Activist Zahra Billoo Says Check Your Privilege, Focus On Your Faith

For Billoo, part of the struggle is not in the outcome, it’s in the practice of having faith.

Activist Zahra Billoo Says Check Your Privilege, Focus On Your Faith

For Billoo, part of the struggle is not in the outcome, it’s in the practice of having faith.

By

Ameena Qobrtay
Art - Shayma Al-shiri

This feature is in partnership with Asian American Journalist Associations’ Muslim American Task Force with the mission to uplift Muslim community members. 

You may have seen her before, standing up for Muslim’s rights on TV or shutting haters down on Twitter. Zahra Billoo is a civil rights lawyer and executive director of the oldest chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), located in the San Francisco Bay Area. CAIR is a grassroots funded civil liberties organization that defends Muslims across the nation, with headquarters in Washington, D.C. and chapters across the nation. 

Since the very beginning of her career, Billoo has proved that she won’t let Islamophobes or white supremacists shut her down. At CAIR, she took on some major cases right from her start, combating entities from Hollister to the FBI. 

But even FBI agents couldn’t rattle the young Muslim lawyer. She shared that because she represented so many cases against them for a number of years, FBI agents would “talk trash” about Billoo to her own clients. 

Now more than 10 years later, Billoo is still keeping up the fight, and not letting anything slow down her fight for justice – not even a global pandemic. 

During the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Zahra shut-Islamaphobes-down-and-protect-your-peace Billoo isn’t losing hope or giving up the fight. Just recently, she penned an open letter, along with 200 Muslim activists, to condemn the death threats againt Congressional candidate Amani Al-Khatahtbeh.

The activist talked with Muslim about what coronavirus means for many of us, how exploring faith can benefit us during trying times, and ways people can rethink their privilege. 

Billoo first discussed how the “No Ban Act” – the federal legislation to repeal the Muslim ban – was scheduled to go for a vote on March 12, which didn’t happen due to the spread of the virus. The activist described her disappointment with the unfortunate turn of events, especially since according to Billoo, it took a lot of hard work to get there.

Despite the activist’s concerns over passing legislation after the coronavirus pandemic in whatever “the new normal” looks like, Billoo also talked about how this pandemic should remind people to check their privilege. 

 

Zahra Billoo and Mina Kim in conversation. Photo by Ed Ritger.

 

She said, “I’m also hopeful that for so many people, the reality we’re experiencing right now is an important reminder about our privilege. If we emerge from this healthy, and with jobs, we will have an obligation to help our neighbors, our friends, our brothers, our sisters, our community members.” 

Billo described something that not many have said will come from the COVID-19 experience – empathy. 

She said, “Someone said the other day that like we’re not working from home, we’re at home trying to avoid a virus and trying to work. It’s not business as usual, and that gives us an opening to dig deep to empathize and to think about how we support each other.” 

The activist also discussed how she remains hopeful during times that are as difficult as these. Billoo talked about “leaning into faith,” and remembering that as Muslims, our work is judged on intention, not outcome. 

She said, “We have to submit to the fact that the outcome is not in our control. One of the common examples is that we are supposed to tie our camel, and trust in Allah. So we do have an obligation to tie the camel. But it’s not just tying the camel, it’s also trusting in Allah.”

For Billoo, part of the struggle is not in the outcome, it’s in the practice of having faith. She discussed the importance of not getting too wrapped up in results and remembering that this life isn’t permanent. 

The lawyer also discussed the importance of taking care of our mental health, especially during a time of heightened anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Billoo shared that she goes to a therapist regularly, which is not something that many activists discuss. 

Besides remaining hopeful, Billoo suggests that people should connect with family and their community, and to try to increase our service during this time. 

She said, “For those of us who have privilege, really dig deep. As Muslims we believe that we should give from what we love, and so the question that I always ask myself is, if I truly love something it’s going to be uncomfortable to give it. And that’s what I want people to lean into right now. 

“Lean into some slight discomfort. If I have not lost my job, can I give more to charity than I ordinarily would? If I have my health, can I put on a mask, find a charity that is serving people who are unhoused or food insecure and help them… Every person has varying kinds of privilege. And so I’m not wanting to tell people what exactly they need to do, but saying this is a moment to really do more.” 

Billoo’s tips come as a change of pace from most of our social media feeds that are riddled with more materialistic goals about “chasing the bag” or being productive for our own sakes. After all, Ramadan is the right time to follow our good sis Billoo’s sound advice. 

 

For a great source of information and more advice, cat pictures, and snaps of her amazing baking creations, you can find and follow Billoo on Twitter.

 

About AAJA’s Muslim American Task Force

The Asian American Journalists Association’s mission is to ensure accurate and fair coverage of AAPI communities and, more broadly, communities of color. More than 60 percent of the world’s Muslim population is in Asia and, as such, AAJA created a task force to develop resources for journalists covering Muslim/Muslim American communities and ongoing changes to U.S. immigration policies. The task force seeks to improve coverage of Muslim American issues and serve as a resource to journalists covering Muslim American communities. Learn more at aaja.org.

What A Joe Biden Presidency Means For Muslims

For the Muslim community, we should be particularly weary given his stances on a number of issues.

What A Joe Biden Presidency Means For Muslims

For the Muslim community, we should be particularly weary given his stances on a number of issues.

By

Haider Syed
Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

Disclaimer: every opinion expressed in written pieces is that of the writer, and doesn’t represent the view of our publication.

In an age of rising right-wing fascism – let alone the tide of hopelessness gripping much of our world through the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic and looming climate catastrophe – it’s easy to slip into despair. The past four years in particular have felt like shockwave after shockwave. 

The era of Donald Trump has come to define the absurdity of our world. An abhorrently brash and reckless presidency thus far, since taking the oval office in 2016 Trump has certainly stayed true to his time in the entertainment industry, running his administration like nothing more than a reality-tv show. He handles the presidency with a soap opera-esque feel with shocking gaffes, firings left-right and center, and a gripping anticipation of what will happen next. 

Over the past four years, the Trump administration has turned anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric –  which riled up support for him amongst hard-right factions – into legitimate policies. The Muslim ban perhaps most ardently shows the grim circumstances that Muslims are facing, with chances that a second Trump term would see further measures of increased policing, restriction and harassment targeting other minorities under the guise of protecting the country against terrorist threats. Not to mention the increased hostilities against Muslims: reports of attacks skyrocketing and the normalization of Islamophobic rhetoric and bigotry in the mainstream. 

This has been nothing but a testing time, and the community has become heavily invested in the 2020 election campaign.

So it’s understandable that many would take the first opportunity afforded to get rid of Trump. The Muslim community in America and much of the Muslim world are closely eyeing the upcoming November elections and wondering what outcome will ensue. 

The early promises of the Bernie Sanders campaign and his embrace of the Muslim community was met with a wave of overwhelming support from Muslims, especially from young Muslims. But as the attacks against him increased and further candidates began to drop out of the race, Sanders’ promise to quickly fizzled out. Losses in mid and late March led him to suspending his campaign by the first week of April.

Enter Joseph R. Biden Jr. 

Going into Super Tuesday, he was down in the pecking order, an afterthought, and someone who was expected to bow out of the race at any moment. But that night quickly shifted everything in his favor and now today he stands alone as the man millions will be looking towards to defeat Trump in a few months. 

Biden promises, both figuratively and literally, a return to the pre-Trump days. The former Vice-President symbolizes the stark contrast between the gloom and chaos of the current administration to that of the Obama White House – one of the most popular presidencies in recent American history. 

Biden has built a reputation as a charming fatherly figure, an old-timer whose experience and guile are unmatched; a career politician who has what it takes to dethrone Trump as commander-in-chief. He’s seen as the “Mr. Nice Guy” of American politics who even Lindsey Graham once described as “….as good of a man as God ever created.” 

The former vice-president has presented himself as an exemplar of honesty, a pillar of morality, and the candidate to bring stability back to a nation looking towards its leadership for sanity and direction. 

But who really is Joe Biden? Once you start scratching beneath the surface, a far more grim picture begins to take shape. Under the veneer, his track record is an atrocious plethora of issues that makes him out to be an extremely vulnerable candidate – especially since he’ll be up against someone like Trump who will not hold back in his attacks. 

Beyond the smile, we have seen a man struggle significantly on the campaign trail thus far as he routinely forgets things while speaking, displays moments of sheer cluelessness, incoherence and so forth. But what actually should be troubling potential supporters is his past. 

The “anyone but Trump” rhetoric starts to feel futile when we take a closer look at Biden’s record on a number of significant issues. For the Muslim community, we should be particularly weary given his stances on a number of issues that involved minority and civil rights. 


Joe Biden visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in UAE.

 

Perhaps most notorious is Biden’s reputation on racial integration during the civil rights era and furthermore his role in legislation that decimated Black communities across the nation. Biden was a long-time close friend of ardent segregationist Strom Thurmmond, whom he publicly praised numerous times as a remarkable individual. 

Biden remarked once that Thurmmond – whose career was defined by his long-standing opposition to the implementation of Civil Rights in America which included him switching parties for the sake of it – told him that if there were ever to be a Democrat as President he’d like it to be Biden. 

Biden spent years not only vehemently opposing integrationist efforts such as busing (which came up in the debates in a heated exchange with Kamala Harris) to appease white constituents back home, but did not shy away from outrightly defending the segregationists he was collaborating with then. He advocated opposing desegregation under the banner that it was for the good of Black people and culture in America. 

These inconsistencies, or outright lies, come into the spotlight again when we look at his last campaign for the Democratic nomination in 1988. Then, he had to humiliatingly withdraw from the race after it came out that he plagiarized parts of speeches from Neil Kinnock and Robert Kennedy verbatim. 

When this came to light at the time, it was hugely embarrassing for him. He had also been accused of plagiarizing during law school, as well as lying about his academic achievements – all which he at first then denied but later on admitted to as well. 

In addition, he has a scathing history of simply making things up if not out-right lying about them. For one, he lied about apparently being arrested for protesting during apartheid in Soweto, South Africa when he had been attempting to go see Nelson Mandela who was imprisoned on Robben Island. 

Biden has time and time again referred to his work within the civil rights movement as a young man. Yet it isn’t helpful that in 1987 he clearly stated that in no capacity had he ever marched nor been an activist. From such antics it becomes apparent that Biden is the sort of politician who is willing to jump on bandwagons and say what he has to sway people’s opinion of him, even if that means being dishonest. This doesn’t do much to separate him from the pathological lying of one Donald Trump.

But even more pressingly when it comes to policies on social justice, Biden’s record is dicey, if not outright alarming. In 1994, Biden was one of the main proponents of the Federal Crime Bill. To say it was tough on crime would be an understatement. 

As the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden espoused the bill fiercely until it was passed, and it went on to decimate Black families and communities unrelentingly. The legislation was passed at the height of the crises evoked by the crack-cocaine epidemic. It was proposed by Bill Clinton, and having wide ranging bipartisan support from Democrats and Reaganites alike, it added dozens of new offenses, far harsher sentences for menial misdeeds, and contributed billions of dollars towards the construction of new prisons with obligatory minimum sentencing. 

While the legislation did lower crime momentarily, that was largely due to the increased deployment of officers out on the streets, which single handedly doubled the imprisonment rate over the next decade and a half.

At the time, Biden’s rhetoric and language on how drug related offences should be handled, and particularly in addressing the Black and Latino communities plagued by the worst of the violence, advocated for harsher punishments and the full brunt of a more aggressive policing system. 

His work in writing the 1995 Omnibus Counterterrorism Act to stifle the flow of drugs in America as part of the War on Drugs shouldn’t come as a surprise. And, the Patriot Act which was signed into law in 2001 following the September 11th Attacks and the beginning of the War on Terror was attributed to Biden – something he has bragged about in the past. 

Note: This was the same legislation that gave the US intelligence apparatus unparalleled authority, which they used to police, harass, spy on and dehumanize Muslims throughout America. The interconnectedness between the violences that minorities, immigrants and racialized folks in the US face at the hands of the state could not be more apparent than this. 

Minorities and marginalized folks are attacked through the same channels –and Joe Biden has been there conducting the traffic for a long time.

Then, there’s Biden on foreign policy. Most notably, he’s been criticized for his support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He now claims he was tricked into supporting it by the Bush administration and later opposed it right as it started, at a time when he was Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

But this turns out to be untrue, seeing that Biden had been regularly calling for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein since the late 1990s. And in 2003, after the invasion took place he repeatedly praised President Bush for doing so, admitting he was going against those in his own party but stating it would have been a greater mistake to allow Saddam’s reign to continue. 

It doesn’t further his cause of appealing to Muslim Americans that he was Vice-President during the Obama years which were seen as an ample opportunity for the U.S. to repair its relationship with the Muslim world, yet did little to go in that direction. 

Biden has a track record for being nothing more than a war hawk. The failure of closing Guantanamo Bay in the early years was overshadowed by the ways in which the national security state was expanded during their administration, which curtailed civil liberties and gave the President only more power. 

We’ve come to know of Biden’s time as vice-president as one which revealed the extent of the NSA’s espionage metrics, record deportations, the infamous Obama Kill-List and the lawlessness of the drone assassination program in countries like Yemen or the unauthorized bombing campaigns in Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Building a devastating apparatus that Trump inherited.

When we talk about a “return” to normalcy and Trump, is that what we’re going to get more of under Biden? Free handouts to the tune of $30 billion more to fund Israeli expansionism deemed hostile and illegal under international law?  Further war and aggression in the Muslim world? A failure to live up to promises made to communities in distress?

And while we often berate Trump for his connection with fellow fascist sympathizers like Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, we cannot forget the fact that Biden’s own campaign’s Muslim outreach coordinator was one Amit Jani who has long standing connections with the BJP, who he has praised significantly and was even pictured with Modi recently. 

The same Narendhra Modi who has long incited religious violence in India against Muslims. That this was the individual who Biden saw as fit to make inroads with American Muslims says a lot.

Joe Biden's Modi supporting "Muslim Outreach" co-ordinator.

 

And then there are the scathing allegations on Biden for sexual misconduct and harassment. In April 2019, eight women came forward with allegations of some form of inappropriate gestures across a number of years against Biden. The behavior these women have reported are not out of line with the sort of stuff we’ve seen from Biden in recent times – pictured frequently to be overtly intimate, in touching, hugging and kissing women who are visibly in discomfort in professional settings, on the campaign trail and at events. 

In recent weeks we’ve seen one allegation in particular gain further credibility. His former Senate staffer, Tara Reade, accuses him of sexually harassing her in 1993 – with now various fragments of her story aligning to give her claims a source of integrity

Biden this week outrightly denied the allegations and fellow Democrats have come to his support, as he felt bewildered by the timing of Reade’s allegations. She has repeatedly spoken of the difficulty of coming forward personally and the challenges she’s faced when she went to her superiors about the misconduct. 

Yet it’s disheartening to see that just over a year ago when it was Brett Kavanaugh who was being grilled about his own sexual misconduct, Biden remarked, “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time.”

The way in which those same Democrats, who have repeatedly drawn hammer blows at President Trump’s own history of sexual misconduct and misogyny are now defending Biden, underlines the fact that some only believe women when it’s for political gain.  

When it comes down to it, it’s more about choosing sides than gaining justice for the victims – indicators of moral bankruptcy, and an indicator of the perverseness of contemporary American politics. 

Taking all this into account, it becomes apparent that the Democratic establishment haven’t propped up all their support behind Biden because they think he’s the best man for the job – but because they want to tap into that same supporter base that won Donald Trump the 2016 election. That a racist apologist and a misogynist can actually get the vote.

The fact of the matter is that Joe Biden is a closet Republican who has been parading as a progressive democrat for far too long – the party’s top brass feel they can exploit this in their favor by winning over large swathes of the Right across the country. 

Rather than shifting the conversation towards the Left and guaranteeing everyday Americans with basic necessities such as universal healthcare, the party has gone for a centrist politician who is riddled with vulnerabilities that are already being laid bare, and by November will probably have cost him the election, leading to four more years of further turmoil under Trump. 

Ramadan 101: All You Need To Know About The Holy Month

Here's all you need to know about the Holy Month of Ramadan, with visuals!

Ramadan 101: All You Need To Know About The Holy Month

Here’s all you need to know about the Holy Month of Ramadan, with visuals!

By

Maliha Rahman
Art - Michelle Fan

 

Whether you’re Muslim or non-Muslim, there are many ways someone can participate in Ramadan festivities – by gaining knowledge through a fellow Muslim friend during this month, or simply trying to find more ways to participate during Ramadan as a way to gain even more rewards. 

What is ‘Ramadan’?

Ramadan is a time to gather and observe the ninth month of an Islmaic calendar year by abstaining from indulgence and praying to become closer to God. The month of Ramadan is a sacred month because it marks when Allah (SWT) gave the first chapters of the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad. Let’s dive right into the conceptual of Ramadan.

 

Art - Michelle Fan


What is ‘suhoor’? 


Suhoor is the meal consumed before sunrise as the meal before the day of fasting begins. This meal is very important because those that fast need to make sure they have an intake of meals that will give them high energy, throughout the day. The day of fasting lasts from sunrise to sunset, which means participants need to ensure there is enough energy, especially if they are working, as well.


Art - Michelle Fan

 

 

How many times do we pray? 

 

In our daily lives as Muslims, we are asked to pray five times a day, whether it’s during Ramadan or not. The five prayers are named Fajr, Zuhur, Asr, Maghreb, and Isha. After suhoor takes place, it’s time to pray Fajr because Fajr also takes place prior to sunrise. The next prayer, Zuhr, takes place after noon. In the late afternoon, Asr takes place followed by Maghreb, which happens after sunset. Lastly, Isha prayer happens before going to sleep, as a way to remember God before heading into the night.

 

 

Art - Michelle Fan

 

 

What is ‘taraweeh’?

 

During Ramadan, there is a voluntary prayer offered which is called, Taraweeh. Taraweeh is led by the congregation as a way to listen to the recitation of the Qur’an and as a way to pray voluntarily. This process, in itself, is extremely spiritually beneficial and is one of the gifts we are given by Allah (SWT) during the month of Ramadan. **Please note, that not all Muslims sectors partake in Taraweeh.

 

Art - Michelle Fan

 

 

What is ‘iftar’? 

 

As mentioned before, Maghreb takes place when the sun sets, as does iftar. A Muslims’ fast opens up when the sunset has taken place and Maghreb time has begun as well. Typically, you open your fast with something small such as a date or dried fruit before going and praying Maghreb. After praying Maghreb, Muslims continue to eat their larger meals as a way to give their body the fuel needed after fasting, since sunrise. 

 

Art - Michelle Fan

 

 

Who can fast? 

 

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, which means we are all obligated to fast, but there are exemptions. People who are recognized as exempted from fasting include those who have health problems – being ill or having to take medications. Also, women who are nursing or pregnant – nursing and pregnancies, both, are times where your body needs continuous nourishment. Women who are menstruating are not allowed to fast, during this month, as well.

 

 

Art - Michelle Fan

 

 

Why do Muslims fast? 

 

 

The question is often asked – why do we fast? As Muslims, we’re granted this month by Allah (SWT) as a gift to become closer with Him. By praying and doing things like reading the Qur’an, we bring knowledge into our minds and remembrance into our hearts. Ramadan is a month of bringing our relationship closer to God and giving back, in small ways such as charity, donating to the local mosque, and many more – anything small counts.

 

Art - Michelle Fan

 

We hope that this article was informative. Feel free to share this with your friends and inshAllah you can make the most out of the Holy Month. Ramadan Kareem!

 

Muslim.co Partners Up With Instagram This Ramadan For #MonthOfGood

@Muslim will be sharing tips on how to spread positivity throughout Ramadan to promote the #MonthOfGood

Muslim.co Partners Up With Instagram This Ramadan For #MonthOfGood

@Muslim will be sharing tips on how to spread positivity throughout Ramadan to promote the #MonthOfGood

By

Muslim
Photo - Instagram

 

Ramadan Kareem to you all! The Muslim Team wishes you well during this time, and we hope that this Holy Month provides clarity and ease on to you and your loved ones. We understand that the current circumstances do not allow us to have the most eventful Ramadan, but may Allah (swt) reward us for our patience, and allow us to grow and learn throughout this time. 

Knowing that Ramadan will be going digital this year, we hope to become a central online safe space for our community, and ensure that we make the most out of this Holy Month.  

Muslim is proud to announce that with Muslim Girl, we are partnering up with Instagram for the entirety of Ramadan for our #MonthOfGood campaign. The initiative with our campaign is to have the Instagram community share their acts of good — big or small — over the course of the month and to encourage others to do the same, while using the hashtag #MonthOfGood

We will be posting a Q&A on our Instagram story every Monday where your responses will be shared over on our “Ramadan Radio” livestream with Muslim Girl on Tuesdays @ 3PM EST. We have many very special guests that will be featured, so stay tuned for the line up announcement that will be coming out soon!

In the meantime, be sure to head over on to Instagram and share a good deed while using the hashtag #MonthOfGood, and be sure to tag @Muslim for the chance to be reposted on our social media. We created a fun-interactive Ramadan good-deed bingo that can be found on our Instagram highlights here.

Throughout the month on @Instagram, the platform will feature content creators from around the world, including @huda@sarasabry, @amr_maskoun and @imeldaadams.

We are looking forward to this month and hope to see you join us in spreading positivity for the #MonthOfGood!

Meet The Muslim Youth Fighting To Save Our Environment

These Muslim climate activists are on the grounds fighting for a great change.

Meet The Muslim Youth Fighting To Save Our Environment

These Muslim climate activists are on the grounds fighting for a great change.

By

Amirah Ahmed
Photo - Jay Cohen Nasser

The U.S. Youth Climate Strike (USYCS) is a grassroots organization that leads demonstrations and climate justice action by youth activists nation-wide. They have anti-capitalist roots and a mission to bring justice – not only for the environment, but for the marginalized communities affected by climate injustice as well. We spoke with members of the Muslim Caucus about the intersections between their faith and climate justice along with how the youth is still managing to take a stand during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The biggest difference for USYCS given the COVID-19 says Sabreen Tuku, a USYCS organizer from Washington state, is the inability to have a physical strike while everyone is in quarantine.

“Moving everything online has been kind of a struggle because you’re not really striking and kind of lose momentum in a way, but it’s also kind of cool because I think we get to reach more people,” Tuku said. She explained the barricade that social distancing has set on physical organizing efforts.

Her fellow Muslim Caucus member and organizer, Salma Abdi, elaborated on the communication hurdles that come with an online strike compared to physical strikes. She said, “Strikes are intimate things, you get to meet different people, you get to have different conversations and see their perspective when it comes to the crisis or why they’re fighting for climate justice. Whereas now it’s online, it’s not as personal and you won’t get to meet new people and it’s so much harder to expect numbers and what your impact is going to be compared to in-person strikes.”

Tuku optimistically highlighted the opportunity that online organizing can offer. It enables organizers to reach even farther than just those in attendance at strikes, and becomes far more accessible to anyone that wants to get involved.

Faridah Azeez, an organizer for USYCS in Massachusetts, emphasized that any youth can get involved even at the local level. Although state chapters are holding events for Earth Day 2020 all of this week, many are abstaining from events on Friday to respect the first fasting day of Ramadan. 

Azeez said that people “can go online, search up your chapter, and try to get involved that way too.” She was referring to the several state chapters of the Youth Climate Strike scattered across the United States that welcome all support and involvement in their climate justice efforts, which you can find more information on here.


Photo - Alex Madaras

The intersections between the urgency for climate justice and the teachings of Islam are evident in the Quran, “And do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption” (Qur’an, 2:60). There are plenty of hadith from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) concerning the treatment of the environment. Nedwa Abdi, a member of the Muslim Caucus and USYCS Minnesota’s outreach director, finds that her Muslim identity indeed has an influence on her activism, saying “Islam teaches us, if we see an injustice, try and fix it and not just be a bystander. And so I try to channel that into my activism.”

Sabirah Mahmud, also an organizer for USYCS in Pennsylvania, spoke to us about her motivation to fight for climate justice, and how the effects of climate injustice impact all of us in some way.

Mahmud expressed, “The thing that got me involved is the fact that my family in Bangladesh experiences so many of these climate disasters, and that forced me to get involved.” 

Mahmud pointed out the importance of representation in the climate justice movement. People that have the closest ties to communities that are being affected, and people within those communities themselves, have the strongest capability at making a real impact; which is why groups such as the Muslim Caucus are imperative in amplifying their stories. Speaking to anyone passionate about turning the climate situation around and making change that may be deciding whether or not to get involved, she said, “If they need something to push them, just look at their own story, look at their family heritage, look at where they come from, and that’s where they’ll find it.”

Even in the middle of a pandemic, these Muslim youth are putting in the work to ensure their message is being heard across the country. The USYCS is holding virtual presentations and events throughout quarantine, and just in time for Earth Day 2020! You can learn how to get involved in the cause and participate in these events through the national website and on their social media.