George Floyd…Ahmaud Arbery…Breonna Taylor. These are the names that have brought outraged citizens of all races and backgrounds to the streets of cities all across our nation to express their dismay with law enforcement’s continual lack of concern for lives of black people.
Michael Brown…Trayvon Martin…Tamir Rice. Young men, one not even yet a teenager, who were deemed as dangerous based upon their race by Police or wannabe police who decided their lives weren’t worth preserving. The U.S. Justice system agreed and the killers of each of these young men were allowed to walk free, with or without a trial. These young men will never reach their potential or make their mark on our society.
Philando Castile…Sean Bell…Amadou Diallo. Family men all murdered by police officers while going about their daily routines. In each case the officers were the initiators of the confrontation and decided their firearm was the best way to end the situation although their lives were never threatened.
Deah Barakat…Yusor Mohammad…Razan Mohamad. Three Muslim family members and students in North Carolina killed by what they described as a “hateful neighbor” who was known for anti-Muslim media posts.
Freddie Gray…Aiyana Jones…Sandra Bland. All police murders. And the list can go on and on and on.
And it will go on and on unless we as a community insist that it ends.
The common thread in these murders is the lack of political and economic empowerment of the victims, their families, their communities and their race. This will not just end because the police and those that empower them will at some point have an epiphany that this is wrong. It will end when people of good will decide they will not live in a society that tolerates such behavior.
As Muslims we know that the Prophet Muhammed (SAW) was born into a society that was far more ruthless than ours. Tribe, race and sex were all reasons to suffer oppression, murder and slavery. It was faith, commitment and sacrifice that ended that corrupt system. Together as believers they became empowered to change not only their own lives but the way of life for the entire peninsula. Their faith and action defeated empires and instilled justice.
Those of us who say we believe have a similar obligation to change the society around us for the better. It begins with faith but simply saying we believe will not be enough. As Allah has stated, “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them…..” Quran 29:2-3.
We are being tested as to how we will leave our mark on this society. We are being tested on our commitment to bring justice to a society that continues to disenfranchise the unempowered. We are being tested on how we will use our resources, be they meager or major, to affect those within our sphere of influence.
The escaped slave and famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass once said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Prince George’s County Muslim Council exists for the purpose of empowering the Muslim community in Prince George’s County. Our goal is to address, and if need be, change policies to facilitate our way of life and improve the quality of life of all Muslims in the County.
When our community had concerns about community/police relations, PGCMC convened a forum with the Chief of Police, the Sheriff and the State’s Attorney. When the Muslim community was alarmed at the Executive Order to ban Muslims from several countries to travel to the United States, we worked with other groups to convene a forum on legal rights and called upon our Congressmen to meet with the community on how they[EAR1] would defend our rights legislatively. In the past year PGCMC has called upon the public-school system to equally acknowledge the Muslim Eids as they have acknowledged the holidays of the Christians and Jews for many years. The result will be the closing of the schools for Eid-Ul Fitr in 2021.
Prince George’s County Muslim Council exists to leave a legacy of dawah and justice in the community in which we live. PGCMC exists to bring some improvement in the lives of our brothers and sisters and of our neighbors to whom the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said we have a responsibility.
This is not a call for donations. It is a call for commitment. A call for a unified effort to empower our community. How will you answer? Emmit Till…Medgar Evers…Rev. George Lee. And the list goes on and on and on……