Indivisible Rapid City Counterprograms Islamophobia

Indivisible Rapid City is responding to the rampant hatred of the religious/Republican right-wingnuts by hosting “Activist Training: How to Combat Islamophobia” this evening from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m MDT at the Rapid City Public Library in Room B:

Taneeza Islam, KSFY screen cap, 2016.101.16
Taneeza Islam (screen cap from KSFY, 2016.10.16)

The information at this session will be presented by civil rights and immigration attorney Taneeza Islam Esq. Prior to moving to Sioux Falls she fought Islamophobia and empowered communities in Saint Paul/MN for four years. She conducted Know Your Rights Trainings and well as Workplace Trainings. She was instrumental in leading a coalition to persuade a Minnesota legislator who introduced a head covering ban for government ID’s which would have negatively impacted Muslims and people of other faiths requiring head covers based on religion (nuns, Hutterites wearing headcovers, Jewish men who wear yarmulkes, all forms of hijab etc.). The legislator withdrew his bill. Since January 2017 Taneeza has led a coalition to fight against two Islamophobic resolutions and an anti-refugee bill. This coalition is now 3-0 in winning this fight [Indivisible Rapid City, Facebook event details, retrieved 2017.06.20].

This program is free.

If you want to burn up $8 and part of your soul Wednesday evening, anti-Muslim paranoiacs ACT for America and Big Horn Canyon Church are showing Faithkeepers  in downtown Rapid at the Elks Theatre Wednesday at 7 p.m., which, for the sake of fluffing those comfy right-wing slippers of Christian persecution complex and scapegoating of all Muslims, gets history and interfaith relations wrong:

This matter was dramatically brought to a U.S. audience three years ago by eight patriarchs of the Eastern Christian churches — representing the majority of the Middle East’s Christians — who appeared together before a conference in Washington, D.C. Their message was poignant and direct: We need your help, but the help we need is not for you to vilify Muslims. Demonizing Islam may generate applause in some circles in Washington, but it does not help Christians in the Middle East.

That simple message was clearly not heard by the makers of the film “Faithkeepers,” which is to be screened nationally May 23. While purporting to be in defense of Christians in the Middle East, “Faithkeepers” is a not-so-subtle attack on Islam. The film mixes real stories of Christians and others who have suffered at the hands of ISIS with the insidious insinuation that such persecution is at the heart of the Muslim faith.

Adding insult to injury, the film falsely conflates disparate historical events — the Armenian genocide, the Jewish exodus from Iraq and other Arab countries, and the atrocities committed by ISIS — as if they were all the result of Islam’s “inherent” desire to purge all non-Muslims from the region.

What “Faithkeepers” ignores is the fact that the Armenian genocide was perpetrated by a secular movement in Turkey that attacked all non-Turks, including Muslim Kurds; and the horrific anti-Jewish pogroms in Arab countries that followed the 1948 war were in reaction to Israel’s horrific “ethnic cleansing” of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Christians and Muslims from what became the “Jewish state” [James Zogby, “‘Faithkeepers’ Film Is a Not-So-Subtle Attack on Islam,” Religion News Service, 2017.05.18].

I’m getting annoyed that we have to spend this much time countering these ill-informed, bigoted, and cowardly anti-Muslim programs in South Dakota. These non-stop cries of terror against our fellow humans are un-American and un-Christian, as dwellers of the greatest country in the world and followers of the Christian God alike should know better than to live in fear and ignorance. Such fearful people could benefit from listening to Taneeza Islam’s presentation… but I fear the people who need to hear her message most will see her name and be afraid to walk in the door.

2 Responses to Indivisible Rapid City Counterprograms Islamophobia

  1. Roger Cornelius


    Act for American and Big Horn Canyon Church are actually charging Christians $8.00 to learn how to hate.

  2. Thank you to Cory and the Dakota Free Press for helping to spread the word about how these organizations purposefully distort facts in order to make money manipulating people’s fears.