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Seattle Kids Learn to Resist Islamophobia

SEATTLE – Amid reports of increasing hate crimes across the US, dozens of young people in Seattle attended a special workshop to learn how to resist discrimination, hate, and Islamophobia.

“I see a lot of prejudice just in our country right now, and I don’t want that prejudice in my life or my friends’ lives, and I don’t want to see it hurting people,” said Alex Davidson, 13.

Davidson is one of dozens of other kids who attended the workshop at Seattle university.

The workshop, organized by local Muslim leaders, taught students how to write a letter to the editor or craft a thoughtful social media post in response to rising reports of discrimination and prejudice.

“In light of what’s happening in our country, this is a critical time, this is an important issue,” said Aneelah Afzali, an organizer of the event.

Many of the attendants confirmed that they decided to participate after they learned about this weekend’s arson at the Islamic Center of the Eastside in Bellevue.

Afzali says only 38 percent of Americans know someone who is Muslim. She believes lack of exposure, combined with heavy media coverage of terrorism, can lead to dangerous misperceptions about her faith.

Storytelling that emphasizes and encourages contact, interaction and humanization is what next weekend’s workshop is all about.

“This issue is so important right now. It’s a critical topic, and it’s an opportunity for the youth to do something about it,” Afzali said.

The workshop is part of recent initiative by the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, The American Muslim Empowerment Network, which is working on ways to educate Americans about Islam and Muslims.