Last Monday, I was saddened to read in the Philadelphia Inquirer that a severed pig’s head was found outside of Al-Aqsa mosque in North Philly. It is a mosque I know pretty well. As I have taught my “Religion in Philadelphia” and “World Religions” courses over the years, Al-Aqsa has been a regular field trip site to familiarize my students with the practices and beliefs of Islam. Additionally, I have visited the mosque during my participation in the annual Interfaith Peace Walk held each spring. My students and I have always felt very welcome at Al-Aqsa and I wish to offer my support.
Since the mosque desecration last week, a mosque in California was set on fire and Muslims across the country are fearful about the growing tide of Islamophobia. It is now more important than ever for Americans to take a stand against religious bigotry. Religion Dispatches published my article last week titled “Donald Trump, Islamophobia, and the Philadelphia Pig’s Head Incident.” It offers some historical perspective on the incident, which took place in the city founded by William Penn as a haven for religious liberty. It also articulates what I believe is the key to interfaith peace: relationship building. Please share this article and offer your voice of support for victimized minorities here and around the world.