Leaders & Institutions News

Interfaith coalition launches ‘Know Your Neighbor’ campaign

People of diverse faiths meet for an Islamic Networks Group event. Photo courtesy of ING

(RNS) At a time of growing assaults and intimidation of Muslim Americans,  the Islamic Networks Group has partnered with 70 interfaith organizations to launch a “Know Your Neighbor” campaign.

The effort is intended to encourage individuals and groups to encounter people of faith different from their own.

Maha Elgenaidi of ING said overcoming prejudices begins with small steps, such as attending an interfaith movie night or attending worship in congregations other than one’s own. According to studies, 10 minutes of nonconfrontational encounters with people from an unfamiliar background can have a lasting effect both on bias and voting decisions.

“We believe that if enough Americans join our campaign by participating in one or two simple actions of encounter, we can push back effectively against the division and polarization that have become toxic to our national life,” she said.

The logo for Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters. Photo courtesy of ING

The initiative comes as a direct response to events such as the Portland stabbings and ACT for America’s anti-Shariah marches scheduled for Saturday (June 10) in over 25 cities.

Corey Saylor, a director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said during a news conference Thursday (June 8) that anti-Muslim hate crimes had increased 44 percent in CAIR’s 2016 report.

He cited President Trump’s proposed travel ban and other comments as a factor, which he said “conditions the public to accept measures against Muslims that may be extreme.”

“In many ways, the only significant way to push back against that, at a local level, is getting people together and letting them get to know one another.”

The number of anti-Semitic events has also increased, said David Bernstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Since the election, anti-Semitism incidents have risen 86 percent over last year.

Yet Bernstein spoke to the value of interfaith cooperation when describing his experiences with bomb threats and other acts against the Jewish community. He said his Christian and Muslim neighbors were quick coming to the community’s aid.

“At a time when we are most concerned about what’s happening in our political system, concerned about changes in certain segments of American society,” he said, “we are also most optimistic about the prospect for expanding our connections and developing a more cohesive interfaith community in this country.”

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Madeleine Buckley

12 Comments

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  • You complain about the ” intimidation of Muslims” really? And where is the intimidation of non-Muslims by Muslims? That does not exist or we are less human than Muslims?…you talk about “outreach” and ” prejudice”, what do you expect from people who can be massacred anytime, any place in the name of one only religion? Do you expect them to celebrate that religion? …In order to eliminate any ” prejudice” Muslims have to make a full stop of all the terrorist activities done proudly by their co-religious, they have to eleminate actively all the hateful Islamic texts and the preachers of hate that inspire Muslims to do crimes and terrorism. If they succeed to do that, they will have no need to organize those ” outreach” nonsenses since nobody will judge them or their religion…until then, nobody has the right to fool naive people in order to silence them from criticizing this evil religion and those who practice its own evil teachings.

  • “Maha Elgenaidi of ING said overcoming prejudices begins with small steps, such as attending an interfaith movie night or attending worship in congregations other than one’s own. ”

    God never intended His children to become intimate with evil in order to communicate the gospel to those in it’s grasp. Robert Mounce

    Odd, she didn’t discuss that the amount of incidents against Christians has increased, and by whom predominantly in the ME?

  • “Muslims have to make a full stop of all the terrorist activities done proudly by their co-religious, they have to eleminate actively all the hateful Islamic texts and the preachers of hate that inspire Muslims to do crimes and terrorism. ” they would have to give up the quran then Maggy. It dictates that non muslim should be terrorized until they accept their beliefs.

  • It’s sad that you consider all Muslims to be evil. It’s scary that you think these meetings are evangelization events.

  • I’m well aware of that. Is it a requirement of following Jesus to find all Muslims evil?

  • I don’t think these meetings are “evangelism” events Arb. I think they’re trash.

  • I think so too. That is why we try to help people to follow Christ. No need to die for your sins.

  • “And where is the intimidation of non-Muslims by Muslims?”

    Where does any of that happen in the US? Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. Where people leave their ethnic/religious/sectarian animosities at the door.

    My guess is you have zero contact with American Muslims. Many of which came here fleeing just the sort of thing you are talking about.

    So what is your point here? Are we supposed to lock all the Muslims up here? Wipe them out? What are you proposing we do to our fellow US citizens of said religion. Please provide details.

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