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By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

An interfaith coalition of 15 civil rights and faith-based organizations have launched a new project called Know Your Neighbor at a White House convening on religious pluralism.

Conceived by the National Sikh Campaign (NSC), Know Your Neighbor seeks to promote inclusion, freedom, respect, and cooperation among people of different faiths. The project encourages people to share their own beliefs, learn about the beliefs of others, and speak out against hatred and misinformation.

“Know Your Neighbor started out as a concept we had at NSC to increase dialogue with other faith communities that were doing similar work as us, particularly at a time when religious pluralism in the United States is becoming more convoluted,” Gurwin Singh Ahuja, NSC co-founder, told NBC News. “We intend to foster a much-needed dialogue across the country on religious diversity, mainly discussing what that means while generating general awareness of faith traditions.”

Concerned about the recent rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric, member organizations have created religious resources and toolkits to help facilitate learning about other faiths, including how to organize a town hall meeting and host a “speed faithing” event.

“The coalition consists of some of the top religious and advocacy organizations throughout the country, a true breath of fresh air when understanding the diversity and inclusiveness of the coalition,” Ahuja said. “It crosses several major religions and value systems as well as civil rights organizations that work hand-in-hand in protecting the First Amendment.”

On Jan. 28, Know Your Neighbor will use social media and the hashtag #ChangeTheStory for people to share positive stories of interfaith encounters and relationships in order to counter negative and violent messages in the mainstream about how religion divides people.

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