Ahmad Ali Could Be Trayvon Martin


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ahmad Ali Could Be Trayvon Martin

By Dawud Walid 
CAIR-MI Executive Director
There is a national discussion going on regarding the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old Black American honor roll student, by 28 year old triggerman George Zimmerman regarding the role of race and demonization and how much rights private citizens have or don’t have in using deadly force for public safety purposes.

Zimmerman, who has a track record of calling the police regarding “suspicious” (meaning Black) males traveling through his neighborhood, pursued Martin for looking “suspicious” (Black wearing a hoodie) and shot him due to him carrying the very dangerous weapon of Skittles.  Ironically, Zimmerman was arrested in 2005 for resisting arrest and committing battery against a law enforcement officer. Now, he has taken on the role of playing a keystone cop in following and questioning “suspicious” looking people.

To be frank, I was appalled when I heard about this murder, but I was not shocked at all.  As a Black male, who was raised in the South, my parents and grandparents warned me, as so many Black boys continued to be warned, that when traveling in certain areas on foot or driving through certain areas, to be extra cautious.  “Don’t walk with your hands in your coat pockets… Don’t be too loud… Don’t argue with White men that provoke confrontation… Don’t look at officers in their eyes too long… Don’t make sudden moves when pulled over by police and keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times…”  There is a long history in America of fatal shootings of Black males based upon racial animus.

At the heart of the discussion regarding the shooting of Martin is the question of how can we curtail the tendency of many to demonize or other-ize people due to bigotry, or as a mechanism, driven by insecurities, of uplifting one’s self over others. Black men have been subjected to such demonization since the days of slavery with overseers, then from officers and “concerned citizens” like the White Citizens Council in post-Reconstruction America.  Now, there are armed militias in the southern border states, who do the same with Latinos under the guise that they are watching for criminals crossing the border, as if the majority of Latinos in those states aren’t documented and don’t abide by the law when in fact this is not the case.

Zimmerman saying that Martin looked “suspicious,” which prompted him to start a confrontation, had me thinking about how young, brown Muslim males are currently seen by many in America as suspicious, just like young Black males, be they Christian or Muslim.  Would Zimmerman have acted the same way if he saw a young Arab-American honor roll student named Ahmad Ali walking down the street wearing a white robe, or if he saw a South Asian class president named Muhammad Hussein walking down the street wearing jeans and a hoodie?  I can’t say for certain that the outcome would have been the same, but the mentality of people like Zimmerman would prompt the same suspicion.

I hope that through Martin’s tragic death, we can have more conversations about getting to know each other, and decrease the tendency of other-izing each other as Americans.  The stakes are too high if we do not.  Just ask Trayvon Martin’s parents.

Dawud Walid is the Exec. Director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), and a board member of the Metropolitan Detroit Interfaith Workers’ Rights Committee. A decorated US Navy veteran, Dawud has presented about Islam/interfaith dialogue at over twenty institutions of higher learning, on panels with int’l leaders and academics, and in media outlets including Al-Jazeera, CNN, BBC Radio, FOX, NPR, the New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal.

Islamophobia & xenophobia are expressing covert anti-Blackism

Islamophobia, xenophobia and racism are alive and well in the GOP as the presidential primaries take place today in Alabama and Mississippi.

Let’s look at the facts:

Only twelve percent of GOP voters in Mississippi think that President Obama is a Christian, and a shocking three out of ten GOP voters in Mississippi want interracial marriage to be ILLEGAL while another two out of ten aren’t sure if interracial marriage should be legal.  In other words, only half of Mississippi GOP voters are comfortable with interracial marriages.

National Public Radio (NPR) had a piece this morning titled, “Romney’s Rivals Try To Woo Southerners,” which in part covered voters reactions to a discussion with Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich yesterday in Alabama.

Regarding how entrenched Islamophobia is within the GOP in Alabama, one misguided soul named Judy Sellers made a statement related to President Obama, “I really don’t think that a nation that falls on Muslim leadership, potentially, is going to be a nation that’s going to survive.”

Not to mention last night that birthers are still questioning if Obama was even born in America.

Notice that many Islamophobes such as Pamela Geller are also birthers, and many of these Islamphobes identify with the politics of the GOP.

Given that many of the bigots within the GOP don’t want to be seen as anti-Black given that it’s not politically correct to be overtly anti-Black (just make Reagan-esque comments like “food stamp president”), using Islamophobia and xenophobia have a level of socio-political tolerance in America.   It’s a strategy that Islamophobes have used for the last four years such as with the anti-Muslim movie  “Obession” to rally the GOP voters against Obama.

As far as the reflection of anti-Black sentiments and the interracial marriage issue, which more overtly reflects the racist mindset still held by many Whites in the Deep South, they attempt to cover their racism with saying that they aren’t anti-Black but have concerns for the children of such marriages being confused about their identities.  Islamophobia and xenophobia need no explanation, however.

Let’s see in the summertime with the Super PAC money flowing into the election if they will run ads in the South exploiting Islamophobia and xenophobia to get voters out to the polls against Obama.  If so, they will be continuing the message that Obama is not like you, and he’s soft on  Muslims, which implies that he might be one and also whispers that he’s Black.

Regarding Tabuk & Disassociation from Islamophobe Enablers

Protesting NYPD with Imam Talib 'Abdur-Rashid

A few days ago, Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid (May Allah preserve him) from Harlem posted a blog titled “STOP SELLING OUT THE UMMAH! – COLLABORATORS & OPPORTUNISTS” regarding a few Muslims, who have innocently or intentionally played the role of supporting the New York Police Department (NYPD) Demographics Unit that has been spying on the Muslim community in various locations without predication of criminal activity in the name of national security.

On Imam Talib’s blog and my Twitter, I mentioned one Muslim female, who was not listed, on Imam Talib’s blog that she was at a press conference in solidarity with Islamophobe, Neo-McCarthy Peter King (R-NY) and a few rag-tag Muslims, who support NYPD’s tactics, which are not only a major waste of tax-payer dollars but use the very suspect tactic of sending informants into houses of worship without predication.  In reference to this, I mentioned that “we,” meaning those Muslims in New York in its Majlis Ash-Shura and in the civil rights community inside and outside of New York, who are advocating with the Majlis, should disassociate ourselves from her until she repents.  In this statement, I mentioned to see the history of “Tabuk.”

The insincere, without even asking me what I meant, falsely stated that I called her a disbeliever or eluded that I threatened violence.  Normally, I would not blog about such matters, but in this case, I want to be perfectly about what I meant about Tabuk and Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimahs.

When I referenced Tabuk, it was in regards to what Imam Talib posted, which was:

When a handful of Muslims demonstrated a lack of courage during the time of the Battle of Tabuk, and lagged behind those in the vanguard due to cowardice, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) ordered the Muslims to boycott them – not to return their salaams, and even for their wives not to sleep with them, until after they had engaged in tauba

This was the specific reference, nothing more, nothing less.

Is the mainstream Muslim community in a struggle to maintain its dignity and to not be profiled due to its religion by the NYPD?  Of course!  Is the mainstream Muslim community in New York staying far away from meeting with NYPD? Yes!  Does the woman, who went to the press conference represent a mosque or a constituency?  No!  Has she fiend like she was with the interests of the community yet stood in solidarity with enablers of the Islamophobia industry? Yes!

We don’t want to associate with such folks, even if they are still inside of the fold of Islam.  This is what I meant by the using the word Tabarra (تبرأ) or disassociation, for we will be asked about what stances we take in this life and our associations.  The Qur’an says in Surah 2, Ayah 168, “Then those who followed will disassociate (Tabarra) from those followed them [wrong-doers/supporters of oppression], they will see the penalty [of Allah] and all relations relations between them will be cut off.”

Regarding reconciliation, this can only come about by the admission of wrong-doing.  There must be a recognition before moving forward.  Positional power of the NYPD with the Muslim community is such that meeting to “reconcile” while they hold firm to a position that they did nothing wrong and accuse of Associated Press of being ramble-rousers is outside the environmental circumstances for reconciliation.  There is no change without accountability.  Only a fool lets bygones be bygones without assurances and a means of bringing about accountability.

This is my clarification of this matter.  I welcome those who played the role of Uncle Tom or Aunt Jemimah to rethink what they have done and publicly apologize to the Majlis Ash-Shura in New York.

And with Allah is success.

‘NYPD mimicking behavior of FBI’

Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:38PM GMT

The New York Police Department is just “mimicking the behavior of the FBI” by spying on the Muslim community, says Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-MI.


In a phone interview with Press TV’s U.S. Desk on Sunday, Walid said the Federal Bureau for Investigation is criticizing the New York police for “spying on Muslim community, spying on restaurants and barbershops” … while itself is “engaged in same way activity”. He said the NYPD spying on the Muslim community “is the symptom of a bigger disease” because it is mimicking the behavior of the FBI.


He said the FBI’s criticism of the NYPD is somehow “hypocritical”.


On Wednesday, the FBI criticized the NYPD for eavesdropping on Muslim businesses saying that “People are concerned that they’re being followed. They’re concerned that they can’t trust law enforcement, and it’s having a negative impact”.


The surveillance of Muslims has been harshly criticized by Muslims, civic and university leaders as an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.



Convolution in Syria: My Conversation with 2 Syrian Activists

I just concluded a meeting with 2 Syrian activists, who have been in America for a couple of weeks and are returning in Damascus shortly.

Though I cannot attest to the veracity of what they told me, I will repeat some of it below in a few brief points:

1)      They stated that Iranians are in Syria supporting the regime including acting as snipers in Damascus.  They said you can clearly tell they aren’t Syrians because “they are short and have long noses.”

2)      They stated that Hizbullah is in Syria, not simply high level officials who met with the government and make religious visitations but also have their members, “who wear all black and green [bandanas]“ in Bloudan.

3)      They stated that there are poor Alawis/Shi’is, who do not support the Al-Assad regime, and that they don’t view the conflict as purely sectarian.

4)      They stated that the “People’s Army” has been joined by Sunni Iraqis, who have crossed the borders with weapons, presumably “American.”

5)      They stated that the “People’s Army” has also been joined by “many Libyans.”

6)      They stated that the Syrian people, anecdotally speaking, do not want American military intervention in Syria, and that they believe the “People’s Army” wants American/NATO military help, so that “they can take control of the country like what happened in Libya.”

7)      They stated that they want the Al-Assad regime to go only through resistance from the Syrian people.

8)      They stated that the only help they want from American Muslims is to give to charitable organizations operating in Syria; since, there are so many people who don’t have blankets and dry food products due to the violence outside of Aleppo and Damascus.

9)      They stated that armed gangs are robbing and killing people in Syria, including car-jackings, based upon the destabilized environment.  These people may or may not be foreigners.

Things on convoluted on the ground is what I’ve taken from what they’ve said in addition to how I’ve understood what is going on.   People are dying every day, there are definitely foreign interests in the country, there is no one unified resistance and there are people there who have relationships to terrorism on the ground.

What we reasonable can all pray for is safety and security to come to Syria, and that Syria does not end up turning into another Iraq.