Ramadan Update: Fighting Surveillance with Community Power

Jummah Mubarakah,

My name is Sumayyah Waheed, and I am the senior policy counsel at Muslim Advocates. Since last Ramadan, I have worked with my colleagues at Muslim Advocates to build community power against an entrenched legal apparatus of suppression, surveillance, and incarceration. We saw it in action during the post-9/11 “war on terror” days, and we’re seeing it again with the attacks on protesters supporting Palestinian lives and liberation. To dismantle this regime, we have been tapping into our policy expertise to get our government to curb expansive surveillance, incarceration, and profiling.

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This effort is part of a longstanding struggle that we’ve approached from many angles. Back in 2021, Muslim Advocates met with the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and alerted her to our concerns about revelations that the U.S. military had bought location data from a Muslim prayer app through a data broker. This year, the FTC announced a settlement with one of the data brokers involved, X Mode. According to the settlement, X-Mode Social and its successor will be prohibited from sharing or selling any sensitive location data, such as visits to medical and reproductive health clinics, places of religious worship, and domestic abuse shelters.

Though we welcome the settlement, we know that we can’t stop until Congress closes the data-broker loophole so that law enforcement can’t buy its way around the Fourth Amendment. That is why we’re fighting to rein in government spy powers through reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Recently, we called out politicians who falsely scapegoated pro-Palestine protesters in a cynical effort to get Congress to renew this invasive surveillance program. With our partners at Muslims for Just Futures and Lucy Parsons Labs, we just organized a collective response from more than 65 organizations. Expect to hear more from us about this fight as the next deadline for reauthorization comes up on April 19.


Muslim Advocates will continue to fight for the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities on all fronts. However, this vital work relies on the generosity of our supporters. We hope you will consider making a Ramadan gift in solidarity this year:

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May you and your loved ones have a reflective, enlightening, and blessed Ramadan.