Muhammad Muhaymin: Bodycam Footage Reveals Detailed Death By Police

“I can’t breathe,” said Muhaymin before he died in custody of the Phoenix police.

Muhammad Muhaymin: Bodycam Footage Reveals Detailed Death By Police

“I can’t breathe,” said Muhaymin before he died in custody of the Phoenix police.

By

Sara S. & Zainab Damji

Photo of Muhammad Muhaymin

MUSLIM.CO HAS PUT TOGETHER A PETITION TO SEEK JUSTICE FOR MUHAMMAD MUHAYMIN THAT CAN BE SIGNED HERE.

In the midst of a movement demanding change and reform, the Black community fights for justice once again as they are reminded of the loss of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. 

Muhaymin died in custody of the Phoenix Police on January 4, 2017 after he tried to take his emotional support dog into a public restroom with him at a community center. Muhaymin is reported to have suffered from schizophrenia, anxiety and intermittent homelessness.

The manager present at the center prevented Muhaymin from entering the restroom and asked him to leave his dog outside, which resulted in an argument between the two. The manager then directed an employee to call 911, and in minutes  several Phoenix police officers arrived at the scene.

They attempted to alleviate the situation by allowing Muhaymin to use the restroom only to tackle him to the ground minutes later after a background check was done on Muhaymin and a warrant for his arrest was found on his record due to his failure to appear in court over a misdemeanor charge for possession of a marijuana pipe. 

Muhaymin was tackled to the ground outside the facility with four officers on top of him. 

Bodycam footage shows Muhaymin crying out “I can’t breathe” multiple times. 

Muhaymin was tackled to the ground outside the facility with four officers on top of him. In his last eight minutes before he took his final breath, body-cam footage shows Muhaymin crying out “Please Allah” and one of the officers who was trying to place him in cuffs responding, “Allah? He’s not going to help you now, just relax.”

Muhaymin’s shrieks and utterances became groans. His body went limp, and moments later, an officer can be heard saying “He’s dead.”

The circumstances of the deaths of George Floyd and Muhammad Muhaymin are similar. However, while the four officers involved in Floyd’s death were terminated and are now facing criminal charges, in Muhaymin’s case, none of the officers who responded to the call faced any discipline or consequences for their actions.

CNN reports that all of them remain on the force and one is now a detective.

Several petitions have been put together to demand justice for Muhammad Muhaymin including discipline and conviction of the officers involved. You can sign the petition for Muhammad Muhaymin here.

Three Men Indicted On Murder Charges For Killing Of Ahmaud Arbery

Ahmaud Arbery’s death and trial has reached global attention and is one of the most recent racially-motivated murder cases to fuel anti-racism protests in the US and abroad.

A grand jury in the US state of Georgia has indicted three white men on nine separate counts, including felony murder, in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

“This is another positive step, another great step for finding justice for Ahmaud, for finding justice for this family and the community beyond,” District Attorney Joyette Holmes said following the jury’s announcement.

The accused – Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and their neighbour William Bryan – were arrested last month in connection to Arbery’s death, following a cell phone video of the shooting being leaked online.

The video had been taken by Mr Bryan who was giving chase to Arbery alongside the McMichaels, and shows Travis McMichael shooting Arbery with his shotgun following a struggle between the two men. Arbery was unarmed. Earlier this month, it was alleged by a state investigator that Travis McMichael was heard saying a racial slur as he stood over Arbery, moments after shooting him dead.

Gregory McMichael has claimed he suspected Arbery of burglary and had attacked his son Travis before being shot.

 

 

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The incident took place on Feb. 23, 2020 in Brunswick’s Satilla Shores, a predominantly white neighbourhood, where Arbery was jogging. After spotting Arbery on their CCTV, the McMichaels armed themselves with a pistol and shotgun pursued him in their pickup truck. 

A testimony from a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent explained how Arbery ended up in a fight with Travis McMichael.

“I believe Mr. Arbery was being pursued, and he ran ‘till he couldn’t run anymore, and it was turn his back to a man with a shotgun or fight with his bare hands against the man with the shotgun. He chose to fight,” Special Agent in Charge Richard Dial said.

William Bryan had followed the McMichaels in his own vehicle soon after. An arrest warrant for Bryan stated that he “utilized his vehicle on multiple occasions” in an illegal attempt to “confine and detain” Arbery in the lead up to his death. 

Mr Bryan’s lawyer, Kevin Gough, has repeatedly stated that his client was merely a witness. “We’re disappointed that the district attorney chose to indict Mr. Bryan,” he said. “But at the same time we’ve been demanding a speedy trial from day one. The presentation of this case to the grand jury brings us one step closer to our day in court.”

Ahmaud Arbery’s death and trial has reached global attention and is one of the most recent racially-motivated murder cases to fuel anti-racism protests in the US and abroad.

Reacting to the jury’s indictment, Mr Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told NBC Nightly News: “At this point I do believe the case is moving in the right direction.

“This just empowers us to fight. This is just the first steps of it – we still have a long way to go.”

READ MORE: What They Did To Ahmaud Arbery Was A Modern Day Lynching

The U.S. Education System Fails To Teach Black History

We are tired.

Authors – Nabeeha Asim & Najaha Nauf

The American Education system has made us believe we know everything we need to know – but this is far from the truth. We have learned more in the past week than we have in the past twelve years of the American public schooling system. It’s a shame that we weren’t taught about history in a more visceral and contextual manner. The fact that our education system has left loose ends about our relevant histories untied, and has created a supposedly seamless timeline that banks over movements of racial injustice and human rights is not necessarily astonishing but should very well be persecuted against. But who do we hold accountable when the whole world has suffered? 

In certain states in the U.S., the school system and board of education within that state creates the curriculum according to their desires of what they want the students to be learning. More often than not these states, “lose sight of the connection between what students learn in history and the civic ideals and values” that must actually be taught. Thus, there is more of an emphasis on the history of America rather than civics courses that are at most 1 year long. This disrupts both the teachings of actual relevant humanitarian crises’ in full context as well as the current system being delved into rather than just skimming over what students need to know. 

Our education system lacks the integral parts: students are meant to be learning something of value, enough to share their views and discuss them with their family and friends. Instead we’ve seen a near detrimental cycle of regurgitation of information, where lessons are only a pathway to examination questions and information is lost almost as soon as it is acquired. How many of us remember the specifics of what we learned when we were in high school, all the historical dates and lengthy names we spent our nights memorizing? A bit of a “polly want a cracker” situation, don’t you think? Like parakeets that mimic the common man.

Most of the things we have learned within our history classes categorize people by class, religion, race, sex, gender, and ethnicity but what we were never taught was that beyond all the titles and labels, we are all just humans.  

We are tired. Tired of learning about the same scot-free white history. Tired of learning about the Boston Tea Party. Tired of learning about Lee and Grant. Tired of learning about things that don’t matter beyond the four walls of our classrooms. History class did not tell us about the civil rights movement: our black neighbors did. History class did not tell us about Nelson Mandela’s years in prison: the non-fiction books no one touched in the library did. History class did not tell us about the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.: an article on the origin of the Black Lives Matter movement did. 

We’ve been thrust into the world with barely any knowledge, minds filled with the names of kings and queens who don’t matter in a land governed by men to whom we don’t matter. 

But if history class has taught us anything, it’s that revolutions usually mean something unjust is happening. It means that there’s something being withheld from us, something that’s worth fighting for. It means we’re on the winning side if people in power are hiding in bunkers. 

We are a generation fed on historically inaccurate facts and knowledge that has little to no worth outside classrooms and examination halls. As for the couple dozen things we did learn that’s proven useful, credits are due to our curiosity and not the messy ordeal the government’s made of our education. We have passionate teachers and passionate learners to give credit to for the bare minimum knowledge we do carry around. The credit goes to the Internet for answering “not-related-to-the-curriculum” questions we asked our teachers but never got answers in return. The credit goes to the books, articles and people who actually cared to delve into and write about major issues within our societies. 

We come from culturally rich lands abundant with histories of their own, yet we are subjected to stories of white men who gained fame through theft of those very lands. Imagine sitting in a classroom where you are a minority, listening to an educator brood on about the great conquering of Asia by the British colonies. Imagine having to memorize paragraphs and witty one-liners about blood treaties: the very blood that happens to be running in your own veins as you recite each word. Chances are, you don’t have to imagine it. You’ve lived through it. We all have. 

Why couldn’t they teach us about the truth behind every revolution? About the Jim Crow Laws and how they paved the way for radical racism? Why do our history textbooks glorify the white man? 

“Until the lion learns to write, every story glorifies the hunter,” says an African proverb and it couldn’t be more relevant. Textbooks that glorify white men were written by white men and we’ve been taught these very stories to instill the idea that we are a people who must be “conquered” and “civilized” because of course, the white man brought civilization with him, right? 

We are being told deliberate lies. Vital information is being taken away from us. They’ve stolen our lands, taken hold of our cultures, and now they’re taking knowledge away from us.

We were never taught that the pictures from the Civil Rights Movement were, in fact, not taken in black and white, but in color. How many of you know that the first colored photograph was taken in 1861?  

By withholding information within their system, they ensure that we believe these movements occurred centuries ago when in fact, the Civil Rights Movement began in the 1940s. Our parents were alive during this movement yet our parents were just as unaware as we are. This is hoodwinking at its best: by concealing the time frames, they’ve managed to create a generation of people who have no sense of time. Had we not done our research, had the BLM movement not become a part of our own lives, would we have known? Chances are, we wouldn’t have.

We need to hold the boards of education and our teachers accountable (because, in case you didn’t know, we are allowed to do that).  We are allowed to fight for the right to learn what we believe is not being taught. We are allowed to stand up for our education. Yet, we have never been able to in the “land of the free”. 

We can change this. By signing petitions and calling our boards of education to make changes in our system, we can make them with the click of a button. Because if our education system allowed us to pay attention to the grave mistakes we have made – and keep making- as a society, we could make so much more progress than we have in the last few centuries. When a child takes home vital information that changes the views of their parents, that is when we know we have made a difference within our society.

READ MORE: Stop Posting Selfies, Start Posting #BlackLivesMatter Resources

This Is How I Educated My Parents About Racism

There comes a time when enough is enough. Generational gaps and desi mentality/mindsets need to be broken.

This Is How I Educated My Parents About Racism

There comes a time when enough is enough. Generational gaps and desi mentality/mindsets need to be broken.

By

Nabeeha Asim
Photo - Getty Images/ Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

 

In many brown families us kids know we are not allowed to talk about certain topics in our households. Sometimes if we do we are seen as disrespectful, badtameez, a brat, or even someone who cannot control their tongue. In some desi and brown households, if not all, politics is one topic that should be left unscathed for many reasons. Either your parents are too stubborn about their own stances or simply dismiss the discussions and tell us to quietly make dua. Although dua and supplication is a huge anchor to change, there is action that needs to take place. 

You can’t leave your camel in the street and ask Allah for it to not wander away, you must tie your camel down and then ask Allah to protect it, and in this case you have taken the action, intent, and supplication route to a better outcome. We cannot just put faith and trust in Allah we have to do our part to educate ourselves and then take action upon our intentions. 

There comes a time when enough is enough. Generational gaps and desi mentality/mindsets need to be broken. Here is a guide on how to have a conversation with your parents or relatives:

 

 

1. Start the conversation.

It all starts off with actually initiating that conversation. I know it can be uncomfortable and anxious to talk about these things with your parents who have grown up in a completely different mindset but be open to the conversation and they will be too. Don’t negate or overpower their thoughts and opinions. 

By starting the conversation you may be seen as loud or too opinionated or to your family you may seem like you are arguing but actually initiating the conversation shows them how much of an adult you are. Relax, take a deep breath and say Bismillah and know that what you are about to do is for the betterment of this dunya and our akhira.

 

2. Debunk the cultural myths

We know our parents and family members have innate and fixated opinions on matters that seem too political, however, we need to debunk the false claims and accusations that take place. Don’t insult them and their Whatsapp groups because they see that as their main source of factual evidence. Introduce them to your sources. Your sources are not necessarily more accurate but it might just be that they are more credible. Ask them what they think about your sources and maybe even compare backgrounds of sources. Sometimes fighting disinformation can be an uphill battle especially when false information starts making convincing stories and headlines. We need to be able to stop the false information from spreading. 

It is important to show them not all perspectives and stances they have grown up with are correct and necessarily still relevant. Times have changed and so should they. 

 

3. Bring in Quranic Hadiths and Ayahs

Do your research beforehand. Don’t scramble on sight trying to find links, ayahs, and hadiths to prove to them that Islam stands for Justice. Our easiest factual support is our Quran. We see examples such as: 

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, acquainted.”

[Surat An-Nisā’ (4:135)]

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do”

[Surat Al-Ma’idah (5:8)]

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.”

[Surat Al-Mumtahanah (60:8)]

And hadiths such as:

“whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart- and that is the weakest of faith.”

Our parents will become proud of the fact that we know and listen to our Quran with the evidence we use to support our stances. 

 

4. Have an open ear to what they have to say

Listen with the intent to follow up with questions or facts that could maybe help show them what they think versus what is actually right. There are always opinions that are too stubborn to change and that’s fine as long as you listen to what they have to say, they feel appreciated nonetheless. 

It’s also important to show them you care about their opinion and you don’t just want to give them a lesson about human rights. It gets a little tricky here because you have to make sure you don’t over-do it. However, if you do get a little carried away allow yourself and your family members to step away from the discussion and come back to it at a later time. It’s important to match your body language with your tone of voice so that you are able to have a clear-cut conversation in which you civilly come to a conclusion or solution. But don’t forget when you do walk away from the conversation you should try your best to always come back to it as it will show them just how important it is to you. 

 

5. Have an honest and open discussion about why you think it’s important to talk about such topics

For me, personally, I have always been passionate about politics and I stress this to my parents on a daily basis. Every job, a nurse, journalist, news anchor, engineer, doctor, business man, social workers, lawyer, social media influencers, etc., will have to encounter human rights. Express to your family and your relatives that your job as a human being is even more invoking of standing up for your basic human rights. Me becoming a journalist is my passion and my dream and that is why it’s important to have open conversations that involve change to your own households. 

 

6. Make it clear that Islam talks about action, consequence, and intention within the chains of justice and mercy.

Make sure you relay to your family that in Islam we seek our actions with our intentions and if our intentions are set and clear then we must take a call to action. We have to actively strive to make a change and put that change into motion by incorporating Islamic teachings into our day to day lives. Just making dua is not enough and our Quran teaches us that as well. Islam is a religion of peace, yes, but it is also a religion of mercy, justice, and action. 

 

READ MORE: Who Is Stealing From Whom? Contextualizing The Protests

Who Is Stealing From Whom? Contextualizing The Protests

"..you’re accusing a captive population who has been robbed of everything of looting. I think it’s obscene.” – James Baldwin

Who Is Stealing From Whom? Contextualizing The Protests

“..you’re accusing a captive population who has been robbed of everything of looting. I think it’s obscene.” – James Baldwin

By

Haider Syed
Photo of George Floyd mural in Minnesota.

Disclaimer: every article expressed in our opinions section is that of the writer.

“Who is looting whom? Grabbing off the TV set? He doesn’t really want the TV set. He’s saying  screw you…He wants to let you know he’s there….you’re accusing a captive population who has been robbed of everything of looting. I think it’s obscene.” – James Baldwin 

“When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.” – Frantz Fanon 

We didn’t just watch George Floyd die, we watched him being murdered. We all did. There is something absolutely harrowing beyond adequate expression about this moment that we are living through. George Floyd’s murder is symbolic of the plight of Blackness during our time. 

Floyd was suffocated to death by the knee of Derek Chauvin. As the first wave of protestors marched in Minneapolis, the police threw tear gas at the predominantly Black crowd, stifling their ability to breathe. This occurred amid a pandemic where the coronavirus (COVID-19) unrelentingly targets the lungs – and has killed three times as many Black people than White, in America. 

I recalled how in our Islamic theological tradition we’re told of a time before we came into this world when every soul found themselves in the presence of God in the sea of souls; where Allah breathed a part of his Ruh into us – Nafas Ar Rahman – the Breath of the All Merciful.

It was said that we were in distress in our state of non-existence and the Breath of the Divine bought us relief by bringing us forth into this dunya, bearing witness to his Oneness as we were entrusted with that part of Him inside of us. This sets us on the path towards birth and our coming into this realm, where we ourselves take that first breath still sustained and dependent on what was blown into us. Which is renewed with every breath we then ever take. 

And yet George Floyd had that breath choked out of him in every sense. His haunting last words of “I can’t breathe” still ring in the ears of so many; a phrase ever-demonstrative of the reality of being Black in America – of suffocation. 

 

The way in which the officer kept his knee pressed against Floyd’s neck makes you wonder what sickness of the heart blinded him to the point where he couldn’t hear a man’s gasps or pleas. How is it that he couldn’t see the excruciating pain he subjugated another life to? How was he so devoid of any compassion? That a grown father screamed out for his own mother – that is an anguish that is indescribable. How much hatred do you have inside of you that you can just rob another life with such disdain? As incidents of police brutality always do, Floyd’s murder speaks volumes of a larger phenomenon that goes beyond hashtags and isolated incidents. 

Suppressed and unable to breathe under the onset of violent policing and systematic brutalization from the state, Black people are not given permission to even merely live. Blackness itself is constantly scrutinized. Malcolm X once, when urging the necessity of revolt by any means, described the condition of Black America vis-a-vis the analogy of the foot of the oppressor on their necks. He was disturbingly correct.

READ MORE: George Floyd: Murder Of Unarmed Black Man Sparks Ongoing Protests In Minneapolis

Fifty years later and in fact nothing has really changed. This isn’t just about the past few days; it’s about the past 500 years. It’s about George Floyd but also about what is nothing more than an established practice in America. It’s about identifying and coming to terms with the socio-cultural roots of anti-Blackness and an apparatus that was built specifically to restrict Black freedom. And even more pressingly, an interweaving network of structures designed to sustain the privileges of whiteness.

You can’t separate the events of the past few weeks from the mythology of America. These are not instances taking place in a vacuum. The very idea of America cannot be separated from the toil and blood which assured that whiteness would ensure its superiority no matter what – built on the backs of Black slaves. A people who were never truly emancipated despite the many Black faces that have reached imperious positions in upper echelons of power. Slavery was not abolished, it was clearly reformed.

As the literal terror of slavery could no longer be practiced, a system just the same, to parallel that power dynamic of racial domination, was constructed. From chain gangs, convict leasing, and Jim Crow to the largest prison population in the world- America’s past is entrenched in its current reality and nationalist imagination. 

We have again seen the same sight of murder, protest, outrage and then eventual dissipation as we have every single time. Uproar and then calm. Until it happens again. Another name memorialized and a life summed up inside of a hashtag.

This narrative has become cyclical and repetitive because those same structures that were built to preserve the supremacy of whiteness are still intact today. Some were lauding the fact that the one of the officers in question was detained and charged within four days, yet this like much of the mainstream coverage- it diverges attention away from actually addressing the issues at hand. At the moment all four officers including those who watched their colleague commit murder have been charged. But what will this actually achieve? One of those guilty, has already posted bail despite it being set in excess of $1 million. He was able to crow-fund his release on bail even when it was set so high.

 

It’s no longer about violent policing; it’s about the institution of policing itself. Arrests and charges being laid have happened before, and in the past some of those guilty beyond belief have still gotten off scot-free despite the evidence at hand. Our mentality as a society still being grounded in seeing these as isolated incidents means we don’t actually address it as an institutional problem, but as a case of a few bad apples. We see it as a need for improved training and further reforms; legislation to be passed and a few promises to be made. That there are some good amongst them because they kneel with protestors (moments before they attack them). Yet the very institution of policing has to be called into question just as the whole of the carceral state has to as well. 

When such institutions are inherently racist by default, reform becomes a facilitator of continuing oppression and not it’s eradicator. 

The systemic manifestations of dehumanization and racism denigrate and humiliate Black lives, expressing themselves in these “moments”. We should rightfully honor those who pass, but the fixation on individuals takes away from the fact that that moment of engagement between an officer and a civilian is the end-product of a whole system and culture in motion. 

These moments are the product of not only legacies of hate and vilification at work but the subtle microaggressions and causal racism we often overlook, ignore, and bypass as harmless. Hence complete abolition becomes a necessity, when policing is fixated in a clearly discriminatory attitude. Those patrols and night watches that surveilled and restrained slaves became modern day police forces, and the carceral state and the judicial system all collaborated efficiently to debilitate communities of color and the marginalized in a multitude of ways for decades.

As we live through this moment, America should know that it never actually held to account the wounds it carved. It merely forgave itself for its past rather than healing those wounds. And because it never truly acknowledged what it had done, it hasn’t accepted the actual progress it requires. Hundreds of billions of dollars a year on jailing and policing vulnerable populations is not progress. True progress means it can no longer rely on the same institutions that monopolize such logistics of brutality, marrying terror with anti-Blackness and mirroring policing techniques rooted in enslavement. Within this dynamic, how can it grow a conscience to its own brutality?

READ MORE: Non-Black Muslims Must Care About Black Liberation

The conversation shouldn’t be about banning chokeholds, de-escalation or interventionary practices anymore. 

You cannot expect a system designed to oppress a whole subsection of society to also heal itself through those same mechanisms. You can’t think that the legal machinery put into place to preserve the interests of the white and wealthy while depriving the rights of others to now hold those same individuals rightfully accountable. You can’t depend on a broken moral compass to suddenly guide you. You can’t look at the same match that lit the flame, to now put it out. 

What America – by which I mean privileged, white, middle America that dictates and is serviced by the mainstream – is encountering, is a reckoning that has brought it face to face with the same past it distorts in order to forget the injustice it commits. To overlook the truth, which allows for it to cloak itself in the language of democracy and equality. 

Even where justice seems to be delivered, where verdicts are cheered and legislation is championed – the same violence is ever-recurring – Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Mike Brown and countless others.

The occurrence of police oppression is clearly beyond the realm of individualist actions but that of a disease that plagues the entire framework that produces these individuals. The very ideology that is allowed to fester and be given a chance to thrive as a normative and acceptable way to think, and to see others in a certain light and to act accordingly. That is what has to be confronted. It is as systematic as it is psychological. 

The way a woman clutches her purse when she sees a Black man approaching, the way a white person persistently asks you where you are from, the way some ascribe to “not seeing color” – these are the products of subtle assumptions that predominantly White people carry and project upon minorities, particularly upon Black people. Of suspicion and alarm. To let a person of color know that they are different, domineering to inhibit feelings of shame that allow for them to feel inferior. And these are the types of preconceived notions produced by dominant narratives that otherize minorities, which fuel these feelings of fear and paranoia – which lead to white women calling the police on a Black man bird watching or a shopkeeper to suspect a Black customer as he enters his store.

It’s all about the roles we are expected to play and the boxes that others put us in. They end up getting Black people killed. It’s about the policing we ourselves carry out on each other, rather than looking out for one another. Ultimately, as Malcolm X concluded after his trip to Mecca, racism can only be cured by addressing the diseases within our hearts.

Moments like these are a devastating reminder of the often-invisible structural violence which can become visibilized so suddenly. Floyd was brutally murdered in broad daylight. His execution was publicized, it was recorded and went viral. A dastardly rekindling of public lynchings in the Jim Crow South come to mind. Humiliating and brutal- for everyone to gawk and see. The world witnessed the horror. Had it not been filmed what would the response have been then? There are layers upon layers of intricately designed invisible violence consistently functioning, suffocating and killing Black people daily which the rest of us usually never see despite its persistence. 

What makes this such a critical moment is where it allows for us to go from here. When we speak of defunding police departments or abolishing policing as a whole,  it extends far beyond past reforms such as implementing body cameras on on-duty cops or demanding better training. It’s about reimagining a radically different and new world. It is about confronting the world we have inherited and undoing the lived traumas that many are forced to contend with. Abolishment isn’t about harm reduction, it’s about creating a properly equitable society.

 

 

By defunding police departments and closing down prisons, those resources and budgets that spiral into the hundreds of billions, can be repurposed towards addressing societal inequality and systemic discrepancies in the form of universal basic income, healthcare, free education, and providing community care to build better living conditions rather than endlessly investing in repressive policies and drastic militarization. The abandonment people experience from the state in the first place is what primarily drives the powerless and vulnerable to take matters into their own hands. To not only fend for themselves in order to survive or seek avenues out of the pain and poverty which engulfs them, but to express the rage of discontent. 

To foster systems predicated on care and compassion instead is of paramount importance. We must finally move away from furthering militarial expansion overseas, domestic surveillance and aggression, which only breed poverty and the hostility that divisive ideologies thrive upon. This must open up larger conversations exploring the interdependencies between capitalist modes of production that prioritizes profits over life and well-being.

The same faculties could be better applied to prioritizing low-cost mental health resources or investing in building mutual aid networks within communities based on accountability, de-escalation and conflict resolution instead of punishment and harassing the most vulnerable amongst us. 

Our broader perception of public safety has to change, in a way that doesn’t revolve around terror. What we define as good or bad, as criminality itself- must change. Locking people in cages doesn’t address or resolve the multi-plex forms of continuous oppression and exploitation people were victim to. Because they are extracted and removed from society, doesn’t mean the problem is gone too. Justice isn’t defined by time served. We must get to the root of what necessitates people’s behavior in the first place, in order to uproot it. A society that prioritizes supporting and caring for one another, where no one is left alone or behind, is not impossible despite what we are led to believe. 

Yet within the mainstream, the conversation around the structural violence Black and marginalized people are victim to, is rarely presented through the lens of poverty and incarceration. It is decontextualized and narrativized around disorder and absurdity. . 

And as we watched large parts of the US endowed in what has been no more than an uprising, we should hold the mainstream media and political establishment accountable for having the nerve to bring up orderly conduct now. To have the audacity to speak of rule of law, of tone and to urge calm over people expressing their frustrations after decades of being unheard and every peaceful offering proving futile. 

Did the officer who turned judge, jury and executioner give any semblance of regard to the tone in George Floyd’s voice as he pleaded? Rubber bullets which cause terminal brain damage shot at the heads of protestors or tear gas fired into massive crowds which can cause severe long term respiratory ailment – was that not violence? 

What of the violence of corporations accumulating obscene amounts of capital and resources at the disposal of workers everyday? Those refused a living wage or humane working conditions. What of the violence of landlords who refuse to cancel rent in the middle of a pandemic? What of the criminalization of those who can’t afford to ride public transit but still have places to reach? What about those left hungry and desperate out on the streets? The fact that more people are in jail in the United States than the entire population of Philadelphia says it all. The U.S. spends $182 billion a year to keep millions in cages. The criminalization of poverty and color. That is violence. $750+ billion on national defense in a country where 13 million children don’t have enough food to eat and not one to provide them with it. That is violence.

And let’s not pretend as if America hasn’t been on fire, at war with itself since the moment it bought the first African in shackles onto its shores. As if merchandise and shop windows are worth more than the lives that were taken? In a place where for millions of people, their existence is informed by the inheritance of the trauma of their ancestors being commodified and chastised on that very land? Where for many their lives are made absolute hell every day just because of the color of their skin? 

On land that itself was stolen. Where every day there are those stranded on reservations without clean water? Where is the 24/7 media fixation for them, where is the moral outcry from pundits to alleviate their plight? It seems disingenuous for many to scream ‘All Lives Matter’ when America is a story of constant abandonment. 

Nothing is more despicable than the fact that the mainstream defines poor and marginalized people solely through their rightful retaliation to the systemic violence which they are subjugated to every day. No one bothers to ever contextualize or humanize Black suffering in particular. Because that would legitimize it. It is painted as barbarism and senseless lunacy but it is the full disclosure of the hurt and pain that Black America is told to bottle up and contend with. But when people lay carnage to monuments of those who trampled over their ancestors and destroy the tools of oppression that terrorize them, they are speaking to all of us about just how necessary their liberation is. How unbearable their condition has become.

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter Is Not A ‘Feel-Good’ Instagram Challenge

Here Are 18 Black Muslims You Need To Follow On Social Media

Does your Instagram feed reflect those posts you share on your Stories?

Here Are 18 Black Muslims You Need To Follow On Social Media

Does your Instagram feed reflect those posts you share on your Stories?

By

Mareena Emran & Zainab Damji

(From Left to Right) @villageauntie, @mustafabriggs, @ayesha.sow, @mustafathepoet, @shahdbatal

In the wake of support for the Black community on social media, we compiled a list of some of the most influential Black Muslims you should follow on Instagram and other social media sites. From beauty vloggers, songwriters, athletes and more, here is a growing list of Black Muslims you need on your feed:

 

Angelica Lindsey-Ali @villageauntie – Sexual Health Educator

How often is it that you see a sex health expert in the Muslim world? Intimacy and relationships expert Angelica Lindsey-Ali is one we should all look up to. With sex being a traditionally taboo subject in conversation, Ali’s mission is to educate young and old Muslims alike about topics surrounding relationships.

“My mission is to reclaim them (connections with elders). We owe it to ourselves, our sisters, our daughters. I am striving to be a guide back to the ways of our foremothers,” (Muslim Wellness).

 

Amina Hassan @blackish.gold – Content Creator

From the dynamic text posts, to her wonderfully aesthetic travel photos, Amina Hassan’s feed is full of power. If you’re ever feeling down, Hassan knows just the right words to get your spirits lifted once again, she shared in a tweet:

i used to be afraid of changing my mind bc i thought it’d make me look weak & inconsistent but i’m actually just so much better off admitting that yesterday me was trash & that she doesn’t have to exist tomorrow”

Hassan’s activism has spoken volumes across the black community, with her Instagram profile amassing over 72k followers, and she’s even got some black revolutionary texts linked in her bio.

 

Mustafa Ahmed @mustafathepoet – Poet, Singer, Songwriter

If you’ve streamed songs by the Weeknd or Camilla Cabello recently, there’s a good chance that some of those songs were written by Mustafa the Poet. Canadian songwriter Mustafa Ahmed began his rise to fame back in 2014 after a string of recognition of his poems, where he gained national attention after Drake reposted some of his work. Since then, Mustafa the Poet has been writing for some of the best in the industry. 

Not only is his work notable in the music industry, but he’s also had a history in filmmaking, producing and releasing Remember Me, Toronto in early 2019. The film revolves around the hip hop industry in Canada, discussing hard topics of social class and gun violence.

Mustafa the Poet continues posting his written work on his Instagram page, with his most recent pieces touching on his personal life. 

 

Jibreel Salaam and Mohammad Hassan @youngnmuslim – Podcasters

Jibreel Salaam and Mohammad Hassan are here to share dope Muslim stories through their podcast series “The Young and Muslim.” With their mission of inspiring Muslim culture, community and growth, their content encourages self care through strengthening faith.

“If there’s something that COVID-19 & Ramadan has taught us, it is to be in the moment & appreciate the fact that you are here today – Alive. Remember, somebody wants to be where you’re at. So appreciate what you got, until it’s gone,” Salaam shared one in an Instagram post.

 

Neelam @neelam_ – Rapper

Neelam Hakeem isn’t your everyday female rapper. The multitalented 33-year-old started off as a modest fashion influencer, but quickly expanded her horizons as she dived headfirst into the world of Rap. Receiving praise from those along the likes of Diddy and Will Smith, Hakeem has been a fierce advocate for women’s rights and social injustice through her music.

Hakeem’s advocacy remains steadfast to this day, with her speaking out on her Instagram feed, stories, and IGTV to document her support for the Black Lives Matter movement through self-recorded talks and sharing relevant videos. Hakeem also recently dropped an Instagram post with snippets of her 2019 music video for her song ‘Mass Incarceration’ alongside anti-racism graphics.

 

Shahd Batal @shahdbatal – Sudanese-American Fashion Influencer

Hijabi beauty vlogger and face of ASOS’ Ramadan campaign, Shahd Batal is a 23-year-old taking the world by storm. What started off as a secret YouTube channel during her first year in college has now amassed a large following of 277K subscribers.

Batal’s following extends across multiple platforms as she sits at 379K followers on Instagram, using it as a forum to share daily fashion and beauty inspo to the masses. Speaking to Cosmopolitan Middle East, Batal describes her style as “versatile, comfortable, and elevated.”

 

Husain Abdullah @habdullah39 – Former Football Player

Hussain Abdullah, former football player for the Kansas City Chiefs, has dedicated his feed to all things football and family. His posts range from wholesome photos of his time with his children, to throwback photos on the field. With his active presence on the platform, he takes the time to reflect on his life as a Muslim through occasional text posts and poems.

In an interview with The Players’ Tribune, Abdullah said, “I am a devout Muslim. As such, I am required to be a benefit to society. Being a good husband to my wife and a good father to my children — these acts are my responsibility as a Muslim.”

His life in retirement has been a journey to self improvement. After accumulating five concussions during his career, he had to make the hard decision to quit the sport that he loved, but continued to speak on his experiences on Instagram.

 

Aysha Sow @aysha.sow – Model

Aysha Sow is the jack of all trades – the NYC based Guinean model and natural hair blogger has curated the picture-perfect (pun intended) Instagram feed complete with different natural hair looks, the occasional golden-hour, dewy skin selfie and more. 

Despite her niche being natural hair styling, Sow dips her toes in fashion, beauty, and skincare ever so often. More recently, Sow has also used her Instagram platform to speak about the Black Lives Matter movement and share resources. 

Looking back at an interview she did in 2019, Sow has always been a vocal advocate for Black folks. When speaking to SHEER about ways the different ways the beauty industry can be more inclusive and diverse, Sow said “HIRE MORE BLACK ARTISTS, MORE BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS, MORE BLACK MODELS, MORE BLACK DIRECTORS, MORE BLACK PRODUCERS, MORE BLACK WRITERS. HIRE MORE BLACK ARTISTS PERIOD.”

Sakinah and Zakiyyah Rahman @aint.afraid – Artists

Sakinah and Zakiyyah Rahman are the duo you won’t want to miss. This “multi-talented double dose of dopeness” are artists and activists who aren’t afraid to do their thing, and their music revolves around topics of empowerment and religion.

We are one of many beautiful, spiritual, cultural faces of this country,” the duo shared in an Instagram post.

 

Aysha Harun @ayshahuranBeauty Vlogger

Canadian beauty vlogger Aysha Harun’s page is exactly what everyone’s feed needs: flare! From makeup tutorials to skincare routines, and even fashion tips and tricks, Harun does it all. In a piece published by On the Dot Woman, “she decided to fill the void, representing as one of the very first hijab-wearing, dark-skinned Muslim gals to take the online video world by storm.”

Not only is Harun an amazing makeup artist, she is also a lifestyle content creator. When scrolling through her page, you’ll find that she loves posting with her husband, and can rock loungewear like no other.

 

Yasin Osman @yescene – Cartoonist

Toronto-based Yasin Osman is a photographer, cartoonist, and early childhood educator whose creative projects know no end! Quite the storyteller, Osman has used his skills and passion for youth empowerment and visual media to found #ShootForPeace — a photography program where he sits down with the children of Regent Park in Toronto every Sunday to explore self-expression and the art of photography. 

Osman recently self-published his webcomic “Grandpa Ali & Friends” into a comic book which is expected to be released sometime this month.

 

Hakeemah Cummings @hakeemahcmb – Stylist

Modest Fashion stylist Hakeemah Cummings created the first modest fashion styling service in the USA. Talking to Haute Hijab, Cummings says her interest in styling piqued when she attended the Haute and Modesty Show for D.C. Fashion Week in 2013.

Cummings has collaborated with over 50 brands to date to provide her styling services spread across different mediums such as for fashion shows or photoshoots. 

Cummings’ business is called “Cover me Beautiful” and the inspiration behind the name is shared on her website, where she says “because being covered is beautiful.”

 

Ikram Abdi Omar @ikramabdi – Fashion Model

British model Kiram Abdi Omar has made strides in the fashion world. From being the first hijabi model to feature on the cover of Vogue, to starring in the Nike hijabi swimwear campaign, Omar is an influencer you absolutely can’t miss. Omar’s list of covers also includes Burberry, Hello! Magazine, Dazed Digital and many more.

Her multifaceted career isn’t limited to just her modeling. As seen in an array of published pieces, Omar is a budding chef, henna artist,” and even a YouTube stylist.”

 

Manal Chinutay @chinutay – YouTuber/ Influencer

YouTuber Manal Chinutay does everything from lifestyle content to makeup tutorials, and when it comes to her Instagram page, you’ll find the most adorable photos of her son Adam. With a combined following of over 600k on Instagram and YouTube, she’s taken over the world of modest hijabi fashion.

Not only does she have a personal page, but she also runs a shop page with a wide variety of beautiful scarves and a page dedicated to her house where she covers all things home and interior.

 

Mustafa Briggs @mustafabriggs – Writer and Lecturer

University of Westminster alum Mustafa Briggs is an all round master of storytelling. From reading, writing, speaking, travelling and even translating, Briggs has taken his career abroad to, “explore and uncover the deep rooted relationship between Islam and Black History,” (Sacred Footsteps).

Briggs rose to international acclaim for his lecture series, “Beyond Bilal: Black History in Islam” in 2019, and has explored spiritualism through his work on Sacred Footsteps. His most recent online lecture explores the tradition of female scholarship within Islam, serving as, “as an inspiring blueprint for Muslim communities the world over.” 

Through his Instagram feed, Briggs documents his worldly travels alongside his wife, Yasmina, and continues enlightening the crowd with his inspiring captions. 

 

Najma Sharif @overdramatique – Writer

Somali-American writer Najma Sharif is the master of all. With her work being published on networks including NBC, Paper Magazine, and even Vice, Sharif has published over 30 dynamic articles across numerous platforms. 

Her website describes her as someone who “is dedicated to telling stories that amplify the most marginalized people.” It also says “she’s interested in creating challenging work that complicates how we think about and navigate the world. Her writing and public speaking centers Black Muslims from the diaspora, technology, fashion and Black womanhood.”

Sharif’s feed is a colorful blend of far too relatable memes and super cute selfies, but she’ll always keep it real with her insightful commentary and reporting on worldly issues.

 

Alhassan Umar @ally_deen – Public Speaker

Alhassan Umar, better known as Ally Deen, “is a spoken word artist and motivational speaker with the aim of spreading the true image of Islam and enlightening people on life issues.” His poetry is seen all over his page, expanding on topics of self contemplation and worldly affairs. 

At the recent wake of the BLM activism, Ally Deen took the time to reflect on society during this time. “I live in a place where the unfortunate stick together, where the oppressors continue to scramble, continue to find ways to make mice run for cheese. But little do they know that mice want more than cheese.”

His constant words of encouragement will inspire anyone to get up and make a change in the world.

 

Youssef Kromah @youssef.kromah – Author

Award winning author and poet Youssef Kromah has touched the hearts of many with his uplifting and motivational posts. With his posts framing inspirational quotes and lighthearted photos, Kromah has expanded beyond Instagram to enlighten his followers of spirituality.

 

Stop Posting Selfies, Start Posting #BlackLivesMatter Resources

While it’s no one’s place to tell you what to or not to post, sometimes you have to read the room.

Stop Posting Selfies, Start Posting #BlackLivesMatter Resources

While it’s no one’s place to tell you what to or not to post, sometimes you have to read the room.

By

Nawal Qadir & Khaula Saad

Social Media Influencer at a #BlackLivesMatter rally.

Disclaimer: every article expressed in our opinions section is that of the writer.

For the past several days, cities across the nation (and the world) have broken out in protests. This outburst of marches, sit-ins, and even riots have been in response to the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. 

Alongside these protests, activists have been taking to social media, using their platforms as a way to inform the masses and connect with those at the protest. From infographics about police brutality to quotes by prominent Black activists to information about how to stay safe at protests, social media has become the ultimate space for people to show their solidarity with the movement.  

But the use of social media as an informative platform hasn’t been limited to activists, as it usually is. Floyd’s murder has pulled back the curtains on a system of injustice that no one can ignore. And nearly no one has. For some, social media is now what it always has been: a place to document their lives as usual. The only problem is that life hasn’t exactly been “usual” and while posting a selfie may seem harmless, it’s actually pretty problematic. 

In a time where systemic brutality is being countered (and people are putting themselves in harm’s way to do so), a beach day selfie or an #ootd seem painfully apathetic. It’s a signal that you’ve chosen to delegitimize the movement and, in turn, ignore the suffering of an entire community of people, even if said selfie is sandwiched between two infographics (which is dangerously close to saying that a movement attempting to end racial inequality is nothing more than an Instagram trend). 

While it’s no one’s place to tell you what to or not to post, sometimes you have to read the room. Black lives have been ripped away by the police for centuries now, and people are being brutalized in the streets for trying to call an end to the murdering. The president is inciting violence against these citizens via his Twitter account, going so far as to threaten military action in several states. If the current events aren’t making you mindful of what you post, you’re not paying attention. 

The atmosphere following George Floyd’s murder is one America has not seen since the ‘60s. Black Lives Matter protests have been held in all 50 states of America. Scrolling through any social media outlet will put you face-to-face with countless videos of police officers attacking unarmed citizens protesting in the streets. There are injustices being brought to light in ways never before possible. Currently, social media is being used as a platform to spread information about what’s happening on the streets and what people can do to help make a change. And even if you don’t want to hear it, now’s not the time to post that #throwbackthursday. 

While social media definitely has its pitfalls, it can be an extremely powerful tool to unite the public. We’re seeing that happen everyday amid these protests. People are learning more about the systemic abuses Black people endure throughout their lives and are becoming more motivated to speak up about them. If you take a moment to consider all of the information that’s being posted online, you probably will find yourself feeling the same way.

Instagram and other social media platforms are meant to serve as a way for you to express yourself and your ideas. And while no one can force you to stop that, it can be beneficial to take this as a moment of reflection. Consider what’s going on around you and what’s at stake. Black people witnessing members of their community being murdered on tape are also scrolling past your selfies. At the absolute very least, it’s disrespectful. 

Instagram will always be there for you to post your workout selfies, a snap of your morning coffee, and your quarantine-makeup-looks. So for right now, hold off for a bit. Take the initiative to learn about everything that’s going on. Take part in the activism. You’ll be glad you did.

READ MORE: We Shouldn’t Rely On Trigger Videos To Care About Black Lives

 

Non-Black Muslims Must Care About Black Liberation

For non-Black people of color and for Muslims in general, this moment is of the utmost importance.

Non-Black Muslims Must Care About Black Liberation

For non-Black people of color and for Muslims in general, this moment is of the utmost importance.

By

Haider Syed
Photo - Hajji Hassan (@forthelovers)

Disclaimer: every article expressed in our opinions section is that of the writer.

For non-Black people of color and for Muslims in general, this moment is of the utmost importance.

There’s a lot to be said on what we see unfolding in front of us as Muslims particularly and where we should stand. The complicity to some degree of the Arab store owner whose employee first called the police over George apparently using a fake $20 hill has opened up a can of worms in the Arab community particularly, one that is all too often swept under the rug- that of anti-Black racism. But other non-Black communities of color such as the South Asian community are no different. While some have chosen to remain silent amid this time, others have taken a stance. Our religious traditions and the Prophetic teachings passed down to us, make clear the significance of siding with the oppressed. We are taught to struggle in the face of tyranny and to speak the truth no matter how bitter it may be. 

Yet some have argued that protesting itself or partaking in such acts of self-determination are haram. Despite it being widely recorded that the Prophet and His companions, in the face of the oppressive Quraish, would engage in strategic guerilla tactics to deliberately stifle the Meccan economy that guaranteed them the means to carry out their oppression.

Others have wholeheartedly denounced the action they have seen taken place across American cities. Imagine, criticizing the retaliation of the oppressed to the repression they are subjugated to, instead of those who are administering that very oppression. 

This stance in particular lays bare the mindset that allows for racism to thrive in our communities. This mentality is a product of our inherent desire to appease the white gaze, thinking we will attain all the privileges that come with physical and ideological proximity to whiteness. It is the belief that by glorifying and mimicking what are literally the very tenants that uphold whiteness and in extension white supremacy, dehumanizing Blackness as it does are worth redeeming. It is a byproduct of idolizing whiteness as the pinnacle of what we should adhere to. And many of us as a result internalize self-hatred and racism by viewing ourselves in opposition to Blackness. It’s evident in our silence on political matters to the way in which we hold education as the primary marker of our value as individuals.

While many have rightfully condemned and acknowledged the racism prevalent in our own homes, families, friend circles and religious spaces, others have had a tougher time swallowing these facts. It goes back to the concept of communities such as the South Asian diaspora being perceived as and expected to be model minorities. 

Beginning in the 1970s with the scrapping of the older quota system, immigrants from across Asia coming to America were no longer discriminated based on origin but from thereon categorized in terms of their value as productive, educated and skilled professionals. They were largely accepted as such. As the likes of Vjiay Prashad have concluded, their worth was based upon their economic output and not their ethnicity as they became the benchmark of what a successful minority should look like. Yet this became the perfect threshold to point out the failings of Black Americans as the conversation and blame could now easily be shifted away from racism being a variable. This phenomenon encapsulates much of the wider non-Black Muslim community. 

Structural racism is embodied in individual racist actions and rhetoric yet it is the culmination of a culture in which unconscious biases, negative assumptions, institutional policies, cultural representations, snide jokes, subtle comments, glaring looks, and distrust are instilled in every aspect of life to a degree where they aren’t questioned but accepted as the norm. This results in seeing Blackness as dangerous and associates a skin color with threat.

The Muslim community is highly prone to this sort of internalized anti-Blackness. We continually deny it even exists yet it permeates in the most profound circumstances, let alone in upholding tropes through ridicule or outright hate. 

We thwart our way into Black culture: through Black inspired or crafted fashion and music, and many of us regularly make use of derogatory terms like the n-word thinking that it’s all harmless because we aren’t white. Yet we’re the first in uproar over our own culture being appropriated. And even more so, we do absolutely nothing to address the inherent racism and colorism prevalent in our most immediate spaces. We rarely factor into it our own psyches or make the effort to actually learn about Black history, like the radical Black political tradition which guaranteed many American minorities the rights they enjoy today – extending beyond MLK or Rosa Parks. It was the very sacrifices of Black people organizing in the face of repression which made possible the avenues that non-Black minorities have used as a stepping stone to achieve unprecedented successes. 

Yet many of us only desire the privilege that whiteness guarantees. Others amongst us are white-passing and their ease in proximitizing themselves to whiteness is even more effortless. Yet both are rooted in our colonial pasts and that of cultures dominated by division by caste, tribe and class. There is a rich tradition particularly of Black and Palestinian solidarity as well as Brown and Black solidarity across the Muslim Third World – it’s time we learn more about them. Supporting Black struggles doesn’t make our own struggles any less important. American-Muslims in particular should know to some degree what it feels to be constantly policed and vilified, in a post-9/11 world. Yet many have not made these connections let alone have empathized. 

Our silence does make us complicit, our supposed neutrality as a means to not appear too radical or threatening to the White status quo does the same. We must have these discussions and conversations as we head towards creating a better world. We can’t just not be racist we have to challenge it in it’s every form to uproot it from our families and sacred spaces. That is where dismantling white supremacy begins. 

 

Many of us shared the video of George Floyd’s death with good intentions, yet we have to be cognizant even of why we don’t have much of a problem viewing the trauma of Black death. This is multilayered. 

The store owner’s policy that he adhered to, of calling the police in a situation such as Floyd’s, goes back to the idea of how we want to be viewed by authority –  adhering to norms even though the consequences are that the situation would likely be potential death. The problem is having no problem doing business in the Black community and profiting off of them yet still holding onto stereotypes that necessitate policing Blackness at every turn. 

We have to let go of these preconceived notions and biases, in order to work actively beyond the realm of hashtag movements and online solidarity. A lot of it has to do with how we engage with Blackness as a construct, as non-Black folks. Of the culture we consume, the books that we read, the music that we listen to, the content that we watch. They all factor in moulding our perceptions of racial tropes and standards. We have to on our own reflect on these questions of why we sanctify whiteness and see it as superior. Why do we associate “bad” with Blackness? Why do we see darker complexions as dirty? 

It begins with holding ourselves and our family members accountable and to stop making excuses for what we deem as cultural norms back home, of challenging racism and discrimination outright. They are learned and can be unlearned. It begins with educating ourselves and others on the historical construction of anti-Black racism and the unjust apparatus that represses communities across America. We can’t just accept things the way they are any longer. There isn’t a need to get into the what-aboutism of who supported who when it was one of our own communities facing oppression. 

The Black community is our own too. Black, Indigenous and Palestinian liberation are inherently tied to the settler-colonialism which dehumanized them and that we benefit from even as recent immigrants living here in North America.

It begins with sitting down and dealing with the discomfort and guilt of the racism we allow to fester and perpetuate ourselves. It starts with the content we read. It begins with researching on our own and listening to Black voices. We can’t just be non-racist, we have to be anti-racist, to paraphrase the great Angela Davis. And that means investment and not appropriating Black culture thinking you’re being helpful by promoting it. Investing in the struggle beyond just performative activism and surface-level clout chasing. To not just check in or empathize with those in the Black community through this moment, but to have the right intentions with the work that we have to do in the long term. That this isn’t just for a moment where you say Black lives matter and then move on, but that as long as Black people are dehumanized, discriminated and brutalized against systematically everyday- this is a fight we have to take up every single day as well.

As long as the Black community faces the consequences, we must give up the privileges that allow for it to cultivate, and to direct our resources and money towards uplifting the Black community’s mobilization efforts, solidarity campaigns, educational endeavors, bail funds, essential supplies, care and relief work, and so forth. The time is for action, it’s for taking a stand everywhere. 

If we imagine living in a radically different, far more just world, we have to be radical in our thinking of how to make that possible. If we imagine a more equitable society as Muslims, it begins with ourselves personally and what we’re willing give up in these moments. 

There was an image doing the rounds on Twitter the past few days showing Arab store owners armed, standing outside of their store in order to protect it from looting in Chicago. When we talk about reimagining society, it begins with ourselves and what we’re willing to do for the sake of someone else. Particularly, of mutual aid and collective upliftment in moments of grief and anger. If we can stand there with guns which will intimidate and antagonize hostility, we can just as easily stand there and distribute necessary supplies to those in need.

READ MORE:  Dear Non-Black Muslims, Your Silence Is Deadly

Ahmaud Arbery Was Called A Racial Slur As He Was Being Killed

Travis McMichael allegedly called Ahmaud Arbery a “f***ing n-----” after shooting and killing him.

Ahmaud Arbery Was Called A Racial Slur As He Was Being Killed

Travis McMichael allegedly called Ahmaud Arbery a “f***ing n—–” after shooting and killing him.

By

Lamia Rashid

June 6, 2020 – Travis McMichael, one of the men charged with the killing of an unarmed Black man, Ahmaud Arbery, was heard saying a racial slur moments after shooting Arbery dead. 

At a preliminary hearing on Thursday, GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Richard Dial testified that defendant William Bryan told police he had heard Travis McMichael say “f***ing n—–” after Arbery suffered 3 shotgun blasts and lay bleeding to death on the street. 

After 7 hours of testimonials and hearings, the judge ruled that all three defendants- Travis McMichael; his father, Gregory McMichael; and William “Roddie” Bryan — would stand trial on all charges.

Arbery, a beloved high school football standout, was killed on Feb. 23 in Brunswick, a small city on the southern coast of Georgia; He lived with his mother and was known to live an active lifestyle that included frequent jogs in the neighborhood. 

Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34 chased Arbery as he jogged down the road that day, later claiming that they had thought him to be the burglar responsible for a string of break-ins in the local area. 

The elaborate chase included a third individual, William Bryan, who Dial said rammed Arbery with the side of his truck as he tried to escape. A test conducted by investigators on the rear door of Bryan’s truck yielded a swipe of a palm print that they, “attribute to contact with Mr. Arbery.” 

Body camera footage taken of the scene showed a Confederate flag sticker on the toolbox of McMichael’s truck; Additionally, resurfaced messages and social media activity provided proof of the plentiful use of the racial slur by McMichael before the shooting―once even going as far as to say that things would be better if someone had “blown that N-word’s head off;” Dial was unaware of who McMichael was referring to in that instance and was not asked for context. 

Bryan, additionally, had messages on his phone that included racial slurs and suggested that the killing of Arbery was on a racist premise; In a statement made about Bryan by Dial during the hearing he states, “He saw a man running down the road with a truck following him, and I believe he made certain assumptions that were, at least in part, based upon his racial bias.”

 Wanda Cooper, Arbery’s mother, expressed her devastation to CNN’s Chris Cuomo after hearing the testimony of Dial. 

“I often imagine the last minutes of my son’s life. I didn’t imagine it would be that harsh, but to learn that that statement was made in the last seconds of his life …” Cooper stated, “it was very heartbreaking.”

The Justice Department has begun a hate crime investigation into the case despite the attorneys of the men insisting upon their innocence.

Here Is What To Bring When Going Out To Protest For Black Lives Matter

Here is advice for anyone wanting to safely and conscientiously join the fight.

Here Is What To Bring When Going Out To Protest For Black Lives Matter

Here is advice for anyone wanting to safely and conscientiously join the fight.

By

Amirah Ahmed
Photo - Samer (@waladshami)

The tragic string of recently publicized deaths by police brutality have, once again, brought the United States to the brink of a revolution. And whilst sadly not a new issue by any means, the shocking murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have ignited protests across the country, and around the world; most of which have been largely peaceful, and in the context of centuries of violence against black men and women, might even be considered mild. 

Many social media users have subsequently taken to their feeds to document official and unofficial police responses to the uprising, with significant numbers of protestors being tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, and assaulted by police. 

As such, it is important now more than ever to stand with the black community, to amplify their voices and struggle. On top of the dangers outlined above, however, the coronavirus pandemic poses new challenges to collective protest. .  Here is some advice for anyone wanting to safely and conscientiously join the fight:


 

1. Wear a mask and bring hand sanitizer. These are necessary precautions against COVID-19, as protests will leave you mostly unable to socially distance. Use sanitizer often and especially if you come into physical contact with others. Your mask may also come in handy if tear gas is deployed. You can even purchase a Black Lives Matter mask here

2. Wear some form of eye protection. As mentioned earlier, law enforcement have been using rubber bullets and tear gas, which have sadly led to several protestors permanently losing their sight. While the kind of eyewear that will protect you from rubber bullets are on the pricey side, any goggles will help in the event that tear gas or pepper spray is used.

3. Bring plenty of water and snacks. Protests can last for hours and the increasing temperatures accompanied by the physical exhaustion that will come with walking and raising your voice for several hours will leave your body and mind tired. It’s important to keep sustenance nearby to give your body the nutrition it needs to protest to your fullest ability. This is especially important due to the number of stores in and around protest routes that will have been closed due to COVID-19 and/or the protest itself.

4. Bring a list of emergency contact numbers and your ID. Whether you write them down on your arm or on a slip of paper that you can keep in your pocket, make sure you write down your personal emergency contacts (parents, spouse or close friend.) as well as numbers for your local emergency legal counsel, and keep them directly on your person. If you are in a group of protesters that are arrested, you will need these in case you aren’t given access to your belongings. 

5. Lastly, wear comfortable clothes and a compact bag to hold your belongings. Carrying a ton of unnecessary things will weigh you down. Therefore, keep it to essentials and pack as light as possible. That being said, do bring protest signs! Use some leftover cardboard from your last online order and get creative to deliver a powerful message.

These are just some of the essentials that will come in handy when out protesting for Black Lives Matter, but experienced protesters have shared tips and advice on their social media that are helpful too. Stay safe and alert and remember to continue sharing resources with your followers for those that aren’t able to protest in person.

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