Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim. In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful. This beginning is most apt for the following message, as I must ask Allah to be gracious and merciful on me, for not doing more about this issue of systematic racism in our society. To say that I am perplexed and enraged is an understatement. That, after within just six months after the media recognition Black Lives Matters received given the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, we are STILL witnessing shootings of Black people at the hands of the police.
According to data from Mapping Police Violence, research, and advocacy organization, Black people in America are 3x more likely to be killed by police when compared to white people. They are also 1.3x more likely to be unarmed, which conversely debunks the myth that police killings are positively correlated with violent crimes. “
We, at Mozaic, are appalled by what is happening. Part of our non-profit’s mission is to “cultivate grassroots, empower women and children, and to enrich communities.” Police brutality embodies the exact opposite of this, in late August, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by police, in front of his three children. Living in a society where these occurrences happen so regularly makes it impossible to foster an environment of empowerment and enriched communities. I said before I was appalled that this brutality keeps taking place- but I also want to reassure that advocating for these causes does work. Tear gas and the use of chokeholds by police have been banned in several cities. Places such as Seattle, Denver, Connecticut, Houston are enforcing their police to wear body cameras, with hopes to increase transparency. We CAN make change happen, and there is still so much work to be done– these policies should be in the majority of states and cities, rather than the minority, and that’s why we must speak up.
As Muslims, our Quran tells us it is our duty to “enjoin good and forbid evil” (Qur’an 3:110, 9:71). And our walking Quran, the beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, a passionate human rights activist said, “Whoever witnesses something evil, let him change it with his hand, and if he is unable then with his tongue, and if he is unable, then with his heart, but that is the weakest form of faith” (Ṣaḥīh Muslim).
There is so much we can do, and inshAllah, as I’ve volunteered with Mozaic for the past few years and met some of the kindest hearts I have yet to meet in this life, I have extremely high hopes that our community will take action.
I wish everyone reading this, their loved ones, and particularly everyone impacted by this issue Peace.
By Munjireen Sifat, MPH