With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 just around the corner, it is impossible not to reflect on how the country has changed. Not just in terms of ideologies and norms, but in the way we as Americans deal with the world and those around us. Before 9/11, the words "Islam" and "Muslim" were not very familiar, but nowadays they are thrown around by radio talks show host, pundits, and politicians as trigger points for controversy and hostility. The hate speech and actions against Muslims, had they been said or done to other religious groups or minorities, would be totally unacceptable. With the climate towards Muslims in America becoming increasingly uneasy, one has to wonder, "Who are American Muslims and what are they like?"
A recent Time Magazine poll revealed that 63 percent of Americans say that they don't know a Muslim. It would only make sense to ask the other 47 percent about the Muslims in their life. My Fellow American is an online film and social media project that allows people of all faiths and backgrounds to tell a story about a Muslim that they know. People are asked to visit the site and watch the short film that is a call to action to stand up against Islamophobia. It calls on people to sign a pledge and spread the message that Muslims are a part of the American fabric. Visitors can also upload a video story about a Muslim that they know and join the other 40 plus stories that have already been shared. The pledge reads:
Muslims are our fellow Americans. They are part of the national fabric that holds our country together. They contribute to America in many ways, and deserve the same respect as any of us. I pledge to spread this message, and affirm our country's principles of liberty and justice for all.
It is only with understanding and acceptance that we can move to a place that is better than the stance of fear and animosity. To take the pledge and share a story, visit the My Fellow American website.
TheReligiousLeft.org is proud to support the work and vision of My Fellow American. Fear and hatred are fueled by ignorance, and it is the responsibility of people of faith to lead the call for understanding and acceptance, and to help turn the "other" into the "us." We encourage readers to visit the My Fellow American website and take the pledge today for a more just, inclusive tomorrow!