A Note from Your Muslim Neighbor

We are so pleased that you have chosen to take a step today to learn about your Muslim Neighbor!

During these challenging times, we have often been asked by our fellow Americans how they can learn more about the Muslim community in America and what they can do to help. There are many ways to make a difference, but we are suggesting the following steps to start:

1) Share Your Experience

Please share tonight’s experience with your colleagues, friends and relatives and invite them to consider hosting a similar event in their circles. We also have information about our Teatime for Peace program and can connect with you on how to host a Teatime event.

2) Visit a Mosque

Contact us to visit our mosque(s) to learn more about your Muslim neighbors. Invite your colleague, friends, relatives and/or your faith community to join in the visit. There are many mosques in Northern Ohio, and they often hold open houses and interfaith events such as dialogues, community dinners, and tours. We can help make arrangements for a mosque visit.

3) Make Friends with a Muslim

There is a lot of misinformation about Islam on the internet, including information created by a cottage industry of professional purveyors of Islamophobia who spew hatred and promote stereotypes and distortions. As such, it can be confusing to navigate the Internet these days on the topic of Islam and Muslims. The best way to clarify concerns is to have a human face and human contact to go to.

4) Seek Knowledge and Understanding

Please consider exploring more about Islam and Muslims. In the current climate, I have found that absence of accurate information can lead to fear of “the other” and can create increased social distance. Knowledge can empower us to be more willing to open our hearts and minds and base our opinions on objective reality rather than on stereotypes, misconceptions, and generalities. To help guide your reading, here are a few books and websites that contain information that I believe truly reflects the message of Islam.

Books About Islam:

Brown, Jonathan. Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy. Oneworld, 2016.

Esposito, John L. What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam. Oxford University Press, 2011.

“ISLAM – Top 50 Questions – Answered.” GainPeace, Saheeh International, store.gainpeace.com/products/islam-top-50-questions-answered.

Power, Carla. If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran. Holt Paperbacks, 2015.

Said, Edward W. Covering Islam. Random House, 1997.

Siljander, Mark D., and John David. Mann. A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide. HarperOne, 2008. 2

Books About Islamophobia:

Beydoun, Khaled A. American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear. University of California Press, 2019.

Green, Todd H. The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West. Fortress Press, 2015.

Iftikhar, Arsalan. Scapegoats: How Islamophobia Helps Our Enemies and Threatens Our Freedoms. Hot Books, 2016.

Lean, Nathan Chapman., et al. The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims. Pluto Press, 2017.

Esposito, John L. The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? Oxford University Press, 1999.

A Book About Islamic Civilization (Children):

“1001 Inventions and Awesome Facts from Muslim Civilization: Official Children’s Companion to the 1001 Inventions Exhibition.” National Geographic Kids, 11 Dec. 2012.

Suggested Websites About How to Support Muslims:

“Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilified A People” Shaheen, Jack https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-Lkry-SF01&hsimp=yhs-SF01&hspart=Lkry&p=Reel+Bad+Arabs+jack+Shaheen#id=10&vid=69c213067281025e94b851fa4a1c1552&action=view

Edward Said on Orientalism: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-Lkry-SF01&hsimp=yhs- SF01&hspart=Lkry&p=edward+said+orientalism+video#id=1&vid=deab9285fb29bab0586bde149d7f0a77&action=click

“10 Things You Can Do for Your Muslim Neighbors.” 10 Things You Can Do for Your Muslim Neighbors | SoundVision.com, www.soundvision.com/article/10-things-you-can-do-for-your-muslim-neighbors.

CAIR – Council on American-Islamic Relations. www.cair.com/.

“Islamophobia Is a Closed-Minded Hatred, Fear or Prejudice toward Islam and Muslim.”, 22 Apr. 2019, www.islamophobia.org/.

Rashid, Qasim, and Qasim Rashid. “16 Ways You Can Support American Muslims in 2016.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 4 Jan. 2017, www.huffpost.com/entry/16-ways-you-can-support-a_b_8901854.

SoundVision.com | Building Bridges of Understanding. www.soundvision.com/.

Please like us at: https://www.facebook.com/CAIRCleveland/

Please check out my Facebook: Isam Zaiem (Friends are always welcome!)

5) Let the Conversation Continue

I have dedicated the remainder of my life to helping to establish understanding and respect among people of all faiths and backgrounds in my home of Northeast Ohio. I can come to your place of worship, we can meet at the mosque, or at a place of your choice. The conversation must continue, and I hope you will join me in my quest to build peace and understanding. Wishing you peace and blessings.


Isam Zaiem