On Saturday, March 12th, 2016, volunteer workers of a project called “Hello, we’re Muslims” were handing out roses throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States. Thousands of volunteers, who believed in respect, peace, and harmony cooperated under the motto “working together on a better world”. This measure is a step forward in creating dialogue in order to perish all kinds of prejudice towards one another.
The initiator, the Islamic Community Milli Görüs (ICMG), which forms an umbrella over hundreds of mosques from all over the world, wants to remove prejudice towards Muslims and Islam. The organization has put up this worldwide campaign. The reason for this is the increasing amount of prejudice, and the fact that the forms of prejudice become more and more aggressive. Attacks on mosques, threatening letters, and growing islamophobia are among the consequences. The cause of this is the negative announcements that everyone reads and hears about Islam. It is not uncommon for ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslims’ to be mentioned in news reports about terrorism. A random person will easily assume that Muslims are naturally terrorists or at least have the possibility to become one. The best way to prevent this prejudice or form of hatred is by spreading love. A dialogue, a rose, and a smile will help reaching this.
On March 12th, at 11 a.m., the volunteers opened the dialogue with their fellow citizens, and encouraged them to stay in dialogue as well. This was a firm attack countering all negative announcements concerning Muslims and Islam. Several hearts have already been conquered by a white rose, symbolizing purity and piety. On top of that, the video footage on Facebook and their hashtags #Hallowijzijnmoslims (Hello, we’re Muslims in Dutch) and #HelloIamaMuslim were well received by the public. The Facebook page reached more than 2,200 followers within a few days and the support has been enormous. A handful of famous politicians, like Tunahan Kuzu (the Dutch Think Party) and mayor Lucas Bolsius, started this in Amsterdam and Amersfoort in the Netherlands. The footage has been shared by famous (Muslim) Dutch people, some of which have been watched over 40,000 times.
The results of these talks and the bonds that have been forged with the people shows that the project was successful and is certainly to be repeated. There was much more than talking, however: strong bonds have been forged with many people. Bonds for cooperation. The people were also invited to come take a look in the local mosque for a cup of tea and a fair share of cosiness.
This project is repeated every year. Next year, in 2017, there will be a larger scale event in multiple cities, according to Omer Karaca, who is president of foreign affairs in the youth department Milli Görüs.