A time for civil engagement, action and disobedience
2010 is not the year for Michigan Muslims and Muslims around the world to go to the Disneys and vacation hot spots. There is too much threatening our civil liberties and existence to relax and enjoy those treats. This is a time for civil engagement, civil action and even civil disobedience if necessary.
It is said that every group of people who come to America must pay their dues. But, the Muslims in America already come from people who have paid their dues. The majority of Muslims in America are indigenous people of African-American heritage and Caucasian heritage. With each passing day, it becomes increasingly the fact that the majority of Muslims in America are indigenous. Despite the best efforts of hate-mongers, Islamaphobes and anti-Muslim rhetoric, more people are becoming Muslim every day in America. Yet, still the presumption is that Muslims are a foreign people in America. If it is the intention of either the government or others to attack Muslims in America, then we cannot sit on the sidelines of history and do nothing. We must as a community fight this injustice by the means and tools we have been taught by our forefathers in the civil rights era. Remember our great American Muslim brother, Mohammed Ali, and how he was not afraid to stand up for his beliefs. We have a moral imperative and moral responsibility to stand up and face these injustices that are abound and all around us.
We must as a community stand up to this injustice that we are facing, and invite others to join us in our effort who also stand for social justice and civil rights and liberties. In the last few weeks too many violations to the human and civil rights of Muslims have occurred in America. In Michigan alone, there have been many reports of Muslim women having their rights violated in the airports. There is suspicion of a man being killed in the Macomb County jail And, this coming week serves as an example of what seems to be coming down the pipeline for the future of Muslims in America.
Monday, February 1, 2010, we will receive definitively from the Dearborn Police Chief and Wayne County Medical Examiner’s offices accounts of their investigations into the death of Imam Luqman. In the Qu’ran it is revealed that to kill one person is like killing an entire community. There is no measure to the pain the Muslim community is feeling given this latest receipt of information. The withholding of this type of information for so long and its results leads one to believe there is even more information that has not released and raises even more suspicion around the events surrounding the death Imam Luqman and prosecution of the young men with him on the day of his demise.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010, for all Muslim women who hold hijab as an expression of their freedom of religion, and all concerned citizens: CAIR-MI is challenging a rule recently passed by the Michigan Supreme Court that gives judges discretion to require Muslim women wearing hijab to remove it before testifying as a witness. The government filed a motion to dismiss, and the hearing is THIS WEDNESDAY. The government argued is allowing this is as a one-time challenge. They believe there is no support from Muslims or civil rights community against the government’s actions. A show of support is critical to show the judge that this argument is not true! A stance of silence is the same and a stance of speech. They both have an effect. Please show your support by attending the hearing at 2:30 pm, at the Federal Courthouse, 231 W. Lafayette, Detroit, MI, Rm 277.
Historically in America, once a people are perceived to be a “problem” people, bad things start to happen and get overlooked. We need to step up our efforts and stake our claim in our own Country to be treated equally with equal rights and liberties.
We must as a community face these challenges head-on. There are many ways in which one can contribute to the betterment of the Muslim circumstances in America.
- First, support civil liberties organizations like CAIR and the ACLU, and interfaith organizations i.e., ICPJ. To defend and protect citizens requires many resources. These resources disappear as cases and incidents increase. Please consider donating regularly. Do not wait for fundraising dinners. Donate now. Help is needed now.
- Second, make your voice heard. Write your Congress people and tell them of the injustices occurring and how they need to be changed and confronted. Let them know that you are a voter and that your concerns are meaningful. In southeastern Michigan, this would include Senator Carl Levin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Representative John Conyers and Representative John Dingell. Write Governor Granholm and your local Mayors. Let people know you care about what is happening and you want them to represent your concerns as they were elected to do.
- Third, demonstrate that you care by attending events like the ones this week concerning Imam Luqman and Hijab.
- Organize to demonstrate our interests as a collective.
- Be prepared to stand-up for what you believe through civil disobedience.
This is not just a test for Muslims, but for America herself. As President Obama referenced in his State of the Union address, ‘people think that the values in America are changing.‘ If America does not protect all its citizens even the minority citizens, then it has changed.