Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

United We Stand: Responding with Kindness and Solidarity

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

United We Stand: Responding with Kindness and Solidarity

Article excerpt

Balbir Singh Sodhi was murdered Sept. 15 in Mesa, Arizona--the first homicide in the country related to the backlash against Arab Americans after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Sodhi was not Muslim and not from the Middle East. He was a Sikh from India. Frank Roque, the accused murderer, said he shot Sodhi because his turban looked like Osama bin Laden's.

The Council on American Islamic Affairs reports nearly 1,000 anti-Muslim "backlash" incidents in the United States since Sept. 11, including five deaths. Less documented are the countless acts of pro-Muslim kindness and solidarity shown around the country.

Within hours after the terrorist attacks, Phyllis Taylor of East Mount Airy, Pennsylvania, called Muslim friends to tell them she would help guard them from bigotry. Within a week, Taylor established the Friendly Religious Interfaith Escorts for Neighbors in Distress network. The leader of a Philadelphia mosque expressed his gratitude. "This is the time we need good friends to stand with us," he said.

In Denver, the Colorado Interfaith Alliance hosted a "ring of protection" at the Islamic Center. …

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