Punish a Muslim Day was intended to scare and encourage violence against Muslims. But it ended up uniting communities instead.
Communities throughout the United Kingdom and the United States came together on Tuesday to push back against the xenophobic anti-Muslim campaign that started in the United Kingdom and eventually spread to the United States.
The campaign first gained attention last month, when fliers and online posts threatening Muslims with hate crimes and violence first circulated among British residents. According to the BBC, several members of the parliament also received the Islamophobic letters.
There has been a flyer circulating on the internet encourage violence against Muslims.
The intention of this flyer is to spread hate, instill fear and recruit others to partake in, Punish a Muslim Day. pic.twitter.com/Qo3mGZNtw8
— zellie (@zellieimani) April 3, 2018
Since then, the fliers trickled into the United States, with New York City officials announcing Monday that the city would seen an increase in security to protect potential victims of hate crimes. Police in the United Kingdom and the United States are still investigating the letters.
Meanwhile, U.S. and U.K. residents have taken matters into their own hands to support Muslims. Jamilla Hekmoun, who started the #ProtectAMuslimDay initiative in the United Kingdom, told BuzzFeed that the campaign aims to help people feel safe, given the uncertainty around where the letters have come from. Individuals can call a number if they feel threatened and want someone to walk or stay with them. According to BuzzFeed, more than 100 people have signed up to volunteer for the effort.
3rd of April has been planned as a "PunishAMuslimDay" To help our community feel safe, we have organised the #ProtectAMuslimDay initiative. We have organised volunteers from around the UK to help you if you feel unsafe on the day, call: 07985606148 or 07985601849. More info 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/XbzWd9qMC5
— Jamilla جميلة (@JamillaTweets) March 28, 2018
A #LoveAMuslimDay counter-campaign also circulated letters encouraging people to smile at or buy gifts for Muslims.
— Dominika Petikova (@Dominika_Petik) March 28, 2018
While some are spreading hate on this day, we will spread love and peace. We unite with our Muslim family to say no against any kind of violence. We support you and love you. 📸 @KishaBari #LoveAMuslimDay pic.twitter.com/nncgNakOvF
— Women's March (@womensmarch) April 3, 2018
MEND Community, a U.K. anti-Islamophobia NGO, held a series of #LoveAMuslimDay events throughout the country, including art exhibits, spoken word poetry gatherings, and picnics.
This Tuesday we will be hosting 4 #LoveAMuslimDay events in Yorkshire.
Join us to stand together in solidarity and to celebrate our diversity. pic.twitter.com/u3QM3BvtWo
— MEND Community (@mendcommunity) April 1, 2018
Members of Citizens UK, a social justice organization, on Tuesday gathered at the Newcastle Central Mosque to form a human chain around the building in a show of protection and unity for the Muslim community.
Great to be part of human chain of solidarity stretching around Newcastle Central Mosque. Citizens standing together against racism & islamophobia. @CitizensUK @tynewearcitizen pic.twitter.com/SGP01eloXt
— Mathew Guest (@mathewjguest) April 3, 2018
In New York, as part of a campaign started by community activist Debbie Almontaser, non-Muslims wore hijabs and kufis and held signs stating #WeAreAllMuslim.
— Dr.Debbie Almontaser (@DebbiAlmontaser) April 3, 2018
This morning I stood with neighbors of all faiths to hand out Kufis to morning commuters in response to a hate groups designating April 3rd as punish a muslim day. The response at Newkirk Plaza was the best antidote to the hate others were trying to spread. #WeAreAllMuslim pic.twitter.com/fcExhYPJEt
— Robert Carroll (@Bobby4Brooklyn) April 3, 2018
Youth, Neighbors, Muslims, Jews saying #WeAreAllMuslims in opposition to the horrible Punish A Muslim day. When you come for one of us, you come for us all, and we won’t have it. pic.twitter.com/gokcRuyRMX
— JFREJ (@JFREJNYC) April 3, 2018
On Monday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told a group of faith leaders that the city stands in solidarity with its Muslim residents.
“Our message must be just as loud,” Adams said, according to the New York Daily News. “Not punish a Muslim, let’s embrace a Muslim, let’s embrace a Christian, let’s embrace a person of Jewish faith, let’s embrace the diversity that this city has to offer.”