Instead of Pitying American Muslims, Work With Them

US-VOTE-MUSLIMSDr. Robbins is the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations – Massachusetts.

by John Robbins

In the weeks since the election, the American Muslim community has seen a massive outpouring of support. As a community advocate, I’ve personally received hundreds of e-mails and calls from people asking how they can help, and letting me know that they’re with us and will do everything that they can to aid us during this time. People across the political, religious and political spectrums have reached out to their Muslim neighbors like never before and have offered to aid us in any way needed.

But the tone, the tenor, of these messages of support concerns me.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m extremely moved and grateful for this outpouring. But in the rush of people lining up to help the American Muslim community, many are motivated by an urge to protect those who are weaker, those who can’t help themselves.

Right now, Muslims in America are pitied. And an object of pity is not respected, valued or recognized as having strength.

Too often, the giver of aid is positioned above the receiver, so that the movement of anything of value is purely a one-directional interchange between those who have and those who don’t. When we accept this support (and I’m not saying we shouldn’t), it reinforces the idea that Muslims are in need, and that the wider—usually white—community has something to offer, but doesn’t need anything in return.

FULL ARTICLE FROM TIME MAGAZINE 

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2 thoughts on “Instead of Pitying American Muslims, Work With Them

  1. I love your points! I am a Muslim, and looking to get involved in other ways to build allies and support…Maybe through working in different groups around where I live, or maybe just one to one outreach little by little. Thank you so much for this list, it serves a great purpose in that it gives concrete steps both Muslims and allies can do- and the word ally is a perfect one for the situation!

  2. Glad you found this helpful, Tara. I think his suggestions are excellent ones. I’m Christian myself, but if Christians and Muslims followed his suggestions together the world would be a much more peaceful place. So much of the tension that unnecessarily exists between our communities is because of the ignorance of distance – not knowing each other as neighbors and friends.

    Thanks for taking the time to write.

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