Thursday, June 18, 2015

Muslims for Social Justice Statement on AME Massacre

Muslims for Social Justice is deeply shocked and saddened at the murder of nine worshippers at the historic Black church - Emanuel African Methodist “Mother Emmanuel” Church in Charleston on June 17, 2015. We pray for the victims of this unbelievable tragedy. While authorities have called it a “hate crime”, we emphasize that this was a white-supremacist and terrorist attack. The murderer's picture donning Apartheid South African and racist Rhodesian regime flags indicate his allegiance to the racist ideology. Based on news quote from a survivor, terrorist yelled “You rape our women. You're taking over our country. You have to go,"” before he killed his victims. The terrorist reportedly left a survivor unharmed so she could recount the story of his terror to others. The Charleston massacre is a continuation of more than two hundred years of attacks, lynchings, shootings, bombings and burning of Black sacred spaces - historical tactics deployed by white supremacists to terrorize Black communities. One has to be reminded that the date of this massacre, June 17th, 2015, coincides with the 193rd anniversary of slave rebellion plot orchestrated in the same church by black leader Denmark Vesey.

The Charleston massacre comes at the heels of a global racist assault where Haitian descendants in the Dominican Republic are being forcefully deported from the country where they have lived for generations. Haiti was founded after a slave rebellion that had deep resonance on the U.S. South. Mr. Vesey had plans for a slave rebellion to free slaves in the US South and migrate to Haiti in 1822. That slave rebellion was crushed by the slaveholders and Haiti was punished by imperialist forces for centuries. The ugliness of white supremacy in the U.S.A. and the plight of the Haitians in the Dominican Republic reinforce the need for a global movement against racism.

In the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims for Social Justice believes Muslims should increase resolve to ending white supremacy and all forms of oppression. We support a call by the Muslim chaplain and activist Kameelah Mu'Min Rashad that Friday, June 19, 2015, should be a day when imam and khatibs throughout the USA should deliver khutbahs (Friday prayer sermons) that include prayer for Mother Emmanuel AME Church victims and moblize all Muslims to become an active part of the #BlackLivesMatter and anti-racism movement. We also urge Imams and khateebs to elaborate on the history of slavery and racism in the USA, especially the 150th anniversary of ending of slavery (Juneteenth) that will be commemorated on June 19, 2015. This history is also relevant in the USA since slaves were the first to celebrate Ramadan in this nation. We believe there is a need to go beyond education and practical steps are needed to end all vestiges of racism within the non-Black Muslim community and in the broader non-Muslim community.

Muslims for Social Justice has launched a series of forums to challenge the twin evils of Islamophobia and racism in the USA. We plan to offer workshops on racism and Islamophobia in the future. We call on Muslim community to join us in challenging white supremacy in all its forms, whether murders of black and brown people by police, school-to-prison-pipeline, prison-industrial-complex, environmental racism, gentrification or the war on poor. It is essential to merge our struggles, ranging from Palestine freedom, justice for Rohingya Muslims, Islamophobia in the USA to #BlackLivesMatter movement and ending all forms of oppression in the USA. 

O ye who believe, stand out firmly for justice". Sura An-Nissa, verse 135

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