Hate imams are mosque preachers who call for the death and destruction of Jews. Hate Imams are usually part of misogynistic mosque communities that also silence critical Muslim voices. On July 21st, 2017, an imam in Davis, CA called for an apocalypse against the Jews. On the same day, another imam delivered a hate sermon in Riverside, CA, then four more hate imams across the U.S. before the year was over. [Sign the petition]
Imams are Muslim prayer leaders and their job is just that -- lead a prayer, go home. They're not equipped to be scholars, counselors, interventionists, community organizers, political commentators, and they certainly don't have the religious authority to be propagandists.
When I started talking doing the research and talking to people about this campaign, I quickly saw that while this campaign is rooted in hate imams it is also so much bigger than that. Alienation in theological spaces is found elsewhere -- in universities, in major organizations, in government, and more. The narratives that have come forward across the spectrum of faith have something in common. In almost every case, there is an attempt to undermine an individual's personal sovereignty, necessary for the collective (or dominant) view to survive, and there is a degrading attempt to strip another human being of their dignity. I will cover as much as possible but the root of this campaign is focused on the imams, the so-called spiritual and community leaders who remain unchecked and unchallenged. We're going to challenge their message and we're going to try to break the conveyor belt that allows for hate and alienation.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for listening, for your trust, and your support. Only with your support, I'm able to continue a multimedia campaign against #HateImams that includes articles, podcasts, videos, and in-person events. We're building a community of humans against hate. Together we can counter hate and alienation in theological spaces, from anti-Semitism, misogyny, and other forms of annihilation of the beautiful tapestry of human voice and experience.
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I'm a writer and speaker exploring faith, identity and belonging in an evolving world. My work has been published with The Federalist, On Being, Women in the World, The Middle East Forum, and more. My keynote writing includes a two-hour exclusive interview with imam Abu Taubah (audio below), who was linked to Orlando Shooter Omar Mateen. [Click here to read my story]
In 2016, I testified before the House Homeland Security Committee Hearing on radical Islam, offering a powerful testimony that tied the current crisis to Islam’s origin story. “Original Islam” is a theme that runs through my work, and is central to the book project I'm also pursuing. In 2017, I launched a successful petition and campaign against the rhetoric of imam Ammar Shahin (Davis, California) that lead to a new coalition and campaign to to challenge hate in houses of worship. In 2018 I co-launched a radically honest interfaith initiative called Toke for Tolerance.
What started as a campaign against one hate imam incident, lead to a realization that we have a crisis in our mosques -- a feeling shared by many Muslim Americans. From my research and talks, I quickly came to the conclusion that alienation is widespread in the human experience. The articles, videos and podcasts you find here reflect the crisis in the Muslim community, but also how the crisis of alienation affects all people regardless of the identity labels we're born into.
* Views of speakers are their own.