Faith Over Fear: Equipping faith leaders to more effectively counter anti-Muslim discrimination

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This course is offered by Shoulder to Shoulder, a national multifaith organization committed to countering anti-Muslim discrimination in the United States.

Shoulder to Shoulder envisions an America where people of all faiths and cultural backgrounds are treated respectfully, fairly, and with dignity. We advance our vision by directly engaging faith and community leaders in the United States to be strategic partners in countering discrimination and violence against Muslims.

(Photo from Faith Over Fear – Louisville training in 2019, photo courtesy of Jerry McBroom)

Faith Over Fear: Equipping Faith leaders to more effectively counter anti-Muslim discrimination

How does anti-Muslim discrimination and Islamophobia impact my community and how can I, as a faith and community leader respond to it effectively?

Shoulder to Shoulder, along with our partners who are experts and practitioners in the field, will share up-to-date research, resources, tools, and messaging to be stronger, strategic, and more effective actors in shaping our nation toward a greater vision – where all people, no matter their religious or cultural background, are treated with fairness, dignity and respect.

LIVE SESSIONS (please note time-zones):

  • Module 1 Live Intro Session: Tuesday, October 26th, 3 pm – 4:30 pm ET
  • Module 2 Live Session: Wednesday, October 27th, 3 pm – 4:30 pm ET
  • Module 3 Live Session: Thursday, October 28th, 3 pm – 4:30 pm ET
  • Module 4 Live Session: Friday, October 29th, 3 pm – 4:30 pm ET

This virtual training course will cover the following:

Understanding and Contextualizing Anti-Muslim Bigotry
We must understand the problem in order to begin to shape our responses to it and become an effective part of the solution. This interactive module will feature live presentations, video content, and activities for participants to ground themselves in why this work of countering anti-Muslim discrimination and violence is important. They will gain a deeper knowledge of the broader American Muslim community and begin to grasp the complexity of anti-Muslim discrimination & violence in the United States, based on history, facts, research, and personal experience.

Messaging and Communicating for Change
In a climate of hate and in light of all of the myths, misinformation, tropes, and stereotypes about Islam and Muslims, what do we say and how do we say it in a way that creates change? This interactive module will feature live presentations, video content, and activities for participants to review the underlying dynamics of why negative speech resonates and how it can lead to group-targeted harm, the psychology of fear, trends and patterns of countering dangerous speech. We will then move into designing values-based communications, drawing upon the most recent messaging and communications research. Through our learning group approach, participants will have the opportunity to practice their own messaging and communications with others in the training cohort.

Strategies for Engagement and Change
How have community leaders been successful in organizing on different fronts and different contexts, and how have they navigated the challenges of showing up for one another and reaching beyond “the choir”? This interactive module will feature live presentations, video content, and activities for participants to continue to unpack and develop their values-based communications messaging work and delve deeper into audience mapping for strategically moving people toward positive & active engagement. We’ll close the training by guiding participants in developing and sharing concrete commitments to create change in their own communities of influence.


After completing this Faith Over Fear Virtual Training, participants will:

  1. Better understand the complexity of anti-Muslim discrimination and violence in the United States;
  2. Improve skills (and confidence) to speak against anti-Muslim rhetoric and discrimination;
  3. Deepen skills and understanding on how to change hearts and minds through messaging;
  4. Develop personal and community strategy plan with concrete next steps for increasing community discussions to effectively counter anti-Muslim discrimination and building stronger local multi-religious networks; and
  5. Utilize the ideas, language, research and tools from this virtual course to make sense and make meaning of past, present, and future narratives (a life-long process).

In this course, participants will engage in self-guided work (including watching videos, reading, and writing) and will participate in 4 virtual live sessions.

The virtual live sessions will start on time and end on (or before) time. Please reserve the dates and plan to participate.

Participants will have access to a number of additional resources, modules, readings, recordings, and writing prompts that we welcome participants to view and engage in their own time pre- and post- training sessions.

Creating this engaging virtual learning experience is still new for us at Shoulder to Shoulder. We welcome you to be open to learning, be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and join us in further developing our virtual training modules so that we can make them more useful and accessible for community leaders who wish to build a society where all people, no matter their faith or cultural background, are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.

Cost: Free! Donations are welcomed & appreciated.

Still not sure if this training is right for you? Check out the FAQ section on our training webpage.

Course Content

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Pre-Course Intro Materials
Module 1
Module 2
Module 3
Module 4