We all have a right to feel safe in our homes, houses of worship, workplaces, and in our neighborhoods- and most of the time we are. However, there are times we feel vulnerable in certain places or situations especially with the latest April 3rd Punish a Muslim Campaign. This “Punish a Muslim Day” is a new form of threat targeting Muslims on April 3rd, which surfaced in a form of a letter distributed in the UK. The letter consists of a date, mission, and reward points system based on the extent of the attack on Muslims and people perceived to be Muslim such as our Sikh brothers and sisters or brown people in general. This letter has circulated around the internet and around the world in digital form. The fact that this letter has been seen world-wide opens a lot of doors for threat and harm. Intolerant people around the world may take this opportunity to release their hatred on innocent people and inflict life changing and/or life-threatening harm to them.
In New York City, our allies have our back, by declaring April 3rd a solidarity day where they have decided to wear a headscarf or kufie in response to this deplorable “Punish a Muslim” Day and turning into #WeAreAllMuslim Day. Allies will be taking selfies in their headgear to stamp out the blatant racism and hatred that exists. This is what solidarity looks and sounds like in America! Before we even said anything, our allies began to critically ponder on how to show up and defend their Muslim neighbors. They know all too well, if we don’t stand for one another, there will be no one left to stand for each of our communities. I am truly grateful to all of our allies who have declared April 3rd #WeAreAllMuslim to stamp out hate and bigotry.
While our allies will don hijabs and kufies, it is important that fellow Muslims are careful and avoid things that can make them vulnerable to these unsuspected attacks. Below are some tips that can help Muslims safe on April 3rd and for the days following. Keep in mind, not all people will act in violently on April 3rd, and may decide to do so on other days, which is why it’s important to keep these safety measures in mind.
At home, be mindful to protect yourself and your family:
- – Do not open your door or home to strangers.
- – If you have security cameras or dash cams, make sure to have them record all events taking place for the next few days.
- – Do not accept packages that are not delivered by mail carriers.
- – Going out in the day time to run errands or carrying on with your day is much safer than going out at night. Opt for day time travel instead of night.
Upon leaving your home:
- – Pray and make dua before leaving your home, Allah SWT is the Protector and we should call on Him before anyone else and seek His protection.
- – Avoid wearing expensive items when out, you do not want to draw attention to yourself.
- – If you’re leaving work or another location, make sure to notify others where you are and when they should expect you to return, in case you run into some issue along the way.
- – Be careful and on your toes for possible danger. This day requires Muslims to be wary, cautious, attentive, and mindful of what is going on around you and the people you will come across.
- – Do not be distracted by your phone or wear headphones. Using your phone or keeping headphones on while walking or taking transportation can make you victim to an unsuspecting attack. But keep your cell phone handy in case you need to call for help.
- – When walking alone to your car, keep your keys in your hand lodged between your fingers firmly in case you need to defend yourself. Be alert of your surroundings.
- – Upon arriving to your car, look inside, under, and behind it to make sure nothing is hiding there. Once you get in your car, lock your doors and keep your windows closed.
- – While driving, do not stop to give directions or pick up stranded individuals. Instead, report accidents and stranded cars by calling 911.
- – Try to avoid parking in areas that are not well lit or deserted. Always scan the area before going in or out of your vehicle.
For those walking and taking public transportation:
- -Stay on the inside of the sidewalk and face oncoming traffic to avoid being attacked or nabbed from the back.
- – Walking alone might make you more vulnerable to attacks, it is best to walk with a friend or with a group of people so that you can be less vulnerable. It is uncommon for people to attack a group of people.
- – Avoid walking near someone who is holding a cup or bottle suspiciously. Could be acid, as acid attacks have been more common form of attacking Muslims and listed in the points system.
- – Be vigilant when someone in a car or in the street stops to ask a question, keep your distance and think of an escape route if you need to.
- – Try to make direct eye contact with individuals approaching you, enough to send them message you know what they look like, in case they attack or harass you and you need to report their description
- – If you are being attacked or threatened, try to bring as much attention to yourself as possible. Yelling will help people come to your rescue and/or scare the perpetrator from further attacking or harassing you. Yell words like, HELP, FIRE, CALL POLICE, and similar phrases.
- – If you do not feel safe and need to get from one location to another, take a taxi, Uber or Lyft.
- – In any unsafe situation, always call 911.
I pray that all my Muslim brothers and sisters as well as others who may be mistaken for Muslim are safe on this day and all days. Also, that our brothers and sisters of other faiths will be U
standers for their Muslim neighbor during an attack or abusive situation. We need to stick together when trials like this occur to show the intolerant and hateful people that we are not afraid and that we, no matter what religion or race we are united.