There’s no doubt that religious freedom was under attack in 2017 and religious minorities especially faced many threats to their religious freedom. That’s why in 2018, Americans United has partnered with allies to resolve to get to know our neighbors in the Know Your Neighbor New Year’s resolution campaign. We’re inviting you to join us.
The campaign, which launched Monday, emphasizes that this year’s resolution is especially important given the political landscape. The campaign’s purpose aims to “defeat intolerance and work toward our vision of an America where all races, ethnicities, and religions live together in harmony and peace.”
“As we look at where we’ve been, we have to take stock of disturbing developments in our country and the world that we need to respond to not just as individuals but as communities,” the campaign description says.
Indeed, since President Donald J. Trump took office, his administration has attempted three Muslim bans, and he has constantly tweeted Islamophobic content.
But religious freedom is about fairness. Singling people out for discrimination because of their religious beliefs is wrong. The Trump administration’s discriminatory policies and rhetoric are harmful, and that’s why we stand with Muslims and religious minorities and are fighting the ban in court.
“These realities call for action. Bigoted actions are rooted in bigoted attitudes, and bigoted attitudes are rooted in ignorance and fear,” the campaign notes.
We agree. That’s why alongside our legal battle against the Muslim ban, we’ve been standing with our allies to say there should be no Muslim ban ever at protests. We’ve also been promoting education as a means of combating Islamophobia.
Resolve to get to know your neighbor.
In March, AU invited Kristin Sekerci, a fellow at The Bridge Initiative, a multi-year research project studying Islamophobia based in Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, to a Facebook Live discussion about how to be an ally to the Muslim community.
“I think the most important thing you can do and the best place to start is education, education, education,” Sekerci said. “You’re more likely to have more favorable views about Islam and Muslims if you know a Muslim personally.”
AU will continue to work towards combating ignorance because no one should face discrimination, feel unsafe, or endure harassment because of their religious beliefs – or lack thereof.
Bill Mefford, AU’s faith organizer, was among the faith leaders who made a video for the campaign to share what it personally means to him to know his neighbors.
“Just as with other faiths, my faith mandates that my highest priority should be to ensure that all people are treated with respect and dignity and that their basic human and civil rights are respected,” Mefford said. “Anytime people are belittled and attacked in the United States simply for what religion they profess, it is imperative for all people of faith to stand on the side of our neighbors. That is what this campaign is about and why I am excited to participate.”
Bill speaks as a person of faith, but this campaign is open to everyone. At Americans United, we advocate equality for all Americans – religious and non-religious. All people of goodwill are welcome to join us.
Still haven't made a New Year’s resolution? We invite you to link up with us and our coalition partners as we resolve to build a better world by getting to know our neighbors. Together we can protect religious freedom for everyone. Follow us and tweet us @AmericansUnited on Twitter: What will you do this year to #KnowYourNeighbor?