SHAFAQNA – A new interfaith group has kicked off its work in Cincinnati, Ohio, to help combat anti-Muslim sentiment and promote interfaith dialogue and relationships with Greater Cincinnati’s Muslim community.
“I look at it this way: where do we want to go as a civilization?” Mike Yeazell, a Cincinnati lawyer and lifelong Catholic, told.
The group gathers several dozen people from the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities and traces to previous human relations work done by the organization Bridges for a Just Community.
It was known previously as the National Conference for Community and Justice and the National Conference of Christians and Jews under the leadership of Robert “Chip” Harrod.
The new pamphlet is titled “Getting to Know Our Muslim Neighbor: Islamophobia – not in our community.”
Trialogue members plan a region-wide campaign known as “Getting to Know Our Muslim Neighbor.”
“In the process of promoting interfaith understanding, the campaign will attempt to dispel the negative stereotypes of Muslims and counter the unjust scapegoating of all members of this esteemed world religion based on the terrorist actions of political extremists,” Harrod said.
The group helps others to better recognize efforts of Cincinnati region’s Muslim population, estimated at 25,000.
“While their numbers are relatively small, their civic contributions are large,” Harrod said.
“Local Muslims are extremely active in and contributing leadership to nearly every major civic enterprise in Cincinnati and its immediate area. The public needs to be reminded of this, and that’s our aim.”
Amid soaring anti-Muslim sentiments, partially due to hateful Republican rhetoric, the Trialogue pamphlet addresses terrorism under the heading, “How to respond to untruths.”
“Muslims worldwide profoundly reject the hate-filled doctrine espoused by Daesh,” it reads. “It is no fairer to say that Islam is to be blamed for Daesh than it is to say that Christianity is to be blamed for the KKK.”