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Detroit Combats Anti-Muslim Sentiments

Published: 23/06/2014 03:47:25 PM GMT
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CAIRO – A few days after burning copies of the Noble Qur’an in front of a Dearborn mosque, a national campaign is planned on Monday, June 23, to fight hate crimes that target Muslims and Arab-Americans in the US mid-western city of Detroit. “This campaign will inspire real social and policy change that addresses the perception of and h...(more)

CAIRO – A few days after burning copies of the Noble Qur’an in front of a Dearborn mosque, a national campaign is planned on Monday, June 23, to fight hate crimes that target Muslims and Arab-Americans in the US mid-western city of Detroit.

“This campaign will inspire real social and policy change that addresses the perception of and hateful behavior toward the Arab and Muslim American community, including Arab and Muslim refugees,” Diana Hussein, a representative for the National Network for Arab American Communities, an ACCESS project, told The Detroit News on Sunday, June 22.

Titled “Take on Hate”, the campaign aims at combating discrimination against US Muslims through public education, media outreach, coalitions’ building as well as legislative reforms.

The campaign, which is organized by the National Network for Arab American Communities, will be launched on Monday at the office of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights in the Cadillac Building.

“It gives Arabs and Muslims and our allies a way to come together and call out those things when we see them,” said Nadia Tonova, director of the network, a project of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services.

“That way we can open the conversation and change the narrative to let people know it’s wrong.”

In the Metro Detroit area, the Muslim community population is estimated at about 81,500 people, making the region the eighth most populous for Muslims in the US.

Last Tuesday, June 17, an American Muslim imam has called for issuing a new law banning burning of desecrating holy books a few days after the burning of three copies of the Noble Qur’an in front of a Dearborn mosque.

The deplorable act was committed a day before a visit by Qur’an-burning, anti-Islam Pastor Terry Jones.

Detroit’s anti-discrimination campaign will discuss several issues including, the formation of a federal hate crime investigation task force, the creation of an act to end racial profiling and the promotion of immigration reform.

Walk to Freedom

Launched on the date of the 51st anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Walk to Freedom in Detroit, the “Take on Hate” campaign aimed at ending an era of anti-Muslim bias.

The MLK date was “a key tie-in for the launch of the effort in Detroit because it was on this exact day where Dr. King told over 100,000 people that it was time for the government and society to get serious about providing opportunities and parity in employment, education, housing and the overall quality of life for persons of color,” Hussein said.

Kicked off in Washington DC last March and in April in San Francisco, the campaign is scheduled to reach New York and Chicago later this summer.

Along with the Arab American Network, the campaign is being organized by the Michigan branches of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Arab-American Civil Rights League.

Raising awareness, the campaign will host various cultural and heritage events, along with diversity training and outreach to employers and schools.

“People are good at their core,” she said.

“When they understand that (something is) a bias or stereotype, they will come around and do the right thing.”

Since 9/11, US Muslims, estimated between six to seven million, have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was stigmatizing their faith.

There have been hundreds of incidents of violence, threats and vandalism against Muslims since 2001.

Estimates show that 14 percent of religious discrimination is reported against Muslims.

“I think that Arabs and Muslims, a lot of times, are negatively portrayed in the media,” Tonova said.

“If that’s all the exposure we get, you’ll never really know us.”

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here

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