Shoulder to Shoulder: Call to Multi-Faith Solidary in the wake of Chapel Hill

On Tuesday, an act of senseless violence ended the lives of three students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; her husband, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

Regardless of the motivation of this particular tragedy, it has very clearly highlighted concern in the Muslim community about rising anti-Muslim sentiment.  Now is the time for those of us in the faith community who are not Muslim to stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters. 

We, the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, call on clergy and religious communities to remember the lives of the three American Muslims killed in Chapel Hill this week by incorporating scriptural calls to love into religious services this weekend.  Use and follow #SpreadLove to amplify the impact of our combined voices of solidarity, condolence and support. 

  • Use a text from your own tradition to highlight themes of love.

  • Offer a prayer.

  • Play this StoryCorps piece with shooting victim Yusor Abu-Salha, which highlights themes of unity:

    "Growing up in America has been such a blessing. And although in some ways I do stand out, such as the hijab I wear on my head, the head covering, there are still so many ways that I feel so embedded in the fabric that is, you know, our culture.

     “And that's the beautiful thing here, is that it doesn't matter where you come from. There's so many different people from so many different places, of different backgrounds and religions — but here we're all one, one culture. And it's beautiful to see people of different areas interacting, and being family. Being, you know, one community." ~ Yusor Abu-Salha.

  • Write a letter or make a phone call to the closest mosque, Islamic Center or Muslim community group.

  • Participate in a vigil in your local community.  Here’s a link to a google doc, listing many around the country. 

  • Tweet, Facebook post, etc messages of condolences and support, using the hashtag #SpreadLove

  • Sign the Shoulder to Shoulder pledge, linked here

While there are still many questions around the killer’s motivation, it is clear that this incident occurred in a context of high levels of anti-Muslim sentiment, and the American Muslim community is fearful as hate speech and hate crimes continue to target Muslims in this country.  The Center for American Progress, in an accident of timing, this week released their new report, Fear, Inc., 2, documenting the cash-flow behind anti-Muslim rhetoric and legislation.  Regardless of the decision regarding motivation, this tragedy has brought to national attention the hatred and fear that are very much a part of the current national and local rhetoric.  We as religious leaders need to take a stand and help lead our nation in a direction of constructive, loving, and justice-seeking national dialogue on religious freedom and inclusion.  We hope you will join us, as we continue to stand Shoulder to Shoulder.


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