Miami Beach

Jews, Muslims stand together to fight Islamophobia

Persephone Nevel, 5, joins a group that gathered on Lincoln Road on Miami Beach on Wednesday, Dec. 21, making a commitment to fighting Islamophobia and racism.
Persephone Nevel, 5, joins a group that gathered on Lincoln Road on Miami Beach on Wednesday, Dec. 21, making a commitment to fighting Islamophobia and racism. pfarrell@miamiherald.com

Kindness. Peace. Acceptance.

Those are some of the words children came up when asked what they would like to see in the world.

“It's important for my daughter to see if we stand together, we can achieve peace,” Bridget Nevel said at an event Wednesday night meant to challenge Islamophobia and fight against racism. “We need to stand up for everyone’s rights.”

Nevel and her 4-year-old daughter, Persephone, were two of about 40 people who gathered in front of the giant menorah and Christmas tree on Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road as part of Network Against Islamophobia, a project of Jewish Voice for Peace and CAIR-Florida.

Similar events were held in 25 other cities across the country ahead of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which begins Saturday night. Donna Nevel, who is with Jewish Voices for Peace, said the Jewish holiday is about light, dovetailing with shining a light on the attacks against Muslim Americans.

“We want everyone to know that we stand together against hate,” said Nevel, who is Bridget’s aunt. “No one should have to face this kind of treatment in America.”

The program, which many Lincoln Road visitors stopped by to catch a glimpse, began with the singing of the hymn, This Little Light of Mine, modified for the occasion.

We call out for justice

We're going to make it shine

Make it shine

Make it shine

Make it shine

The attendees wore signs that declared their commitment to fighting against hate with messages such as “We will not be silent,” “We welcome Syrian refugees” and “We stand strong for immigrants’ rights.”

Sahar Shaikh, who is with the Muslim Women's Organization of South Florida, said seeing everyone from all faiths join together was encouraging and made her feel accepted.

“We feel loved. We feel heard,” she said. “This is beautiful.”

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