June 15, 2020
Issue: Law Enforcement Bias
American Muslims Demonstrate Sweeping Show of Unity for Major Reforms Addressing Anti-Black Police Violence
Statement from 95 Groups Crosses Race, Geography and Sect
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, a coalition of more than 90 American Muslim community organizations from 25 states, DC and Puerto Rico issued a joint statement of support and solidarity with Black victims of police violence and the ongoing, nationwide protests resulting from the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Yassin Mohamed, Shukri Ali, Stephon Clark and countless other Black people at the hands of law enforcement. The joint statement, organized by Muslim Wellness Foundation and Muslim Advocates, brings together a vast cross-section of Muslim community organizations support of Black Muslims, Black lives matter and major policing reforms.
“We recognize that discrimination pervades our entire justice system—from policing to trials to prisons to re-entry barriers for returning citizens—and that these demands only represent a down payment on the reforms that are needed,” stated the joint letter. “If this deep-seated discrimination cannot be done away with through reform, then these systems will need to be abolished and reimagined entirely.”
“We are bearing witness to an unprecedented and deeply transformative moment in history,” said Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad, executive director of the Muslim Wellness Foundation. “In the midst of a global pandemic, many in the Black community are also grappling with the pain, trauma and grief brought on by the scourge of anti-Black racism and violence. Our unwavering and collective commitment to justice serves as an acknowledgement of this pain and our duty as Muslims to challenge the systemic inequities which contribute to this suffering.”
The statement also calls for several, concrete actions to stop anti-Black police violence and racism including:
- Establishing a federal standard requiring the use of force to be a last resort;
- Prohibiting maneuvers like neck holds and chokeholds;
- Ending federal programs that provide military equipment to law enforcement;
- Prohibiting foreign military training for law enforcement;
- Ending violent extremism programs and grants;
- Ending the qualified immunity arrangements that prevent officers from facing legal consequences; and
- Redirecting police funding into community health, education, employment and housing programs.
“This strong showing is another step forward in unifying our broad and diverse community in support of Black lives,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates. “But the real work is in supporting the actions and policy demands that will hold the police accountable for violence.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.
Muslim Wellness Foundation (MWF) is a (501c3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting healing and well-being in the American Muslim community through dialogue, education and healing. We have adopted an interdisciplinary approach which addresses mental health challenges using a spiritually relevant community-based public health framework; and recognizes the negative impact of stressors such as poverty, oppression, anti-Black racism, and anti-Muslim bigotry which lead to diminished well being. Muslim Wellness Foundation’s approach is innovative and rooted in an understanding of wellness and mental health advocacy which is holistic, intersectional, intergenerational, and justice-oriented.