Evidence of hate is percolating in America and around the world. According to the American Psychological Association, the FBI reported more than 7,000 hate crimes in the United States during 2017. In Wisconsin, there were 17 religion-based hate crimes that same year.
Enter Masood Akhtar, PhD, who realized his dream of coming to the United States in 1984 when he won a scholarship in India to come here and complete his education. He stayed in America, became a citizen, and committed to give back, in India and the United States, and to help every person, regardless of their religion, color, and ethnicity, change their lives through education, just as his life was changed.
His goal of fighting hatred and promoting tolerance became increasingly daunting. Following the 2016 election, when suggestions of a “Muslin registry” surfaced, Dr. Akhtar spontaneously announced on local television that he was going to start an “anti-hate registry” to bring people together. This declaration has turned into the WE ARE MANY UNITED AGAINST HATE Coalition.
On this program, Masood Akhtar is joined by Mike McCabe, now executive director of the coalition. They describe how their movement is growing, how it has intervened in specific incidents of intolerance in Wisconsin communities, and how it is receiving calls from other states and countries. The coalition is currently working with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and higher educational institutions to accomplish three goals: study the root causes of hate, develop education programs to address them, and incorporate these programs into the K-12 curriculum.
Dr. Masood Akhtar is the recipient of the 2019 Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award presented by the Rotary Club of Madison. This award recognizes a person whose leadership has built bridges and sought reconciliation between groups and persons to promote inclusivity. Dr. Akhtar also received a Certificate of Achievement from Governor Tony Evers and the prestigious national FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award in Washington, DC from FBI Director, Christopher Wray.