Date :Sunday, March 29th, 2015 | Time : 11:33 |ID: 7642 | Print

San Francisco Faith Ring Protects Muslims

SHAFAQNA – Showing solidarity with San Francisco Muslims, dozens of residents and religious leaders formed an interfaith ring around a mosque after Friday Prayer to support the religious minority amid soaring Islamophobia. “We’re saying right now we’re standing up against Islamophobia in our community,” Rabbi Daniel Goldblatt, founder of the Interfaith Council of San Ramon Valley, told the crowd, San Francisco Chronicle reported on Friday, March 27.

“We are all in this human enterprise together.”

Organized by local interfaith groups, the human chain was attended by more than 200 people who circled San Ramon Valley Islamic Center.

Chanting “circle for the planet, circle for each soul. For the children of our children, keep the circle whole”, participants stood shoulder to shoulder with locked arms to protest against the increasing Islamophobia in US.

“We’re recognizing that there is a whole community that lives in fear of violence against them,” said the Rev. Will McGarvey, executive director of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, one of the organizers of the event.

After Friday prayer, people gathered inside the mosque to listen to speeches by Muslims, Jews and Christians about religious coexistence by highlighting similarities between faiths.

The solidarity ring comes a few weeks after the fatal shooting of a three Muslims in Chapel Hill.

With the recent murder of three young Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the burning of an Islamic Center in Houston, Texas, which authorities ruled as arson, and the numerous reports of personal harassment, Muslims feel they are targeted in the States.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23 his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21 and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were found dead at a condominium complex off campus.

The gunman, identified by the Independent as 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, reportedly turned himself into police.

Shocked by the heinous crime, world Muslims mourned the three young American Muslims in North Carolina, pouring into social media to send messages of solidarity to the victims’ families.

Twitter users started to employ the hashtag “#MuslimLivesMatter,” to comment on how the mainstream media ignored the news of the murder which did not make national headlines.


Friday’s peace ring was praised by San Ramon Muslim community who said that they fell they are “not alone”.

“It’s a concrete example that we can give our children that we are not alone,” Hina Mukhtar, a 43-year-old San Ramon teacher and mother of three boys, said of the event.

“There are others who are willing to stand up and show their support when it’s not the most popular thing to do.”

For Maimoona Ahmed, a 71-year-old Concord resident and member of a local interfaith women’s circle who also helped organize the event, the initiative was inspiring.

“It was overwhelmingly positive and so heartening. It brought tears to my eyes at several points,” she said.

“I was really touched by so many people and so many loving comments and just the support and people who are willing to stand up against the Islamophobes and those who hate.”

According to organizers of the event, the ring was inspired by the human chain that was organized by Norwegian Muslims around Oslo’s synagogue to show solidarity with the Jewish community after Copenhagen and Paris attacks.

“One of the greatest gifts we can give them is hope,” Terence Clark, a local member of the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church and president of the Interfaith Council, said.

“We stand behind them and let them know we will always be there for them.”

Since the 9/11 attacks, US Muslims, estimated between 6-8 million, have complained of discrimination and stereotypes in the society because of their Islamic attires or identities.

A US survey has revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.

A Gallup poll also found that the majority of US Muslims are patriot and loyal to their country and are optimistic about their future.

An Economist/YouGov poll found that a large majority of Americans believe that US Muslims are victims of discrimination amid recent attacks against the community.

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