Group hopes campaign will bolster relationships with Muslims


CINCINNATI (AP) — A multi-faith group in southwest Ohio hopes educational pamphlets can increase understanding of Muslims and decrease prejudice against them.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports (http://cin.ci/2awN9Uy ) the Bridges of Faith Trialogue, based in the Cincinnati area, planned to distribute hard copies at several locations, including a mosque and the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati.

The group, made up of dozens from the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities, says they want to dispel the negative stereotypes of Muslims and counter the wrongful “scapegoating” Muslims receive for terrorism and the actions of “political extremists.”

The pamphlet titled “Getting to Know Our Muslim Neighbor: Islamophobia — not in our community,” will also be available on the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s website.

“In the process of promoting interfaith understanding, the campaign will attempt to dispel the negative stereotypes of Muslims and counter the unjust scapegoating of all members of this esteemed world religion based on the terrorist actions of political extremists,” said a member, Robert “Chip” Harrod.

The Cincinnati region has about 25,000 Muslims

“While their numbers are relatively small, their civic contributions are large,” Harrod said. “Local Muslims are extremely active in and contributing leadership to nearly every major civic enterprise in Cincinnati and its immediate area. The public needs to be reminded of this, and that’s our aim.”

The group’s publication says fear is rooted in the unknown and that those fears reveal more about the fearful than the feared.

It also encourages outreach to boost familiarity and includes a resource page. Eight contacts are listed that will provide entry into the Muslim community, ranging from mosques to human relations groups

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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com

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