Friday, August 19, 2011

My Fellow American

Last week (and shamefully I've been so busy I've not been able to sit down and take a look at this sooner) I received an email informing me about a social media project and film known as "My Fellow American".

As you know a few weeks ago Anders Breivik committed heinous acts of violence in Oslo, Norway in which he killed dozens of people. In a manifesto of his thoughts he showed very clear anti-Muslism sentiment (and also seemed to regard those who held no ill will towards Muslims as traitor). What Breivik was a terrible thing and the world (especially Muslims) need to know that his hatred is not way we think of them. And it looks like My Fellow American is working on just that. From the "About" page:
My Fellow American is an online film and social media project that calls upon concerned Americans to pledge and spread a message that Muslims are our fellow Americans. It asks people of other backgrounds to pledge, and share a real life story about a Muslim friend, neighbor, or colleague that they admire. Using the power of social media, My Fellow American seeks to change the narrative – from Muslims as the other, to Muslims as our fellow Americans.

Most Americans have never met an American Muslim. Many only know Muslims through the way they are portrayed in the media. American Muslims are so often vilified as “the other” that it is possible not to recognize that most were born in the U.S. Or that those who immigrated here came seeking the same freedoms and opportunities that have always attracted people to America.

Just like the many other walks of life that live in America Muslims are no different. The live here, they work here, they pray here, they play here, they raise families here. There is no reason for them to deserve such racist and anti-religious treatment.

The site encourages people to share stories and videos of their experiences with Muslim people. This is a short from their homepage.

I'm still working my way through the site and I hope you take a moment to check it out as well. They are people like the rest of us and they are American like the rest of us.