#MyJihad: How a hashtag aims to reintroduce Muslims to Canada and US

A #MyJihad activist tells VO about a US-based movement against Islamophobia, crossing the border into Canada. 

A #MyJihad Chicago bus ad (myjihad.org)

The rise of Islamophobia in Canada and the West is not only a tangible reality for Western Muslims, but in many ways, a deliberate movement -- #MyJihad acts as a countermovement.

At a time when degrading anti-Muslim bus ads are lining New York subways#MyJihad aims to beat bigots at their own game.

#MyJihad is a hashtag. It's bus ads. But it's also a lot more -- #MyJihad is a cultural movement slated to promote interfaith understanding in the US, Canada and beyond, at a time when hate is all too prevalent.  

Islamophobia -- a clear and present 'area of concern'

In 2011, Islamophobia was deemed by The United National Alliance of Civilizations and the League of Arab States as “an important area of concern.” And, though a Gallup study ranks US and Canadian Muslims as most integrated into society -- meaning they actively seek to learn about others and other faiths -- compared to Muslims in other countries, unfavorable public opinion still exists. The causes are primarily due to misinformation, lack of information or simply put, not personally knowing and interacting with Muslims. Add to this, the growing Islamophobia network, particularly in the US, actively spreading fear and misinformation.

Bayan Khatib, a Toronto settlement worker and Syrian Revolution activist, qualifies Islamophobia as unfounded fear of and hostility towards Islam. 

These negative feelings toward Islam often come from ignorant viewpoints," she said. "I find that people with a well-rounded education are less likely to foster hostile feelings towards others who are different from them. Also, contributing to Islamophobia is the media's negative representation of Islam and it's constant connection to terrorism.”

Though not as pervasive as in the United States, Khatib reflects on the state of Islamophobia in Canada.

Canada is generally a multi-cultural country with people of various religions and cultures living together peacefully, and so Islamophobia is not a huge problem. However, it does exist.” 

When Pamela Geller, whose organization, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) -- designated as a hate group by renowned anti-hate-mongering organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) -- purchased ads in New York City’s subway, relegating Muslims to the “savage” among us and urging others to “stop Jihad,” a group of activists in Chicago started their own grass-roots campaign called #MyJihad (http://www.myjihad.org) which aims to “take back Islam" from both Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists.

The #MyJihad campaign idea, sparked by Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of CAIR-Chicago (Council of American Islamic Relations,) quickly gained a following of people of all denominations. Citizen activists, suburban moms, students- all came forward to jump start Rehab’s idea into motion. This grass roots movement officially kicked off in December of last year with a very different campaign than one might expect- starting with ads placed on Chicago area buses. The news quickly spread across the country and all over the world. Articles were featured in U.S.A. TodayThe Washington Post, and overseas in France, Lithuania, Turkey, and as far as China and Australia.

Re-defining jihad

Imam Senad Agic, Phd., of the American Islamic Center in Chicago and Head Imam of Bosniaks of North America, explains the term.

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Comments

#MyJihad

“In any war between the civilized man and savages, support the civilized man - support Israel - defeat jihad”.

#MyJihad

I find it interesting that the anti-Muslim voices and comments (like the first one in this thread) are often the pro-Israel voices.  Clearly the fear-mongering, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim propaganda machine has an agenda.

#MyJihad

What a refreshing campaign this is. So tired of seeing all the hate and ignorance of the Pamela Geller followers.

MyJihad

What a great campain to combat Islamaphobia around the world! 

MYJIHAD - love and compassion can conquer hate

A civilized man embodies mercy, compassion, love, respect, honor, integrity and above all, the value of human life. My jihad celebrates civilized man's ability to rise above hate and negativity!

Islam in Canada

It is my opinion that Canadians recognize that Islam is threatening  to the values and cultures of Canada. Multiculturalism is I believe identified as an egregious mistake as a policy.

 

Most Canadians conceived in the past multiculralism with open hearts feeling their abundance should be shared, and based on their concern with sharing with the needy of the third world.

 

Unfortunately the ideal of multiculturalism is now recognized as the third world bringing their fractious values, morals, religions and internecine politics to incompatibly to mainstream Canada.

 

The problem is not individual muslims from South Asia and the Middle East, but the baggage of the cultures and religions you have interjected in Canada.

 

That is and will be an increasingly serious political and social debate going forward between maintween Canadians and immigrants from especially those regions.

 

I feel no amount of propoganda from the Islamic communities will resolve this fact unfortunately.