Muslims join to demand police reforms, back black-led groups
After George Floyd's death in police custody, dozens of American Muslim organizations have come together to support police practice reforms and to support black-listed organizations.
"The victimization of unarmed black Muslims has a long and troubling history," said a coalition statement signed by more than 90 civil rights, advocacy, community, and faith organizations. "As American Muslims, we will use our diversity, strength and resilience to call for these reforms because black life is important."
Proposed changes include banning racial profiles and maneuvers that restrict blood or oxygen flow to the brain, such as: B. Choke Holds; Facilitating prosecutor's legal accountability for law enforcement; and redirecting police funding "into community health, education, employment and housing programs".
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The statement also calls for "to set a federal standard that will use violence as a last resort only when absolutely necessary" and after all reasonable options have been exhausted.
“These requirements are a floor for our groups and not a ceiling. Some would ask much more, ”Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, one of the co-organizers of the statement, replied to emailed questions. "We are also asking all American Muslims to call their members of Congress now and ask for a stronger response from them."
Like members of other faith groups, many Muslims in America have joined the outrage that arose after Floyd, a black man, died after a white Minneapolis policeman pressed a knee to his neck. Groups of different denominations from different faiths have publicly called for action against racism and joined the goals of peaceful demonstrators.
American Muslims have campaigned against racism and discussed reforms in street protests, statements, sermons and webinars.
"Muslim-American organizations are working at all levels to end the excessive use of violence that has resulted in the murder of countless black Americans," said Iman Awad, legislative director of Emgage Action, one of the signatories to the statement. "Our message is that we will continue to fight, but above all we will promote the work of our black leaders."
Muslims in America are ethnically and racially different, and Floyd's death has also revived discussions about the treatment and representation of black Muslims in their own faiths.
"I am hopeful and encouraged by the number and variety of groups that have signed up," said Kameelah Rashad, president of the Muslim Wellness Foundation, who is also a co-organizer. "It tells me that it is at least recognized that we as a whole can no longer separate Islamophobia, racism against blacks, surveillance and violence. People are reconciling to the idea that our struggles are intertwined."
Now, she said, it was time to act.
"It is important that non-black Muslims develop respect for the resilience and resistance of black people."
The statement said: “Black people are often marginalized within the wider Muslim community. And when they become victims of police violence, black Muslims are not silent too often, which leads to complicity. "
American Muslim communities will have to make room for black-run organizations in the future, Awad said.
"We have to commit to leadership positions that reflect the diversity of our faith," she said. "We cannot be successful until we have all voices represented at all levels within our organizational structure and our communities have to do better."
The declaration states that the claims are only a “down payment” for necessary reforms.
"If this deep-seated discrimination cannot be removed through reforms, these systems must be abolished and reinvented."
Associated Press's religious reporting is supported by the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.
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