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.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.