WHAT CAN I DO to stand with my Muslim neighbors right now?
These are some suggested steps — they don’t capture everything, nor are they meant to, but they provide some starting points or action steps you can take.
1. Listen. If you don’t have Muslim friends to listen to in person, there are many American Muslims on social media who you could listen to in order to understand what people are experiencing and feeling. How do you find them? Start with some of the Muslim hashtag campaigns that gained traction recently, like #MuslimsReportingStuff. You’ll find some great folks there, and we’ve put together a growing list here of diverse American Muslims active on social media.
2. Reach out and connect. You could bake cookies for your Muslim neighbors and go have a conversation. You could chalk your support outside a mosque, like these people in Nashville. Write a letter of support to send to the mosque in your area. Contact a local Muslim community and work with them to organize a meal or small gathering for a group of folks in the community. Additionally, you can ask your house of worship to put up a banner of solidarity. You can join the #IStandWithMuslims social media campaign to show your support on social media. It can be simple or elaborate- all types of direct expressions of support are needed and welcome right now.
3. Be an Upstander. As you are listening to the voices of American Muslims, you can talk to your own family, friends, and community about the challenges facing American Muslims, particularly when you hear bigoted or mis-informed rhetoric about Muslims. If you witness an act of harassment, speak up and come alongside the person who is being targeted (here’s a cartoon illustration of what that could look like!).
4. Take political action. Get others together and ask your city council or school board to adopt a resolution standing against anti-Muslim bigotry. Or ask your elected representatives to sign the Religious Freedom Pledge. These advocacy tools will help us to call our elected and appointed officials into the work against bigotry and discrimination moving forward. Make effort to be aware of anti-Muslim legislation being proposed (including anti-refugee legislation) or rhetoric being used by politicians- we are going to need to ask you to stand up in concrete ways against these developments moving forward.
5. Listen. This one’s the most important, so it’s on here twice. Listen, listen some more, and keep listening. When you do this, you are better equipped to share some of the stories of experiences among American Muslims. And you’ll hear about some of the concrete ways you’re needed on the road ahead.