Islamophobia

World Day of Muslim Culture

Your DGB for today is to learn a little something about Muslim-American art and culture.

It has become glaringly obvious in America, particularly since 9/11, that Muslim-Americans have had their faith politicized and demonized by outsiders, their narrative stolen, their identity collectivized and imposed upon them, and their uniqueness and American-ness silenced. Their commonality is their faith, but the identity of Muslim-Americans as individuals knows no boundaries.

When sharing what it means to be a Muslim-American, there can be little that is more powerful than artistic expression; whether it be written, visual, musical or culinary, to name a few. In an effort to connect their faith with their American identity and then share that message with others, Muslim-American artists have carved themselves out a voice in the cultural narrative of this country.

Check out these artistic works of the Statue of Liberty painted with a Muslim twist (few know she was modeled after an Arab woman), this American Flag sewn from the fabric of hijabs, or learn about the music of Omar Chakaki and Nizar Wattad - country music is not just for good ole’ white, southern cowboys anymore.

These words by Michel Moushabeck are a powerful reminder of why those outside the faith need to delve into learning about this dynamic religion and those who practice it:

 

“I felt that if people in America started reading our literature, eating our food, and listening to our music they would be less likely to want to bomb us and they'd be less likely to support our occupation.”

 

So, watch this video, pick up one of these children’s books, learn about how food is a connection to faith, resistance, and origins, and listen to this female narrative of Muslim art and culture. If you have time, follow some of the links below to learn more about our fellow Americans and how they're positively impacting art and culture in America.

 

Muslim American Artists Strive to Bridge a Chasm

American Muslim Film Competition: One Nation, Many Voices

‘Haram’ and ‘Halal’: Artist Challenges Mainstream Images of Muslim Americans

Muslim Artists Struggle To Connect With American Audiences

Arab American Institute: Arts and Culture

 

Fight Islamophobia

Your DGB for today is to counter a resurgence of Islamophobia, and support our Muslim brothers and sisters by getting involved locally. 

On January 27th, POTUS made us all reach for our TUMS for the umpteenth time by signing an executive order freezing immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The order went into effect immediately, and chaos at our nation’s airports ensued. Teams of lawyers working pro-bono swooped in to help stranded and panicking travelers, and the outraged among us showed up en masse to protest. Later a federal judge issued an emergency stay that provided relief for some affected travelers, which was then held up by the Ninth Circuit.  Here’s a timeline of what went down. In addition, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that anti-Muslim hate groups have almost tripled in number from 2015 to 2016.

How can you support immigrants’ rights, and counter xenophobia and Islamophobia? We recently asked you to donate to the ACLU (and you did, right?) which is a good start.  We also want you to consider attending a pro-immigrant rally in your city or state. There’s going to be a large Immigrants’ March in DC on May 6th, and sister marches and rallies may spring up near you. Your local mosques and Islamic cultural centers also need some love these days. Consider calling them and asking how you can show support. Find a mosque near you here.

If you are Muslim and the ban is personally affecting you and/or your family, please contact the National Immigration Law Center, the ACLU, or the Council on American-Islamic Relations for help. If you’ve been a victim of, or a witness to a hate crime, report it to the Southern Poverty Law Center here.