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'I am Muslim. I am NYC.': City launches plan to combat anti-Muslim discrimination and Islamophobia

Posted October 3

"I am Muslim. I am NYC."

That's the tagline for a new campaign launched Monday by the New York City Commission on Human Rights — an effort city officials say is aimed at combatting anti-Muslim discrimination and Islamophobia.

It's a campaign that comes amid increasing concerns that anti-Islamic sentiment is increasing after a series of deadly terror attacks in the U.S. and abroad.

"Millions of people adhering to some religion or faith call New York City home, including thousands of Muslims with diverse backgrounds," reads a description of the campaign. "They, like New Yorkers of every faith, contribute to the unique and rich cultural diversity for which New York City is universally known."

The commission said the campaign is a response to "negative rhetoric" surrounding immigrants and refugees, noting that the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit and the Office of Immigrant Affairs are also taking part in the campaign.

In addition to a social media campaign that uses the #IAmMuslimNYC hashtag, the government will host events and distribute antidiscrimination literature, according to the civil rights office.

One document titled, "Protections for Muslims & Those Perceived as Such," details 10 bullet points about discrimination against Muslims; the text focuses on employment discrimination, reasonable accommodations, rights to celebrate religious holidays, denial of service and other related issues.

Among these initiatives is a digital ad campaign that will "promote respect and understanding of Muslim communities" — ads that will send people to a government website, complete with calls to action and other materials.

Additionally, the city will host forums as well as a cultural sensitivity workshop titled, "Understanding Islam," as well as a separate event titled, "Building Inclusive and Progressive Cities," featuring New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sadiq Khan, mayor of London about how to combat Islamophobia.

Educational campaigns will continue into spring 2017, according to the civil rights commission's website.

Those who say they've been victims of anti-Muslim discrimination will also be able to call hotlines set up by the city, AM New York reported.

"Now more than ever, it is important for every New Yorker to stand united as one city and reject hate and violence," de Blasio said, according to Reuters. "In New York, everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, agnostic and atheist — it doesn’t matter."

The ad campaign comes after recent terror attacks and related debate over radical Islam. It also follows Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposed temporary ban of Islamic immigration to the U.S. — a position he later reversed in exchange for "extreme vetting" of nations with a history of terrorism.

Researchers at Georgetown University found in May that there have been 180 violent anti-Muslim incidents across the country since March 2015, an increase from the 20-30 hate crimes that reportedly unfolded against Muslims before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as Reuters reported.

Email: bhallowell@deseretnews.com Twitter: billyhallowell Facebook: facebook.com/billyhallowell

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