Rally Participants to Declare: We Will Stand Up for Each Other and Fight Hatred and Fear Mongering No Matter Who Wins the Election on November 8!
For immediate release:
For further information, contact:
Walter Ruby, Foundation for Ethnic Understanding: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andra Baylus, Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum: email@example.com
Patrick Burnett, American University: firstname.lastname@example.org
Concerned about an increase in bigoted rhetoric and hate crimes in recent months, members of Muslim and Jewish student groups and community activists from the Greater Washington area will come together at a first-of-its-kind Rally on the Quad at American University (AU) on Thursday, October 20 from 4:30-5:45 to vow to defend each other and oppose the demonization of any faith or ethnic community, regardless of the election results on November 8th or other external events.
As an expression of that commitment, participants in the rally, including leaders of AU Hillel, the Jewish Student Association, the AU Islam Awareness Campaign, and the Muslim Student Association, as well as interfaith activists of all faiths from around Greater Washington, will sign the Religious Freedom Pledge, which commits signers to “uphold and defend the freedom of conscience of all individuals by rejecting and speaking out, without reservation, against bigotry, discrimination, harassment and violence based on religion or belief.”
The rally at AU, which is being hosted by Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at AU, in cooperation with the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, is the culminating event of the Third Annual “Spread Hummus, Not Hate” (SHNH) day-long minivan tour of Greater Washington on October 20, during which Muslim and Jewish activists visit mosques, synagogues, campuses and a public park in downtown Washington to say, “We are Muslims and Jews coming out in public to express our love for each other and our dedication to working together for the betterment of both our communities as well as the Greater Washington community in which we live side by side.”
Riders on the SHNH minivan will share free hummus and pita with people at multiple venues during the daylong tour that also includes a lunchtime encounter at Farragut Square in downtown Washington.
See the below itinerary of the Oct 20th SHNH Minivan tour:
8:30 AM The Muslim Community Center, Silver Spring, MD
10:15 AM The University of Maryland, College Park, MD
11:30 AM Masjid Muhammad, Washington, DC
12:45 PM Farragut Square Park, Washington, DC
2:00 PM Temple Shalom, Chevy Chase, MD
3:15 PM Washington Hebrew Congregation, Washington, DC
4:30 PM American University, Rally on the Quad, Washington DC
Ambassador Ahmed commented: “We are pleased and excited that Muslim and Jewish student leaders, as well as people of conscience from around the area, will be coming together on October 20 to express our love for and commitment to each other. This rally, which is non-partisan in nature, is an articulation of our commitment to stand united at a time when we have seen a worrisome rise in rhetorical attacks and hate crimes against Jews, Muslims and others.”
Ahmed noted that Jewish and Muslim chaplains at AU will deliver a joint Prayer for Peace, expressing their common desire for an early end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and for people of conscience of all faiths to come together in the U.S. to uphold democratic values and religious freedom for all.
Walter Ruby, Muslim-Jewish Program Director at the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, which has been working since 2007 to strengthen Muslim-Jewish ties across the U.S. and around the world, stated, “We are pleased that Spread Hummus, Not Hate offers Washington area Jews and Muslims to make clear at this portentous moment in history that whatever happens on November 8 and during the ensuing weeks and months, we will have each other’s backs, if either community is demonized or discriminated against.”
Andra Baylus of the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum remarked, “Spread Hummus Not Hate allows us to share with everyone we interact with the good news that despite the inaccurate perception that Jews and Muslims are adversaries, in fact, we are involved in an ongoing effort to build ties of friendship and trust. During the minivan tour and at the AU rally, we will sing, pray, rap and eat hummus and pita together. For those who are working to drive wedges between Jews and Muslims and set Americans of all backgrounds against each other, this min-bus tour of Spread Hummus Not Hate is the perfect answer!”