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Spread Holiday Good Will by Doing Your Part to End Islamophobia

Pat TaubPat Taub

Every Christmas since I was a child I’ve been told that this is the season to practice good will by loving my neighbors, giving to the less fortunate, and being grateful for what I have. This year it doesn’t feel sufficient to be a “Secret Santa,” or to open my heart to heal difficult relations with family members.

The almost daily surge in Islamophobia is casting a dark cloud over the holiday messages to practice love. How can I ignore fundamentalists in my own backyard who are preaching hate for Muslims at the time of year when I’m called on to be more loving?

Pat Taub, WOW blog, Portland, Maine

An anti-Muslim rally

I discovered some answers on the website for Codepink, the women’s peace and justice organization. Under the title, Don’t be a passive bystander to Islamophobia,” Codepink has produced a list of suggestions for interacting with Muslims in one’s community. Among their advice: when riding public transportation, sit next to a woman wearing a hijab and greet her; write letters to the editors to counter anti-Muslin rhetoric; and call out hate speech when you hear it at work or among friends.

My favorite Codepink recommendation is one most of us can replicate: it’s holding a “Pop-Up Gathering for Peace.”

Again, the Codepink website has detailed instructions under the title, Menu for Peace.”  You are asked to host a potluck dinner in your home where you invite friends, ideally including someone from the Middle East or of Middle Eastern heritage who can talk about what it means to be a Muslim or to live among them.

Pat Taub, WOW blog, Portland, Maine

If possible, befriend a woman wearing a hijab.

To insure that the potluck discussion doesn’t hit any pot holes (an irresistible pun), Codepink offers a time-limited format, starting with a thoughtful reading, cues for active listening and ground rules that cover mutual respect and guaranteeing everyone a chance to speak.

As the evening progresses and everyone become more comfortable, the suggestion is to share personal fears about Islamophobia, brainstorm for peaceful responses, and, finally, draw up a list of public actions to combat Islamophobia.

Pat Taub, WOW blog, Portland, Maine

Hold a Potluck dinner to discuss ways to counter Islamophobia

The Codepink format is not set in stone. It offers a good starting point. You can adapt it to fit your style and your group. The potluck could be held in a variety of settings other than in a living room. It could be an after-school program for High School students, a church program, an event sponsored by a local progressive organization, or a women’s club. The forums are endless.

The point is that there is something we all can do and actually must do to stop the Trump-led wave of Muslim hatred. Let’s show the world that America holds more love than hate. And why not have elder women at the forefront of this community-based effort? Let’s be Wise Women in action!

Pat Taub, WOW blog, Portland, Maine

 

 

 

 

 

Pat Taub is a family therapist, writer and activist and life-long feminist. She hopes that WOW will start a conversation among other older women who are fed up with the ageism and sexism in our culture and are looking for cohorts to affirm their value as an older woman.

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