The WISE UP Campaign

The global rise of violent extremism is one of the greatest problems facing our world today, and it affects us all – especially women, who serve as the bedrock of their families and communities and shape the lives of our future generations. Unfortunately, the peaceful religion of Islam continues to be linked to terrorism – with far-reaching consequences – threatening national unity and our shared civic life, and causing severe reputational damage to Islam, the world’s second- largest religion. We hope you agree that it’s time to take a stand against the spread of this violence, divisiveness and hate.

At WISE,  we’ve recently hit a major milestone. With the help of 60 Muslim contributors (academics, scholars, imams, activists and specialists), we completed the 400-page research and evidence-based report, called WISE Up, aimed at fighting Islamophobia and extremism with experience, knowledge and good judgment, and to show that the American Muslim community is collectively speaking out against all forms of hate, including Islamophobia and terrorism.

The report is divided into three sections as follows:

Section 1 – Voices of American Muslims

  • Provides a snapshot of American Muslim life – their engagement in public life and how their values align with the foundational American ethos.
  • Demonstrates challenges that American Muslims confront – civil rights violations, biased media portrayals, bigots defaming Islam, marginalization leading to alienation, etc.
  • Highlights profiles of 30 American Muslim celebrities who contribute to American culture in different fields: science, engineering, media, medicine, sports, entertainment, arts, political, business, education, and the Armed Services.

Section 2 – Islamic Theology vs. Extremist Ideology

  • Showcases the history of Islam, it’s Prophet, core beliefs, practices, and sacred texts.
  • Compares the true meaning of 8 Islamic terms with ISIS’ distortion of these terms: ummah/jama’ah, kafir/takfir, jihad, bay’ah, hijrah, shahid, khalifah/khilafah, and al-wala’ wal bara’.

Section 3 – Preventing Extremist Recruitment

  • Details 16 recruitment tactics used by ISIS on social media to indoctrinate vulnerable individuals.
  • Identifies 8 push and pull factors which motivate individuals to join the group.
  • Provides preventive tools against indoctrination by focusing on family intervention, religious counseling, healthy parenting, adolescent development, and emulating 40 Muslim heroes.

WISE Up is led by American Muslims and joined by Americans of all faiths to 1) set the record straight on Islam and Muslims, and 2) to wrestle away the negative headlines by amplifying voices of reason.

Purpose of WISE Up

  • Protect minority civil liberties in the U.S., provide American youth who feel threatened with more comfort and a sense of security, and improve interaction and understanding across faith-based and cross-cultural communities.
  • Enable American Muslims to clearly articulate the distinctions between the peaceful religion of Islam and the ideology of terrorists.
  • Push activist messaging to combat extremist recruitment targeted at young Muslims and to further protect communities against hate and violence.

Near-Term Product

WISE Up will be published as an online and offline educational toolkit, which can be leveraged to educate multiple grassroots communities about the flawed ideology being promoted by Islamophobes and extremists to create division and hatred.

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