Are you afraid of Muslims? This pastor says ‘Islamophobia’ is dangerous

Hate groups in the U.S. spend millions of dollars each year whipping up anti-Muslim sentiment through websites, videos, white papers and the like, a Washington pastor said.

That industry — the “Islamophobia industry” — is a dangerous thing, Pastor Terry Kyllo told the Herald.

The Anacortes man is working with a Muslim leader from the west side to fight it. They’re bringing their “Faith over Fear: Standing with our Muslim Neighbors” event to Pasco on Tuesday.

Kyllo, a Lutheran pastor and founder of the group Neighbors in Faith, will speak alongside Aneelah Afzali, founder of the American Muslim Empowerment Network.

Their aim is to educate, shine a light and help build connections, Kyllo said.

Terry Kyllo

“I feel it’s the duty of every citizen to struggle for — to advocate for — the civil rights of minorities. That is a part of what it is to be a citizen of this country,” he said.

Hate groups spend more than $30 million a year to spread misinformation and stoke fear, Kyllo said.

Their tactics can be effective, he said. But joining together, learning from one another and standing up — that’s effective, too.

“The reality is, human beings often fear that which they don’t know. We want to encourage people to get to know their Muslim neighbors a little bit,” Kyllo said.

That means sharing meals, holding events together, having conversations.

“That has an amplifying effect. It creates an echo in the community,” he said.

After the event, “I hope people walk away with a deeper commitment to upholding other people’s civil rights and religious liberties,” Kyllo told the Herald.

The event is free.

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