Entertainers and Faith Leaders Stand with American Muslims (VIDEO)
by Daniel Tutt, Bio
One of the most iconic images of the civil rights movement is of Martin Luther King Jr. walking hand-in-hand with faith leaders from many different traditions. Aware of the symbolism behind having someone like Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel leading the march, Dr. King knew something that we must emulate today, in our efforts to end Islamophobia in America. King knew that to build a social movement to end racism and foster equality, that we must build a broad and diverse coalitions of leaders and everyday citizens that represent the diverse tapestry of America.
In today’s world, social movements depend on memes, Twitter, Facebook, and social movements rise and fall quicker than Silicon valley internet start ups. There are examples of social movements that have succeeded quite well using social media. The “It Gets Better” project, which arose following the suicide epidemic of American homosexual youth, is one such example. The project garnered support from President Obama, leaders of major corporations, entertainers, and a wide array of successful public figures. This helped send a clear message that those on the side of human rights and justice are larger than those that are not.
As Americans concerned with rising Islamophobia, we ask: what is being done? Following the recent Lowe’s controversy, American Muslims were able to garner support from a wide range of celebrities including Russell Simmons, Kim Kardashian, and over 30 congressional representatives. This support boosted their power in numbers and proved that Muslims are able to organize quickly, and in an agile fashion to push-back against bigotry. The lesson for Muslims and all Americans concerned with combatting Islamophobia was that loosely connected networks working together in a semi-unified manner are able to produce big numbers and impressive results.
The question remains, what will happen the next time a crisis occurs? What can non-Muslims do to show their support for the American Muslim community? How can Evangelicals help to show their fellow citizens that not all Evangelical Christians hate Muslims, or that not all Muslims are a threat to the United States? By sharing their own personal story.
A college roommate, one of your siblings, a next-door neighbor, work colleague, or maybe even your boss may be a Muslim.
A new online project, “My Fellow American,” enables people of all faiths and backgrounds to share a story about a Muslim they know personally. So far, the project has received video testimonials from of Def Jam Records Russell Simmons, Evangelical Pastor Re. Dr. Welton Gaddy, Rabbi Marc Schneier, author Karen Armstrong, and FBI Assistant Director of the Washington Field Office, Agent James McJunkin.
My Fellow American calls on people of all faiths to sign a pledge, share their story, and affirm that American Muslims are indeed our fellow Americans. The pledge reads:
Muslims are our fellow Americans. They are part of the national fabric that holds our country together. They contribute to America in many ways, and deserve the same respect as any of us. I pledge to spread this message, and affirm our country’s principles of liberty and justice for all.
To take the pledge and share your story, visit the My Fellow American website.