Remember this comic the next time you witness Islamophobia in public.

Imagine you're on the bus or maybe out walking in the park, when you see someone bothering a Muslim woman nearby. What do you do?

Marie-Shirine Yener, a French artist and activist who also goes by the name Maeril, has some ideas.

"I have witnessed, during the last months and years, the number of hate-motivated actions against Muslims increase rapidly," said Maeril, who is of mixed Iranian, Turkish, Kurdish, and Armenian descent, in an interview with The Independent. "I felt like I had to try to do something with what I have, and that is drawing and writing."


Maeril created a how-to guide to help people stand up against anti-Muslim sentiments, which have been on the rise since the attack in Paris.

Her rules also apply to harassment against other marginalized people, too: Muslims, Sikh, or Indians, and any people of color who are targeted as a "terrorists."

"The recent burkini bans crystallized Islamophobic hate even more and I felt like I really had to try and do something about it," Maeril told Mic. "Some people don't intervene when they witness harassment, because they have no idea what to do. I wanted to change by offering clear and safe steps for the sake of the person harassed."

Here are her suggestions:

All images by Maeril/Tumblr. Used with permission.

  1. Engage conversation. Go to them, sit beside them, and say hello. Try to appear calm, collected, and welcoming. IGNORE THE ATTACKER.

2. Pick a random subject and start discussing it. It can be anything: a movie you liked, the weather, saying you like something they wear and asking where they got it...

3. Keep building the safe space. Keep eye contact with them and don't acknowledge the attacker's presence. The absence of response will push them to leave the area shortly.

4. Continue the conversation until the attacker leaves and escort them to a safe place if necessary. Bring them to a neutral area where they can recollect themselves; respect their wishes if they tell you they're OK and just want to go.

With Islamophobia on the rise once more in America, it's even more important for us to turn our words into action, to build solidarity with our Muslim neighbors.

According to FBI statistics, hate crimes against Muslims in the United States increased by nearly 67% in 2015 compared to 2014 — the worst it's been since right after the 9/11 attacks. Hundreds more crimes were reported in the days immediately following the 2016 presidential election too, not unlike what happened in the United Kingdom after their vote to leave the European Union.

We've seen the hate laid bare now in ways we never imagined. So, for me, I'm hoping to make it clear that I won't stand for that kind of bigotry or discrimination against my fellow Americans.

But it's up to all of us, as individuals, to take action against hate wherever we see it. Only then can we can actually come together to build stronger, safer communities.

More

Mom and blogger Mary Katherine Backstrom regularly shares snippets of life with her two children on her Facebook page. One particularly touching interaction with her daughter is melting hearts and blowing minds due to the three-year-old's wise words about forgiveness.

Even adults struggle with the concept of forgiveness. Entire books have been written about how and why to forgive those who have wronged us, but many still have a hard time getting it. Who would guess that a preschooler could encapsulate what forgiveness means in a handful of innocent words?

Keep Reading Show less
Family

California has a housing crisis. Rent is so astronomical, one San Francisco company is offering bunk bedsfor $1,200 a month; Google even pledged$1 billion to help tackle the issue in the Bay Area. But the person who might fix it for good? Kanye West.

The music mogul first announced his plan to build low-income housing on Twitter late last year.

"We're starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy home. We're looking for architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better," West tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities

The U.S. women's soccer team won the Women's World Cup, but the victory is marred by the fact that the team is currently fighting for equal pay. In soccer, the game is won by scoring points, but the fight for equal pay isn't as clearly winnable and the playing field isn't as even.

We live in a world where winning the World Cup is easier than winning equal pay, but co-captain Megan Rapinoe says there's one easy way fans can support the team: Go see games.

Some people argue the men's team deserves to get paid more because they are more successful and earn more money for the United States Soccer Federation. Pay depends on merchandise and ticket sales, and in general, men's sporting events tend to draw a bigger crowd than women's sporting events. It's not about sex, many argue; it's about the fact that people just prefer to see men play.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

You think you know someone pretty well when you spend years with them, but, as we've seen time and again, that's not always the case. And though many relationships don't get to a point where the producers of "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" start calling every day just to chat, the reality is that sometimes partners will reveal shocking things even after you thought you'd been all shocked out.

That's the case for one woman whose Reddit thread has recently gone viral. The 25-year-old, who's been with her boyfriend for five years, took to a forum for relationship advice to ask if it was normal that her seemingly cool and loving boyfriend recently revealed women shouldn't have a fundamental right. (And no, it's not abortion — although there are a lot of "otherwise best ever boyfriends" out there who want to deny women the rights to bodily autonomy, too.)

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended