A recent wave of Black Lives Matter protests has captivated the globe with debates about racism and white supremacy taking center stage. A polarized narrative is affecting the public discourse, providing fodder for division leaving majority of individuals without the tools to stop polarization from taking root. Although the current dialogue surrounding Racism In America may result in long-ignored structures which sustain it, there is a dire need to “do better” – to read, to learn, and to listen as a pathway to end racism. This starts with developing effective methods to actively delegitimize divisiveness and curb all types of hate rhetoric.
At WISE we do not believe that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, we believe all humans are equal and human dignity is a birthright. To that end, we embed pluralism, equality, and justice into all our work because we believe that the denial of these values violate both Islamic principles and America’s foundational values.
We work from the bottom up as a grassroots movement to foster pluralism among a diverse range of groups, to promote human equality and establish justice for people, regardless of gender, race, religion and ethnicity.
In 2020 WISE will spearhead a plan of action centered around an upcoming publication, WISE Up to White Supremacy aimed at “re-educating the public on the subject of White Supremacy and its inflammatory rhetoric targeted at Muslims and other minorities. Past experience shows that law enforcement tactics alone cannot curb the rise of extremists groups including Alt-Right Extremist and White Supremist groups. It is vital to develop community engagement resources aimed at understanding the commonalities shared among all extremist groups, the drivers (psychological, social, political, and ideological) which motivate individuals to join and how the weaponization of religion provides moral justification for acts of violence.
Studies show that there is a universal pattern with humans who cultivate extremist ideologies, in which they emphasize a human need to form "in-" and "out-groups" for the protection and survival of a certain group, while “other” groups are painted with dehumanizing language, justifying extremism and violence. This is why the similarities exist between extremist groups across time periods, religions, ethnicities, and nationalities.
By weaponizing and instrumentalizing religion, extremists are able to tap into familiar religious reference points with which people may identify, and thus impart cosmic significance to any actions these individuals may undertake on behalf of the group.
Through the dissemination of WISE UP to White Supremacy we aim set a new tone by creating a wider understanding of the overarching framework and commonalities shared by extremist groups, regardless of race, religion, or culture. We are poised to make a difference by building on a proven suite of community based solutions like WISE Up Knowledge Ends Extremism.
WISE Up to White Supremacy (WUWS) will be marketed as an educational resource utilizing online remote learning. WISE will create a live experiential module complete for adults, middle and high school classrooms and for higher learning. This will include assignments, quizzes, video lectures, role-playing exercises, and reflections.
WUWS Knowledge Sharing: WISE will develop webinars for its vast network of women faith leaders to equip this network of influencers with the nuances of structural racism, complicity, extremist strategies, early interventions and counter-messaging strategies.
WUWS will leverage a community of networks by utilizing its WISE 2.0 online Zoom forums designed to educate its network of interfaith allies to create a contagion effect where information spreads from person to person and resiliency is built among communities by keeping connections alive.