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