For most of us, our encounters with Islamophobia will be in the form of words by non-Muslims to other non-Muslims. “Those camel jockeys. . .” “Those rag heads. . .” And worse.
But what if you actually see someone giving grief to a Muslim? You’re there. You could do something. But what? What does a normal person do?
In popular U.S. culture, you deliver a single, head-snapping, concrete-fisted blow that nearly knocks out the oppressor, leaving him only enough consciousness to shamefully slink away. Two problems with this: 1. Unless you’ve practiced it a lot, you’re punch will connect with his upper arm and leave at most a light red mark, not even a bruise! And 2. Jesus, even though he knew how to make whips, only used them in church.
Maeril, a freelance art director and illustrator, living in Paris, has drawn a brilliant and practical comic to show how normal, caring people might respond to a situation of islamophobic harassment.
She stresses two main points:
1. Do not, in any way, interact with the attacker. You must absolutely ignore them and focus entirely on the person being attacked!
2) Please make sure to always respect the wishes of the person you’re helping: whether they want you to leave quickly afterwards, or not! If you’re in a hurry escort them to a place where someone else can take over – call one of their friends, or one of yours or the police.
I haven’t personally tried this, but it seems like a wise, non-passive response. It has a bit of the feel of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. May God give us loving wisdom and courage should we be called upon to engage in a situation like this.
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