“Shoulder to Shoulder,” a project by the students of University of Washington Bothell class, comes with a strong anti-Islamophobia message.
With the significant rise in Islamophobia and Donald Trump promoting hateful rhetoric toward Muslims, it is not surprising that many white people are afraid of those belonging to the faith and consequently incidents of intolerance and hate are on the rise against them.
In such times, acts of kindness and messages of peace speak volumes.
A video with a similar message was posted on the University of Washington Bothell’s School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences’ Facebook page and got more than 100,000 views within two days.
It was recorded on the campus plaza in the mannequin challenge style depicting scenes of Muslims being hit with a bottle, kicked or splashed with coffee are accompanied by audio from newscasts from 9/11 and hate crimes.
Other scenes show a Trump political rally, and the video closes with a group of Muslims praying “shoulder to shoulder” as they are surrounded by a protective circle of UW Bothell and Cascadia College students, faculty and staff.
The video was a project for “Arts in Context: Contemporary Muslim Artists,” a course taught by Anida Yoeu Ali, an artist-in-residence.
“This class is about stepping outside your comfort zone,” she said.
“I am just so moved by their hard work, commitment and the unity of the class. The students did a stellar job,” she added. “I am moved to almost tears.”
“It was great to feel part of the community the class had through the quarter,” says student Doha Ashmawi. “I felt very empowered which was very ironic because I was holding the sign saying ‘I’m scared.’”
Derek Burkett, a transfer student from American Military University with five years of experience as an explosive ordnance disposal technician, says this is his favorite college course.
“Given the nature of my position, it is fair to say that I had developed a negative feeling towards people of Middle-Eastern descent. This course greatly helped to alleviate those feelings to some extent,” he says.
“As simple as it may be, this shows how strong we can be as a campus in fighting the flood of hatred that has been lingering in our nation for decades.”
This isn’t the first time the class has taken a stance on an issue. They recently also put up a public art installation and durational performance project called “Don’t Look Away Yet” to raise awareness of the environmental and native rights violations occurring at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and beyond.