Campaign to challenge misconceptions of Muslim Americans backed by E.L. City Council
East Lansing City Council took on hate at its August 4 meeting. Council teamed up with Rashida Tlaib, a former state representative, to present a resolution which states that the city supports The Campaign to Take on Hate and is committed to eliminating hate and discrimination. The resolution also says the city agrees to protect all families and citizens of East Lansing no matter religion or ethnicity.
The Campaign to Take on Hate, according to its website, opposes and stands against all forms of hate and bigotry toward any group of people. It was of launched in 2014 and challenges the growing discrimination and misconception of Arab and Muslim Americans, including refugees of Arab and Muslim descent, in the U.S. It also inspires a positive perception of Arab and Muslim Americans, creates systematic policy changes at the national and local levels and builds greater capacity for communities as a whole.
“We can’t attack people because of their faith or their ethnicity. If that happens then who do we become as a country?" said Tlaib.
Tlaib was joined by representatives of the Islamic Center of East Lansing. Members of Edgewood United Church, located in East Lansing, were also present to show support of the resolution.
Tlaib called the resolution very "American" and said that Muslims shouldn't have to prove themselves as Americans or as community members. She had a positive outlook on the changes this resolution could bring.
"When you speak up against this kind of violence and hate it really gives us so much credibility and it shames people that want to do this, that want to go after people for their faith and ethnicity," Tlaib said.
Mayor Nathan Triplett said the community already participates in cross-cultural activities with similar goals of The Campaign to Take on Hate including the Mayor's Ramadan Unity Dinner.The city also has an event that recognizes how the Islamic culture impacts the community coming up on Sept. 11.
Triplett said this resolution opens the door to future activities and spread of cultural awareness.
"The important first step was what we did tonight, which was endorsing the campaign and really making it clear that East Lansing is a community that values inclusion, celebrates diversity and is willing to stand up when hateful behavior happens," Triplett said.