It’s easy to fear what you don’t know. When it comes to Islam, many people in the U.S. are afraid in part because they don’t have any real-life exposure to Muslims. Youth in Murfreesboro, TN realized this and have taken action for peacemaking. The Muslim Student Association at Middle Tennessee State University hosted a “meet-a-Muslim” event on campus earlier this school year. Many of those who attended said they had never met a Muslim before, and thus, this was a great opportunity to put faces and names to the religion of Islam. The students were simply trying to share the humanity of Muslims and show others the kinder side they don’t always see on the news.
In the week after the U.S. election, when hate crimes against Muslims were rising across the country, Murfreesboro Muslim Youth responded with a powerful peace project. Through an event titled, “Towards Love and Respect”, the youth group set up shop in the town’s public square to hand out handwritten cards, flowers, and candy. Thisevent was organized in response to all the love and care that many community members had shown Muslims after a few hateful incidents occurred post-election. Muslim youth gathered for this meet-and-greet with signs to promote love, kindness, and respect to all.
Murfreesboro Muslim Youth is a community service group that aims to serve their community while demonstrating pride in their Muslim identity. This past Thanksgiving, Muslim youth cooked 48 meals and distributed them to families in need.
Back in 2010, Murfreesboro, TN gained national attention when some locals sued in protest of the construction of the town’s first and only mosque, a case that ended at the Supreme Court. In the presence of religious discrimination and injustice, Muslim youth have acted with courage and admiration. Samar Salem, age 21 and an American Muslim, once brought cookies to mosque protesters. Despite bearing very different views, Samar showed that love trumps hate when faced with religious discrimination.
How can you demonstrate solidarity for American Muslims and fight against religious injustice in your community? Join a community of peacemakers and create a project to address religious injustice today!