- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Boston bus stops will be blanketed for the next two weeks with signs aimed at ridding the city of “Islamophobia.”

The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center cheered an initiative launched on Monday by Democrat Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s office. Citizens taking public transit are likely to encounter 50 signs to educate them on how to stop Muslims from being harassed.

“These posters are one tool we have to send the message that all are welcome in Boston,” Mr. Walsh said in a statement, the Boston Globe reported Monday. “Education is key to fighting intolerance, and these posters share a simple strategy for engaging with those around you.”

The signage was created by French artist Marie-Shirine Yene, aka Maeril, whose work gained notoriety after the Nov. 13, 2015, Paris terror attacks perpetrated by the Islamic State group.

“This initiative couldn’t come at a better time,” said Suzan El-Rayess, civic engagement director at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the newspaper reported. “We encourage all of our fellow Bostonians to apply the approach in these posters to anyone targeted — whether Muslim, Latino or otherwise.”

The mayor’s post encourages citizens who witness Islamophobia to do the following:

  • “Engage in conversation” with the victim.
  • “Pick a random subject and start discussing it.”
  • “Keep building the safe space” while not making eye contact with the aggressor.
  • “Continue the conversation until the attacker leaves.”

Faisa Sharif, a neighborhood liaison within the mayor’s civic engagement cabinet, told the Globe that such signs will “encourage de-escalation” by offering citizens “a peaceful way to address harassment that bystanders may witness.”

Mr. Walsh’s initiative was modeled after similar efforts unveiled in San Francisco.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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