EDITORIAL: U. is combating 'Punish a Muslim Day'
Rutgers students should show love and kindness always
About a month ago, into communities in the United Kingdom encouraging people to scare and commit violence against Muslims, which eventually spread into the United States. “Punish a Muslim Day” was essentially a game intended to be carried out yesterday, according to the letter, and people would receive “points” for harming Muslims. For example, a person would get 10 points for “verbally abusing a Muslim," 100 points for “beating up a Muslim," 500 points for “murdering a Muslim” and 1,000 for “bombing a mosque." These are only a few of the hateful and horrible suggestions in the letter.
While attempts like this to penetrate our nation’s communities with hate continue, the University took an official stand to combat it with the sparking of the #LoveAScarletKnightCampaign. The campaign, which began yesterday and is slated to come to an end on Friday, was brought to the community’s attention in an email from Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Felicia McGinty in response to the aforementioned “Punish a Muslim Day." Attached in the email was a BINGO sheet with boxes containing ideas of kind things to do for others, such as setting goals for standing up for positive change and holding the door open for a stranger. “We are calling for all members of our community to come together to reject hateful ideology and show love, compassion and kindness to one another,” according to the attachment.
The University’s initiative to combat hate with love is extremely heartening. With that said, we hope all members of the Rutgers community will actively acknowledge and carry out the suggestions made in this initiative not only this week or for the remainder of their time at Rutgers, but for their entire lives — and this should be able to go without saying.
The fact that McGinty even had to send out that email reminding the Rutgers community to spread love and combat hate is unfortunate. As has been discussed frequently in the past few months with regard to the massacre in Parkland, Florida, there is always room for more compassion in society — regardless of whether it will effectively help solve the issues experienced in our communities. As Martin Luther King Jr. said ever so wisely, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” And it seems this is how we will defeat those who wish to bring hate to New Brunswick.
Thankfully, members of the Rutgers community who vehemently oppose and are disgusted by the hateful “Punish a Muslim Day” letter undoubtedly outnumber those who would agree with it or find it humorous. While we are a community of inclusivity and tolerance, there are limits. Out of love for our diverse and inclusive Rutgers community, a threat to one member or group should be a threat to us all. In order to protect our environment of love and acceptance, it is necessary to combat hate and intolerance in any way we can. This week, and for the rest of our lives, we hope members of the Rutgers community will remember the threats that hateful people like those who coined “Punish a Muslim Day” pose to our way of life, and use their voice and reasoning to fight against them.
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