In the words of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, no one should “suffer on account of his religious opinion or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion”. Therefore, a #StandWithMuslims rally was organized on December 15, 2015 at Evanston between 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to stand united against Islamophobia and the rise of hate filled rhetoric that has been growing in the national political dialogue. Approximately 250 Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, non-faith based and Jewish citizens from different socio economic and political arenas joined together to denounce anti-Islamic rhetoric.
Tahera Ahmed, the chaplain from Northwestern University started the rally with a Quranic recitation that was emotionally uplifting. The feel was to have all Americans fight against religious prejudice and stand up for social justice regardless of any social, religious and socio-economic status.
Over twelve organizations helped create this rally such as The American Friends Service Committee, Beth Emet, the Free Synagogue, Chicago Area Peace Action, Council on American Islamic Relations – Chicago, Evanston Neighbors for Peace, Interfaith Action of Evanston, Lake Street Church of Evanston, Jewish Voice for Peace Chicago, Northshore Coalition for Peace, Justice and the Environment, Open Communities, Second Baptist Church of Evanston and YWCA Evanston/North Shore.
Our light shines brightest in the brightest hour. Bushra Amawala a senior from Niles North spoke passionately about Islam being a peaceful religion. She further explained how her hijab is given a negative connotation and misunderstood by others. She went on to talk about building a welcoming community and valuing everyone to strengthen the bonds.
Leslie Williams, the main organizer of the event commented that can make this world a champion as we stand together.