Contrary to what Donald Trump may believe about Islam in America, American Muslims have been part of our country since its founding. From Bampett Muhammad, who fought along the Virginia Line for eight years, to Peter Buckminster (later Peter Salaam) who fired the shot at Bunker Hill that fell British Major General John Pitcairn — Islam has been a part of America since day one. Recently, due in part to the fear mongering of certain presidential candidates, American Muslims have struggled with a perception problem — 44 percent of Americans question American Muslims’ loyalty to America.
A group called Sound Vision has taken the call to action to change those misconceptions and turn that action into a net positive in the fight against ISIS and their recruiting practices. Sound Vision recently launched a hashtag campaign and accompanying freeway billboard in Chicago to fight ISIS and their barbaric interpretation of Islam (which an overwhelming majority of Muslims oppose).
#ActualMuslims aims to educate people outside the faith that its tenants are not aligned with ISIS’s claims and actions. It also aims to be a bulwark against the terror group’s online recruitment by offering a reasonable look at the faith. Per their vision: “Sound Vision aims to produce content that helps build bridges of understanding among neighbors with emphasis on youth.” Their message is gaining traction online with the hashtag starting to trend.
Sound Vision is offering a litany of online resources that systematically dismantle the ideals and actions of ISIS. You can even petition to have an “ISIS SUCKS!” billboard put up in your home town. Sound Vision seeks to reverse Islamaphobia and remind people that Muslims are still dying for our country to this day. Bridging the information and educational gaps between Islam and American mainstream culture seems like a net positive. It’s far more sound than simply exiling all Muslims from America (and, honestly, who wants to live in an America without Aziz Ansari and Aasif Mandvi?).