Stronger Together: A Muslim Humanist PartnershipBy Administrator
In the current climate, it might not be difficult to conclude that Muslims and humanists don’t have much, if any, common ground. The internet, not to mention public discourse, is full of examples of people spewing hatred of anyone who doesn’t believe as they do and both Muslims and atheists are high on that list. Unfortunately, these voices are loud and overpowering. Fortunately, those who hold these divisive views do not speak for the majority.
During a time when we have presidential candidates calling to bar Muslims from our country, governors and mayors refusing refugees into their states and cities, and atheists in other countries facing death penalties for their beliefs, the importance of Muslims and humanists supporting each other is more important. A natural instinct, when threatened, is to retreat into safety. But peace is harder to find without breaking the ranks of our ingroup and reaching out to others. We are stronger together.
We–Muslims and humanists–have shared problems. We all face consequences of climate change, the gun violence epidemic, and systemic racism. These are problems every person in the US faces. But Muslims and humanists have an additional shared problem–we are both minority groups in the US. Humanists generally cannot understand the experience of being an American Muslim, but we do understand what it means to be an American minority. If for no other reason, this is cause enough to come together. As disparate minorities, we can make progress toward equality. But as united minorities, it can happen sooner.
There are numerous ways this support can manifest:
As humanists, we can support resettlement of Muslim refugees who are fleeing the same violent oppression we oppose in radical Islam.
We can confront bigotry aimed at Muslims when we see it.
We can perform acts of kindness for our Muslim friends and neighbors who are probably afraid and uncertain. Omaha Atheists–a Beyond Belief Network team–did just that when a mosque in their community was vandalized. They created a piece of art for the center, wrote a letter of support, and took it to the Islamic Center to meet with a leader. There are other ways to show support too.
And we can support Muslims and Muslim organizations who are working to make the world a better place.
One such organization is our current Challenge the Gap beneficiary: Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation (TMWF), a domestic violence support organization.
TMWF was founded by Muslim women to provide support for all women and their families. Yes, their shelter, Peaceful Oasis Emergency Shelter, is one of very few shelters that address the unique needs of Muslim women escaping domestic violence, but any woman in need is welcome.
TMWF specifically reaches out to people and communities with different beliefs because of how important understanding and supporting each other is for the common good.
"Muslim and other faiths have limited exposure to each other to promote understanding, build on common beliefs and create community-wide change. We reach out within and beyond the Muslim community, participating in interfaith dialogues, providing education and creating awareness of common issues like family violence, youth leadership skills, building bridges through art, and much more."
Recently, a United Methodist Church in their community helped set up homes that allowed women move out of TMWF’s shelter. And FBB is currently collecting donations that ultimately support the women of northern Texas find the safety and security that is their basic right. Not only do the women who are in need of these services benefit from these kinds of cooperation, but the communities generally benefit from the relationships and goodwill that is fostered. This is an organization that is only strengthened by mutual support. Their strength reflects the strength of our entire community.