in the face of hate – Love Out Loud by Robynn & Marilyn
In Philadelphia, a severed pig’s head is thrown at the door of a mosque.
On the street in Boston a man tells a Muslim woman walking with her children that he hopes her children burn in hell.
A Somali restaurant in North Dakota is burned.
A Muslim shopkeeper is beaten.
Our Muslim friends say they are “laying low.”
And so we need to speak out. This is outrageous and offensive. This must stop. There is no “other side” to this debate. We speak as women who have lived in Muslim majority countries collectively for too many years to count and were treated with dignity and hospitality. But even if we did not have that background, as Christians we are compelled to speak out.
We are saddened and we are angry. How is the hateful behavior described above any different than that of ISIS? ISIS hates that which is different. They want conformity of thought and behavior. ISIS despises all those who disagree with them. But isn’t that what a mosque burned down and a beaten shopkeeper says? Doesn’t the threat of hell for small children and a massacred pigs head reveal the same heart? Don’t those vile actions declare that our culture too hates what is different, wants conformity and despising anyone who dares to disagree with us? Make no mistake, the roots of this behavior come from the same place as violent terrorism–hearts steeped in anger and hatred and fear.
One of the saddest parts of all of this is that Muslims have experienced both sides of these horrors. They’ve suffered the majority of the violence of terrorism and they’ve endured the terrible violent reactions to terrorism.
Muslims all over the country have spoken out against this barbarity, stating that this does not represent the majority of Muslims nor of Muslim cultures. The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center says this on their website:
“The ISBCC, an American-Muslim institution, deeply grieves the loss of life by extremists who use a twisted interpretation of our faith to justify heinous acts. This tiny handful of extremists does not reflect our values of peace and justice, and our commitment to the freedoms that make America great. We are also deeply troubled by bigots who would attempt to tie the entire American Muslim community in Boston to those who carry out acts that run counter to everything we, as Americans, stand for…”
But it’s not enough. They need others to speak up for them. They need sympathetic allies who bravely stand with them.
Marilyn and Robynn belong to a group of people who have lived life beside Muslim friends and neighbors. We have birthed babies, gone to funerals, celebrated at weddings, and cried at sick beds together with Muslims. We have recognized and respected each others truth claims, even as we choose to disagree, but we have remained friends. We have those who we would give our lives for, and we know they would give their lives for us.
And frankly, we are done. Enough is enough. These types of reactions have got to stop! It seems to us that in the face of so much hatred it’s time to love out loud! Inspired by a letter by Sofia Ali-Khan, where she writes to Non-Muslim Allies asking us to stand up for and with Muslims (a letter gone viral now and one which we highly recommend tracking down!), we’ve compiled our own list of ways you might intentionally take action. (https://www.facebook.com/sofia.alikhan.7/posts/10153301068060893?fref=nf)
in the face of hate… Love Out Loud
Speak up against hate wherever it surfaces: in the lunch room at work, on the bus you ride, in the foyer at your church, in your living room, around your dining room table.
Host a discussion group at your local library. Invite a Muslim friend or two to share their story.
Host a book club. Read a book by a Muslim author. Check out goodreads for ideas (https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/muslim-author).
Talk to your kids. Teach them how to respond to hate speech. Instruct them how to love out loud. They are watching you react. Let them see a heart that cares and defends the oppressed and ill-treated.
Offer to talk to your kids youth group, or to a social studies class at school. Share your story of growing up with Muslims. Or share a story you’ve read of others who have grown up with Muslims.
Intentionally sit next to someone on the bus or train wearing a hijab.
Deliberately greet someone in a hijab. Be warm. Be welcoming.
Do you know Muslims that live in the US? Write them an email. Tell them how much you hate what’s going on. Tell them how much you appreciate them.
Cook Pakistani food…or Arab food…..or Afghani food for Christmas. Take pictures post them with recipes on Facebook.
Forgive ignorance when you hear it….but also bravely speak out. Tell a story. Educate gently.
Get together for coffee with Facebook friends who are different from you. Hear their stories. Listen to how they grew up. With relationship comes acceptance. With acceptance comes opportunity.
Invite a Muslim family over for a meal or for dessert. Reach out. Just your invitation alone says you reject the message the media is feeding you.
Write letters to public figures that insist on propagating falsity and calling it truth. Stop donating money to organizations that have spoken out with hatred. Distance yourself from people that refuse to engage the conversation with kindness.
Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper welcoming Muslims to your town. Say something like, “I want you to know that in the face of so much hate speech in the media, I’m glad you’re here. Welcome!”
Stop by your local mosque. Apologize on behalf of the ignorance and fear in the recent media. State humbly and quietly that you appreciate the diversity a mosque brings to your community. Declare that there are people in your community who love and respect Muslims. Feel free to admit confusion over recent events but also say that you know that all Muslims are not terrorists. Say it out loud.
in the face of hate – Love Out Loud
Related Arcticle: What Growing up in a Muslim Country taught us about Christianity.
Here is an excellent article we highly recommend that is refreshingly honest and free of politically correct speech.
A word about fear: “Fear looks to others to justify itself. Fear sees conspiracies in every corner. Fear gets caught up in group-think which, in our saner moments, we would scratch our heads at and wonder how we sold our thoughts in the slave market of sheep herders.” We are selling our thoughts in the slave market. Here are some other thoughts about fear: