A Paris-based artist illustrated the ad campaign to attack Islamophobia.Boston has adopted a new method to combat Islamophobia. City authorities have begun a poster campaign encouraging bystanders to make a non-confrontational intervention in case they see harassment against Muslims. The campaign started on July 17 when 50 posters were pasted around the city.
The poster initiative in Boston was started after a man was charged for allegedly shouting anti-Muslim slurs against an elderly woman wearing a headscarf. The victim was commuting through the Orange Line. Faisa Sharif, Boston's Somali liaison said, "It's an awkward place to be in, when you see someone being harassed.” She said the poster portrayed a Muslim woman in hijab being harassed. She continued on to say that the message of this poster can be applied to any tense public situation.
The posters were originally drawn by Maeril, an artist working out of the French capital Paris. The communication is done through a cartoon how-to guide. The poster was translated from its original French to English for the Facebook group The Middle Eastern Feminist. The posters request witnesses to Islamophobic harassment to sit and talk with the victim of Islamophobia about a neutral subject. The witness should ignore the harasser and make signs that the victim should do so too. As per The Associated Press, this method is termed “non-complementary behavior.” The aim of this method is to weaken the tirade of an aggressive individual by countering expectations the attacker had in the first place.
Marty Walsh, the Mayor of Boston, said that these posters are a tool to send the message that everyone is welcome to live, visit, work, and spend their time in Boston. He said, "Education is key to fighting intolerance, and these posters share a simple strategy for engaging with those around you."
— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) July 19, 2017
The Islamic community in Boston has praised the campaign. Suzan El-Rayess, the civic engagement director of Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, said that she and her organization encourage all Bostonians, regardless of religion and ethnicity, to apply the method taught by the poster if needed.
San Francisco will soon follow Boston's footsteps. Mayor Walsh's office was approached by Thea Colman, whose sister had a professional link with the Bay Area Rapid Transit of San Francisco. The California city wants to have posters set up all over the metropolis similar to Boston.