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Boston Launches New Poster Campaign to Fight Islamophobia

Boston Launches New Poster Campaign to Fight Islamophobia

Boston launched a new public service initiative this week with the aim of encouraging bystanders to intervene if they witness anti-Muslim harassment. A new poster campaign was launched following an increase of reported hate crimes against Muslims, particularly an incident in which a 34-year-old man was charged for yelling anti-Muslim slurs at a 61-year-old woman who was wearing a headscarf on the Orange Line before hitting her with an umbrella.

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The guide was initially created by Paris-based French-Middle Eastern artist, Maeril, and translated into English for the Middle Eastern Feminist group on Facebook about a year ago. The illustration showcases a non-confrontational technique, called “non-complementary behavior,” which counters the expectations of the aggressor, therefore disempowering them.

What to do if you are witnessing Islamophobic harassment? A bystander’s guide to helping a person who is being targeted.

  1. Engage in conversation
  2. Pick a random subject and start discussing it
  3. Keep building the safe space
  4. Continue the conversation until the attacker leaves & escort them to a safe space if necessary

Boston will see 50 of these posters go up throughout the city. Similar ones have been placed throughout San Francisco and New York, and complement anti-oppressive signs that many local shopkeepers are displaying proudly in their windows, in direct response to a hateful climate fueled by the recent presidential elections. Jewish Voices for Peace, for example, is one of many organizations working on developing and sharing bystander modules.

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Boston will see 50 of these posters go up throughout the city.

At MuslimGirl, we believe that these forms of compassionate interventions can be utilized to support any marginalized-person facing xenophobic attacks at the intersection of race, faith, gender, sexual orientation, ability, presentation and appearance, and hope that allies utilize some of these techniques to safely hold-space for victims of verbal violence during such attacks.

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