'Punish a Muslim day' looks to incite fear, many band together instead
Hate campaign met with love and solidarity
ROANOKE, Va – One London letter is making its way across the internet encouraging hate crimes against Muslim communities.
This makes me sick to my stomach. This makes me sad, afraid, hurt and emotional. Not only as a Muslim, but as a human being. #PunishAMuslimDay is a sad thing that shows where our world is. pic.twitter.com/lbCLeFOJQ6— мαℓ (@shawnsweetner) March 25, 2018
According to the author of the letter, April 3 marks "Punish a Muslim Day" where points will be awarded to those who take action: 25 for pulling off a woman's hijab (head scarf), 50 for throwing acid in the face, 100 for beating someone up, 250 for getting creative with torture devices, 1000 for bombing a mosque.
"Sheep follow orders and are easily led, they are allowing the white majority nations of Europe and North America to become overrun by those who would like nothing more than to do us harm and turn our democracies into Sharia led police states," states the message.
Sharia is a word that has developed a negative connotation over time.
"The linguistic meaning of Sharia reverberates in its technical usage: just as water is vital to human life, so the clarity and uprightness of Sharia is the means of life for souls and minds," said Islamic scholar Faraz Rabbani in an interview with BBC.
Students have received phone calls and text messages from their parents asking them to be careful going to school, even considering skipping the day. They've been urged to keep caution and avoid going out if they can.
Others refuse to let someone dictate their way of life and advocate to keep on keepin' on.
I've been seeing Whatsapp messages, snaps, Facebook statuses & other folks telling Muslims, particularly hijabi women, not go out tomorrow because of "Punish a Muslim Day." Every woman should do what makes her feel comfortable, but I am choosing to go about my normal day. Try me.
I've been seeing Whatsapp messages, snaps, Facebook statuses & other folks telling Muslims, particularly hijabi women, not go out tomorrow because of "Punish a Muslim Day." Every woman should do what makes her feel comfortable, but I am choosing to go about my normal day. Try me.— Rowaida Abdelaziz (@Rowaida_Abdel) April 2, 2018
Among the crowd are skeptics as well who believe there may be more to the hate campaign.
"I haven't heard of any of this stuff going on in the U.S.," Joseph Shaver, a Radford University student posted on Facebook. "Seems more than likely just another attempt to maintain relevance by a group like the UK Independence Party (UKIP) or the English Defence League (EDL)?"
But in response to the racist letter, people have banded together with a new version of the poster to show their love and support by celebrating April 3 as Love a Muslim Day instead.
The poster includes the same point-based system with contrasting actions like 25 points for smiling at a Muslim, 50 points for throwing flowers on a Muslim (different colored ones), 100 points for inviting them over, 250 points for taking a weekend trip with them, and a 1000 points for fundraising for those suffering in third-world countries.
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