Past Events in 2016

List of Events in 2016

Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia organizes talks, forums, workshops, rallies and demonstrations to highlight Islamophobia. These events emphasize Islamophobia’s connection to racism and other forms of oppression. We adopt intersectional approach to defeat Islamophobia and other forms of oppression.

Here is a listed of events organized or participated by MERI members in 2016:

A talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” was organized at Western Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, NC, on Sunday, January 3, 2015. This event was organized by Social Justice Forum at Western Boulevard Presbyterian Chruch. 
Islamophobia and Racism Talk at Western Boulevard Presbyterian Church.

Islamophobia-Talk-1-3-16-Pic-1
Manzoor Cheema, a founding-member of Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, spoke on the topic of “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” at the monthly meeting of Congregations for Social Justice (CSJ). This talk took place at Community United Church of Christ in Raleigh, NC, on January 13, 2016.
Islamophobia Talk at Congregations for Social Justice Meeting.

Congregations-for-Social-Justice-Meeting


Pullen Memorial Baptist Church
 in Raleigh, NC, organized a forum to explore Islamophobia on January 13, 2016. This forum featured speakers from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities. David Crabtree, anchor person at Raleigh-based WRAL TV facilitated the forum. This forum was well attended. WRAL TV, live broadcast that forum.
Forum on Islamophobia at Pullen Church.

Pullen Church

Two pro-confederacy rallies were planned in downtown Raleigh on January 16, 2016. As a response, members of Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle organized a canvassing action for solidarity with refugees and Muslims in downtown Raleigh. Members of Triangle SURJ (Showing Uo for Racial Justice) and Muslims for Social Justice participated with JVP-Triangle in this action.
Canvassing for Refugees and Muslims in Raleigh.

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A talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” was organized and hosted by UUFR (Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh) on January 27, 2016. Manzoor Cheema from MERI (Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia) spoke at the event. This event was preceded by canvassing action against Islamophobia that was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle.
Talk in Islamophobia and Racism at UUFR

UUFR, Islamophobia, MERI

Durham, NC, based Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (ERUFF) organized a talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” on January 31st, 2016. Manzoor Cheema from MERI (Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia) gave the speech, which was followed by Q&A session.
Islamophobia and Racism Talk at ERUUF
ERUUF_Islamophobia_Talk
Qasima Wideman and Manzoor Cheema from MERI (Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia) offered a workshop on Islamophobia and racism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Campus Y.
Islamophobia Talk at UNC Chapel Hill’s Campus Y.
February 8, 2016.
UNC-Islamophobia-Workshop-1

Chapel Hill-based BAJ (Balance & Accuracy in Journalism) organized a talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” on February 10, 2016. This talk was hosted by the Community Church of Chapel Hill, UU and sponsored by Peace and Justice Committee of the Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist .
BAJ Talk on Islamophobia and Racism
BAJ-Islamophobia-Meeting-1
MERI (Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia) members and allies participated in Moral March on Raleigh or HKonJ (Historic Thousands on Jones Street) People’s Assembly on February 13, 2016.
Islamophobia and other Oppression Highlighted at HKonJ 2016
HKonJ 2016 Pic 11 HKonJ 2016 Pic 3
A workshop titled “Disrupting Islamophobia” was presented to the members of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) Triangle in Durham, NC. This workshop was facilitated by Qasima Wideman, Eva Panjwani and Manzoor Cheema.
SURJ Triangle Hosts Islamophobia Workshop. 
February 28, 2016
MERI-Workshop-at-SURJ

A talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” was hosted by Raleigh-based Fairmont United Methodist Church on February 29, 2016. This talk was hosted by Social Justice Committee of Fairmont United Methodist Church.
Islamophobia talk hosted by Fairmont United Methodist Church
FUMC-Islamophobia-Talk-2-29-16
On Feb 24th, Taha Omar, Adam Mekki, and Muhammad Tairab, Sudanese-Americans from a predominately Muslim community, were murdered “execution-style” in Fort Wayne, Indiana. There was little media coverage or outcry of community support for the horrible crime committed against these young black men. The media quickly painted a “black thug” narrative and at least one University’s MSA canceled a scheduled vigil for the young men. As a response, a vigil and march was organized in the memory of “Our Three Brothers” by Black, People of Color and Muslim organizers in Durham, NC on March 8, 2016.
Vigil and March for #OurThreeBrothers
Our-Three-Brother-Vigil-Pic-1
North Carolina Stop Torture Now organized an event to highlight North Carolina’s role in aiding torture through a practice called extraordinary rendition. This event was organized outside North Carolina Governor’s Mansion in downtown Raleigh.
Allies Organize to End Torture
March 9, 2016.
NC-Stop-Torture-Now-3-9-16-Pic-4
A talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” was organized by Durham-based People’s Alliance on March 10, 2016. Manzoor Cheema from MERI (Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia) spoke at the event.
Durham People’s Alliance Hosts Talk on Islamophobia
Durham-PA-Islamophobia-Talk-3-09-16


National Lawyers Guild Southern Regional Conference
hosted a panel titled “Combating the New Wave of Islamophobia and Xenophobia in the South” on March 19, 2016. This conference was organized at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Panelists included Azadeh Shahsahahani (legal and advocacy director of Project South), Dani Moore (NC Justice Center), Manzoor Cheema (MERI and Muslims for Social Justice), Zaid Kuseybi (Greensboro, NC, based activist).
National Lawyers Guild Conference Hosts Islamophobia Panel
Islamophobia-Panel-at-UNC-Law-School-National-Lawyers-Guild-3-19-16

#BlackLivesMatter Queer Trans People of Color Coalition is leading a movement to fight this bill. A protest was organized by the coalition in front of Governor’s Mansion in Raleigh on March 24, 2016.
#BlackLivesMatter QTPOC Coalition Protest House Bill 2 
BlackLivesMatter-QTPOC-Rally-Pic-4
On April 4, 2016, an event called Time for a Moral Revolution of Values was organized at Temple Beth Or in Raleigh, NC. This event included testimonies of attacks on education, healthcare, immigrants, workers, LGBTQ community members, Muslims and voters.
Launch of Moral Revolution of Values
Moral-Value-Revival-Tour-Temple-Beth-Or-pic-4

Anti-racism walk and rally titled “Race Forward: On the Move for Racial Justice” was organized in downtown Durham to support the work of Infinity Diamond Club. Manzoor Cheema from MERI spoke about Islamophobia and its connection to anti-Black racism.
Race Forward: On The Move for Racial Justice
April 9, 2016
Race-for-Racial-Justice-Pic-4

Methodist Federation for Social Action – North Carolina Conference Chapter (MFSA-NCC) organized a conference titled “Dare to Hear: An Honest Conversation about Race and the End to White Privilege” at Duke United Memorial Methodist Church in Durham.
Methodist Social Action Conference on Racism and White Privilege
April 9, 2016

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A forum titled “Race, Fear and Faith: A Conversation About ‪Racism‬ and ‪Islamophobia‬” was organized at Meredith College in Raleigh on April 14, 2016. Rev. William Barber (President of NC NAACP), Muhammad AbuTaleb (Imam of Islamic Center of Raleigh) and Maryam Ahmed (member of Meredith College Muslims Students Association) were featured speakers.
Meredith College Hosts Forum on Racism and Islamophobia
April 14, 2016Islamophobia is bigotry and oppression (individual or institutional) against Islam, Muslims and people perceived as Muslims. The Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (MERI) is a network of North Carolina-based organizations with a mission to end racism and Islamophobia. Our goal is to build a movement that challenges all forms of oppression. We work with folks and organizations from every background to uplift all marginalized voices. Since we launched this network in early 2015, we have organized discussions and actions throughout North Carolina to defeat Islamophobia. Our partners include: Muslims for Social Justice
Jewish Voice for Peace - Triangle NC
Black Workers for Justice
AIME (Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East)
NC Justice Center
Methodist Federation for Social Action - NC Conference Chapter
Peace Committee of Chapel Hill Friends Meeting
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Balance and Accuracy in Journalism
Peace and Justice Committee of the Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist
The Orange County Peace Coalition
The Salam Shalom Committee of the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill
Quaker House (Fayetteville)
MAPAC (Muslims American Public Affairs Council)
Stop Torture Now. Check us on our website at: http://merinc.org

South Asian and People of Color students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hosted a workshop on Islamophobia and racism on April 18, 2016. MERI’s member, Manzoor Cheema, facilitated the workshop.
UNC-Chapel Hill South Asian Students Host Talk on Islamophobia
April 18, 2016
University-of-North-Carolina-Chapel-Hill-Islamophobia-Talk-1

MERI members, Manzoor and Noah, facilitated a workshop titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Durham, NC, on April 30, 2016.

May Day rally (International Workers Day) was organized by Durham Solidarity Center on Monday, May 2nd, in downtown Durham. This rally was sponsored by Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia and twenty other organizations.
http://merinc.org/activism/durham-organizes-may-day-rally/
May-Day-2016-Durham-12

Raleigh African American youth Akiel Denkins was killed by a Raleigh police officer on February 29, 2016. Raleigh citizens have demanded justice for Denkins murder and called for accountability of the law enforcement. On May 3rd, citizens and activists attended Raleigh City Council meeting and submitted their demands.
http://merinc.org/uncategorized/justice-for-akiel-denkins/
Akiel-Denkins-Raleigh-City-Council-Pic-6

Southwest Airlines shareholder meeting took place in Chicago on May 18, 2016. This meeting was confronted by a protest by pilots, staff and mechanics for unfair work conditions. Southwest Airlines also has a history of discrimination against Muslims (see links below). Members of Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, the Center for New Community, Jewish Voice for Peace – Chicago and Muslim American Society – Chicago joined the protest.
http://merinc.org/activism/protest-against-southwest-airlines/
SouthWest-Protest-Pic-1

Manzoor Cheema conducted two workshops at the UNC School of Social Work in Chapel Hill, NC, on Friday, May 20, 2016.

Moore County Democratic Party hosted a non-partisan talk by Manzoor Cheema titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” on May 16, 2016, in Pinehurst, NC. Manzoor offered background to Islamophobia, connection between racism, Islamophobia and other forms of oppression; and political usage of Islamophobia.

Manzoor Cheema from the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia spoke on the topic of “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” at Congregational Church of Pinehurst, UCC, on May 22, 2016. Congregants from the church, Moore County NAACP members, grassroots activists and general community members attended the talk. This talk explored the roots of Islamophobia; how Islamophobia is connected to anti-Black racism, homophobia, anti-semitism and other forms of oppression; and how to build an intersectional movement to defeat all these oppressions.
http://merinc.org/forum/islamophobia-talk-at-congregational-church-of-pinehurst/
Pinehurst-Anti-Isamophobia-Speech-1

Refugees and victims of war were memorialized during a Memorial Day event in Chapel Hill on May 30, 2016. This event was organized by Orange County Peace Coalition.
http://merinc.org/uncategorized/refugees-remembered-on-memorial-day/
May 30, 2016.
Memorial-Day-2016-Chapel-Hill-NC-3-Center-for-New-Community-Blog

Manzoor Cheema from the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (MERI) and Muslims for Social Justice, made a presentation titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” at North Carolina Council of Churches meeting in Greensboro, NC.
http://merinc.org/uncategorized/islamophobia-presentation-to-nc-council-of-churches/
June 7, 2016.
Islamophobia-Presentation-NC-Council-of-Churches-1

Manzoor Cheema made a presentation on the intersections between Islamophobia, sexism, homophobia, racism, attacks on workers and other oppressions, during a meeting by North Carolina Women United in Raleigh, on June 14, 2016.

MERI made a presentation on Islamophobia at Legal Aid of North Carolina’s office in Durham, NC, on July 11, 2016. This presentation included history of Islam and Muslims in the USA, diversity within the Muslim American community, background of Islamophobia, legislation against Shariah law and strategies to defeat Islamophobia.

Manzoor Cheema spoke at #BlackLivesMatter/End Islamophobia forum during UE Local 150’s 9th Biannual Convention in Raleigh on July 16, 2016. Delegates from 16 workplaces throughout North Carolina attended this biannual convention by North Carolina’s largest public workers union!
UE-150-Biannual-Convention-6-17-16-Pic-1

Manzoor Cheema joined allies from Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Center for New Community to offer a workshop on Islamophobia in Chicago on July 21, 2016. Members of AFSC – Chicago, CAIR – Chicago, JVP – Chicago and other organizations attended the workshop.

Manzoor Cheema from MERI made a presentation on Islamophobia at NC Council of Churches meeting on gun-control movement in Durham on August 2, 2016. Manzoor raised awareness about abusive nature of “No Fly, No Buy” bill.

MERI Members Noah Rubin-Blose and Manzoor Cheema did a workshop on Islamophobia for Raleigh PACT (Police Accountability Community Taskforce) in Raleigh on August 13, 2016.

Imam Oliver Muhammad, Imam Salahuddin Muhammad, Sara Haddad, Al-Hajj Mauri Saalakhan and Manzoor Cheema (on behalf of the Center for New Community) spoke at “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” forum at As-Salaam Islamic Center/Vital Link in Raleigh on August 14, 2016.
As-Salaam-Forum-8-14-16-Pic-1

Manzoor Cheema and James (Munir) Perry, on behalf of Muslims for Social Justice, did a presentation titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” at North Raleigh Masjid on August 27, 2016.

Manzoor Cheema made a presentation on Islamophobia and racism at Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Columbia, South Carolina, on September 7, 2016. This presentation was made on behalf of the Center for New Community.

MERI members joined a talk and action against entrapment and Islamophobia in Raleigh on September 16, 2016. This action was part of a national campaign by Imam Jamil Action Network.
IJAN-Raleigh-Action

MERI members joined Triangle People’s Assembly pre-planning meeting in Raleigh on September 17, 2016. Members of various organizations including Black Workers for Justice, Durham Solidarity Center, Si a las licensesRaise Up for $15, Durham Beyond PolicingICE out of NC, Muslims for Social Justice, Organize 2020, AIME (Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East), Durham Association of Educators, NC Environmental Justice Network joined this meeting to launch a People Assembly in the future.

Noah Rubin-Blose made a presentation during a forum on Islamophobia at the University of South Carolina in Columbia on September 20, 2016. This discussion was hosted by Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine. Participants included Taher Herzallah, representative of American Muslims for Palestine, Rev. James Thomas from the Lutheran Southern Seminary Read more HERE.

Manzoor Cheema made a presentation titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” at Highland United Methodist Church in Raleigh, on September 20, 2016. This presentation was organized by Campaign Nonviolence Triangle, as part of Peace Week.

Manzoor Cheema, on behalf of the Center for New Community, co-facilitated a workshop on Islamophobia and racism in Boston on September 24, 2016. This workshop was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace – Boston, Muslim Justice League, Boston Workmen’s Circle and allies.
Boston-Train-the-Trainers-1

Boston-Train-the-Trainers-5

A forum on Islamophobia titled Poisonous Politics: Fear, Faith and Democracy was organized at McKimmon Center in Raleigh on October 6, 2016. Speakers included Prof. Gene Nichol, Muhammad AbuTaleb (Imam at Islamic Center of Raleigh), and Melody Moezzi (Muslim writer and human rights activist). Organizers included Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, MERI, Islamic Association of Raleigh, Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle NC, and Triangle Interfaith Alliance.
Gene-Nichol-Poisonous-Politics-10-06-16

Members of MERI joined Triangle May Day Coalition protest outside gubernatorial debate at UNC TV in Durham on October 11, 2016. Protesters held both candidates accountable for ending police brutality/#BlackLivesMatter; welcoming Syrian refugees/ending Islamophobia; Fight for $15/collective bargaining/labor union rights in NC; and ending ICE raids/immigrant rights. Read newspaper coverage HERE.
Triangle-May-Day-Gubernatorial-Protest-1 Triangle-May-Day-Gubernatorial-Protest-2 Triangle-May-Day-Gubernatorial-Protest-3

Manzoor Cheema made a presentation on Islamophobia, along with Azadeh Shahshahani (Legal and Advocacy Director of the Project South) at the University of South Carolina at Columbia on October 14, 2016. This presentation was made during the Sixth Annual Conference on Immigration to the South at USC Columbia.
USC-Columbia-Immigration-Conference-1

Members of MERI, Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle NC, SURJ – Triangle, Stop Torture Now, AIME (Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East) and Triangle May Day Coalition protested anti-Muslim speech at Extraordinary Ventures in Chapel Hill on October 18, 2016. Community members protested the speech by anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant speaker Diana West, who was invited by virulent anti-Muslim lecture series by ICON (Issues Confronting Our Nation). Read media report HERE.
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A candidate forum was organized at As-Salaam Islamic Center by the Islamic center, Education Justice Alliance and MAPAC (Muslim American Public Affairs Council). This forum took place at As-Salaam Islamic Center in Raleigh on October 22, 2016. Candidates running for US Senate, State Senate, Wake County Commissioners and Wake County School Board participated in the forum. Community members asked questions about hate crimes at school, school-to-prison pipeline, economic inequality, anti-Muslim legislation, long other questions.
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Manzoor Cheema from MERI made a co-presentation with South Carolina-based human rights activist Ibrahim Hanifa on the topic of Islamophobia at the 2016 CHRONIC (Carolina Human Rights Organizers Conference). This conference took place at Arden, NC, from 10-21-16 to 10-23-16. This workshop invites human rights organizers and activists from South Carolina and North Carolina. The 2016 conference featrued workshops and presentations on BlackLivesMatter, Black Liberation Manifesto, Struggle for the Land, Ubuntu Economic Model, Human Rights Cities, Abolitionist Movement, War and Conscience, and other important topics.
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Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East organized a forum titled “Linking Liberation Struggles” at NC Central University in Durham on October 24, 2016. Speakers included Jillian Johnson (Black Liberation), Benjamin Frey (Native American Burhan Ghanayam (Palestine Liberation). The talk was moderated by Prof. Omid Safi. Respondents from Jewish Voice for Peace, Immigrant Rights and Native American Liberation provided their insight.

Manzoor Cheema attended SEIRN (Southeast Immigrant Rights Network) conference in Black Mountain, NC, on November 11, 2016. This conference brought together participants from many Southeastern states including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana,North Carolina, South Carolina,  Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Participants discussed results from the recent election and strategies for future organizing.

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Manzoor Cheema facilitated a workshop titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” at the University of South Carolina in Columbia on November 17, 2016. This workshop was organized by Students for Justice in Palestine, the Black Graduate Student Association, Muslim Allies Working Group and other organizations/unaffiliated folks. Here is a picture with some of the participants.
USC-Columbia-Pic-1

MERI partnered with Triangle Unity May Day Coalition to lead an anti-KKK rally in Raleigh on December 3rd. This was followed by the launch of Triangle People’s Assembly on December 4th. Read more HERE.
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MERI partners participated in Triangle People’s Assembly in Raleigh, NC, on December 4, 2016. This assembly was organized by Triangle Unity May Day Coalition, a coalition of more than 15 organizations that was formed at May Day 2016. MERI Coordinator, Manzoor Cheema, facilitated discussion in Islamophobia working group.

MERI partner organization Muslims for Social Justice organized a discussion on racism and Islamophobia at As-Salaam Islamic Center in Raleigh on December 14, 2016.
As-Salaam-Islamic-Center-Forum-1As-Salaam-Islamic-Center-Forum-2

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