Books against Islamophobia: One West Philly mom’s hopeful campaign

April 18, 2017

In the current political climate and the rise of the alt-right movement, Islamophobia is growing more widespread. A number of public education efforts have surfaced, but there’s one particular effort that aims to nip Islamophobia in the bud while children are still in school. Meet Melanie Bartlett, a parent who heads the education committee at the West Philly Coalition Against Islamophobia (Facebook page). Bartlett is spearheading the “Kids Books That Fight Islamophobia” campaign, which has one simple mission: to get more books featuring Muslim kids into elementary school class libraries. Currently, the campaign is seeking out funding through their GoFundMe page and has already raised over $3,600 of its $5,000 goal.

Bartlett was driven by creating a better world for her daughter, who is being raised Muslim. 

The future is our kids, I didn’t want [my daughter] to be the target of bullying,” she explained. “When children never see their culture or religion represented in materials at schools or in books, the invisibility can be harmful to self-image. Additionally, negative stereotypes children have learned from news, television, and their surroundings are not challenged or addressed and all too often internalized.”

How are the schools with the most need being identified? Well, priority will be given to schools with the largest Muslim population. The ones that have been identified so far are: Anderson, Barry, Blakenburg, Catharine, Cassidy, Comegys, Bryant, Harrington, Heston, Lea, Locke, McMichael, Penn Alexander, Powel, and Martha Washington.

As the Philadelphia School system begins to recognize Muslim holidays, educating students on religious holidays their fellow classmates are celebrating would make sense, Bartlett said. She would like to get the books in the near future as they’re shopping around for the best deal at the moment. “We’d like for them to get there before Ramadan,” which is projected to begin in May.

Rana Fayez

2 Comments For This Post

  1. AWD Says:

    How about some books on Islam rather than the menu du jour Islamphobia? How about something on what Islam teaches about Jihad, Sharia law, polygamy, homosexuality? Americans are some of the most naive people among the nations and most know nothing about Islam, its history, its goals. Stop already with the fictional Islamaphobia. Muslims deserve the same rights and protection as anyone else. Islam does not deserve special treatment.

  2. Joycette Brown Says:

    I would like to know where I can purchase the books.

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