Standing in Solidarity Against Islamophobia

Austin Texas

On November 18, I met a friend and a professor from my university in Austin at an event called “Support Our Muslim Neighbors,” just outside of the Nueces Mosque. A crowd had gathered around the masjid (mosque) and people stood shoulder to shoulder on the sidewalk.

They held heartwarming signs which read, “Stronger Together,” “Strength and Beauty in Diversity,” and “We ❤️ our Muslim Neighbors.

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My friend, who had decided to omit wearing the hijab when going out alone in Texas due to the rise in Islamophobia, was moved to tears by the hundreds who had gathered to voice their solidarity with the Muslim community.

We entered Nueces Mosque for Ju’muah (Friday prayers). In the khutbah (sermon), the imam thanked the supporters and stressed the importance of standing together with other communities who are also marginalized because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, and nationality.

On a final note, he reminded us to rise above hatred and negativity by fostering positive individual connections with others as fellow human beings.

My friend, who had decided to omit wearing the hijab when going out alone in Texas due to the rise in Islamophobia, was moved to tears by the hundreds who had gathered to voice their solidarity with the Muslim community.

My friend and I joined the crowd outside to talk with people and snap some photographs. I initially did not tell my parents I was attending this event because I knew they would be worried about me going near a mosque, given the political climate.

Islamophobia

However, after seeing all of the kind souls who stood lining the entire block outside of the mosque, I decided to send them some of the pictures I had taken. My mom, who constantly worries out of love, texted back that she was happy I had gone to the event, which was very much needed because of the spread of Islamophobia in recent months.

The weeks since the election have, without a doubt, been emotionally overwhelming. Many people, myself included, have found it difficult to comprehend that Donald Trump is actually the President Elect of the United States of America.

While it’s important to avoid absolute pessimism, Trump’s cabinet selection coupled with the fact that he will appoint the next Supreme Court judge to replace Scalia is not making that task any easier.

I initially did not tell my parents I was attending this event because I knew they would be worried about me going near a mosque, given the political climate. 

However, despite the constant streaming of worrisome news updates concerning Islamophobia and Trump’s outbursts on Twitter, the peaceful solidarity gathering at Nueces Mosque served as a much-needed reminder that we have never been, and will not ever be, alone.

Islamophobia

One message we all need to focus on in 2017 is that we must stand with the targeted minority communities as a united force against all forms of discrimination and prejudice.

 

Meili Criezis

Meili Criezis

I graduated from Southwestern University with Bachelor's degrees in History/French and I am passionate about issues related to the MENA region, progressive interpretations of Islam, women's rights and the Algerian Revolution for Independence. While at Southwestern, my academic advisor and I received a university grant to conduct summer archival research in the Paris archives concerning North African immigration to France and the Algerian 1954 Revolution. It's hard to know where life will take you (especially as a liberal arts major!) but the archival research experience strengthened my desire to pursue a long term career in international relations analysis with a focus on the Middle East North Africa.

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