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These Muslims Are Showing Solidarity With Christians By Celebrating Lent

Muslims are joining Christians by giving up their favourite things for the next 40 days.

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Lent is a time for Christians to refrain from vices and guilty pleasures in the run-up to Easter, and this year Muslims all over the world are joining them to promote interfaith solidarity.

@eidpraylove

The initiative was started by Bassel Riche, an American Muslim who wants to challenge negative stereotypes of Islam.

He told Buzzfeed News that the campaign was particularly important in the wake of the recent tragedies in Paris, Copenhagen, and Chapel Hill. "I think the root problem with anti-Islamic sentiment in America and the rest of the world is [a] lack of understanding about Islam," he said. "The amount of misinformation about Islam that is presented to people every day creates [these] negative views."
@eidpraylove

He told Buzzfeed News that the campaign was particularly important in the wake of the recent tragedies in Paris, Copenhagen, and Chapel Hill.

"I think the root problem with anti-Islamic sentiment in America and the rest of the world is [a] lack of understanding about Islam," he said. "The amount of misinformation about Islam that is presented to people every day creates [these] negative views."

Since he started the campaign using the hashtag #Muslims4Lent, he’s had support from Muslims all over the world.

Basel said the idea came from his time in college, where Muslims and Christian students would hold "fast-a-thons".“I would see people of differing faiths that opened their hearts and minds to us and our beliefs," he said. "It was a few years later that I decided that it is our duty to do the same for them and the beliefs that they hold dear."
@eidpraylove

Basel said the idea came from his time in college, where Muslims and Christian students would hold "fast-a-thons".

“I would see people of differing faiths that opened their hearts and minds to us and our beliefs," he said. "It was a few years later that I decided that it is our duty to do the same for them and the beliefs that they hold dear."

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@eidpraylove

Bassel hopes the hashtag will be used to “show thanks and solidarity to the many Christians that have always shown Muslims love and respect", while also giving people the chance to learn about Islam.

"This is where we can use social media to our advantage to put our faces, views, and beliefs in front of everyday Americans," he said, "to show them that we are not what they see on TV."
@eidpraylove

"This is where we can use social media to our advantage to put our faces, views, and beliefs in front of everyday Americans," he said, "to show them that we are not what they see on TV."

"The Islamic extremists have hijacked our religion and are using it as a mask to hide behind as they commit atrocity after atrocity, therefore it is up to the rest of us to be ambassadors of what Islam really is."

The project is part of Eid.Pray.Love, an organisation founded by Bassel with the aim of “energising our community of Muslims to take a more active approach in changing the negative view many seem to have of Islam”.
@eidpraylove

The project is part of Eid.Pray.Love, an organisation founded by Bassel with the aim of “energising our community of Muslims to take a more active approach in changing the negative view many seem to have of Islam”.

“The goal with initiatives like these is to show that we will not let extremists hijack the narrative or draw a wedge between our communities," Bassel said. "The greater casualty, even, is the fear that people can no longer be themselves in a place they call home. “The beliefs of peace, unity, and respect of other religions are ingrained in the fabric of Islam, [and] any Muslim that says otherwise is missing the most basic of the Islamic tenets."
Via @SaritaAgerman

“The goal with initiatives like these is to show that we will not let extremists hijack the narrative or draw a wedge between our communities," Bassel said. "The greater casualty, even, is the fear that people can no longer be themselves in a place they call home.

“The beliefs of peace, unity, and respect of other religions are ingrained in the fabric of Islam, [and] any Muslim that says otherwise is missing the most basic of the Islamic tenets."

Hussein Kesvani is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Hussein Kesvani at Hussein.Kesvani@BuzzFeed.com.

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