I Am the Other: Countering Stereotypes, Religious Illiteracy, and Hate Crimes

In the wake of recent hate crimes against the Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, and Sikh communities, we’ve witnessed an increase in ignorance and stereotypes that have lead to violent attacks and dangerous misrepresentations that cause great harm to minority communities. Just in the past few months, a Sikh man in Kent, Washington was attacked, while there have been a string of anti-Semitic incidents and bomb threats to Jewish centers across the country.

Moreover, the tragic hate crime shooting at a bar in Olathe, Kansas left one Indian Hindu immigrant dead and another injured. Further exacerbating the situation, CNN aired the show Believer on March 5th, the first episode of a series on religion that presented Hinduism in a decontextualized and exoticized manner. Such blatant misrepresentations in the media only adds to the existing religious misunderstandings and stereotypes surrounding Hinduism and other religions.

Join the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC) and the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) on Sunday, April 30, 2017 for a diverse interfaith panel discussion to address the important issues that are currently facing minority religious communities in the U.S.

Come learn more on how you can help counter stereotypes, xenophobia, and hate crimes.

  • Moderator: Mihir Meghani M.D., Board Member, SIVIC and Hindu American Foundation
  • Hindu Speaker: Padmavathy Mana, HAF Associate Director, West Coast
  • Jewish Speaker: Diane Fisher, Board Member, SiVIC and Jewish Community Relations Council Chair
  • Muslim Speaker: Sabuhi Siddique, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Vice Chair of Human Relations Commission in Santa Clara County; 2018 San Jose City Council Candidate
  • Sikh Speaker: pending

Denouncing Hate That Targets Religion

SF Bay Area Faith Leaders Denounce Incidents of Hate Targeting Religion
December 1, 2016

News of a hateful letter received by the Evergreen Islamic Center in San Jose and at least five other mosques is the most recent of an increasing number of incidents targeting people of different religions across the country.

As religious leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area, we cherish the rich diversity of religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions that comprise the mosaic that is America. Our diversity is a resource rather than a barrier to the democratic nation that we seek to be. Incidents of hate, such as this, seek to dehumanize “the other” and contradict the most basic principles common to our age-old faith teachings and those religious liberties enshrined in the American Constitution.

The rise of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in our country, catalyzed in part by the divisive rhetoric of the current political climate, is of great concern to all who seek cohesive and peaceful communities. When any one religion comes under attack, all religions come under attack. Therefore, we unite in condemning such acts. We stand together to denounce this and all acts that seek to marginalize and target entire faith communities.

G.L. Hodge, Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Rita R. Semel, Past Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Michael G. Pappas, Executive Director, San Francisco Interfaith Council

Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin, Resident Imam, SF Muslim Community Center
The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, The Episcopal Diocese of California
Rev. Fr. Mesrop Ash, Parish Priest, St. John Armenian Church
Fatih Ferdi Ates, Director, Pacifica Institute
The Rev. Sally Bingham, Canon for the Environment, The Episcopal Diocese of California
Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, Pastor, Third Baptist Church & President, SF Branch-NAACP
Rev. Angela Brown, JD, Associate Pastor, GLIDE
Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., Interim Senior Pastor, GLIDE
Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Society of SF Ken Chambers, Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Alameda County
Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco
Linda L. Crawford, Executive Director, Interfaith Center at the Presidio
Sister Chandrika Desai, Director, Brahma Kumaris Meditation Center, SF
Pastor Elizabeth Ekdale, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
Maha Elgenaidi, Chief Executive Officer, Islamic Networks Group (ING)
Fred Fielding, Board President, Interfaith Center at the Presidio
Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., President, University of San Francisco
His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Rabbi Marvin Goodman, Executive Director, No. California Board of Rabbis
Julie Greenfield, Facilitator, Eden Area Interfaith Council
Iftekhar Hai, President, United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance
Sari Heidenreich, Regional Coordinator, URI North America
David Hoffman, Chair, Interfaith Council of Sonoma County
Rev. Mark W. Holmerud, Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod, ELCA
Rev. Theon Johnson, III, Associate Pastor, GLIDE
Auxiliary Bishop William J. Justice, Archdiocese of San Francisco
The Rev. Victor Kazanjian, Jr., Executive Director, United Religions Initiative
Rev. D. Andrew Kille, Chair, Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
Rev. Ronald Kobata, Resident Minister, Buddhist Church of San Francisco
Rev. Deborah Lee, United Church of Christ, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
Dr. James McCray, Jr., Tabernacle Community Development Corp.
Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
Abby Porth, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council
Rev. Scott Quinn, Acting Director, Marin Interfaith Council
Rabbi Larry Raphael, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Sherith Israel
Rev. Schuyler Rhodes, Superintendent, Bridges District, CA-NV Conference-UMC
Moina Shaiq, President, Tri City Interfaith Council
Rita Shimmin, Executive Director, GLIDE
Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El
Rev. John Weems, Pastor & Head of Staff, Calvary Presbyterian Church
The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young, Dean, Grace Cathedral
Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Sherith Israel

For additional information, please contact Michael G. Pappas at (415) 425-9631.

Muslim Communities Confront Fear Mongering, Hate Speech, & Suspicion

A conversation with Zahra Billoo, Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations, SF Chapter, and Mike German, Fellow, Liberty and National Security Program, Brennan Center for Justice, Former FBI Special Agent, Domestic Terrorism (Appearing via Skype). This month’s forum will take a look at the very real fears of the Muslim community, both locally and nationally, and explore how best to respond, as allies across all communities, to the fear-mongering and hate speech.

Other Voices Monthly Forum is sponsored by the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, and held at the Midpen Media Center, where it is recorded for later broadcast on local cable television and streaming on the Internet. Previous forums (and other videos) can be seen at our YouTube Channel or the Video Page at our website.

Details and registration at www.peaceandjustice.org/forum-hate/.