Countering Islamophobia

The wave of Islamophobia sweeping over our country has been inspired and strengthened by US government policies, practices and rhetoric.

In order to justify its War on Terror policies, both at home and abroad, the U.S. government has often resorted to explanations that demonize Muslims in general. This oftentimes creates a self-perpetuating cycle–Muslims are demonized to justify a repressive policy, said repressive policy targets Muslims, and when the public learns that Muslims have been singled out for repression new Islamophobic norms are created.

Defending Rights & Dissent works to counter Islamophobia, particularly as manifested in government policies and practices:

  • Law enforcement and intelligence agency profiling based on religion, ethnic background or country of origin
  • Countering Violent Extremism and Strong Cities program which targets communities “at risk” based on religious or political beliefs, rather than any evidence of criminal activity.
  • Law enforcement sting operations targeted at vulnerable members of the Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities.
  • Anti-Sharia laws or legislation designed to prevent courts from applying Islamic or “Sharia” law, as well as “foreign” or “international law.”

Defending Rights & Dissent, working with the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, has created a workshop to help communities name and overcome Islamophobia and develop a plan of action to confront government programs that target Muslims and inspire Islamophobia.

The program is already underway in North Carolina, and will be launched soon in Boston, Los Angeles. We are accepting applications from organizations in other cities interested in the project. If you would like to get involved please email

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