Fear has become the motivating factor in the normalization of the condemnation of Islam and the oppression of Muslims in America. Our Muslim Neighbor works to counter this fear with a positive, informed, and consistent message of Islam and Muslims in the U.S.
The Religions for Peace USA Our Muslim Neighbor (OMN) Initiative
Religions for Peace USA’s Our Muslim Neighbor Initiative (OMN) is a long-term, Collective Impact effort geared toward improving public attitudes toward Islam and Muslims in the fight against Islamophobia.
Since 2013 we have been engaging the Middle Tennessee community through programs designed to advance understanding of Islam and Muslims in Middle Tennessee, a region identified by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Center for American Progress as arguably one of the most Islamophobic areas in America.
In 2015 we expanded this work to Knoxville, Tn and in 2016 through a partnership with the Minnesota Council of Churches we started work in St. Cloud, Mn. As a national campaign, OMN uses a collective impact model methodology that utilizes a long-term and community-wide perspective on how to effectively manage public perceptions while reframing misguided discourse that disseminates negative and inaccurate portrayals of Islam and Muslims in America.
To promote a more peaceful and a well-informed religious understanding, the OMN Campaign works in collaboration with Auburn Theological Seminary, El-Hibri Foundation, Dr. Handa Haruhisa Handa of the International Shinto Foundation, Islamic Networks Group, William and Mary Greve Foundation, the Tannenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding to convene individuals from varied backgrounds and perspectives to engage in public diplomacy, media training, and interfaith education in order to create a social climate that renders anti-Islamic sentiments immoral and unacceptable.
We are so grateful for our partners in the implementation of the Our Muslim Neighbor Initiative nation-wide!
- Faith and Culture Center, the Nashville-based backbone 501(c)3 organization coordinates the Our Muslim Neighbor initiative in middle Tennessee.
- We have a Core Team of volunteers in Knoxville and Eastern Tennessee leading the work.
- The Minnesota Council of Churches are our partners in St. Cloud, Mn.
Some of our recent and upcoming actions include:
1. Nashville Annual Community Iftar and Eid Prayers
A yearly gathering where hundreds of Nashvillians come together to learn about American Muslims, to meet their neighbors and challenge each other to build a more welcoming community.
2. Religious Leaders Conference of Middle Tennessee
A conference of 30 pastors and community leaders who explored the Abrahamic faiths, visiting houses of worship, learning about the changing religious landscape in the U.S., and sharing in pastoral strategies and skills in interfaith settings.
3. Auburn Media Training for Community Leaders
We hosted Auburn Seminary for their media training where 15 community leaders learned how to tell faith-filled narratives that ground our concern when speaking out on issues of public concern.
4. A Seat at the Table
ASATT is an informal but intentional conversation around dinner that is facilitated to encourage dialogue between people of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds where participants are encouraged to share from their day-to-day lives, learn about their neighbor and dispel misinformation and stereotypes. Built on the power of narrative to build bridges, ASATT is geared toward building networks of relationships that break out of our isolated “silos,” in the hope to build a more deeply connected community.
5. Our Muslim Neighbor September 26th Conference
This was our largest event in 2015 where nearly 150 people came for a full day of speakers, workshops, and meals together. We welcomed Dr. Ingrid Mattson, Rev. Richard Cizik, and Gen. Maj. Douglas Stone who all spoke on issues of concern to the American Muslim community and people of faith eager to speak out against Islamophobia.