In order to counteract the effects of hate speech and misinformation regarding our communities, I personally believe that Muslims should be proactive when it comes to engaging their neighbors. In addition to being proactive, I also believe it is important to respond simply and swiftly to articles and ads such as the one above.
Within hours of the original ad appearing, the president of Hillel (the Jewish organization on campus) denounced the advertisement as hate speech against Muslims. Another Jewish member of the university community also wrote a letter to the editor denouncing the ad.
The Muslim Students’ Association (MSA), in contrast, decided to ban all discussion about the offensive advertisement, and deleted all comments regarding the ad in question, whether positive or negative. Furthermore, they decided to do…absolutely nothing.
Instead of opening themselves and inviting community members in, they closed up like a clam shell, spending time deleting all traces of discussion on their Facebook wall. I encourage the MSA to re-think its position and to use this as an opportunity to speak openly about Islam and Muslims, etc.
For those of you reading this that are part of Muslim organizations, I urge you to consider engaging your local communities and inviting them over to discover shared values.