(CLEVELAND, OH, 3/1/2016) â€“ More than 100 people gathered last night in an interfaith event to discuss the growth of Islamophobia in America. The event, called â€œTeatime for Peace,â€ was held at the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church and was co-hosted by the Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cleveland) and area social justice groups.
The goal of the event was to provide an opportunity for people of different faiths to engage in dialogue and get to know each other as a way to help dispel stereotypes about Muslims and Islam. The event was conceived to help challenge the rampant Islamophobia being promoted by anti-Muslim hate groups, agenda-driven media outlets and political figures during the current US presidential election cycle.
â€œFrom the enthusiastic turnout we had for this event, it is clear that people want to do something positive to stand up to the hate and division they are seeing during this election,â€ said Hala Sanyurah of the Islamic Society of Akron and Kent. â€œEngaging people one-on-one over tea and dessert is a great way to build community and engender mutual respect and understanding.â€
The event included interreligious prayers for peace delivered by Holly Miller, intern minister of the West Shore Church and Isam Zaiem, Board President Emeritus of CAIR-Cleveland, as well as a brief backgrounder on Islamophobia in the media by Hala Sanyurah of the Islamic Society of Akron and Kent.
Yesterdayâ€™s event centered on one-on-one dialogue matchups over tea and treats so that people could get to know their Muslim neighbors beyond what is portrayed on their television screens.
Muslims of many national heritages participated including Palestinian, Nigerian, Turkish, Syrian, African-American, Iranian, Pakistani, Indian, and more.
Co-Sponsors included West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church; CAIR-Cleveland; The Niagara Foundation; Coalition For a Better Life; Peace in the Hood; Algebra Teahouse; Islamic Society of Akron and Kent; Women Speak Out for Peace and Justice and others.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia A. Shearson, email@example.com, 216.830.2247 or 216.440.2247