With their small acts of kindness, people from all around the world are coming together today to make one important point: Only love can drive out hate.
In response to an anonymous letter circulated all over East London dubbing April 3 “Punish A Muslim Day,” thousands of people are shutting out Islamophobia with their own acts of love online and in-person toward the Muslim community.
Another letter designating April 3 as “Love A Muslim Day” went viral for encouraging people to engage with the Muslim community through a game point system. For example, smiling at a Muslim earns 10 points, inviting a Muslim to your home will get 100 points, and participating in a fundraiser for those in need in Muslim-majority regions is worth 1,000 points.
This initiative is in direct response to the earlier vile, xenophobic letter that gamified anti-Muslim violence.
According to the “Punish A Muslim Day” letter, in order to win “points,” non-Muslims would have to engage in activities like verbally abusing a Muslim or ripping off a woman’s headscarf. In addition to “nuking Mecca,” it also encouraged people to plan acid attacks and to torture them through skinning or electrocution — and to even murder Muslims.
In the United Kingdom, rallies and events were held all over the nation to stand in solidarity with their Muslim community members. Some volunteers also manned #ProtectAMuslimDay hotlines so that Muslims feeling unsafe or those who witness suspicious Islamophobic behavior could call for help or assistance. And in northeast England, a human chain was formed around the Newcastle Central Mosque.
Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images.
The show of support for Muslims is going beyond the U.K. and into the great World Wide Web.
In the United States, Hate Hurts — a special project from the Arizona chapter for the Council of American Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group — is providing information and resources on how allies can help their Muslim friends. They are encouraging allies to be active bystanders and take part in bystander intervention trainings.
On Twitter, the hashtag #LoveAMuslimDay also went viral, with people using the hashtag to send messages of love and support.
Bob Bland, the co-founder and co-chair of the Women’s March, encouraged followers to stand with Muslims and paid tribute to the Muslim activists that taught so much “about empathy and solidarity.”
The official Women’s March account tweeted a comic on how to safely and effectively intervene as a bystander when an Islamophobic event occurs:
Others used their tweets to acknowledge how Muslim neighbors and Muslim community leaders have stood up for causes other than their own:
Non-Muslims are also tweeting about their experiences of living in predominantly Muslim neighborhoods and/or having Muslim friends:
Some Muslims are using Twitter to show they have no fear and that they take pride — unapologetically — in their religious identity and history.
And some Muslims are doing that with humor: another great weapon against hate.