A report by Mother Catharine Reid
In response to last Friday’s horrifying violence in the mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand several local gatherings were held at mosques here in our area. I, along with a standing room only crowd, attended on Monday evening what the organizers called an Interfaith Vigil and Anti-Islamophobia Teach-in sponsored by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) and held at MAPS (Muslim Association of Puget Sound) in Redmond. People of all faiths gathered, as Dean Thomason of St. Mark’s Cathedral put it in his letter to the cathedral congregation, “to lament once more the tragic consequences when hatred, xenophobia and easy access to assault weapons become the tragic combination that leads to a senseless loss of life”, as well as to hear how we can more actively respond as individuals and communities in support of our Muslim neighbors.
The program was begun and ended with prayer, and a variety of faith leaders and elected officials spoke. The most moving presentation was given by Nayab Khan whose lifelong friend was one of those who attempted to stop the shooter and later died of his wounds. But beyond the prayers, speeches and personal stories the most stirring address was by Aneelah Afzali, the MAPS-AMEN Executive Director who called us to move out of our comfort zones and to engage personally in the effort to combat islamophobia. Below you will see the ways we were given to take concrete steps in this struggle.
In addition, I want to include an invitation to a coming event at MAPS. Mosque Visit: American Muslim Women Speak Out by MAPS AMEN- American Muslim Empowerment Network described thus: “Join us for a presentation and panel of American Muslim women sharing their personal stories. You will also get a tour of the mosque, have the chance to observe prayer, and enjoy a free lunch! You won’t want to miss this unique interfaith opportunity of sharing, bridge-building, and breaking bread together!” See the link below.
May we all continue to uphold our Muslim brothers and sisters in prayer, and take what actions we can to help eradicate this and all forms of hatred and prejudice we encounter in ourselves and our communities.
12 Ways You Can Combat Islamophobia
𝟏. 𝐍𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐦: 𝐈𝐬𝐥𝐚𝐦𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐛𝐢𝐚
And equate it to other forms of hate, such as xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism.
𝟖. 𝐒𝐢𝐠𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐏𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐕𝐢𝐨𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭, 𝐈𝐬𝐥𝐚𝐦𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐛𝐢𝐜 𝐂𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐍𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐬
𝟏𝟎. 𝐔𝐬𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐨𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐦𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐚 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐬, along with letters to the editor/op-eds, to share personal, humanizing stories about the Muslims you know, and contact media when they use Islamophobic imagery, narratives or double standards.
𝟏𝟏. 𝐀𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐮𝐩𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐥𝐢𝐦 𝐧𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐬
• Mosque visit at MAPS on April 6
• Annual Interfaith Iftar at MAPS on May 15: (more info to come)
• Sammamish Community Iftar on May 19
𝟏𝟐. 𝐅𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐥𝐢𝐦 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐩𝐬 𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭’𝐬 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐦 on social media or through their newsletters to hear about more opportunities to learn, engage, and serve together!
• CAIR WA
• Muslim Association of Puget Sound
• Helping Hand for Relief and Development
• Islamic Circle of North America
• ICNA Relief/Muslims for Humanity
• Islamic Center of Bothell
• Islamic Center of Eastside
• Masjid Madeena
• Islamic Center of Kent
• Muslim American Youth Foundation
• Sammamish Muslim Association
• Tri Cities Islamic Center
• Islamic House
• Bilal Islamic Community Center