DEARBORN – Seeing themselves on the defensive corner over the past two years, a growing number of Muslims are pushing back against bigotry and misconceptions by sharing contributions of Arab and Muslim Americans to help their society.
“We’re trying to shift the narrative and show that we have much more in common than we have in differences,” Asha Noor, the engagement specialist for Take on Hate with Love, told The Arab American News on Thursday, February 11.
A group of American Muslims, Take on Hate, will launch a social media campaign, from February 8 through Valentine’s Day, to showcase the contributions of Arab and Muslim Americans.
Titled, “Take on Hate with Love”, is planned to fight prejudice by love.
“We wanna highlight the individuals who have risen above that hate by choosing love and solidarity and acceptance,” Noor, a Virginia native, who moved to Metro Detroit about a month ago, said.
The week-long campaign seeks to feature individuals and organizations who have responded to backlash against Muslims with service work, she added.
Noor finished her graduate work in Latin America while working in activism with Afro-Indigenous communities, refugees, religious minorities and trauma victims.
Muslims make up 1% of America’s 322 million population, according to Pew Research center.
Anti-Muslim sentiments have reached an all-time high after the rise of the so-called Islamic State, formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Moreover, the Republican presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson, have added to increasing anti-Muslim sentiments.
Trump’s views on immigration have sparked controversy nationwide, especially his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the US.
Facing growing anti-Muslim sentiments, she said that terrorists do not represent Islam in the first place.
“I have nothing to do with DAESH; I have nothing to do with Boko Haram; I have nothing to do with al-Shabab or these terrorist groups that use violence in the name of Islam,” Noor said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
She acknowledges doing so would be a slow process, but the campaign is not looking for a “Band-Aid fix.”
“We’re just trying to show that there’s another side to this narrative,” Noor said.
“The side that’s rarely covered, which is where people rise above these difficult circumstances and choose love and solidarity and to work with other communities to really make a change.
“That’s why we decided to push for this campaign, to highlight love. That’s how we take on hate.”