Muslims join to demand police reforms, back black-led groups

Muslims join to demand police reforms, back black-led groups

In the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody, dozens of American Muslim organizations have come together to call for reform to policing practices, and to support black-led 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 draw on our diversity, our strength, and our resilience to demand these reforms because Black lives matter.”

Proposed changes include prohibiting racial profiling and manoeuvrs that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, such as choke holds; making it legally easier for prosecutors to hold law enforcement accountable; and redirecting police funding “into community health, education, employment and housing programs.”

The statement also calls for establishing “a federal standard that use of force be reserved as a last resort, only when absolutely necessary” and after exhausting all reasonable options.

“These demands are a floor for our groups and not a ceiling. Some would call for much more,” Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, one of the statement’s co-conveners, said in response to emailed questions. “We’re also urging all American Muslims to call their members of Congress right now and to demand a stronger response from them.”

Like members of other faith groups, many Muslims in America have joined in the outrage unleashed after Floyd, a black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee to his neck. Groups from multiple denominations across faiths have publicly called for action against racism and aligned with the goals of peaceful demonstrators.

In street protests, statements, sermons and webinars, American Muslims have rallied against racism and discussed reforms.

“Muslim American organizations are committed to advocating at all levels to put an end to excessive use of force which has led to the murders of countless Black Americans,” said Iman Awad, legislative director of Emgage Action, one of the statement’s signatories. “Our message is that we will continue to fight but most importantly uplift the work being done by our Black leaders.”

Muslims in America are ethnically and racially diverse and Floyd’s death has also reinvigorated conversations about the treatment and representation of black Muslims in their own faith communities.

“I’m hopeful and heartened by the number and diversity of groups that have signed on,” said Kameelah Rashad, president of Muslim Wellness Foundation, also a co-convener. “That says to me that there’s at least recognition that we as a whole can no longer separate Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, surveillance, and violence. People are reconciling with the notion that means our struggles are intertwined.”

Now, she said, is the time for action.

“It’s vital that non-Black Muslims develop a respect for the resilience and resistance of Black people.”

The statement said: “Black people are often marginalized within the broader Muslim community. And when they fall victim to police violence, non-Black Muslims are too often silent, which leads to complicity.”

Moving forward, American Muslim communities must make space for black-led organizations, Awad said.

Also, “we must commit to having leadership positions which reflect the diversity of our faith community,” she said. “We cannot be successful until we have all voices represented at all levels within our organizational structures and our communities must do better.”

The statement said the demands represent only a “down payment” on needed reforms.

“If this deep-seated discrimination cannot be done away with through reform, then these systems will need to be abolished and re-imagined entirely.”

___

Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

Mariam Fam, The Associated Press

Religion

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo submitted/ Rita-anne Fuss
Distancing Diamond Project in Millet for mental health

Distancing Diamonds allow for social distancing community gathering.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed more than 1,000 cases over the weekend Monday afternoon. File photo
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

The death of 19-year-old Jacob Michael Chitze of Edmonton has now been ruled a homicide following an ongoing RCMP investigation.
UPDATE: RCMP arrest youth for second degree murder of 19-year-old Jacob Chitze

Arrest made for the murder of Jacob Michael Chitze, 19.

Pumpkins for the 46th Annual WDACS Pumpkin Ball on display at Vision Credit Union Wetaskiwin. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
46th Annual Pumpkin Ball held virtually this year

This year the pumpkins were sold over a six-day online auction.

Manny’s Motel demolition underway. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
Manny’s Motel demolition underway

The property has been vacant since the fire that destroyed most of the structure Jan.14, 2020.

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join AUPE walk outs across the province Monday Oct. 26, 2020. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
City of Wetaskiwin health-care workers strike in protest of province-wide cuts

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join other front line hospital workers across the province in walk-outs.

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted
Front-line health care workers on strike across the province, including Rimbey Hospital

The strike is due to cut of 11,000 health care jobs in the province, according to AUPE

(Black Press file photo)
Maskwacis RCMP welcomes new detachment commander

The Maskwacis RCMP detachment has a new detachment commander, Inspector Leanne MacMillan.… Continue reading

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday October 22, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were ‘late and confused’ on COVID response

He says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has taken charge and not waited to make things happen

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

A lawsuit filed by environmental law firm Ecojustice argues the inquiry is politically motivated

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

Most Read