Muslims for Social Justice Statement on Sandra Bland and Tamir Rice
As Muslims, as people of color, and as human beings, we cannot afford to be silent in the face of the state violence being levied against Black and Brown people in the United States and abroad. As we mourn Sandra Bland and Tamir Rice, a Black woman and child murdered by police and declared guilty for their own deaths by virtue of the non-indictments of the officers who killed them, it is clear that we are not safe. Black children are shot deadwhile playing in the park and sleeping on the couch in their own homes. Black women, trans and cis, are murdered, violated, beaten, and disappeared- their names erased from reports in the news. Muslim women survive unspeakable violence at the hands of white supremacists daily. Black and Brown people in the United States are living under siege of a terror state; and yet mass media calls us terrorists.
The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have said “Whomsoever of you witnesses an injustice, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.”
Muslims for Social Justice believes that not only is it our duty as Muslims to seek leadership from the women in our community, to raise our voices with and for Black and Brown women, it is imperative to our survival. The United States claims to bomb countries in the Muslim world to liberate the women in our communities. White supremacists like Craig Stephen Hicks, who killed Deah, Yusor, and Razan earlier this year, call Muslims rapists and butchers. And yet it was U.S. state agents in Abu Ghraib who sexually assaulted Muslim women and men alike, and it is the U.S. military that has some of the most heinous records of sexual assault, it is police and correctional officers in the U.S. that sexually assault Black and Brown women in the streets and in detention facilities every day. Both in the U.S. and abroad, systemic racial and gender assault on Black and Brown people, including (and especially) those who are women, femmes, transgender and gender non-conforming, constitute a regime of state-sanctioned violence that reproduces a culture of policing and repression.
Muslims for Social Justice calls on Muslim communities to support demonstrations for Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Betty Jones, and Laquan McDonald; to speak out against racism and Islamophobia; to uplift the voices and struggles of Black and Brown women; and to organize in our communities against state violence domestically and abroad. Most importantly, it is time for Muslims to take real steps towards building authentic Black and Brown unity and feminist practices within and beyond our communities. It is time to stop giving lip service to Bilal and listing how many Black friends the Prophet (PBUH) had; and it is time to address anti-Blackness and misogyny and show up for each other across nationalities and gender as a daily practice. The following are pictures from Tamir Rice/Sandra Bland rally in Durham on January 1st, 2016.