New Yorkers of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds are being asked to gather on Sunday, February 19th, from 12:00 to 4:00 pm in New York's Times Square, (at the corner of 48thStreet & Broadway, Manhattan) and join hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons and prominent religious leaders to declare their solidarity with American Muslims who have recently been impacted by discriminatory rhetoric and a travel ban by the Trump Administration.
The rally is being sponsored by leading pioneers in the field of Muslim-interfaith relations. Simmons will be joined by Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU), and Imam Shamsi Ali of the Jamaica Muslim Center, who served as Grand Marshall of New York City's Muslim Day Parade last fall.
According to Simmons, who serves as Chairman of the FFEU, "Currently African Americans, women, Latinos, Asians and basically everyone who is not a straight white privileged male is at risk. And of course there is no freedom in that status as well because the spirit of the oppressor is oppressed as well. We are living in a time when unity will make America great. This is a special moment for Americans to band together to promote for each other the kind of compassion and equality we want for ourselves."
According to Rabbi Schneier, who organized the first 'Today, I Am A Muslim Too' rally which drew more than 5,000 New Yorkers to Times Square in March, 2010, "We are heartened that in recent days people across the country have been coming out to protest the recent unconstitutional travel ban and the growing anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia in our country. What is needed now is a mass rally in the heart of Times Square, in which thousands of Americans comprised of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds, come together again at the most famous crossroads in the world to make a collective statement that 'Whenever my Muslim brothers and sisters are demonized and vilified, discriminated against or victimized by hate crimes and violence, 'Today, I Am A Muslim Too.'"
Imam Shamsi Ali, an immigrant from Indonesia and co-author with Rabbi Schneier of Sons of Abraham: a Candid Conversation About the Issues that Divide and Unite Jews and Muslims, commented, "The Muslim community of New York City is deeply grateful to people of all backgrounds, who will be coming to Times Square on Sunday, February 19, to say they will stand with –and even register as—Muslims, if this discriminatory pattern continues. Polls have shown that the vast majority of American Muslims are loyal and productive citizens who should not be tarred with guilt by association with a handful of extremists whose hateful ideology violates the basic tenets of Islam. Leaders and grassroots members of mosques and mainstream American Muslim organizations should be engaged in the fight against extremism, violence, and terrorism, instead of being treated as if they are somehow complicit in it."