Rachel Sanoff
September 01, 2016 4:34 pm
Maeril/Tumblr

Anti-Muslim racism has become frighteningly prevalent in the world, and as Donald Trump’s xenophobic presidential campaign continues, Islamophobic discrimination has intensified in the States.

As APlus notes, Islamophobic hate crimes increase after a terrorist attack in the Western world, and following the recent attacks in Paris, Islamophobic incidents increased in America. This type of racism is so common that publications have released safety guides for handling aggressors.

When non-Muslims witness these disgusting acts of racism, many of us fall victim to “the bystander effect.” We become nervous and uncomfortable, assuming that someone else will intervene. But we all need to protect each other, and remember to center the victims of the racist attack.

That’s why Maeril, a French Middle Eastern, non-Muslim woman, has illustrated a four-step guide for de-escalating Islamophobic attacks.

Maeril told BuzzFeed News that her guide, which depicts a woman on a bus witnessing racism, demonstrates “non-complementary behavior.” In psychology, non-complementary behavior means that you act in a manner that is opposite of the attacker. By respectfully engaging with the Muslim person and acting as though the racist person isn’t present, as pictured in the illustration, the aggressor backs down.

Maeril’s incredibly important guide has been shared over 70,000 times, and she explained to APlus that she does not have to be Muslim herself to understand that Islamophobia must be stopped:

“When Paris attacks occurred, my first reaction was to protect Muslims at all costs and remind people around me, online and offline, that they’re as French as we are and as worthy of trust and love… I’ve been called a ‘terrorist’ since I am still Middle Eastern and visible as such.. They are part of our people, we need to protect them.”

This is not the first illustration to go viral following anti-Muslim sentiment — a drawing depicting the ridiculousness of the burkini ban recently went viral as well. We are so grateful that we can refer to Maeril’s guide, and the work of other artists, if we ever witness this kind of discrimination.

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