Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Things You Can Do About the Christchurch Shooting

A hate crime has killed dozens of Muslims in New Zealand. My kiwi friends are all upset about this, and so are a lot of other folks. So here are some practical things you can do ...

* Muslims have a kind of charity called zakat. Some such funds also accept donations from outsiders. In some countries, they print up vouchers you can buy to direct zakat to specific causes. You could check your local mosque to see if they are taking donations from friends of the faith, and if they have vouchers or some other way of earmarking funds for a certain cause. New Zealand's Muslims will need a lot of help to deal with the aftermath of the attack, and it's hard on other Muslims too.

* Several outside funds have cropped up in New Zealand. This is one of the official ones.  Here are a couple more.

* Lots of people are freaking out over this incident because they do not understand why they are upset or what practical steps they can take to cope with difficult emotions and fight intolerance. (Here is a guide to fighting Islamophobia for Muslims.) You can help them by linking to resources. Remember that traumatic stress is most prone to strike when people feel helpless; when they have something to do about a situation, it becomes less overwhelming.

* Avoid naming the perpetrators. Deny them fame and respect. Minimize the incident; maximize cleaning up the mess. If we treat them like they shit on the floor, instead of like they did something glorious, it will become less appealing.

* Support Muslims in your area.

** If you have a quiet room, prayer room, etc. make sure it has a Qibla marker pointing toward Mecca. If not, look for a place you could create one. Preferably, include a prayer rug for guests who may not have brought their own. Similarly, check whether your local hotel has marked Qibla, and if not, ask them to do so. A box of stickers and a Mecca compass don't cost much, and can help Muslims feel much more welcome.

** If you have a reading shelf, BookCrossing Zone, Little Free Library, etc. make sure it has a copy of the Qur'an. Ideally make it a half-and-half volume in the original and local vernacular languages, or you can have separate copies. An interfaith prayer book is another good option. For a waiting room, consider subscribing to an Islamic or interfaith magazine.

** Anyone can check local resources for Muslims and make a list. Where can they pray? What is the general direction of Mecca from your locale? Where is the nearest mosque? Individuals can carry a copy of the list. Organizations can post a notice at the front desk like "Resources for our Muslim guests." If your town has a tourist center, as many do, ask them to offer a resource list for Muslim travelers too.

** What places have the really big, diverse bathrooms like a separate nursing room or family bathroom? Malls, hospitals, office towers, etc. often do but it varies. Which if any organizations host a significant number of Muslim or international folks? Hotels, convention centers, airports, etc. are likely here. These places should be accommodating different toileting needs. Ask them to include a toilet stall with a handheld shower hose and/or a Wudumate. Another excellent addition is a shower stall, not just for Muslims who need to make ghusl but also for anyone who's gotten slimed in public. That time I wound up with a lapful of spiced margarine, I really could've used a shower instead of a sink. Here are some recommendations for multifaith facilities.

** Does your local food pantry support halal dietary requirements? If so, make sure they advertise that. If not, ask them to start supporting it.

** Be an upstander. Interrupt incidents of Islamophobia when you see them. Organize your community against hate.

** Do you have Muslim friends? Check in with them. Do you have Muslim clients at work? Practice trauma-informed care. (This guide is for medical care but much can generalize beyond that.) This incident may be especially upsetting for people of the same faith.

* Support Muslims in general.

** Link to Islamic recipes, artwork, literature, or other materials on your blog.

** Shop at Muslim-owned establishments. Is there a Middle Eastern restaurant or grocery near you? Drop by and give them some business.

** Vote to protect the rights of Muslim people. Oppose laws designed to oppress them, such as banning hijab. You wouldn't want to go out naked, and neither do they.

* You can also sidestep the current mess, and instead strike directly at the bigots' goal. They wish for Muslims not to exist and for people to be terrified. Therefore, you can thwart them by helping Muslims (see above) and calming people (see below).

** Provide resources to help people calm down when they get upset. If you don't have room for a whole quiet room, consider a quiet corner with a cozy chair, a box of fidgets, a calming poster, and some relaxing reads.

** Teach skills for tolerance, peacemaking, conflict resolution, de-escalation, self-regulation, and emotional first aid. Healthy, resourceful people rarely try to solve their problems at gunpoint.

** Hold sessions of any soothing activity such as meditation, yoga, or tai chi.

What other actions can you think of that would help? If you have done something, list it in a comment. If it's a post on your blog, please include a link.
Tags: activism, how to, poke a bigot in the eye, safety, spirituality
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