As we know, the forces of anti-Muslim bigotry are gaining strength and momentum daily. In addition to the mounting threats faced by American Muslims in their daily lives, the current wave of negativity transcends the boundaries of this country. It threatens to create a climate where popular support for unjust and unfounded wars could potentially wreak unimaginable havoc upon innocent Muslims in far off lands.
As the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approach, and as the initial run-up to the presidential election campaign begins, we can expect the anti-Muslim defamation, demonizing and fear-mongering to intensify. That being the case, unless there is a strong countervailing message of peace, reconciliation and mutual cooperation and respect, the tide of bigotry and hatred may become so strong that it cannot be turned back.
Now is the time for us to begin to address this situation by not only endeavoring to educate people about the imminent danger facing us all, but also to begin working to create a new social and political culture that lays the foundation for a viable pluralistic and multicultural world. In that spirit, United For Change, in partnership with Zaytuna College, has decided to host a conference where we can not only discuss and analyze the anti-Muslim bigotry that is currently sweeping the country, but we can also begin to lay the foundation for an alternative discourse.
To do this, we are gathering a wide array of internationally renounced scholars and activists. To date, we have commitments from Karen Armstrong, John Esposito, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Dr. Yasir Qadhi, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Dr. Sherman Jackson, Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini and many others.
This conference, which will be held on the eve of September 11, 2011, in Washington DC, promises to be an event of great historical and intellectual significance. We can begin to arrest the forces of hatred, but only if we act, swiftly, intelligently and in a united fashion.