Sunday, December 21, 2014

Teach-In on Mike Brown and Eric Garner

Muslims for Social Justice organized a teach-in on Mike Brown and Eric Garner at Stanford Warren library in Durham, NC, on Dec 20th, 2014. Participants from Rocky Mount, Triangle Area and Winston-Salem, NC, participated in the discussion. The discussion explored history of racism and institutional racism in the USA, divisions between immigrant and African American Muslims and strategies for anti-racism movement.

Check pictures from the event below:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Muslims for Social Justice Statement on Eric Garner

(The following statement by Muslims for Social Justice was read at Eric Garner rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Dec 4, 2014. See pictures below)

Murder with impunity of Eric Garner is yet another reminder of the ongoing war on Black America and lays to rest the myth of "Post-Racial America". 

Muslims for Social Justice believes in becoming part of a grassroots movement to topple the oppressive system. We believe in uprooting 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. Institution of racism is at the root of this oppression. Body cameras alone will not stop violence inherent in the deeply racist society we live in. Ending white-supremacy and uprooting institutional racism will end violence faced by black and brown people.

The movement against white supremacy has to be led by the most oppressed and should be supported by their allies from all backgrounds. Muslims for Social Justice is dedicated to educating and mobilizing people within our family, friends, congregants at mosques and other places of worship to become part of this growing movement!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

International Human Rights Award for Manzoor Cheema

Manzoor Cheema, founder of Muslims for Social Justice and producer of Independent Voices TV Show, is the recipient of the 14th Annual International Human Rights Award. This award is given by The Human Rights Coalition of North Carolina. The award ceremony will take place on Tuesday, Dec 9th, at North Carolina State University Club.

Award-dinner information:
International Human Rights Award Dinner
6:30 PM, Tuesday. December 9, 2014
At NC State University Club, 4200 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh NC (just east of the State Fair Grounds)

Cost of dinner is $35 and includes vegetarian or chicken option. If you wish to attend, please contact Josh McIntyre at 919-834-4478 or email at

About Manzoor Cheema: 
Manzoor Cheema has been active in human rights campaigns since 1999. As a student at Veterinary Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan, he took part in actions against exploitation of dairy farmers by multi-national companies including Swiss Food company Nestlé.

In 2005, Manzoor launched a public access TV show, Independent Voices, from Triangle area of North Carolina. This show depicted local and international grassroots human rights and social justice movements. This TV show allowed Manzoor and fellow activist producers to work with many local and national movements. These included workers' rights movement in North Carolina, anti-torture movement in North Carolina, farm workers movement, grassroots rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, gender rights and LGBTQ empowerment movements, environmental justice movement in North Carolina, movement to end Iraq war, among other movements. This show lasted from 2005 to 2009 and produced fifty episodes that were broadcast from many public access TV stations in the country. Excerpts from the show were broadcast from New York-based Democracy Now TV and radio show. Independent Voices producers won an award for best documentary based TV show from The People's Channel in Chapel Hill, NC.

Since 2007, Manzoor has focussed on organizing South Asian and Middle Eastern community members in North Carolina in order to bring a progressive social change. He wrote for a Pakistani-American newspaper “Pakistan Chronicle” for four years and highlighted many issues faced by marginalized immigrants.

In 2010, Manzoor Cheema joined North Carolina-based Triangle Interfaith Alliance and launched a committee to work on social justice campaigns.

In 2012, Manzoor met with members from Pakistan's progressive organization, Awami Workers Party, while his visit to Islamabad and explored future collaboration between Pakistani and American labor movements.

In 2013, Manzoor and members of Black Workers for Justice co-founded an organization called Muslims for Social Justice, whose mission is to work for human right and social justice for all. Members of Muslims for Social Justice have participated in Moral Monday movement, rallies against police brutality, May Day rally and protests against Gaza attack. Muslims for Social Justice has worked closely with partners within Muslim, interfaith and social justice organizations. Manzoor, along with interfaith allies, invited NC NAACP President, Rev. William Barber, to speak at Triangle Interfaith Alliance's Annual Dinner in February 2014. In June 2014, Manzoor organized a workshop on voting rights in Apex Mosque. Manzoor, on behalf of Muslims for Social Justice, was invited to speak at Historic Thousands on Jones Street (H K on J) rally on Feb 8, 2014, and during Moral Monday rallies. Recently, Manzoor organized an event to connect Palestinian and African American human rights in the wake of 2014 Gaza war and police brutality in Ferguson, MO.

Videos of Manzoor Cheema Speeches:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Racism is in the Air: Struggle for Environmental Justice

Racism is in the Air: Struggle for Environmental Justice

by Qasima Wideman
On Saturday, October 18, NC Environmental Justice Network held its 16th annual Summit at the Franklinton Center at Bricks in Whitakers, North Carolina. The Environmental Justice Network is a grassroots coalition of community groups in different parts of the state organizing against the disproportionate impact of pollution and environmental destruction on poor.
communities and communities of color. “Bad air, bad water bad soil,” is the result, said Saladin Muhammad, an organizer with Black Workers for Justice and Muslims for Social Justice. He also noted that those dumping “do not know how to read ‘No Trespassing’ signs and stay out of our communities.” Also, Ruben Solis Garcia, the summit’s keynote speaker, said environmental racism affects all parts of our lives, from the places we work to the places our children play. From his experience; “Growing up,” he said, “a lot of our playgrounds were clay infill placed on top of landfills and contaminated sites.”
Muhammad said the mainstream environmentalist movement does not do enough to address the needs and concerns of people of color. “We operae in an environment where environmental justice is an afterthought,” he said during the panel discussion on Saturday morning. “It’s not integrated into discussions about the extinction of species and global warming.” He urged the environmental justice organizers in the room to take action on multiple and different fronts, and not to focus all their efforts on appealing to policy makers; reminding the audience that environmental justice is literallya life-or-death issue. “As a trade unionist,” he said, “I’ve seen our campaigns in the workplace fizzle out after we make some economic gains, even if real equality and workers rights haven’t been won… If our struggle is solely based on convincing the policy makers to do something, then the time we spend waiting to be heard is time that we are dying.”
Community organizers from the historically-Black, Rogers Road neighborhood in Chapel Hill were also present at the summit. The Rogers Road community was established by free Black people over 150 years ago, and has been inhabited mostly by their descendants and by other poor people of color ever since. Despite the fact that this community has existed throughout the course of Chapel Hill’s development, it has been excluded from basic resources like municipal water, and has been a dumping site for hazardous wastes. Manju Rajendran, one of the conference attendees and a passionate environmental justice activist, spoke of “a time when wagon trails wound through black-owned family farmland and clean streams. Today, some [Rogers Road] residents still drink well water contaminated by landfill toxins,” she said. “The EPA has investigated an environmental racism complaint regarding the lack of basic resources allocated to this area of the county that received all of our county’s trash for four decades.” It wasn’t until October 15 this year (2014) that the Chapel Hill town council voted to grant the Rogers Road community extraterritorial jurisdiction and to releasefunds to build sewer access in Rogers Road neighborhood. These misdeeds in Rogers Road is only one example of a phenomenon that runs rampant across the nation. “When we compare census maps with official EPA data,” said Garcia, another panel member, “we see the intentional dumping of hazardous wastes in communities of color.”
Workshops leaders and speakers at the Summit talked about the importance of building solidarity between Black, Latin@ and Xican@ people, and indigenous people around Environmental Justice. An organizer with Student Action with Farmworkers, spoke about the impacts of environmental racism on migrant workers. “Farmers often require workers to be in fields the day immediately after a pesticide spray,” he said. As a result, migrant farmworkers experience disproportionately high rates of illnesses like green tobacco sickness. Heat stress and heat stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes are a result, he shared. Despite the fact that farmworkers are exposed to the such dangerous environmental hazards, they are denied basic health care which would also help deal with other issues such as HIV/AIDS. One student who works with Farmworkers reported meeting a family this year who said that they hadn’t been visited by their primary care provider since 2009. Documented farmworkers have the right to healthcare access in their contracts with growers, yet less than 20% of them receive anything like proper health care.
Daniel Mejia, who spoke about environmental justice and immigration, traced the origins of immigrant struggles to US foreign policy in their homelands. “Latin American workers have been historically exploited,” he said, “from banana farms in Nicaragua to NAFTA… I was eight years old when Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras and sent us back to the stone age, and when I came here and saw the immense wealth that existed for some people, I realized the historic and environmental context for my experiences.”
Garcia is the founder of University Sin Fronteras and an organizer with Southwest Workers Union. He spoke about theimportance of relating environmental injustice to its roots in colonialism. He said it was impossible to talk about environmental racism as though it is “disconnected from the lineage of indigenous and Black people. There had been harmony with nature practiced culturally on this land,” he said, “for the 50,000 years before the last 500 years since it has been called North Carolina.”
If the work of the Environmental Justice Network continues, perhaps some day that harmony will be practiced again.
Qasima Wideman is a first-year student at NC State University. She is a member of Youth Organizing Institute and Muslims for Social Justice. A version of this article was published in NC State University based The Nubian Message and on Triangle Interfaith Alliance website (

Photo and Video Gallery

          Shafeah M'Balia and Saladin Muhammad at Trayvon Martin Rally in Raleigh, 7/14/13

                            Saladin Muhammad speaking at anti-war rally in Raleigh on 9/17/13

Anjabeen Ashraf at Moral Monday Rally in Raleigh on 7/22/13

Moral Monday 7/29/13

Shafeah M'Balia speaking at Triangle Interfaith Alliance Annual Dinner 
in Raleigh on February 6, 2014.
Click above to watch Shafeah M'Balia Speech at Triangle Interfaith Alliance Annual Dinner. Or click at link below to watch the Youtube video:

Manzoor Cheema Speaking at HKonJ (Historic Thousands on Jones Street) rally on Feb 8, 2014. Click on pic above or link below to watch the video:

Muslims for Social Justice members at BWFJ's 2014 MLK Support of Labor Banquet, 4/8/2014

Muslims for Social Justice Member Manzoor Cheema spoke at Moral Monday rally on June 9, 2014

Voting Rights Workshop at Apex Mosque, 6/14/14

Connecting Palestinian and African American Struggles Forum, Raleigh, 8/23/14

Imam Salahuddin Muhammad speaking at Climate Change Vigil in Raleigh on 9/21/14

Muslims for Social Justice Sponsored a forum titled "The Quest for a Just Peace: Connecting Liberation Struggle" on Oct 26, 2014. Watch videos from the forum below:

Click pic above or link below to watch Saladin Muhammad's speech at the
2014 Environmental Justice Summit (Oct 17/18, 2014) at Whitakers, NC:

Muslims for Social Justice co-sponsored "Drop Moral Monday Arrestee Charges: Unity Celebration Reception" organized at Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center in Raleigh, NC, on 11/02/14

Pictures from Eric Garner Rally in Raleigh on Dec 4, 2014. Muslims for Social Justice delivered a statement at the rally

International Human Rights Award dinner for Manzoor Cheema, co-founder of Muslims for Social Justice, on Dec 9, 2014

Muslims for Social Justice organized a Teach-in on Mike Brown and Eric Garner on Dec 20, 2014, in Durham NC


Welcome to Muslims for Social Justice Blog!

Muslims for Social Justice is a North Carolina-based organization dedicated to Human Rights and Social Justice for all. We believe in Empowerment of the Marginalized, Grassroots Democracy, Economic & Environmental Justice, Respect for Diversity, and Responsible Local & Foreign Policy. We are committed to working with organizations and individuals who share these values.

Our core principles include:

1) MSJ is dedicated to social justice and human rights for all.

2) We will prioritize fighting racism, white supremacy and sexism within as well as beyond the Muslim community.

3) MSJ will work closely on anti-colonial, anti-Islamophobia, Black Liberation movements, international issues and progressive social movements. MSJ will connect global liberation movements, like Palestine Liberation Movement, with Black Liberation Movement.

4) MSJ believes that organizing people on the grassroots, rather than charity or mere electoral/legal avenues, will change the balance of power to bring the necessary progressive change.

5) MSJ will build power and change the balance of power by centering the leadership and self-determination of marginalized Muslims, and approaching our organizing through an intersectional lens.