Boston Combats Islamophobia With Public Service Campaign

The city of Boston has just unveiled a public service campaign to combat Islamophobia.

The posters, in cartoon form, were designed by French artist Maeril and started going up around the city on Monday. They're titled "What to do if you are witnessing Islamophobic harassment."

The idea of placing a total of 50 posters at various public places such as bus stops and MBTA trains, is to help fight intolerance while giving people who witness harassment of Muslims the right words to diffuse situations.

"It really means a lot to myself personally and our community who have been experiencing a lot of Islamophobia," said Suzan El-Rayess, Communications Director for the Islamic Society of Boston.

Animation on one poster shows a scenario similar to a June incident on the Orange line where police say a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf was called anti-Muslim slurs and attacked.

"I think Muslim women will feel safer riding the T, it will make them feel less alone," said El-Rayess.

Faisa Sharif, Boston's Somali Liason, says the public service campaign was planned before the June incident.

"It's definitely shifting the culture away from being a bystander or ignoring something that’s happening in public," Sharif said.

Five posters have gone up already and the city plans to unveil the rest within the next couple of weeks. They will stay up for about 6 months.

"It’s progress and it’s also proactive," said Sharif. "This is a great teaching tool."

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