New York City is one of the most diverse and welcoming cities in the world. With more than 8.4 million residents, people of every faith, race, and ethnicity live and work side by side. Millions of people adhering to some religion or faith call New York City home, including thousands of Muslims with diverse backgrounds. They, like New Yorkers of every faith, contribute to the unique and rich cultural diversity for which New York City is universally known. They deserve to live and work free from discrimination and harassment.
In light of the recent negative rhetoric surrounding people of faith, immigrants and refugees, the NYC Commission on Human Rights and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit and Office of Immigrant Affairs partnered to support and strengthen NYC's Muslim and faith-based communities through ongoing events, anti-discrimination literature and a social media ad campaign with the hashtag #IAmMuslimNYC.
• Download the Fact Sheet “NYC Human Rights Law Protections for Muslims (and Those Perceived as Such): 10 Things You Should Know”
• Download the Brochure “Religious Discrimination Protections under the NYC Human Rights Law”
• Download the #IAmMuslimNYC social media ads:
• Learn more about upcoming free workshops on “Understanding Muslim Experiences and Combating Islamophobia,” targeted at City employees and public and private providers citywide.
• Report discrimination online, or to make an inquiry or file an official complaint, call the Commission on Human Rights at (718) 722-3131. For more information, stay connected with the Commission at www.NYC.gov/HumanRights.
• Supreme Court's Travel Ban Decision: Learn what impact the decision will have on NYC communities (Courtesy of Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs)
• Report a potential hate crime: call the NY Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force at (646) 610-5267.
Events and Initiatives
Since the launch of this campaign, the NYC Commission on Human Rights held a citywide public information and integrated multiplatform marketing campaign on combating xenophobia and embracing religious diversity in New York City. The Commission, in collaboration with other agencies, also launched a toolkit for government agencies and non-profits to improve cultural competency with faith-based communities. Here are some of the events and initiatives associated with this campaign:
• Released a new report in June 2018, summarizing the findings of a survey of more than 3,100 Muslim, Arab, South Asian, Jewish, and Sikh New Yorkers about their experiences of bias harassment, discrimination, and acts of hate leading up to and following the 2016 presidential election. Findings from the report confirmed that discrimination and harassment are prevalent against members of these communities, but reporting of incidents remains low. Read the press release. Visit the landing page for survey content that features both the complete report and a fact sheet that summarizes these key findings, among other resources.
• Hosted Iftar in the City event in 2016, 2017, and 2018 in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit. The Iftar in the City has become an annual celebration that brings Muslim and non-Muslim communities together to celebrate diversity and fight Islamophobia and xenophobia. Over 600 people joined us in 2018 in Jackson Heights, Queens.
• Co-Sponsored the LGBTQ Community Iftar in partnership with the Center and numerous LGBTQ Muslim organizations across the city. The iftar aims to create a space for LGBTQ Muslims and allies to break bread and build community.
• Convened African Muslim Leaders from across the city for a roundtable to better understand the needs of their communities and how the Commission can better serve them.
• Delivered Human Rights Law 101 presentations at various masjids across the city to educate Muslim New Yorkers on their rights under the NYC Human Rights Law and protections from discrimination as well as how to report an incident.
• Conducted outreach to numerous Muslim organizations and masjids across the city to share resources on protections under the NYC Human Rights Law and the services the Commission offers.
• Organized Days of Action and supported victims of anti-Muslim incidents as part of our Bias Response Team strategy. In addition, we presented and shared resources with masjids that were impacted by these incidents.
• Re-ran #IamMuslimNYC digital ads to counter anti-Muslim rhetoric in light of Supreme Court decision on Muslim Travel Ban.
• Launched a digital ad campaign led by the Commission on Human Rights to promote respect and understanding of Muslim communities and underscore anti-discrimination protections under the NYC Human Rights Law. The ads appeared on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the hashtag #IamMuslimNYC. The ads directed traffic to NYC.gov/IamMuslimNYC, which lists resources, events, and calls-to-actions in an effort to support and serve Muslim New Yorkers.
• Hosted Community Safety and Fair Treatment Forums with the NYPD, the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, NYC Commission on Human Rights, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Department of Education to discuss public safety concerns on the streets and in our schools, anti-discrimination protections under the law, and information on accessing city services.
• Developed a cultural sensitivity workshop with community leaders and the Islamic Center at NYU called “Understanding Muslim Experiences and Combating Islamophobia” to help City employees and public and private employers across the city better understand the Islamic faith and to dispel common myths. The NYC Commission on Human Rights launched a pilot workshop in October 2016, and workshops are ongoing today.
• Increased public outreach and awareness efforts on religious protections under the NYC Human Rights Law, including issuing a new multilingual fact sheet explaining protections against religious discrimination with a focus on Muslim communities and a new multilingual brochure on religious protections under NYC Human Rights Law with practical examples to identify discrimination in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations.
• Hosted a “Building Inclusive and Progressive Cities” forum with Mayor de Blasio and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, along with Muslim leaders and community members, to discuss how New York City and other cities can better address Islamophobia and prevent hate crimes and other acts of discrimination.
• Convened Muslim, immigrant, and refugee groups to unite communities facing hate and violence and discuss shared actions the City and communities can take to combat xenophobic rhetoric, including a joint multi-sector action plan to join together and push back.
• Launched a citywide media campaign in late spring 2017 to educate New Yorkers on combatting xenophobia and embracing religious diversity, and created toolkits for government agencies and non-profits to improve cultural competency with faith-based communities.
• Recognized Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha as public school holidays for the first time in the 2015-16 school year.
• Hired a senior advisor specifically focused on working with City agencies to ensure programs and services reach Muslim communities.
• Continuously improving language access across the city. The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs develops policy and monitors and coordinates with 75 City agencies to ensure effective translation, interpretation, and "plain language" practices amongst City agencies. At the NYC Commission on Human Rights, 30 languages, including Arabic, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu, and Gujarati are now spoken among law enforcement staff.
• Meeting regularly with Muslim community leaders and making mosque visits to discuss public safety concerns, social services, small business services, mental health, access to universal pre-K, and other issues facing communities.
• Furthering the inclusion of immigrant communities though IDNYC, a government-issued identification card that over 900,000 unique cardholders and connects New Yorkers to libraries, museums, hospitals, and many City services.
• Convening roundtables and workshops with Muslim leaders and advocates to discuss religious protections under the NYC Human Rights Law and how to report acts of discrimination.
• Celebrating Muslim traditions and increasing cultural literacy through public events, such as Eid celebrations in every borough and iftars throughout the city, including the largest public iftar in City history, “Iftar in the City,” attended by hundreds of New Yorkers.