A Letter of Solidarity in Support of Black Rage
Dear Community Members, As Salaamu Alaikum,
The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) expresses solidarity, love, and a commitment to the Black community, and Black families, whose loved ones have been murdered through state-sanctioned violence: from policing and criminal justice institutions, to health care and education systems.
We are heartbroken over the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Steven Taylor, Ahmad Arbery, and the many others who have been killed because they are Black. They follow a long line of martyrs in our country’s history.
We believe that justice for Black people is justice for all people. And justice for all people will come by and through an unwavering and unapologetic commitment to justice for Black people. This must include an honest acknowledgment of entrenched anti-Blackness and a commitment to working to dismantle it.
As an organization that advocates for the needs of the most marginalized, we do what our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us: to firmly confront what is hateful and destructive to life, love, and community. Our faith is incompatible with systems of racial hierarchy. We are taught to always promote justice, work to end suffering and seek abolition of that which is cruel and unjust.
We strongly condemn all forms of anti-Black violence, whether the culprits are police officers or civilians. We also unequivocally condemn the dehumanization of Blackness, whether it occurs inside or outside our community. This is a despicable public health crisis that has and continues to threaten our collective freedom. We cannot tolerate it nor remain silent about it.
Many of us, despite our commitment to the principles of solidarity and allyship, will never know what it is like to be Black in this country. We acknowledge that our practice of Islam in America today and our organization’s work rests on the shoulders of Black Muslims who have made incredible sacrifices and demonstrated immeasurable courage since before CAIR-SFBA was founded. And at this moment, we are called to be allies, to honor Black people, Black voices, and Black stories in life and in death.
We are committing ourselves to do more than mourning and publishing this letter. We commit to doing long-term work to educate and hold ourselves accountable, to address anti-Blackness within our organizations and mosques, and to support efforts to confront and transform anti-Blackness throughout our community. We commit to learning from Black elders and youth and having courageous conversations that move us to deepened partnerships for Black justice, Black love, and Black resistance. We commit to no longer waiting for death to move us to a recognition of Black joy and Black hope.
As one step towards this commitment, we urge our community to reach out to and partner with organizations including the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative on learning anti-racism. We further uplift the following demands from our Black Muslim leaders which we are endeavoring to fulfill and urge all Muslim leaders and organizations to also fulfill:
1. Public Statements: Muslim organizations, mosques, and community centers must publish letters of solidarity with the Black community, and Black families, whose loved ones have been taken from them and who have been impacted by police violence.
2. Action: Muslim individuals and organizations should participate in various actions condemning anti-Blackness and police brutality, including:
a. Sunday, May 31 – rallies in Oakland and Morgan Hill
b. Monday, June 1 - rally in San Francisco
c. Friday, June 5 – dedicated prayer services and sermons
d. Saturday, July 4 – day of outrage
3. Call: the district attorney, Mike Freeman, at 612.348.5550 (email: email@example.com) demanding that all those involved (i.e. all of the officers on-site) in the murder of George Floyd be held accountable, and immediately charged and investigated. You should say, “My name is ___ and I am demanding that all officers on-site in the murder of George Floyd be held accountable. They must be immediately arrested, charged, and investigated for murder. Enough is enough.”
4. Community Education: Muslim organizations, mosques, and community centers must commit internally and externally to addressing anti-Blackness through ongoing political education and allyship, recognizing that this is a priority issue.
5. Financial Support: individuals who are able to are urged to donate to Black-led efforts in order to ensure that the needs of those who are most impacted are funded.
We must redouble our efforts to do what our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us to do: recognize, expose and reject racism, particularly the scourge of anti-Blackness.
Onward, God willing.
In love and solidarity,
CAIR San Francisco Bay Area