As bikers gather outside a mosque to protest Islam, interfaith advocates will be on Twitter sending the global community a message of inclusion.
The Campaign to Take On Hate, which works to challenge misconceptions of Muslims and Arab Americans, organized a Twitter campaign in response to news that a group of anti-Islam protesters would be demonstrating outside the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix, Arizona, Friday evening.
The group plans to hold a “Muhammad cartoon contest” before the demonstration at the mosque, according to a Facebook event for the protest.
Take On Hate has encouraged people to tweet their support for the mosque on Friday using the hashtag #NotMyAmerica, with the optional secondary hashtag #PHxMosque. Local clergy have also planned a peaceful solidarity event at the mosque on Monday.
Linda Sarsour, senior strategist for Take On Hate, said the #NotMyAmerica campaign was an effort “to drown out the abhorrent comments and supporters of the armed protesters.”
“In our America, freedom of speech should not be used to trump freedom of religion,” she told The Huffington Post. “All Americans have the right to worship free of fear and intimidation.”
The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, an organization that builds bridges between Muslim and Jewish women, is also promoting the Twitter campaign. Founder Sheryl Olitzky called the biker protest an opportunity for interfaith advocates to stand together for peace.
“It’s exactly acts like this that we pray don’t happen, and when they do we have a responsibility to speak out against it,” she told HuffPost. “We believe in speaking out and taking action, but doing it in a peaceful and positive way, as quickly as possible.”
Take On Hate asked people to begin tweeting at 7 p.m. Eastern time and offered several sample tweets:
- Intimidating children, families attending prayer with guns and hateful chants at #PHXmosque is #NotMyAmerica.
- When free speech provokes, threatens, incites, it’s no longer productive or safe. That’s what #PHXmosque rally is. That’s #NotMyAmerica
- Islamophobia includes anti-Islam subway ads, opposition to mosques, & anti-Sharia legislation and now, #PHXmosque rally. #NotMyAmerica