On July 22nd, Religions for Peace USA hosted a twitter conversation with Remziya on her thoughts about ending Islamophobia. We are going to talk more about this topic in our Webinar on July 25th. Welcome to join us!
The Q&A conversation is here:
Q1 @jmorika: Is “islamophobia” in TN of the same or a different nature than in the rest of the world?
A1 @Remziya: I think it has similar elements but in TN we have been on the front lines of combating islamophobia in the US. TN is changing demographically and this fear of the unknown and changing communities has led to anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments. Our goal is to have serious, constructive civil dialogue about this change. Fortunately in the US there are laws that protect our rights to religious freedom unlike many parts of the world.
Q2 @jmorika: The fact that these laws are missing in Islamic countries. Does that change the picture, in this respect?
A2 @Remziya: I can’t speak for islamic countries since I have been raised and live in the US. I speak from an American perspective.
Q3 @CornfieldH: what are the best strategies to use to combat islamophobia in TN and other communities?
A3 @Remziya: Has to be a grassroots where community buy-in transformed into community engagement.The work has to be proactive & not simply reactive. Most importantly, remember prophetic teachings as guidance. Need to define yourself and not let opposition define you. Speak out when necessary.
Q4 @BudHeckman: Where do you find hope/purpose in your work to EndIslamophobia?
A4 @Remziya: I derive hope thru my faith & commitment to preserving rights of all including those who want to take my rights away. Finally knowing that I can make it a better place for the next generation so they will never encounter what we have
Q5 @jmorika: But there are 4 (Sunni) Sharia schools. Is that different in the US? (and/or TN)? What do these schools say?
A5 @Remziya: I’m not a religious scholar but rather an activist. I can answer those questions if you have any.
Q6 @Cornfield: how do you get politicians to listen to you and to convince them to stop anti-Muslim & islamophobia legislation?
A6 @Remziya: Connect politicians with constituents & specifically those registered to vote.
Q7@AaronKStauffer: Is there an interfaith element to your work in trying to endislamophobia?
A7 @Remziya: Yes! Interfaith is part of all we do. It’s not just speaking about ourselves but others supporting us & vice versa.
Q8 @AaronKStauffer: How do you balance big theo differences when fighting for equal rights?
A8 @Remziya: Work & highlight similarities. Differences r healthy but at end of day it’s about religious freedom
Q9 @jmorika: But I think that “islamophobia” is caused by the notion that Islam demands more than it offers (religious freedom).
A9 @Remziya: I would disagree as a Muslim I’m not asking for any special treatment just let me enjoy the same rights as all.
Q10 @rfpusa: can you talk a bit about what you’ll share in Thursday’ webinar with us?
A10 @Remziya: I will discuss strategy used to mobiliz against 2011 anti-shariah bill TN, its successes & challenges and personal reflection.
Q11 @BeiyinDeng: So how do you cooperate with each other and overcome difficulties when you work with other faiths?
A11 @Remziya: It’s not easy but constant remembrance that this is about a greater issue & protecting rights.
Q12 @CornfieldH: how does this Ramadan influence your activism to combat islamophobia?
A12 @Remziya: It’s a great time for reflection on what I have done & make changes as needed. Spiritual reboot as well. During this time I reflect on prophetic teachings & see where I can apply them in my life of activism
Q13 @AaronKStauffer: What can we do to get involved with your work & how can we support u and continue the fight to end islamophobia?
A13 @Remziya: Continue to reach out to your Muslim neighbors, join our mailing list to stay posted. Write op-eds in support of religious freedom and when issues arise, signup to volunteer w/us & donate!
@AaronKStauffer: Right! Interfaith activism is much more than solidarity with religious communities. It’s democracy, exchange and public support
Q14 What is the role of people who do not identify as Muslim in fight to end Islamophobia?
A 14 @Remziya: Just show your support even if it is just having a conversation with a Muslim neighbor. Public support is essential. If you want to do more join volunteer at orgs like ACOTN & Religions for Peace USA, join interfaith groups, write op-eds, show solidarity
Q15 @rfpusa: what are the top barriers in your work to end Islamophobia?
A15 @Remziya: lack of accurate info on Muslims & Islam, lack of community engagement by cmty & allies, lack of resources to help orgs doing the work. Knowing that no matter what you do or say there will be those who will continue to oppose you.