Minnesotans using yard signs to fight Islamophobia

- In the midst of a presidential election filled with talk of discriminating against Muslims, there is a Minnesota-made campaign to fight Islamophobia.

The Minnesota Council of Churches is distributing yard signs in eight different states across the county to assure Muslims as they begin Ramadan that Islamophobia is far from a universal feeling. The lawn signs read, “To our Muslim neighbors:  Blessed Ramadan.”

19 churches across Minnesota with denominations ranging from Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans and Presbyterians jumped on board to spread the word.

“We have extremely radical Christians who sometimes get violent and Jews who sometimes get violent, Hindus, Buddhists, all over the world. In every religion there are those who go to the extreme, [but] the vast majorities do not and we want to signal to our Muslim friends and neighbors that we know that,” Pastor Tim Hart-Anderson of Westminster Presbyterian Church said. 

One of ISIS’s stated goals is to create, through their violence, Islamophobia in the western world and inflame a divide to push the vast majority of Muslims who do not agree with them to eventually join them anyway.

“It creates a sense of empathy for our neighbors,” Susan Sheridan Tucker, one of the people picking up a sign, said “I think the Muslim community is having a difficult time having to justify their being.”

The message behind the lawn signs is designed to remind Muslims and non-Muslims that the global issues of terror are complicated, but attacking bigotry is simple.

The council has already printed about 1,000 sings to be distributed and they anticipate they will probably need to print about 1,000 more.

“[The sign] will be [in my lawn] as long as I want it to be there,” Sheridan Tucker said. “We'll see what my neighbors think.”

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