Mustafa Mohamedali, social secretary at the Islamic Center of Olympia (Masjid Al-Nur) offers suggestions for all concerned about the targeting of Muslims and the prejudice fanned in the current political climate:
1. Get to know a Muslim, visit an Islamic Center or mosque in your area (I know several of your congregation may have visited us on more than one occasion for which we are grateful).
2. Reach out to elected officials tell them your experiences or your own story or share some facts.
- Understand opposing views and learn how to respond (use quotes from the US constitution, American ethics and values, your own personal immigration stories, history, scripture, etc.)
- Donate to reliable, well-known institutions that fight for Muslim civil rights like the www.ACLU.org , www.CAIR.com and www.mlfa.org.
- Stay committed even if you hit bumps on the way.
- Finally but most importantly—trust in God—he has all this figured out. If it wasn’t for this many may never have known anything about our community, our faith, our values
Use facts and sources to guide the conversation
- There are 1.2 Billion Muslims in the world.
- In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97 percent of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years. (National Counter-Terrorism Center 2011 Report)
- The brother of one of the alleged shooters in the San Bernardino shooting is a Navy Vet who has several medals for anti-terrorism efforts. (NY Daily News)
- Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, including the recent mass killing in Charleston, S.C., compared with 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists. (New York Times & New America)
- An FBI study looking at terrorism committed on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 found that 94 percent of the terror attacks were committed by non-Muslims. (The Daily Beast)
- Over 108,000 (108,476) people in America are shot in murders, assaults, suicides & suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, or by police intervention. (Brady Campaign)
- The San Bernardino shooting is the 355th last year. (Washington Post)
- The number of mass shootings in 2015 surpassed 2014, according to the Reddit tracker. There were 363 mass shootings in 2013. (Washington Post)
- There are between 10,000-20,000 Muslim servicemen and women serving in the armed forces
- One in 18 doctors in the US is a Muslim, the serve as our teachers, lecturers, engineers, architects and IT professionals PEW Research).
- About 35% of Muslim men and women have a college degree—as a faith community they are second only to the Jewish community (US average is just over 20%). Muslim men and women are almost equally educated (Pew Research).
Politics: Fear-Mongering, Islamophobia and Syrian Refugees
- Politicians instill fear of Islam and Muslims to make money and get votes.
- Politicians have suggested keeping Muslims out of the U.S. and making it harder for Muslims to enter after the Paris and San Bernardino mass shootings. Contrarily, France allowed 30,000 Syrian refugees following the Paris attacks.
- The U.S. has an extensive thorough vetting process, which takes up to three years to complete before allowing refugees in.
- The vast majority of the refugees, 400 orphan children, have escaped the terrors of Da’esh and need a loving home.
- Some politicians are making this a Muslim problem.
- American Muslims should stand for peace and security. We should condemn all acts of violence, irrespective of the victims.
- American founders fled from religious persecution to pursue religious freedom, safety and security. We should offer the same.
- Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” ~ Statue of Liberty
– Carol McKinley, Faith in Action Ministry