Anyone who’s paid attention to this election cycle has witnessed how politicians and the media are using Islam and Muslims as tools to draw an audience and build political capital. We’ve heard everything from calls for banning Muslims from public office, to comparisons of Muslims to members of the Nazi party, to anecdotes about lining Muslims up and shooting them.
With politicians and media exploiting American fear of terrorism and burying their bigotry in talk of safety, it’s no surprise that there has been a sharp spike in attacks against American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. These attacks include beatings, harassment and assault of women wearing hijab, and vandalism and threats against mosques.
Even some of those who aren’t calling for anti-Muslim policies have focused their response to this rhetoric on how it affects national security rather than the specific and very real ways it endangers Muslims.
We’ve even watched the media distill this hate speech down to a cold political calculus that quantifies how anti-Muslim rhetoric helps or hurts campaigns. They show little regard for how these words impact our communities.
The only things we have yet to hear are the voices of Muslims. But that changes today.
MPowerChange.org is launching an unprecedented grassroots campaign designed to uplift the voices of American Muslims and show the ways in which we affect and are affected by politics and policies.
Muslim communities have always been a part of this country, even before it was called the United States of America. Indeed, there has never been an America without Muslims and Islam. And while much of the conversation around Muslims today focuses on violence and Islamophobia, we continue to influence society on all levels: We’re organizing our communities, advocating for justice and building political power.
We’re passionate about fighting for the environment, for a living wage, for social justice for all people. We’re concerned about our families, our schools and our communities.
We’re not going to continue to accept a political debate that’s about us, without us, and we will be heard.
Watch our video below and click here to join our campaign.
Linda Sarsour is a Palestinian Muslim American civil rights and racial justice activist from Brooklyn, New York. She is the co-founder and CEO of MPowerChange.org, the first and only Muslim online organizing platform, which launched in December 2015 to build a progressive online voice for American Muslim communities.