Category Archives: News

Response to Massacre in Orlando

Statement on Orlando Massacre from Salma Mirza, a queer Muslim who is a member of Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (MERI) and Muslims for Social Justice

I am heartbroken about this attack on my community, as most of those killed were LGBTQ people of color. The flyer for the event was of Black and Latina trans women and we have a national climate that targets these communities.

As a queer Muslim, I watched the story unfold in shock and grief. I’ve been dancing in those clubs. My friends have been in those clubs. It could have been any one of us. Those clubs are one of the few places we can feel free. As I’ve been trying to process and grieve this tragedy, I see Donald Trump using this tragedy to renew his call for a ban on Muslims. Before the bodies have been taken out of the building, before all their loved ones have been contacted, it’s already been used to justify hatred against Muslims. The killing of my people is being used to justify the killing of my people.

I am horrified that this tragedy is being used to call for restrictions of the civil liberties of Muslims. While the Muslim community may need to struggle with homophobia, so too does our country. In the first 10 weeks of 2016, over 200 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation were introduced in 34 states. The day after HB2 passed, I got arrested in front of the Governor’s mansion with other queer and trans people fighting that attack on our community. As my queer Tennessean friend Thomas Walker said, the queer people of color trapped in Pulse hid in whatever bathroom they thought they were most likely to survive in, not whichever one matched their birth certificate. The right-wing is passing bills attacking trans people in bathrooms while trans people hid from their killer in the Pulse bathroom to try and survive. There was a white guy that they caught in LA on his way to LA Pride with guns and ammo and bomb-making equipment. Like him, Omar Mateen was an American. Donald Trump may say he’s foreign-born, but he was born in New York. He was a fan of the NYPD. He is a home-grown criminal. America as a whole needs to struggle with hatred and fear of LGBTQ people.

Mateen was a domestic abuser, like another killer, George Zimmerman. Despite this, he had no criminal record. As we’ve seen in the Stanford rape case, toxic masculinity is an American problem. He was born and socialized in America. He internalized these lessons.

Mass shootings are an American problem, not an “over there” problem. There have been 136 instances of mass shooting in 2016 alone. More than 400,000 people have died from gun violence in the past 10 years. The overwhelming majority of shooting deaths in the United States are committed by non-Muslims. This is an American problem, when shooters like Omar Mateen have access to buying assault style rifles. No one should have access to buy these guns that are often used in mass shootings. We need common sense gun control in this country.

At Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (MERI), we believe in building an intersectional movement to fight all forms of oppression – homophobia, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, attacks on workers, attacks on immigrants and all other oppressions. Hatred will win only if we are divided by fear. We want to build a powerful movement based on love and liberation for all people. We call upon people from all backgrounds to join our network and help us build a more loving and just community.
Salma-Mirza-1-by-Matthew-Lenard(From left) Noah Rubin-Blose, Salma Mirza and Jade Brooks, during a protest against House Bill 2 in front on North Carolina Executive Mansion on March 24, 2016.
Photo by Matthew Lenard




Islamophobia Talk at Congregational Church of Pinehurst

Congregational Church of Pinehurst Hosts a Talk on 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. The talk was followed by Q&A session and photo-op with a banner titled “United Against Racism and Islamophobia”.

About the Congregational Church of Pinehurst
“The Congregational Church of Pinehurst, UCC an official ONA church, celebrates the human spirit by welcoming all to its family of faith.
At Congregational Church of Pinehurst we seek to share God’s love and justice with the world. To that end we receive with respect, and nurture with intention, the gifts of all who come to us on their journey of faith. We also seek to be inclusive of all human diversity in the life of our church.
Our church’s energy is constantly renewed by Pastor Brent Bissette’s challenging and uplifting sermons, the beautiful music of our choir, our noisy and laughter-filled fellowship after church and the many mission-related community programs our members lead.
“The Congregational Church of Pinehurst, UCC, is called to follow Jesus’ way of love, justice and inclusion. We do this by:
• facing issues of faith openly and honestly
• nourishing the spirit of God within us all
• creating a caring community
• celebrating human diversity
• respecting the wisdom of other religious traditions
• working with others to create a just society
• promoting the sustainable and equitable use of the earth’s resources
We invite all to join us regardless of age, race, gender or sexual orientation.”

Learn more here:

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Presentation on Islamophobia at UNC School of Social Work

MERI Makes Presentations on Islamophobia at UNC School of Social Work

Manzoor Cheema from Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia made two presentations titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work on May 20, 2016. These presentations were part of Field Instructors’ and Task Supervisors’ Appreciation Conference. These presentations explored the roots of Islamophobia; how it impacts Muslim students, patients, workers, immigrants and general community members; and tools social workers could use when dealign with Muslim clients.

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work
Founded in 1920, the UNC School of Social Work is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation. Through innovative research that improves practice and enhances education, we search for solutions to the challenges of poverty, mental health, violence, and substance abuse. We prepare social workers to make a difference.

We are a graduate school offering M.S.W. and Ph.D. degrees.

Our Students
Our School has a tradition of excellence in producing practitioners and leaders who are committed to public, private and nonprofit services and to the development of policies and programs that strengthen individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations.

Across the country and internationally, alumni serve in a variety of direct practice and management positions. Our graduates work with racially diverse communities in rural, urban and suburban settings. They assist children and the elderly and those who are ill or challenged by mental and physical disabilities. Our graduates build on the strengths inherent in at-risk populations and bring compassion and wisdom to the most intransigent social problems.

Our Faculty
Our faculty members are respected and recognized scholars and entrepreneurs who have produced a wide range of innovative research, including studies that address some of the most pressing problems of addiction, aging, at-risk youth, poverty, healthcare, family violence and affordable housing. The School has grown to include 27 tenured and tenure-track faculty members – seven of whom are chaired or distinguished professors – and more than 65 clinical and research faculty members. In 2011, social work faculty received more than $12 million in grant funding.

Learn more at:

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Protest Against Southwest Airlines

Protest Against  Treatment of Workers and Muslims by Southwest Airlines

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.

Reports of anti-Muslim treatment at Southwest Airlines

“Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a senior at the university, was removed from the Oakland-bound flight from Los Angeles international airport on 6 April. Makhzoomi, 26, was born in Iraq, and his family fled the country in 2002 after his diplomat father was killed by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

According to Makhzoomi, he was removed from the flight and questioned by the FBI after another passenger informed airline staff about his phone conversation, which was to his uncle in Baghdad. He ended the call with the word “inshallah”, meaning “God willing”, and said the passenger thought he used the word “shahid”, meaning “martyr”, during the conversation.”

“”Khalil, 29 and Ayyad, 28, moved to Philadelphia from Palestine 15 years ago. Khalil now owns the Feltonville pizza shop — Pizza Point — that gave him his first job. The friends were in Chicago visiting each other’s families and met back at the airport Wednesday night to take the same flight home. The gate agent told them apologetically they wouldn’t be allowed to board because a passenger was afraid to fly with them after overhearing the men speaking Arabic.””

“A hijab-clad Muslim woman in the US was reportedly removed from a Southwest Airlines plane after she asked for switching seats with a flight attendant saying she “did not feel comfortable” with the passenger. Hakima Abdulle, a Muslim woman from Maryland, said she was removed from the flight from Chicago to Seattle “without any credible explanation”.
Abdulle said she wanted to switch seats but instead, she ended up being removed from the flight. This was the second such incident involving the carrier this month after an Iraqi man claimed that he was removed from a Southwest Airlines plane after a fellow passenger heard him speaking in Arabic.”

Report from protest against Southwest Airlines
“From North Carolina, Manzoor Cheema, a member of the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, made the connection between the protestors and the pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics picketing for better pay, benefits, and working conditions.
“Islamophobia is a product of a crisis in America where groups are marginalized and scapegoated to distract from labor issues and worker’s rights. It’s long been a “southern strategy” to divide labor and worker progressives. While Muslims are being kicked off planes, the corporation is abusing its workers. Merging these forces fighting against anti-Muslim profiling and for workers’ rights is important to achieve real change.””

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Events in Response to Bill Warner’s Visit

Community Mobilizations in Response to Bill Warner’s Visit

Anti-Muslim speaker, Bill Warner, was invited to speak at Pinehurst Country Club on May 15, 2016. He was invited by Moore Country Republican Women. Bill Warner has portrayed Muslim women wearing a hijab to KKK members donning clan outfit, criticized Muslim refugees’ resettlement in the USA, warned that Muslims can be “friendly” but never a “friend” and proposed a “war on Islam” as a solution to the “problem of Islam”. His virulence against Islam and Muslims has shocked people from all backgrounds.

There were multiple responses to Warner’s visit by community members in Moore County and beyond. An op-ed was published in Moore County based The Pilot, that challenged the visit by Warner:
 “I’m disappointed to see that an organization such as the Moore Republican Women’s group is supporting such hate speech despite listing on the front page of their website that one of their core beliefs is “equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability.” How is hosting this controversial speaker holding true to your core Republican values when you are intentionally denigrating an entire group of people for their religious beliefs?”

Moore County residents Paula Irene DeCarlo and Yasemin Kan organized a grassroots protest in response to Warner’s visit to Pinehurst on May 15th. They were joined with friends from different cities who protested outside the venue of speech. Protesters held signs that said “No to Racism, No to Islamophobia”, “To Learn the Truth of Islam, Ask a Muslim”. Raised as a Catholic, Paula emphasized the need to promote peaceful coexistence through learning, art and creativity. Her son produces music to confront bigotry and racism. Yasemin, a native of Turkey, is dedicated to challenge demonizing and dehumanizing of Muslims. Their actions have inspired many members to speak up against Islamophobia.

Moore County Democrats organized a talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” on May 16, 2016. Manzoor Cheema from the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia spoke at  the event. This was a non-partisan talk open to people of all or no affiliations. Participants reflected a great diversity, ranging from educators, financial professionals, artists, military veterans and public officials. The Q&A session dealt with many questions about Islam; connections between Islamophobia, anti-Black racism and other forms of oppression; and how to challenge these oppressions.

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Raleigh Community Demands Justice for Akiel Denkins

Raleigh Community Demands Justice for Akiel Denkins

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. Raleigh based PACT (Police Accountability Community Taskforce) has demanded for citizen accountability board and other fundamental changes in the law enforcement. On May 3rd, citizens and activists attended Raleigh City Council meeting and submitted their demands. PACT members and allies demanded that Raleigh City Council:

1) Recognize that data and residents’ experiences demonstrate a systemic pattern of biased policing practices
2) Remaining council people meet with representatives of the coalition before the Council’s June 7 meeting
3) Ensure that city staff provides a response by May 24 to the recommendations previously submitted
4) Make police accountability reforms a public hearing agenda item at the June 7 City Council meeting

Here is an article from the News and Observer that covered May 3rd Raleigh City Council meeting:
“”There are two Raleighs, they said.
There’s one where white people live in comfort and are left alone by law enforcement and one where poor black people regularly endure questionable police tactics, according to some Southeast Raleigh residents.
More than two dozen people showed up to the City Council meeting Tuesday night urging Raleigh to adopt several changes to its police department, from instituting an independent panel that could review controversial police actions to de-emphasizing enforcement of marijuana laws.”
“Denkins’ mother, Rolanda Byrd, stood beside Akiba Byrd, a leader of Raleigh PACT, as he addressed the council Tuesday night.
“This mother is standing here before you right now holding a picture of her slain child for no other reason than he was evading arrest. That is not a death sentence,” Akiba Byrd said.””

A group known as the Raleigh Police Accountability Community Taskforce is asking for the City of Raleigh to adopt eight changes that they say would improve local police practices, which they say are sometimes racist and overbearing. The group’s statement says it is requesting:

1. An independent oversight board that has the power to investigate, subpoena and discipline police when there is injustice.

2. Strengthening of the department’s anti-bias policing police with regular checks on officers’ stop-and-search data.

3. Improvement of officer training and an expansion of Crisis Intervention Training.

4. An end what the group called the bias in stops and searches by requiring written consent-to-search forms.

5. Placing a lower priority on marijuana enforcement.

6. A body-worn camera program that protects people’s rights, privacy and access.

7. An internship program to recruit and retain officers of color.

8. Increased opportunities for positive relationships between community and police.”

Read more here:

Here are pictures from Raleigh City Council meeting

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Durham Organizes May Day (International Workers Day) Rally

Durham Organizes May Day Rally to Celebrate International Workers Day

May Day is recognized as International Workers Day around the world. May Day rally was organized by Durham Solidarity Center on Monday, May 2nd, in downtown Durham. This rally was sponsored by twenty organizations, including by Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia. This rally brought together people from workers rights, anti-racism, LGBT rights, anti-Islamophobia, immigrant rights and other movements.

Excerpts from the joint statement, posted on Durham Solidarity Center website:

“On May 2, we invite everyone to join us in Durham to center working-class struggles and the multi-racial, multi-gendered, and multinational working class movement.

The continued mistreatment of workers and working class people must be met with resistance and demands coupled with action. Without justice, there is no peace. We stand in solidarity with international movements to resist worker oppression, imperialism, racism, and Islamophobia. Islamophobia is product of US wars and occupations abroad, and surveillance/institutional repression in the USA. The US South is home to more than 50% military bases in the USA. US law enforcement has entrapped Muslims throughout the country, including in local communities like Raleigh.

We stand opposed to anti-worker, anti-environment, so-called free trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership. We believe that intersecting oppressions of the working class — transphobia, homophobia, racism, patriarchy, xenophobia, ethnocentrism and plain bigotry– must be fought alongside and within the class struggle.

The economy of the U.S. South was built on theft of native land, genocide of native peoples, and centuries of the enslavement of Black people kidnapped from the African continent. Vestiges of this history remain intact today in “right-to-work laws,” the Jim Crow-era ban on collective bargaining for public workers, poverty wages, and the relentless attacks on workers and oppressed peoples’ ability to organize.

Now more than ever, we must build unions, workplace organizations, and other institutions to fight back and build a new economy that serves the needs of the 99%, not the 1%.

People are rising up and fighting back – from the #BlackLivesMatter movement against racist mass incarceration and police murders to the #Not1More movement and fight to end raids and deportations of immigrant families. From the massive statewide uprising against HB2’s attacks on the LGBTQ community to the Southern Workers Assembly and the work to build a rank-and-file workers’ movement that is united with the broader social movements in the U.S. South. In spite of daily attacks, our movements have made this clear: an injury to one is an injury to all!

This May Day, we will take to the streets to celebrate our victories, ready ourselves for future struggles, and send a message to the masses and the powers that be, that we are ready, and we are coming. We carry the spirit of Che Guevara, Fannie Lou Hamer, Assata Shakur, Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, Mother Jones, and all of those who stood for worker’s rights on the frontlines of the class struggle and struggle against all oppression.

Co-Sponsored by:

Durham Solidarity Center

Durham for All

Black Workers for Justice

UE 150 Public Sector Workers Union

Durham Beyond Policing

Duke Students and Workers in Solidarity

Raise Up for $15

Muslims for Social Justice

Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia

Si a las licensias

El Pueblo

Southern Vision Alliance

Faculty Forward Network

Triangle Green Party

Jewish Voices for Peace

ICE Out of NC

Witness for Peace – SE Chapter

Southeast Immigrants Rights Network

Triangle SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice)

Workers World Party”

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Video from May Day rally:


Islamophobia Alert: Bill French to Visit Pinehurst

Bill French Plans to Speak in Pinehurst on May 15, 2016

Tennessee-based anti-Muslim activist Bill French (pen-name – Bill Warner) will speak at Pinehurst County Club on May 15, 2016.

Who is Bill French?

Information from Souther Poverty Law Center:
ORGANIZATION Heads the for-profit Center for the Study of Political Islam in Nashville.

CREDENTIALS Former Tennessee State University physics professor; author of Sharia Law for Non-Muslims (2010; under the pen name Bill Warner).

SUMMARY French has no formal training or background in law, Islam or Shariah law — which in any case is not an established legal code, as the book title implies, but a fluid concept subject to a wide range of interpretations and applications. He garnered attention recently by leading the opposition to a proposed mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “The two driving forces of our civilization are the Golden Rule and critical thought. … There is no Golden Rule in Islam. … There is not really even a Ten Commandments.”
—Quoted in The [Blount County, Tenn.] Daily Times, March 4, 2011

More information about Bill French

Anti-Muslim Crusaders Make Millions Spreading Anti-Muslim Fear


While large organizations like Emerson’s aren’t the norm, other local and national entrepreneurs cash in on spreading hate and fear about Islam.

Former Tennessee State University physics professor Bill French runs the Nashville-based, for-profit Center for the Study of Political Islam. He spoke recently to a group of opponents of the Murfreesboro mosque gathered at a house in Murfreesboro.

With an American flag as a backdrop, French paced back and forth like the Church of Christ ministers he heard growing up. His message: how creeping Shariah law is undermining the very fabric of American life.

“This offends Allah,” said French, pointing to the flag on the wall. “You offend Allah.”

French, who has no formal education in religion, believes Islam is not a religion. Instead, he sees Islam and its doctrine and rules — known as Shariah law — as a totalitarian ideology.

In his 45-minute speech, he outlined a kind of 10 commandments of evil — no music, no art, no rights for women — taken from his book Sharia Law for Non-Muslims. The speech was free, but his books, penned under the name “Bill Warner,” were for sale in the back and ranged from about $9 to $20.

Inside Tennessee’s Lucrative Anti-Jihad Industry

Islamophobia in the United States: The Case of Three I’s
It is not surprising that in this climate of “get rich quick,” dozens of other similar groups sprang up, offering services that ranged from security consulting to political organizing. Some of them include: ACT! For America, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the Forum for Middle East Understanding, the Strategic Engagement Group, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), the Center for the Study of Political Islam (CSPI) and the Shoebat Foundation. Their members lobby local and federal lawmakers to implement much of the aforementioned legislation, campaign against Muslim-led initiatives and spread misinformation in op-eds, lectures to government officials, and within their communities.


Books, articles and videos by Bill French

More information:

Bill Warner’s real name is Bill French. His website says his PhD (1968) is in physics and math. He is little known outside the local confines of anti-Muslim activism. He spent the bulk of his career working on home energy efficiency (heating, cooling, insulation, etc.) and had several temporary and adjunct appointments at TSU in the Industrial Arts and Technology department in the 80s and 90s. French/Warner has no training in religion or history, or ancient languages and is not cited or treated as a reputable scholar by actual scholars of antiquities, Islamic history or theology in general let alone Islamic theology or jurisprudence. While he does not speak or read Arabic, he sells his own versions of the Koran which he has edited, rearranged and complied based on the translations of others.

Among other things, French/Warner says Islam is a system of political domination. He says “we” have “two enemies.” The “far enemy,” he explains, is Islam. The “near enemy” are those who don’t agree with his point of view about Islam.

One small example of Warner’s work: French/Warner has tallied up the deaths he attributes to jihadis. However, a quick check of his presentation shows that Warner blames every single death in the entire history of the Atlantic slave trade on… you guessed it: The Muslims! (

More quotes from French/Warner:

“The difference between me and most everyone else is most people find Islam either frightening or queasy, or nervous. Under the category of being irritated. I don’t view Islam as an irritation, nor do I view this as another immigrant group trying to learn how to be Americans. I view this as a civilizational war and we will either defeat Islam or we will cease to exist as a nation.” (3/31/14) (source)

“By the way, Allah hates me because I’m a kafir, so to me the hijab is a hate symbol, just in the same way the Klan outfit is symbolic of racial hate to a black man.” (around 2:55)” (4/7/14) (source)

“One of the things that I see when I look at hijab, I see the politics of Islam as it has operated for 1,400 years.  There has been a jihad against kafirs for 1,400 years. So when I see hijab, I see that history. I see the history of annihilation, death and suffering. And when I see a hijab, I see another thing. It says I am a kafir. And it is not a casual thing, because indeed the bulk of Quran is about Kafirs.”  “The lady in hijab is not my friend, nor can she become my friend.” “There is a big difference between being friendly and be friend (Muslims cannot be friends).” “Just like Klans outfit established unbridgeable gap between a Klansman and a Black person, a hijab establsihed an unbridgeable gap between me and the wearer of hijab.” “People who hand out politically correct multi-cultural advice (about Muslim women wearing hijab) do not know anything about Islam.” “So the next time you see a hijab, remember it is not a fashion statement, it is a statement about Islam – political Islam, and how we are to be dominated.”  (source – Video “The Political Side of the Hijab”, posted on on 4/7/14)

“Let me be clear, I do hate Islam. I hate a doctrine that is found in the Qur’an: Allah, Seerah: Muhammad’s biography, the Hadith: his traditions. I hate the Islam that is found in that. Notice that I did not say that I hate Muslims. But I do hate the ideology of Islam…I hate wife beating…Allah does not hate wife beating. …wife beating is part of Islam…inbreeding is encouraged in Islam because of Muhammad…all Muslims…should also consider marriage in the family. Inbreeding.” (3/13/14) (source)

“” “Why do we keep immigration as an open door into our country with regard to Muslims? Why do we do that? We need to look at this policy.” (around 11:20 mark) (11/17/14) (source)

“Allah himself calls for the cutting off of heads. By the Golden Rule, it is extreme. But by the Shariah and the Qur’an, it is normative, everyday behavior.” (around 7:20) (source)

Also see SPLC’s 2011 report “The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle

Bill First Pinehurst Visit


UNC Students Hosts Talk on Islamophobia

UNC Chapel Hill South Asian Students Host a Talk on Islamophobia

South Asian and People of Color students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  hosted a talk on Islamophobia and racism on April 18, 2016. MERI’s member, Manzoor Cheema, made the presentation. This talk took place in a class taught by Anisha Padma and Aisha Anwar. This talk explored rooted of Islamophobia in racism and colonialism, and identified action to defeat this oppression. This talk included discussion on structural and institutional basis of Islamophobia and what is required to abolish Islamophobia. Some of student organizations represented during the discussion included UNC Monsoon, Queer Trans People of Color and Campus Y.

About MERI:
Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia is a network which stands and acts together against all forms of Islamophobia and racism. We are living in an environment in which the media and other forces are inciting prejudice and hatred against Islam and Muslims. This hate is being targeted against both Muslim individuals and entire groups perceived as Muslims. We understand both Islamophobia and racism within a framework that sees how discrimination based on race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, and religion are part of multiple, interlocking forms of oppression that reinforce and sustain one another.

About UNC Monsoon
Monsoon seeks to fight both the misrepresentation and underrepresentation of South Asia in mainstream media by producing original content that informs, entertains, and also fosters discussion. It provides a platform for South Asian voices to share real stories, revealing the immense diversity our community boasts.


Meredith College Forum on Racism and Islamophobia

Meredith College Hosts a Forum on Islamophobia and Racism

A forum titled “Race, Fear and Faith: A Conversation About ‪Racism‬ and ‪Islamophobia‬” was organized at Meredith College on April 14, 2016. Rev. William J. Barber, II, President of North Carolina NAACP, provided a brilliant context of racism, Islamophobia, homophobia and other forms of oppression. Racism and “otherization” is essential for forces of hate and fear to ascend and maintain their power in a society that is changing ethnically, culturally and socio-economically. Rev. Barber emphasized the need for a Third Reconstruction and fusion politics to build a progressive society.

Other speakers included Mohamed AbuTaleb, Imam at Islamic Center of Raleigh, and Maryam Ahmed, member of Muslim Students Association at Meredith College. They offered important perspectives on how to respond to anti-Muslim bigotry. Rev. Nancy Petty, paster at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, gave opening statement, while Manzoor Cheema, founding member of MERI, gave closing statement. David Crabtree from WRAL TV moderated the event.

This event was organized by Islamophobia working group that includes members of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, Islamic Association of Raleigh, As-Salaam Islamic Center – Raleigh, Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East, Triangle Interfaith Alliance and Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle NC.

Workshop on Islamophobia:

MERI offers workshops on Islamophobia to members of faith-based, peace and justice, educational and non-profit organizations. Our workshops on Islamophobia offer one-on-one interaction on how to defeat Islamophobia. Our workshops have the following objectives:

– define Islamophobia
– place Islamophobia in a larger context of racialized oppression
– address common myths and assumptions about Islam and Muslims
– identify how we are unintentionally participating
– identify how we can interrupt our own and others’ participation
– clarify action steps

For more information about these workshops, your organization’s particular needs, pricing of our workshop or other questions, please contact us at We will welcome you to subscribe to our newsletter to learn about activities against Islamophobia and racism organized in North Carolina and beyond.

Islamophobia 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:

Islamophobia 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: