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Practical Tips For Turning Tides Against Islamophobia

Our institutions have so much potential, but are often sorely lacking in funding and personnel. We’ve been presented with an incredible opportunity to be ambassadors of Islam. Each and every one of us can offer something to make our establishments better:

You Can Make A Difference

Funds

Even if it’s five dollars a month, your contribution can help your local center be a more inviting place with more programs and much needed services.

Time

Chat with the Life Coach

Get involved! Reach out and discover ways you can donate your time to help your nearest Muslim organization flourish and grow.

Brotherhood for God’s Sake

Unfortunately, one of the biggest hindrances to our Islamic institutions is us. It’s time to get over our differences, stop dividing ourselves up by ethnic heritage and come together as an ummah.

The companions of the Prophet Muhammad were diverse, yet they supported one another as one community. This verse should be enough for us:

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers… (3:103)

Business Unusual

New Muslim businesses are upholding the values of Islam, catering to the tastes and comfort of Muslim consumers and beyond. They are accessible, friendly, and high quality- appealing to a broader consumer base, opening the doors to greater familiarity with Muslims.

Although it’s thrilling that brands like Old Navy, UNIQLO and DKNY are entering the Islamic fashion market (making it more mainstream than ever before) Muslim businesses are about more than tapping a multi-billion dollar market…

Verona Collection recently opened a store in a mainstream mall in Florida. Its founders see it as more than just a clothing store for Muslim women: “Verona Collection’s success is ultimately advocating inclusivity, tolerance, and being part of this nation’s fabric…

With the heightened rhetoric of Islamophobia, we hope to be an agent of change – dispelling stereotypes, micro aggressive activity, and misconceptions.” (https://themuslimvibe.com)

Honest Chops is a Halal butcher shop in NYC. Similar to an artisanal meat store, they’ve been featured in many major media outlets. CNN Money reported: “Everything at the shop, from its seasoned hamburger patties to whole chickens, is humanely raised on a vegetarian diet, free of hormones and GMOs. They call it their “Honest-to God” guarantee.

While the concept appeals to the pious, the shop’s locally grown focus has also attracted secular people, who make up 60% of its customers.” Its founder explained, “It’s really about bringing benefit to the society around us.” (http://money.cnn.com/)

Shahed Amanullah, co-founder of Affinis Labs, said it well:

“I believe that entrepreneurship is a good deterrent to prejudice and racism. If you can enhance someone’s life through a product, they’re going to look at you differently.”

These inspiring businesses have gotten lots of positive attention and are gathering rave reviews. I hope to see even more high quality businesses thinking beyond the Muslim population while maintaining the integrity and guidelines of Islam. These businesses offer an interface that can help us make enormous strides in bridging the gap, and clearing misconceptions about Islam and Muslims.

 You, Every Day

You’re sure about Islam right? Never underestimate the power of self-confidence. Don’t fight against your identity, whether you are an immigrant, first generation native born, or whatever. Let Islam inspire and bring out the best in you. Maintain consciousness of God and do more of the actions that please Him: smile, help others, be generous, forgive. And let the best manners encouraged by Islam resonate in all you do.

Being integrated does not mean sacrificing or compromising your values and faith. You’ll see, Insha’Allah, that the more you practice Islam, the more the light of guidance will radiate from you wherever you go.

There’s no need to compromise any of Islam for the sake of fitting in. It’s possible to be fully Muslim and at the same time a well-adjusted, integrated and engaged citizen of the society in which you live.

In fact, that’s the only way to go.

(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)

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About Danielle LoDuca
Danielle LoDuca is a third generation American artist and author. Drawing inspiration from personal life experiences, her writings highlight the familiarity of Islam in a climate that increasingly portrays the Islamic faith as strange. She holds a BFA from Pratt Institute and has pursued postgraduate studies in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Foundation for Knowledge and Development. LoDuca’s work has been featured in media publications in the US and abroad and she is currently working on a book that offers a thought-provoking American Muslim perspective, in contrast to the negative narratives regarding Islam and Muslims prevalent in the media today