It's hard to deny the power of an Osama bin Laden taped message to foment anti-Muslim sentiment in America.
But a Chicago-based coalition wants to blunt that sort of message by sharing the real-life stories of Muslims living, working and praying in America.
"It's about humanizing our respective stories, it's about finding our similarities [with other Americans] and learning to respect our differences," said Rami Nashashibi, executive director of Chicago's Inner-City Muslim Action Network, one of a host of agencies partnering in "One Chicago, One Nation" -- an initiative launched today.
In the coming months, about 200 people -- including Muslims and non-Muslims -- will fan out across the Chicago area creating an "interfaith" dialogue, organizers say.
These community ambassadors will share their stories while volunteering in area communities. Some may be dressed in traditional Muslim attire, while others could be wearing "three-piece Armani suits," Nashashibi joked.
The idea is not simply to counter anti-Muslim sentiment, but also to clear up misunderstandings about Islam and Muslims, Nashashibi said. (More)