I design tailored culture exposure experiences with Muslims
We need this now, more than ever. Islamophobia has reached a fever pitch. A white supremacist in Portland stabbed three men, two fatally, simply because they stood up to him while he was berating two teenage girls, one Muslim, one black. He called himself “a patriot” on his first day in court.
Meanwhile, the Muslim hate group, ACT for America, with over 1500 members on their closed FB page as of April 23 (Southern Poverty Law Center, @SPLCenter, link to article), has set plans in motion to hold nationwide rallies (to date, 23 cities in 18 states) dubbed “March Against Sharia” on June 10.
And yet it is these same mainstream, peace-loving Muslims who are the targets of vicious radical groups such as ISIS and the Taliban. Of the 1.8 billion Muslims representing over 25% of the population of the world, only a very small fraction are radicalized.
As terror victims themselves, it is the over 1.5 billion mainstream Muslims who are our greatest allies in the struggle against radical terrorism.
Never before has it been more important for us as non-Muslim Americans to take responsibility for informing ourselves about the 3.3 million Muslims who are now our neighbors. Will we continue to let the media portrayal feed irrational fears? Or will we take the initiative to gain a factual understanding of Islam, and Muslims?
I have started that journey. I have visited several mosques, participated in prayers with Muslims, and logged a lot of hours sitting, eating, and talking with Muslims. When I go to the mosque, other than leaving my shoes outside and sitting on the floor with only the men, I feel the exact same feeling I get when I attend church. Devoted people reaching out to God in prayer, a message from a spiritual leader about how to honor God by the way we live our lives, with quotes from the holy book, programs for the children, baked goods for sale by the women outside, lots of handshaking and catching up afterwards. I can perceive no essential difference between the community gatherings of Muslims and those of Christians.
In order to start breaking down the walls of mutual misunderstanding, I offer opportunities for hands on involvement to promote awareness of Islam and sensitivity to Muslims including:
Muslim-American Friendship Dinners
Exciting cultural exposure travel