By David Woolley, 911-11.org
A few months ago, I awoke one morning with the sudden awareness that this September would mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. On the heels of that awareness came the realization that the inevitable heavy media attention surrounding this anniversary would likely be the occasion for further inflaming anti-Muslim sentiment. And that concerned me greatly.
Islamophobia is an illness that has severely afflicted the United States over the past ten years, and it is hurting all of us. Muslims are its primary victims, of course, but prejudice, hatred, and violence against any group diminishes our society as a whole.
I decided to create a web site to promote cooperative events between American Muslims and people of other faiths to be held on or around the September 11th anniversary, to demonstrate to the world that Muslims and non-Muslims need not fear and hate each other. And with the help of a few like-minded people, I have: www.911-11.org.
Soon after setting up the web site, I began to make connections with other people and groups that are pursuing similar goals. I learned of plans for an event called “Minnesotans Standing Together” to be held at the state capitol this September 11, being organized by folks from the Twin Cities Interfaith Network and the Minnesota Council of Churches. The organizers are aiming for broad inclusivity and participation across a wide spectrum of religious groups. They are not publicly identifying it as an event to counter Islamophobia, but several local Muslim leaders have been involved in planning it and are supporting the effort. It’s a large enough effort that it is likely to get some exposure in the media. Exactly how it will be portrayed, and what message will come across, remains to be seen. It certainly has the potential to demonstrate friendship and unity between Muslims and non-Muslims, but whether that message comes through will depend on the numbers and the visibility of Muslims participating at the event.
Of course, anti-Muslim prejudice is not just a Minnesota problem. It’s an American problem.
We need 9-11-11 to be a National Day of Reconciliation.
That is the idea we are hoping to propagate. The web site we’ve created at 911-11.org is devoted to this purpose.
We are looking for help with this project. Specifically, we are looking for:
* Additional examples of plans for interfaith events around the 9/11 anniversary
* Other ongoing efforts at interfaith cooperation and countering anti-Muslim prejudice
* Help spreading the idea of 9-11-11 as a National Day of Reconciliation
* Links, tweets, Facebook likes, etc. In addition to the 911-11.org web site, we’re on Twitter (@911_11)
and Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/9-11-11/199053100133766).
We are not seeking to “own” this idea of 9-11-11 as a National Day of Reconciliation. We would just like to see it take hold and spread widely, by any means possible.
Thank you for reading!