By wearing green today, you can help make a stand against Islamophobia.

Ethan Vesely-Flad Fellowship of Reconciliation 10/26/07

By most accounts, this has already been a bad week for those who stoke the fire of religious prejudice against Muslims in North America. In a huge setback for the Bush administration, their court case against Holy Land Foundation, Inc. alleging support of terrorist organizations in the Middle East ended in a hung jury earlier this week. To the many peace and justice activists who maintained that these were baseless allegations against Holy Land Foundation and symptomatic of a broader campaign to spuriously connect Muslim activists with terrorism, this deadlock was a huge victory.

The “Hungry for Justice” coalition — a national collective of civil rights and advocacy groups that includes several organizations with which FOR works, like the Muslim American Society and the Council on American-Islamic Relations — released a press statement. In it, the coalition said:

“HLF officials were never accused of any violent act. Their only ‘crime’ was providing food, clothing, and shelter to Palestinian women and children through agencies that were also funded by our own government and were licensed by the Palestinian Authorities (Fatah). This allegedly relieved HAMAS from spending social money, thereby amounting to a ‘conspiracy’ to intentionally aid the group. The politically-motivated charges came despite HLF’s attempts to seek advice from our government as to which Palestinian charities should be avoided. The government refused to provide the charity with a white list of committees to work with.”

Hopefully, the momentum from this trial will carry over to the continuing efforts to challenge the conviction of Dr. Rafil Dhafir, the medical doctor in Syracuse, New York who was imprisoned for alleged tax violations — but who has been cast by federal prosecutors and government agents as “supporting terrorism,” without evidence. You can read the story about Dr. Dhafir and its broader implications for Muslim charities in Fellowship magazine.

This week has also been witness to a major effort by conservative activists to hold a so-called “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” on college campuses across the nation. By most accounts, this has been a failure. The right-wing David Horowitz Freedom Center sponsored this effort, which has sought to structurally and systemically link Islam with terrorism in the public eye.

The speaking engagements and other events at several dozen universities have been met with either strong response or, in many cases, indifference. At Emory University in Atlanta, protestors forced Horowitz to abruptly end his speech; here in NYC at Columbia University, he has been more subtly (and perhaps effectively) countered by an op-ed article calling this campaign “A Dumb Idea” in the daily university paper, the Columbia Spectator.

One thing you can do to speak out in a simple way is to wear green today (Friday), and perhaps this weekend, too, if you like. This suggestion was sent to us late Wednesday by the Muslim Consultative Network, a group with which local FOR members work in the NYC area, in preparation for Horowitz speaking at Columbia. Referring to a protest that will be held at 11:30 a.m. in front of Columbia’s Lerner Hall (116th Street), our friends write:

“The Communities in Support of Khalil Gibran International Academy (CISKGIA) invites you to join us to OPPOSE “Islamofascism Awareness Week” and take a stand against the anti-Arab & anti-Muslim attacks that aim to destroy Debbie Almontaser (founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International School [Ed.: And past contributor to Fellowship magazine]) and so many others… Please wear something green if possible!”

I’ll be sporting one of my many green soccer jerseys today — please join me in this simple act of solidarity.