As primary season approaches, there has been a notable shift in Republican rhetoric, which is becoming more and more divisive and exclusionary in their efforts to win over what little sections of American society still supports their outdated and bigoted platforms. Taking aim at minority communities, the GOP preaches division instead of unity, of hate instead of love, of fear instead of hope.
Which is why stories like this one won’t be heard on FOX, but emphasizes why it is vitally important that the American people don’t fall for the election cycle hyperbole and remember that the vast majority of people are good, hard-working and caring people who won’t sit by idly by wrongdoing, supporting each other in times of tragedy and fear. You may remember the slew of Southern black churches that burned under mysterious circumstances over the past month.
In response, a woman named Faatimah Knight organized a group of Muslim nonprofits, including the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative and the Arab American Association of New York and Ummah Wide, in a fundraising drive called “Respond With Love.” They’ve raised over $100,000 to help rebuild those churches, saying that “ALL houses of worship are sanctuaries, a place where all should feel safe, a place we can seek refuge when the world is too much to bear.”
It’s a wonderful and heartwarming story of interfaith unity, the kind we hear about far too infrequently. Despite the desperate attempts by Republicans to delude their voter base into believing otherwise, America is a multi-faith, multi-ethnic, and multi-gendered society, as it always has been and always will be. Our diversity is one of biggest strengths, a beautiful melting pot of all cultures and traditions creating a new culture unto itself. It shows us how blinded we are by the petty divisions we use to separate and isolate each other, whether it be skin color, religious belief, languages spoken, or the geographic coordinates of one’s instance of birth.
The atrocity that recently occurred in Chattanooga, Tennessee, must not be turned into a political weapon. It would be a disrespect to the Marines who lost their lives. The far-right wing will use every opportunity they can to use their deaths to turn Americans against their Muslim countrymen; we must remember that an isolated incident does not define an entire group. Take a leaf from Faatimah Knight’s book, from the family members of the nine victims of the Charleston, and respond with love.
“Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.”- the Prophet Muhammed (عليه السلام)
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.