Short Answer: Two things would help. Get in touch with the mosque in your locality. It will make a world of a difference to the Muslim community just knowing that people like you exist. Also speak with your non-Muslim neighbors. Do not let people think it is OK to use slurs, hate speech or even to repeat harmful stereotypes around you.
Salam (Peace) Carl,
It is so great to hear that you wish to show support for the Muslim community in your area during these trying times for American Muslims.
Helping your neighbor is a very admirable deed in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said:
Angel Jibril [Gabriel] advised me continuously to take care of the neighbor till I thought that Allah is to make him an inheritor. (Narrated in Bukhari)
The best thing you can do is to get in touch with the mosque in your locality. If you don’t know where the local mosque is, you can find it by searching islamicfinder.org.
Get in touch with them by phone or email or even on Facebook, and just let them know you are in the area and would like to demonstrate that they have your support as someone who is a proponent of freedom of religion.
I know that it will make a world of a difference to the Muslim community just knowing that people like you exist.
I know that many Muslims living in America are very scared right now with the striking rise of hate crimes in the past year, the threat of being put on a list or made to wear symbols in public to show that they are Muslim, and threats of worse with the new administration.
These are indeed frightening times not only for Muslims, but for religious freedom and tolerance in the US in general. When one group’s freedoms are threatened, everyone’s freedoms are threatened.
Dialogue with Non-Muslim Neighbors
But if I may suggest something else beyond reaching out to your local Muslim neighbors and offering solidarity.
Reach out to your non-Muslim neighbors and challenge people’s misconceptions about Islam and Muslims.
You can do this very easily in your day to day life by speaking up whenever you hear people speaking negatively about Muslims.
You don’t even need to know much about Islam or Muslims to stand against this kind of bigotry.
All you need to know is that Muslims are diverse and no stereotype is true of any group of people, Muslim or not.
When you hear someone speaking negatively and stereotyping Muslim, speak up if you feel safe to do so, and challenge these stereotypes.
Do not let people think it is OK to use slurs, hate speech, or even to repeat harmful stereotypes around you.
The only way good and upright people will be victorious in standing for social justice and freedom of self-determination is if we as individuals do not let hate spread even if it is by word of mouth.
How did it become unacceptable for people to openly say racist things in the US?
Individuals started saying something about it. People didn’t let bigotry go unnoticed, they didn’t let people think it was OK to slander others. People spoke up.
If more people of good hearts like yourself speak up, we will have a chance to stop the spread of hate, God willing.
I know that any Muslim in the US will feel heartened just by reading your question. To bring hope to people is such an amazing thing. And for that, I thank you because it is people like you who are truly making America great.
Whatever happens out of your reaching out to show support, it is my sincerest and deepest prayer that the Lord of all things blesses you.
All the Best! Please keep in touch.
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