as you are aware of the situation. Give them any information you can about the protest.

INCLUDE: The event’s name, the organizers’ names, and related websites. Include any history your institution has with the organizers. Document and share any concerning comments, letters and hate messages from the organizers or found on the event’s websites and social media.

Have a designated emergency contact person who will lead all communication with law enforcement. Make sure that law enforcement knows who the emergency contact person is as well as who the other members of your leadership team are.

Provide law enforcement with a schedule of your congregational prayers, classes, meetings and any other times when you expect peeks in attendance. Do this for the day before, the day of and the day after the protest.

Report any threats, violent incidents, hateful comments (letters, emails, voicemail and social media posts) vandalism and/or suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately.

Ask that your local law enforcement agency increase patrols in the area. Their visible presence in the days before the event will help set a peaceful tone and will reassure your congregation. Specifically request an increased visible presence the day before the protest and of course an adequate presence during the event.

Lastly, make sure that law enforcement know your property lines and who your neighbors are. Also ask that they consider any potential safety concerns regarding the roads and routes used to access the masjid property.

STEP 3 – Talk to your neighbors:

Contact all your neighbors who might be affected by the influx of protesters. Let them know about the demonstration and its potential impact on them. Inform them that you are working with law enforcement to ensure everyone’s safety. Ask your neighbors if they have any ideas or concerns about dealing with the demonstration.

Reach out to your social justice and interfaith partners. Develop and circulate a sign-on statement of values that emphasis how it is wrong to target entire ethnic or religious groups. Ask people of good will to come to the mosque and stand in solidarity with the community during the protest.

Consider offering refreshments to the protesters. If it’s hot outside offer them cold bottles of water. If it is cold have coffee and donuts. Stick to refreshments from major and well known name brands. Make sure you set up any refreshments near the protesting group and have signs with positive messages on them. Let the protesters know that the refreshments are free and provided by the Muslim community.

STEP 4 – Work with the media:

Prior to the event, document everything reported in the news about the demonstration. Based on this documentation decide if the situation requires that your team issues a pre-event statement.

Gather Mosque leadership, media relations experts and advocacy organizations for a meeting to review the community’s talking points and message strategy for this specific event.

Remind community members, the mosques’ staff and volunteers to refer all requests for comment to the designated spokesperson or media relations team.

Talking points should be crafted to maintain the moral high ground:

  • Articulate your message without making disparaging comments about the demonstration or its organizers.
  • Talking points should focus on the impact that the event will have on community with a special focus on women and children.
  • Emphasize the positive things taking place inside the mosque rather than the demonstration outside.
  • Consider including the mosque’s history like how long its been a member of the larger community.
  • Highlight any signature service programs that the community does regularly.
  • Make sure your interfaith allies and non-Muslim supporters have the opportunity to speak to the media.
  • Make sure you thank and express your confidence in your neighbors.
  • Conclude your remarks by inviting people to visit and get to know their local Muslim community.
  • Fact check all talking points for accuracy.

STEP 5 – Compile a post event report:

Ask what was done correctly and what could have been done better.

Analyze logistical issues including; how safe the traffic routes where, the location of the protesters any impact that had, law enforcement overall performance, the media coverage and how well your response team functioned.

Gather statistics on how many protesters showed up, how many counter protesters were there, how many community members attended the mosque and compared that to how many people would have normally attended the mosque if there wasn’t a protest.

Create a list of people who made outstanding efforts. Publicly acknowledge your team with thank you letters and/or awards. Focus your congregation’s afternoon on your interfaith allies support, law enforcement’s good work and the efforts of influential community members and volunteers.

Conclude your report with analysis of any defining moments during the protest. Use this report to refine and improve the mosque’s safety measures for the future.

Paul "Iesa" Galloway is a native born Texan. He was recently called "the Yoda of interfaith affairs" by a colleague from his daytime gig. After hours Iesa serves as a consultant, messaging strategist and trainer on media, government and community relations. Iesa is a product of the "Military Brat" experience of the 1990's on US Army bases in Germany he has traveled extensively, for extended periods in Kenya, Hungary and Communist Poland on missionary trips, visited Communist East Germany with the Boy Scouts of America, as well as enjoyed time in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Holland and Austria. Since embracing Islam, Iesa was asked to be the founding Executive Director of CAIR-Houston, where he served the community from 2002 to 2006, he has completed the Hajj pilgrimage, participated in an interfaith pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Society for Biblical Studies and completed a study abroad program on the history of Islamic Spain, Morocco and Andalusian Philosophy with the University of Houston. Iesa's education is rooted in History and Public Relations and he has a interfaith and multiracial background.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Amel

    October 5, 2015 at 6:56 AM

    Excellent advice…however, it is really a shame that such an article has to be written in the first place. I wonder how Americans would react to groups of armed Muslims making their own protests at places of worship. I don’t see how this can be acceptable in any society that considers itself modern and enlightened.

    • Avatar

      Rodwan

      October 5, 2015 at 6:04 PM

      May Allah bless you Amel. My thoughts indeed!

  2. Avatar

    Syeda Zainab

    October 5, 2015 at 8:58 PM

    Thanks for this timely article Mr. Galloway! Proactive measures are always better than reactive. The ongoing Islamophobia in America has become a real issue and must be addressed. Community and individual action is needed on a national level. There’s an upcoming conference for this purpose. Interested persons should check out
    TMOAmerica.org

  3. Avatar

    Khalil Ebb

    October 6, 2015 at 4:45 AM

    Jazaka Allah Khair. This is a great guide for masjid staff and others who may be new to organizing and activism. I’d add, though, that we need a political primer could also be useful when preparing for these events. Given the political nature of these events, they require a political response.

    Given that these racist protests are a part of the rising white populist rhetoric and violence masaajid should be hosting programs to understand this. Given the historical importance of the Black struggle in combating white supremacy, masaajid could screen movies such as PBS’s “Eyes on the Prize” documentary or “The Black Power Mix Tape.” They could also host presentations by Black Lives Matter organizers, and possibly fund raise for their work. Or they could host book clubs/discussions. I’d recommend Good Muslim, Bad Muslim by M Mamdani, or W Sales’ From Civil Rights to Black Liberation.

    Further, the press talking points should include a political perspective. Here are a few suggestions:
    > These racist protests are a result of US foreign policy’s continued support for Israeli apartheid, and the indiscriminate bombing of Muslims across the world. The bombing of the hospital in Afghanistan earlier this week is one example. In both the media and in US foreign policy, Muslim lives are considered cheap and worthless.
    > These protests are modern day lynch mobs. They are part of the same atmosphere being created by the rhetoric of Donald Trump, and the systematic racist murder of Black people in this country by both police and vigilantes.
    > We want to encourage Muslims to act in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and the struggle by undocumented immigrants to be recognized and treated as human.
    > [following Amel’s point above] If Muslims organized outside churches or Synagogues, and suggested that people bring arms we would be called terrorists. This is a racist double standard.

  4. Avatar

    Ahsan

    October 6, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    Salam!
    Agree with everything.
    I advise banners within the mosque property that can be seen from the road/public space so that passers-by can see them.
    Their content should contain positive messages common to both the sayings of Esa a.s. (Jesus Christ) from the four canonical gospels and the Quran+Prophet Muhammad.
    That should illuminate to the general public how we’re not some pariah religion as being portrayed by misinformed quarters.
    W.salam.

  5. Pingback: » How Interfaith Activists Will Counter This Week's Anti-Muslim Rallies

  6. Avatar

    Hue

    October 7, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    We should be ready for possible hater rallies in general. However, we have been publicizing this hater group of humanity better than they have.

  7. Pingback: How Interfaith Activists Will Counter This Week’s Anti-Muslim Rallies | PopularResistance.Org

  8. Avatar

    Shahid, PhD; Houston

    October 7, 2015 at 11:56 PM

    As a Muslims, we should welcome these rallies of humanity. We should support these activities initiated by our opponents. It is God’s sent opportunity to talk to our neighbors, coworkers and people we know about the commons in all religions about human society needs, love of each other, concerns of everybody needs, pain and sufferings of our children, mothers, fathers, elders and all those whose human needs that are defined by their religions. I will never forget my neighbors Mr and Mrs Switzers who knocked at my door the morning of weekend after 9/11 and assured us to protect my family in need of any mishap created by any hate monger in front of your home, even they offered to buy groceries for us. Other neighbors did the same. That’s the showing of humanity.
    Humane needs and attitudes are not ingrained in you at your birth but taught and learned through parents, families, neighbors and finally through religious teachers if they don’t inculcate hate mongering ideas in societies of their own desires. In a multicultural environment, your spiritual/worldly education along your surroundings play a vital role to mould/build your human character as you interact with different people of varied thoughts to learn a common goal oriented future for humanity as a whole. This I learnt in Pakistan growing in a poor family and polished by my fellow Americans around me for the last 33 years. I am a proud Muslim American and love humanity at large just like those who wants to demonstrate in front me over and over again to teach me more that I don’t know. Thanks a lot to reminding me that I did’t learn earlier. Let’s learn and teach each other that we don’t know today.

  9. Pingback: How Interfaith Activists Will Counter This Week’s Anti-Muslim Rallies | ICNA Council for Social Justice (CSJ)

    • Avatar

      Fred

      December 26, 2015 at 10:21 AM

      The persecution of minorities is disgusting. Unfortunately it happens everywhere almost like xenophobia. Muslims ARE victims in “The Christian West” of abuse, spitting, destruction of mosques etc etc – this is terrible. But what about the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries? Hardly a day goes by without news about persecution in Pakistan involving murder and now in Brunei, Christians cannot openly celebrate Christmas. I think Muslims here in the West have an easier time. Comparisons are odious but….What do you think?

  10. Avatar

    Aafia

    October 16, 2015 at 5:15 PM

    Masha Allah,Excellent advice.

    Islamophobia is not only about ignorance and fear. Some people purposefully nurture it and use it as a political strategy. Tariq Ramadan recommended a book,The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims.If anyone would like to read about this book,here it is:http://islamhashtag.com/islamophobia-in-america/

    • Avatar

      francis Ayala

      November 14, 2015 at 7:23 PM

      Gee. I never heard anything about incidents at that rally. But, I sure heard a lot about Paris, a month later. Do you think there might be a basis for Islamophobia?
      Someone has said recently that Islamophobia has become a rational fear that one should take precautions with, like buckling your safety belt before getting into your car. This is because of the writings directly from the Quran that Isis, Taliban, Boko Harem, Wahhabi’s, etc.. love to follow.
      Try to understand that a few Muslims being called names, some spray graffiti on Mosques, an unflattering cartoon of the prophet is a whole different thing than explosives being tossed at your children because they are white and Christian, or other non Muslim.
      There are many accounts now of various cultures murdered by Muslims. It’s Muslims blowing up beautiful Buddhist relics, and causing hell on earth for so many people. This isn’t the fault of the common Muslim, but do you know how self centered your complaining sounds? The truth is, most people don’t care about other people’s religion in the West–We have every kind of religion here. You brought that paranoia from your culture, where a particular belief system is a big issue, and projected it on to Westerners. Believe me, no one here has thought of the word, “Crusader” since they existed long ago. Everyone was surprised to hear the word when Muslims began saying it on the news–Apparently, the Quran has kept the word and the history alive. Not good. And we here we stand scratching our heads, and wondering why it appears in this modern age? We had moved on from the subject centuries ago.

      • Avatar

        Z. Adams

        November 16, 2015 at 9:33 AM

        Interesting. It’s always easier for aggressors to “move on” from an incident. But what really needs to be focussed on here is not what the mainstream is discussing. What are the facts, all the victims you mentioned of ISIS are Muslims. If Isis really were Muslims, why would they primarily targets Muslims while destroying the name of Islam in the process? Who are the main victims of Isis and Al Qaseeda? Muslims. All of the victims of Boko Haram in Africa? Muslims. This shows that there is more than meets the eye. 90% of so called “Islamic extremism” victimized Muslims, the Muslim world, and the Muslim religion. What we need to start trying to find out is: WHO BENEFITS???

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#Islam

What Does Sharia Really Say About Abortion in Islam

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice, Islam recognizes the nuance.

Reem Shaikh

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The following article on abortion is based on a research paper titled ‘The Rights of the Fetus in Islam’, at the Department of Sharia at Qatar University. My team and I presented it to multiple members of the faculty. It was approved by the Dean of the Islamic Studies College, an experienced and reputed Islamic authority.

In one swoop, liberal comedian Deven Green posing as her satirical character, Mrs. Betty Brown, “America’s best Christian”, demonized both Sharia law as well as how Islamic law treats abortion. Even in a debate about a law that has no Muslim protagonist in the middle of it, Islam is vilified because apparently, no problem in the world can occur without Islam being dragged into it.

It is important to clarify what Sharia is before discussing abortion. Sharia law is the set of rules and guidelines that Allah establishes as a way of life for Muslims. It is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which is interpreted and compiled by scholars based on their understandings (fiqh). Sharia takes into account what is in the best interest for individuals and society as a whole, and creates a system of life for Muslims, covering every aspect, such as worship, beliefs, ethics, transactions, etc.

Muslim life is governed by Sharia – a very personal imperative. For a Muslim living in secular lands, that is what Sharia is limited to – prayers, fasting, charity and private transactions such as not dealing with interest, marriage and divorce issues, etc. Criminal statutes are one small part of the larger Sharia but are subject to interpretation, and strictly in the realm of a Muslim country that governs by it.

With respect to abortion, the first question asked is:

“Do women have rights over their bodies or does the government have rights over women’s bodies?”

The answer to this question comes from a different perspective for Muslims. Part of Islamic faith is the belief that our bodies are an amanah from God. The Arabic word amanah literally means fulfilling or upholding trusts. When you add “al” as a prefix, or al-amanah, trust becomes “The Trust”, which has a broader Islamic meaning. It is the moral responsibility of fulfilling one’s obligations due to Allah and fulfilling one’s obligations due to other humans.

The body is one such amanah. Part of that amanah includes the rights that our bodies have over us, such as taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally – these are part of a Muslim’s duty that is incumbent upon each individual.

While the Georgia and Alabama laws in the United States that make abortion illegal after the 6-week mark of pregnancy are being mockingly referred to as “Sharia Law” abortion, the fact is that the real Sharia allows much more leniency in the matter than these laws do.

First of all, it is important to be unambiguous about one general ruling: It is unanimously agreed by the scholars of Islam that abortion without a valid excuse after the soul has entered the fetus is prohibited entirely. The question then becomes, when exactly does the soul enter the fetus? Is it when there is a heartbeat? Is it related to simple timing? Most scholars rely on the timing factor because connecting a soul to a heartbeat itself is a question of opinion.

Web MD

The timing then is also a matter of ikhtilaf, or scholarly difference of opinion:

One Hundred and Twenty Days:

The majority of the traditional scholars, including the four madhahib, are united upon the view that the soul certainly is within the fetus after 120 days of pregnancy, or after the first trimester.

This view is shaped by  the following hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن أحدكم يجمع خلقه في بطن أمه أربعين يوما ثم يكون في ذلك علقة مثل ذلك ثم يكون في ذلك مضغة مثل ذلك ثم يرسل الملك فينفخ فيه الروح..

“For every one of you, the components of his creation are gathered together in the mother’s womb for a period of forty days. Then he will remain for two more periods of the same length, after which the angel is sent and insufflates the spirit into him.”

Forty Days:

The exception to the above is that some scholars believe that the soul enters the fetus earlier, that is after the formation phase, which is around the 40 days mark of pregnancy.

This view is based on another hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مر بالنطفة إثنتان وأربعون ليلة بعث الله إليها ملكاً، فصوره، وخلق سمعها وبصرها وجلدها ولحمها وعظمها…

“If a drop of semen spent in the womb forty-two nights, Allah sends an angel to it who depicts it and creates its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones.”

Between the two views, the more widespread and popular opinion is the former, which is that the soul enters the fetus at the 120 days (or 4 months) mark, as the second hadith implies the end of the formation period of the fetus rather than the soul entering it.

Even if one accepts that the soul enters the fetus at a certain timing mark, it does not mean that the soul-less fetus can be aborted at any time or for any reason. Here again, like most matters of Islamic jurisprudence, there is ikhtilaf of scholarly difference of opinion.

No Excuse Required:

The Hanafi madhhab is the most lenient, allowing abortion during the first trimester, even without an excuse.

Some of the later scholars from the Hanafi school consider it makruh or disliked if done without a valid reason, but the majority ruled it as allowed.

Only Under Extreme Risks:

The Malikis are the most strict in this matter; they do not allow abortion even if it is done in the first month of pregnancy unless there is an extreme risk to the mother’s health.

Other Views:

As for the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of thought, there are multiple opinions within the schools themselves, some allowing abortion, some only allowing it in the presence of a valid excuse.

Valid excuses differ from scholar to scholar, but with a strong and clear reason, permissibility becomes more lenient. Such cases include forced pregnancy (caused by rape), reasons of health and other pressing reasons.

For example, consider a rape victim who becomes pregnant. There is hardly a more compelling reason (other than the health of the mother) where abortion should be permitted. A child born as a result in such circumstances will certainly be a reminder of pain and discomfort to the mother. Every time the woman sees this child, she will be reminded of the trauma of rape that she underwent, a trauma that is generally unmatched for a woman. Leaving aside the mother, the child himself or herself will lead a life of suffering and potentially neglect. He or she may be blamed for being born– certainly unjust but possible with his or her mother’s mindset. The woman may transfer her pain to the child, psychologically or physically because he or she is a reminder of her trauma. One of the principles of Sharia is to ward off the greater of two evils. One can certainly argue that in such a case where both mother and child are at risk of trauma and more injustice, then abortion may indeed be the lesser of the two.

The only case even more pressing than rape would be when a woman’s physical health is at risk due to the pregnancy. Where the risk is clear and sufficiently severe (that is can lead to some permanent serious health damage or even death) if the fetus remained in her uterus, then it is unanimously agreed that abortion is allowed no matter what the stage of pregnancy. This is because of the Islamic principle that necessities allow prohibitions. In this case, the necessity to save the life of the mother allows abortion, which may be otherwise prohibited.

This is the mercy of Sharia, as opposed to the popular culture image about it.

Furthermore, the principle of preventing the greater of two harms applies in this case, as the mother’s life is definite and secure, while the fetus’ is not.

Absolutely Unacceptable Reason for Abortion:

Another area of unanimous agreement is that abortion cannot be undertaken due to fear of poverty. The reason for this is that this mindset collides with having faith and trust in Allah. Allah reminds us in the Quran:

((وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا))

“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty, We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (Al-Israa, 31)

Ignorance is not an excuse, but it is an acceptable excuse when it comes to mocking Islam in today’s world. Islam is a balanced religion and aims to draw ease for its adherents. Most rulings concerning fiqh are not completely cut out black and white. Rather, Islamic rulings are reasonable and consider all possible factors and circumstances, and in many cases vary from person to person.

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice. These terms have become political tools rather than sensitive choices for women who ultimately suffer the consequences either way.

Life means a lot more than just having a heartbeat. Islam completely recognizes this. Thus, Islamic rulings pertaing to abortion are detailed and varied.

As a proud Muslim, I want my fellow Muslims to be confident of their religion particularly over sensitive issues such as abortion and women’s rights to choose for themselves keeping the Creator of Life in focus at all times.

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#Current Affairs

Faith Community Stands With Peace And Justice Leader Imam Omar Suleiman During Right Wing Attacks

Hena Zuberi

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In a follow up to the right-wing media platforms attack on Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists, as well as criticism of Israel policies, Faith Forward Dallas issued a statement.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanksgiving Square – Faith Leaders United for Peace and Justice is a Texas-based interfaith organization that has worked on many initiatives with Imam Omar Suleiman.

The statement reads:

“Imam Omar Suleiman a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice!!!!!

Time after time in our city, in the United States and around the world, Imam Omar Suleiman has been a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice. When others seek to divide, he calls for unity. Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square works to unite faith leaders for justice and compassion. Imam Suleiman has been a trusted leader among us. In the wake of his beautiful prayer to open the House of Representatives on May 9, he has received threats of violence and words of vilification when instead he should have our praise and prayers. We call upon people of good will everywhere to tone down the rhetoric, to replace hate with love, and to build bridges toward the common good.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square”

Commenters on the Faith Forward Dallas statement have left comments of support.

The group has invited locals and other leaders to endorse and share the statement. “Endorsed! I love and fully you Imam Omar Suleiman!” wrote Karen Weldes Fry, Spiritual Director at Center of Spiritual Learning in Dallas (CSLDallas), commenting on the statement.

Some commentators do not understand the manufactured controversy.  Heather Mustain writes, “What people are writing is so vile. They obviously didn’t even listen to his prayer!” Imam  Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives on May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas, TX.

“I’m grateful for the faith leaders with whom I’ve built relationships with and served with for years that have shown full support throughout this process. Together we’ve stood with one another in solidarity in the face of bigotry, and in the support of others in any form of pain. We will not let these dark forces divide us,” said Imam Omar Suleiman in response to the outpouring of love from the people he has worked with on the ground, building on peace, love, and justice.

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#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan

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Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar

JazakAllahuKheiran


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source: DMagazine.com


Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News


Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc


Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News

 


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center


Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN

 

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