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June 18, 2020
As with any disease, the cure for racism can only come by first identifying the source of the problem. Humans are not naturally born racist, but have been conditioned to believe certain things about other people and groups, that lead to bigotry and racism. This isn’t a white people’s problem, it’s a human problem. Each one of us is culpable at some level in how we view and regard certain groups of “others,” and go about consciously or subconsciously reinforcing racism through our actions or inactions. To stem the tides of hate and racism let’s work together to recognize our shared humanity. Islamic tradition teaches us that all human beings are born in a state of “fitra,” an innate nature of purity and innocence, worthy of dignity and respect and that societies should be organized to treat all people equally with fairness and justice. As a Muslim American, I carry these teachings in everything I do including in the organization I run.
– Maha Elgenaidi, ING Executive Director
In the wake of the horrific murder of George Floyd and countless others, we stand with our Black brothers and sisters to combat systemic racism through education about the roots of Black oppression, the intersection of anti-Blackness racism with bigotry towards Muslims and other groups, and ways to combat these problems institutionally and in our day-to-day actions. Read our statement which we released last month.
How did ING’s Anti-Bias Work Evolve?
In delivering presentations and panels about Islamophobia, we realized that we couldn’t challenge bigotry towards Muslims without more broadly addressing bigotry towards Blacks, Indigenous Peoples, Latinx, Asians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and other victims of hate. These bigotries are related through their origins in biased narratives about non-whites and non-Christians that were developed by Europeans under a system of white supremacy intended to subjugate the various people they had colonized. To address and overcome these common roots of bigotry, we must address the scaffolding of white supremacy that supports it. Unknown to many Americans, we live in a society that privileges certain groups over others, and in the extreme, criminalizes them, as with Black Americans.
ING’s Intercultural Speakers Bureau
ING’s work to counter various forms of bigotry including Islamophobia and anti-Blackness is the outcome of our Intercultural Speakers Bureau, founded in 2018. The program features panels consisting of representatives from various ethnic groups and religions discussing the origins and impact of bigotry in the U.S. as well as strategies to counter it.
To get a glimpse of the education we do around the intersection of various forms of bigotry, we invite you to view all or part of the following panels which we convened recently:
- Panel that highlighted reflections and responses to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery
- Panel that addressed the spike in violence towards