CAIRO – Officials in Muncie city in the midwestern US state of Indiana are planning a resolution to declare support for their fellow American Muslims and condemn Islamophobic speech and violence.
“We want the community to know we appreciate them being here,” Mayor Dennis Tyler told The Star Press.
“We care about them and want them to feel welcome.”
The resolution “In Support of and Defense of Religious Diversity, Tolerance and Mutual Understanding” was proposed by the city mayor.
The diversity and tolerance resolution was put on hold by its sponsor Alison Quirk for further research and possible additions.
“Our community wants to be welcoming,” Quirk told The Star Press about the inspiration for the resolution.
It will go to approval at the city council’s upcoming meeting.
The gesture comes amid increasing anti-Muslim sentiments across the US, affected by the rhetoric of the Republican presidential hopefuls.
The resolution was widely welcomed by the city’s Muslim community.
“The biggest thing that will come out of it for the Muslim and non-Muslim community as a whole is that these people are part of our society, they are contributing citizens to our community, we cannot shy away from them, we need to work with them as children of God,” Bibi Bahrami, an officer of the Islamic Center of Muncie, said.
“We have so much in common.”
Bahrami, a Muslim woman married to Saber Bahrami, a longtime local physician, lamented the fact that the whole Muslim community is facing troubles over the actions of a few.
“When 9-11 happened, we tried to reach out, to let people know, ‘We don’t believe in this,'” she said.
“Unfortunately, there’s a generation growing up and all they hear of are terrorists. They grew up in that. My children grew up in this too. We don’t want to wait for someone ignorant to do something. I want to be more proactive.”
Bahrami said Muslim women who wear hijab “feel insecure” in the wake of each controversy.
Tyler, Bahrami and local religious leaders met in recent months and the anti-discrimination resolution grew out of those meetings.
“They did have a concern with the phobia going on all over the country,” Tyler said. “We wanted everybody to know they’re welcome.”
“Anti-Muslim speech and actions has increased in the national conversation where rates of hate violence targeting Muslim families and children are at record highs across our nation … This is detrimental to our very core of society as human beings who cherish freedom and liberty.”
Bahrami said the resolution increases the confidence of local Muslims.
“We just need to work together,” she added. “I think it will help both sides.”