Standing Up for Harmony in America
Following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, by a Muslim couple, there has been a rise in anti-Muslim feelings in America. Yet, many Americans are coming together to protect and support the country’s Muslims. In other words, there are plenty of Americans standing along with the nation’s nearly 3 million Muslims.
Dozens of members of the Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church in Houston, Texas, rallied on in support of its neighboring mosque, the Clear Lake Islamic Center, holding signs saying “love thy neighbor no exceptions” and “we support our Muslim neighbors.”
“It’s important to stand on the side of respect and love and tolerance,” the Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, said. Ibrahim Ezghair, associate imam at the mosque, called the event “a really nice gesture.”
Law enforcement spoke at the Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley near Los Angeles on Friday with hopes of reassuring Muslims of their safety. After a prayer service, officers from the Los Angeles Police Department and federal officials talked to the community about theSan Bernardino attacks and how they can help people of all religious backgrounds stay safe in the area. The event included Muslim law enforcement officials.
“Law enforcement reached out to us and asked if they could address thecommunity to ensure them that they are protected like all American and to not feel afraid of backlash,” mosque member Ali Jakvani said. “In times whenMuslims are being attacked in retaliation to the killings in San Bernardino, I’m glad to see people standing up for the Muslim community.”
In Lynwood, north of Seattle, Christians and Muslims are planning to hold an interfaith event called “Love in a Time of Fear” at Trinity Lutheran Church. “We put together this event in hopes that we could push back on this cycle of fear that could go out of control on us,” pastor Terry Kyllo of Catacomb Churches said. “The Christian community, and especially the Lutheran and Episcopal community, have a responsibility to stand with Muslims at a time when increasingly they are being scapegoated.”
During each night of Hanukkah, which began Sunday, Jewish Voice for Peace members plan to gather in different American cities, where they will hold signs shaped like a menorah in order to declare their stand against Islamophobia and their support for refugees.