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Resources for Combatting Islamophobia

Resources for Combatting Islamophobia

Following the recent attacks in Paris in November 2015 and San Bernardino in December 2015, there has been a noted rise in Islamophobia in the United States,  from anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric to mosque protests throughout the country. Additionally, Islamophobia has also manifested itself in anti-refugee sentiment, with calls to impose a religious test on refugees or limit refugees from Syria and the Middle East.

In his recent speech at the Islamic Center in Baltimore, President Obama condemned this type of religious bigotry, stating “we’re one American family.  And when any part of our family starts to feel separate or second-class or targeted, it tears at the very fabric of our nation.” We cannot let this type of bigotry tear our nation apart, but rather we must work to engage within our communities and build strong relationships with those around us of all faiths.

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center, highlighted in a recent speech at the Islamic Center in Tennessee, "if we're going to be the family of Abraham, we together have to call out Islamophobia. We have to beat back the forces of bigotry, whether it's anti-Jewish bigotry, anti-Muslim bigotry or bigotry in any form in America.” The Reform Jewish community has and will continue to engage with our Muslim neighbors and stand up against bigotry. Find resources below to help your community create Muslim-Jewish relationships and stand up against Islamophobia:

1. Find ideas to engage in Muslim-Jewish dialogue in the Religious Action Center’s Resource Guide. Engaging one another in thoughtful conversation and shared experiences promotes understanding and fights bigotry.

2. Download the Children of Abraham Guide to facilitate joint dialogue and study between Reform Jewish congregations and Muslim communities. The Guide includes text studies of the Torah and Qu’ran, lessons on shared values, ways to combat anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and more.

3. Partner your congregation with a local mosque in a weekend of shared programming, worship, activities and community service through the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding’s Season of Twinning.

4. Join the Know Your Neighbor Initiative,  which seeks to foster a dialogue on the country’s religious diversity and promote understanding and respect of all people’s beliefs.

5. Take the Know Your Neighbor pledge stating, “Our strength as a nation comes from the ability to hold true to our own faith and values while defending the religious freedom of our neighbors. I pledge to get to know my fellow Americans of all traditions and systems of belief and to share my own. Moreover, I will speak out against hatred and misinformation against others when I encounter it.”

Learn more on the RAC’s Muslim-Jewish Relations Page

Rachel Landman is the assistant director of 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy in Byfield, MA, where she ran the inaugural summer Israel program, which focused on exploring Israel through the lens of science and technology. She holds a degree in biology from Hamilton College and served as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. She is an alumna of URJ Crane Lake Camp and grew up at Brooklyn Heights Synagogue in Brooklyn, NY. 

Rachel Landman

Published: 3/14/2016