On April 27, 2016, United for Peace and Justice convened a member group conference to address Resisting Militarism & Racism While Strengthening Our Base in 2016. On that call, several UFPJ member group contacts described the work they were doing to challenge islamophobia. Our discussion acknowledged the rise in hate crimes and racism, particularly toward Muslims living in America and abroad, including refugees of the USA’s foreign wars. We also identified the dehumanization of Muslim and Arab peoples as a key component in enabling the basic function of the war machine.
One of the outcomes of that member group call was the scheduling of UFPJ’s first ever Confronting Islamophobia Working Group meeting. Since then, nearly a dozen representatives of local and national organizations around the country have been meeting regularly to coordinate in our efforts to challenge islamophobia and racism as a tool of war. By working together to confront islamophobia, we aim to achieve greater understanding, organization, collaboration, solidarity, and to build powerful tools for peace and security.
The following text describes the mission of United for Peace and Justice’s Confronting Islamophobia Working Group.
What is Islamophobia?
“Islamophobia” refers to the manufactured fear of Muslim people. It is directed against a range of communities including Arabs, South Asians, other regional and ethnic groups, and, generally, people perceived-as-being Muslim by others. Politicians, governments, and institutions promote and exploit distrust of Muslims to expand their political power and to rationalize war and domination. Islamophobia promotes injustice and systemic racism in which resources and security disparities are reinforced through socially-permitted prejudice, bigotry, scapegoating, division, hate crimes, discriminatory political and economic policies, intimidation, repression, state violence and militarism.
Call to Action
As a collective of United for Peace and Justice member groups, we will work together and unite our movement and allies to:
- Build a united coalition across movements and communities to oppose Islamophobia and all forms of oppression.
- Expose and counter demagogic appeals to prejudice, bigotry, racism, and oppression.
- Organize opposition to government repression and surveillance of religious, ethnic, racial, gender communities.
How We Will Do It
- Provide educational and organizing resources to those who are committed to this mission.
- Inspire, organize, coordinate trainings, and promote actions to further these goals nationally.
- Collect and develop accessible resources that can be used by participating organizations.
- Provide clearinghouse for organizations to promote activities and materials.
Criteria for Participation
- We will organize against government surveillance, entrapment, police militarism, and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE).
- We will resist through speech and action anti-Muslim and hate speech, and hate crimes and anti-immigrant profiling, detention and deportation policies.
- We will condemn and stand against U.S. policies of perpetual war that demonize Islam and target and kill Muslims and people of color.
- We will act through nonviolent means to resist and overthrow institutionalized oppression and Islamophobia.
- Workshop Curriculum – Challenging Islamophobia and Racism, Jewish Voice for Peace
- Communities Against Islamophobia page w/resources, American Friends Service Committee
- Dos and Don’t for Bystander Intervention
- Posters for Resisting Racism and Bigotry (free download) by Micah Bazant and Kate Deciccio
- Bystander Intervention Training, Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition
- VIDEO: Fighting Islamophobia in This Time, “Ready to Fight,” Jewish Voice for Peace
- further reading here
- #Sanctuary Everywhere resource page on various forms of Sanctuary for multiple communities, American Friends Service Committee
- How the Mainstream Media’s Islamophobia Fuels Endless War, Truthout.org
- Mixed Messages: How the Media Covers “Violent Extremism”, American Friends Service Committee
- A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists, Southern Poverty Law Center
- Women Confronting Islamophobia Symposium (Video), Fellowship Of Reconciliation
- Mother of Exiles (Video), Fellowship Of Reconciliation
- Reality Check: Anti-Muslim Hate, Amnesty International USA
- Reality Check: Refugees, Amnesty International USA
- Responding to Common Counter-Arguments, Amnesty International USA
- 5 Things Your Congregation Can Do To Stop Islamophobia, American Friends Service Committee
- 3 Ways to Talk About Violence Against Muslims (and Others) When the Media Won’t , American Friends Service Committee
- Tips for Passing a City Council Resolution, Amnesty International USA
- Community Mapping: Getting Ready to Take Action, Amnesty International USA
- Coalition Building 101, Amnesty International USA
- Syrian Refugee Activist Toolkit, Amnesty International USA
- Refugee Resettlement Orgs in Every State, Amnesty International USA
- Discussion Guide: How to Talk About Hard Topics, Amnesty International USA
Request a Confronting Islamophobia/Bystander Training in your community by sending an email to info.ufpj at gmail.com.