A group of Dallas Muslims is organizing a walk this weekend to raise awareness against Islamophobia. Enlightened Generations is a group of volunteers who have been planning this event since June 13 in the hope of bringing people of different faiths together to address the issues around Islamophobia. The 5K walk against Islamophobia will take place this Saturday May 31st between 11 am and 2 pm at Reverchon Park in Dallas (3505 Maple Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75219).
The program includes a walk, speakers, and vendors like Afrah Mediterranean Restaurant. Speakers include Nicole Queen, a Muslim American community activist, as well as Pastor Wes Magruder, a Christian clergy man who has been active in interfaith relations for many years.
The group, Enlightened Generations, is a non-profit organization whose purpose and vision include promoting global humanitarian issues awareness among American Muslims. Since Islamophobia is a form of racism that discriminates against humans on the basis of their faith, Enlightened Generations is trying to educate the community about the problem by exploring its causes and possible solutions.
Even though the walk has been in the planning for almost a year, it is coming within a timely manner. As always, racism is a theme that rises every time our nation has a political race. Hence, it is no surprise that yesterday a GOP candidate raised a storm about his opponent who accepted a donation from a Dallas businessman, who happened to be Muslim. Ironically, he himself later accepted a smaller donation from another Muslim American citizen (see this story).
Moreover, earlier this month, a rally in front of Dallas City Hall was organized by a Dallas church to raise awareness against prejudice against Christians in Muslim majority countries. Muslim Americans showed interest in participating only to find that the rally is hosting anti-Muslim hate speakers. In such an environment of prejudice rhetoric, Muslims decided to rally against that rally while demanding for hate speech rhetoric to stop. Many non-Muslims joined in and offered support. Participants held banners that said “stop the hate” and “unity in community.” Speakers expressed that love and peace are the answers to bigotry and fear mongering.
Indeed, hate speech is one of the most dangerous weapons to turn any dialog into a heated conflict. Conflict resolution mediators state that the first thing people need to do in order to solve problems is speak with a language that eliminates negative emotions. Dialog in Dallas among Muslims and non-Muslims has gone a long way during the past few years. It was therefore an alarming sign for many people to know that hate mongers were coming to town. Hate speech raises fear without a rational reason. It depends on the ignorance of its audience whose information about the issue lacks facts and updates. It shuts down the channels of communication and dehumanizes the other. It creates a rift in the civil thread.
The Enlightened Generations Walk Against Islamophobia this Saturday in Dallas hopefully will reassure our community of our unity. It will introduce people to new friends who will walk together to eliminate prejudice by building bridges of communication and understanding. After all, who wants to live in constant fear?
To register for the Walk, visit this link.