WhyIslam.org strongly condemns the murder of our brother, George Floyd, at the hands of Minneapolis police. The killing of African Americans by law enforcement is not new or recent, rather it has been an ongoing occurrence for decades. African Americans are not only the victims of police brutality, they endure consistent harassment, targeting, and demonization. We can no longer remain silent bystanders or expect that politicians will eventually rectify these issues in our society. It is the responsibility of those with a God given conscience to do whatever is within our legal power to stand up to systematic racism and white supremacy. Although non-Black minorities experience injustice, we must recognize that the consistent and deliberate oppression of African Americans is an evil far beyond what other minorities experience. African Americans, especially black men, continue to be the main victims of barbaric police brutality.
WhyIslam.org demands that justice be served not only for the murder of George Floyd, but for all instances where African Americans were unjustly killed and abused by law enforcement. We have witnessed countless times officers have murdered innocent civilians without being held accountable. In order to restore confidence in our justice system, we must hold them accountable for their actions. We cannot allow this injustice to continue. We call on Muslims and people of all religions, races, and ideologies to stand together against these injustices.
It should be noted that racism is not only rooted in American culture, but it is present in all communities, and the Muslim community is no exception. Humankind has a tendency to favor people who are similar to themselves. The first step in addressing racism is to recognize and confront the deficiencies in our own self. While humankind is imperfect, Muslims believe the religion of Islam provides the perfect solution. Although Islam prohibits racism, tribalism, and colorism, racism in the Muslim community is an uncomfortable reality that warrants crucial and necessary conversations. We may not have answers, but we do know that we need to start from somewhere. Lip service, social media posts, and a few statements are insufficient responses. Islam requires Muslims to stand up to injustice. We must work to ensure that African Americans have equal housing, economic, educational opportunities. We must hold politicians accountable and run for political positions where we can remove corrupt politicians and make significant changes. Speaking against injustice is required by Islam, the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said “Whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith.”
The Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him at a time when racism was rampant. The Arabs considered themselves to be superior to the non-Arabs. The wealthy considered themselves superior to the poor, and the masters considered themselves superior to their slaves. When one reads the Quran they will immediately notice that it seeks to do away with racism. It reminds humans that God created us all different for a reason, that we may know each other. Racism is not only interracial, but it is also intraracial. Meaning, that one can even find racism within certain ethnicities and races. Islam takes this concept of equality even further. It is not limited to theory, but equality is embedded in the rituals of Islam. When Muslims perform their five daily prayers in congregation, everyone stands together in a straight line, shoulder to shoulder. There is no distinction or a special place for anyone to stand based on any kind of status. Pilgrimage is perhaps the greatest ritual which instills the teaching that all humans are equal. Everyone wears two pieces of white cloth, and there are millions of people there from all walks of life who are identical before God. They have nothing but two pieces of white cloth on them that reminds them of their humanity. The black and the white are equal, the poor finally feels a sense of equality with the rich, and the servant feels equal to the king. They all stand before God with nothing but their humanity. These rituals are meant to eliminate racism and instill a global culture of equality and humanity.
We urge all people of consciousness to not despair because justice will ultimately prevail. Humans might forget or be unaware of injustices, but God never forgets. It is historically noted that some Pre-Islamic Arabs used to bury their daughters alive. These young girls are long forgotten by humans; their names, dates of birth, and cries are were never recorded. However, God reassures us in the Quran that on the Day of Reckoning He will bring justice to their murderers: “And when the girl (who was buried alive) is asked for what sin she was killed…” (81: 8-9).