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Letter of Solidarity by ICNA CSJ California

In Solidarity With the Black Community

Dear Community Members and Friends,

Assalamu Alaikum!

On behalf of the ICNA Council for Social Justice, California State Chapters, we write to express our love for, solidarity with and commitment to the Black community, especially Black families whose loved ones have been murdered by state-sanctioned violence.

We are heartbroken over the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Steven Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Yassin Mohamed, Tony McDade and David McAtee. They are the latest in a long line of Black men and women senselessly struck down by police officers who were sworn to serve and protect them.

Many of us, despite our commitment to the principles of solidarity and allyship, will never know what it is like to be Black in this country. We acknowledge that our practice of Islam in America today and our organization’s work rests on the shoulders of Black Muslims who have made incredible sacrifices and demonstrated immeasurable courage in the past, and continue to do so today.

As a Muslim civil rights organization dedicated to harnessing our values in service to our society, ICNA CSJ-CA recognizes that justice for all people in America cannot come to fruition without an unwavering and unapologetic commitment to achieving justice for Black Americans. ICNA CSJ-CA recognizes that justice is a central tenent in Islam. That includes an honest acknowledgment of entrenched anti-Blackness within our society and within our communities.

To that end, we strongly condemn all forms of anti-Black violence and systemic racism. We also unequivocally condemn the dehumanization of Blackness, whether it occurs inside or outside our community. We condemn all forms of injustice against our Black brothers and sisters, whether that’s from police officers, civilians, the criminal justice system, or other institutions such as the healthcare or education systems.

However, we must do more than condemn. We must take concrete action. We are committing to doing more than publishing this letter and standing in solidarity; we commit to educating ourselves and others through training and dialogue, to working more closely as allies to the Black community, and to holding ourselves accountable on this priority issue.

As one step, we urge all California mosques and Muslim organizations to join us in committing to learning more about anti-racism initiatives by partnering with organizations like the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative and islahLA.

We further urge every mosque and Muslim organization in the region to also commit to following through with these requests that we have heard from our Black Muslim leaders:

  1. Endorse a Public Statement: Muslim organizations, mosques, and community centers can sign on to this letter or write your own message of solidarity. This can be posted on your website and social media and/or distributed via email, but must be communicated publicly.
  2. Advocate: Contact your Congressperson to get confirmation that s/he will vote YES on the Eric Garner Excessive Use of Force Prevention Act HR4408.
  3. Join Events:
    • Participate in the upcoming day of outrage on Friday, June 5, by dedicating your Friday talks/khutbas/recorded messages to condemning anti-Blackness and police brutality.
    • Join local efforts to uplift justice and equity for the Black community, including calls, actions and protests. History is being made, do not sit on the sidelines.
    • On July 4 across California, there will be a California Muslims Ride Out Against Anti-Blackness event. More information to come.
  4. Community Education and Empowerment: Muslim organizations, mosques and community centers should commit to learning about and addressing anti-Blackness in our society and even within our own community. For example, you can:
    • arrange events featuring Black elders and youth inside and outside the Muslim community, including Black scholars and imams, Black civil rights leaders, and Black activists;
    • engage in more courageous conversations across lines of race and culture that move us towards deepened partnerships; and
    • ensure that the leadership and membership of our organizations reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the American Muslim community;
    • ICNA CSJ-CA will also be announcing an educational series with curriculum aiming to address these issues that can be co-hosted by Islamic mosques, centers and organizations.We know that our faith is incompatible with systems of racial hierarchy, but we should do more to put this knowledge into action. We should redouble our efforts to do what our Prophet Muhammad (may peace, prayers and blessings be upon him) taught us to do: recognize, expose and reject racism, particularly the scourge of anti-Blackness.Thank you for your support. Please feel free to reach out to us with additional ideas, and please reach out to us if we can assist your community in pursuing these efforts.

      Onward, God willing. Jazak’Allah khair.

      In love and solidarity,

      ICNA CSJ Bay Area
      ICNA CSJ Sacramento
      ICNA CSJ Southern California
      ICNA CSJ San Diego