MCS hosts visitors from the Arab American Association

This Tuesday MCS hosted two activists from the Arab American Association, Mirna Haidar and Aber Kawas. They shared their experiences as part of the muslim community in New York City, breaking down the impact of islamophobia on muslims and people who look like muslims.  We also learned about the NYPD surveillance program of the muslim community and the Arab American Association's work to stop the program.

"It's unfair that when people see muslims or people who look like muslims they automatically think of terrorists." - Sherman

"The biggest takeaway is that the NYPD and many of our institutions are far more prejudiced toward the muslim community than I thought or could have imagined.  People are being taken advantage of and used to spy on friends and neighbors... and it's covered up.  I hadn't even heard about it before. The fact that these things are going on in the 21st century is appalling.  It is upsetting how in a very open place like New York people are still so easily controlled by stereotypes and that how you look and what you wear can so deeply affect how you're treated.  I was also struck by the fact that people are fleeing violence only to come to more persecution. Mirna told us that bombs had less of an emotional impact on her than what she experiences here.  " - Liam

View the ACLU Fact Sheet on NYPD muslim surveillance
Read about the ACLU court challenge to NYPD surveillance of the muslim community
Mirna's Story - a human rights activist from Lebanon discusses asylum in NYC

MCS Activists reflect on "Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity"

On February 7th several MCS Activists attended a performance at the New School entitled Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity, an interview-based theatre production by Ping Chong + Company. Exploring the diverse experiences of Muslim communities within New York City, the young participants in Beyond Sacred share the common experience of coming of age in a post-9/11 NYC. The goal of Beyond Sacred is to use theater and personal testimony to foster greater understanding among Muslim and non-Muslim communities in New York and beyond.

"It was really interesting to hear all of the personal stories.  Hearing stories from people who've struggled with islamophobia for their whole lives made it apparent that the problem is much bigger than a one-time thing in the news." -Ayla

"There were five people sharing the voices of many people who'd submitted stories. They talked about how people started to judge people wearing hijabs and how all muslims are blamed for things that have happened that they did not all agree to.  Even five year olds and ten year olds are being mistreated at school." - Jessica