Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Blog
Community town hall will be held in Dearborn, Michigan
Today, April 29th at 1PM
It’s not news to anyone in our community that anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias remains a problem. Arab Americans have mobilized to combat this trend both because it is wrong and because it undermines core American values, including religious freedom. We work against it in Washington when it takes the form of bad policies, and we responded to it when policymakers joined in the media circus around the manufactured crisis of Park 51 in lower Manhattan. Since then, we have seen the threat of Quran burnings, mosque protests, and anti-Sharia bills in multiple states across the country.
The Arab American community in Michigan is perhaps more familiar with these challenges than anyone else. From the politicizing of a fun, family-oriented Arab community festival to Terry Jones' visits to Dearborn, the community has faced these challenges with dignity and courage. With Terry Jones in particular, Dearborn’s Arab Americans did the right thing by keeping him marginalized and organizing an interfaith response that affirmed our values.
This week, we’re faced with the latest challenge when Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer bring their so-called “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference” to Dearborn on Sunday. By presumptuously donning Ms. Mokdad's name on their conference, they are exploiting the tragedy of a young Arab American girl to promote a bigoted agenda. It is shameful. Unlike the irrelevant Jones, Geller and Spencer have thousands of followers, and are given airtime to spew their hate on major American news networks, as if they are respected analysts with just another viewpoint. This group, we cannot ignore. This is the time for our community to take a stand, along with all those who value America’s commitment to diversity and freedom of religion, against the politics of division and bigotry promoted by the Islamophobes.
Along with a tremendous group of local organizations, AAI has organized a community town hall on Islamophobia on the same day as their conference this Sunday, April 29 at 1pm at the Doubletree Hotel in Dearborn (5801 Southfield Road). AAI President Jim Zogby and Executive Director Maya Berry will be there, along with Eli Clifton, the co-author of a groundbreaking report on Geller and friends called Fear Inc., and prominent journalist and blogger Sarah Posner. The town hall will also feature community, interfaith, and religious leaders as well as Michigan public officials. We will directly challenge the narrative that will be presented by their conference and, more importantly, we will have a community conversation about how to respond to these continued attacks. This community will not leave bigotry and Islamophobia unchallenged.comments powered by Disqus