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City has new strategy to combat Islamophobia

The de Blasio administration rolls out a new social media campaign to combat Islamophobia in support of more than half a million Muslim New Yorkers.
Courtesy City Hall
By Bill Parry

The de Blasio administration has rolled out a new initiative to combat Islamophobia.

The Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, the Office of Immigrant Affairs, and the Commission on Human Rights announced a series of ongoing events and a new social media ad campaign in support of the city’s more than half-a-million Muslims Monday.

“Now more than ever, it is important for every New Yorker to stand united as one city and reject hate and violence,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “In New York, everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Agnostic and Atheist—it doesn’t matter. We are all New Yorkers, and we all deserve to live safely and free from hate and discrimination. We will not tolerate discrimination or violence of any kind, and we will not rest until all New Yorkers, including our Muslim brothers and sisters, are treated with the dignity they deserve.”

Reports of attacks and threats against Muslims have surged nationally, most likely fueled by national and international terrorist attacks and political vitriol, according to researchers and law enforcement officials. The city’s Commission on Human Rights, the agency charged with fighting discrimination, has increased investigations into discrimination based on race, national origin, and religion in New York City by more than 60 percent in the last two years.

“To combat xenophobia and Islamophobia, we must come together in solidarity to develop strategies against it,” Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs said. “Our recent convening with Muslim community leaders, immigrant advocates, and refugee rights advocates is leading to the creation of a shared action plan.”

The campaign will feature a social media push that will direct people to the online hub NYC.gov/iammuslimNYC, which contains a downloadable fact sheet about legal protections that are already in place to help Muslim Americans, such as laws that punish businesses and landlords who discriminate based on religion. The campaign will continue into 2017 and includes a series of educational programs aimed at building trust and awareness of Muslim New Yorkers’ rights.

“The diversity of this great City has made it the best in the world, and in order to make sure we continue to grow, embracing those of all backgrounds and religions will raise everyone’s quality of life,” said City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), the sole Muslim member of the City Council. “The initiatives that this administration has taken to embrace the Muslim community have not only benefitted those who believe in our faith, but everyone who lives here as well.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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