A number of Muslim groups and prominent individuals have expressed solidarity with anti-racism protestors in the United States following the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.
In America, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and The Muslim Network pledged to fight anti-black prejudice within the Muslim community.
In a joint statement they said: “We stand in love and solidarity with the friends, families, and communities of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Yassin Mohammed, Ahmed Arbery, Steven Taylor, and every black person who has been murdered by law enforcement.
“We stand in love and solidarity with every black person who has experienced an altercation with police that occurred because of a system and culture entrenched in anti-blackness.
“We stand in love and solidarity with every black person who was ever excluded, ignored, or made to feel unequal within our Muslim organisations, masjids, Islamic schools, or businesses.
“We stand in love and solidarity with black movements, organisations, and efforts to stand up for the rights of black people, including Black Lives Matter…
“Our faith has always taught us to be persistent against injustice and stand for oppressed people. We will no longer wait for another death to move us to recognise that black people have an inalienable right to exist peacefully in this country.
“As community organisations, we are committing to doing more than mourning and publishing this letter. We are committing to long-term reform which includes educating and holding ourselves accountable, and addressing anti-blackness within our communities. We are committing to support local efforts that challenge and eradicate anti-blackness within the circles we preside over.”
Meanwhile, the prominent U.S. Muslim scholar Yasir Qadhi wrote on his Facebook page over a picture of Malcolm X: “Fifty years. More than a generation. Nothing has really changed. Let’s concentrate on the legalized, culturally normalized, intentionally perpetrated, systemic injustice, rather than some small acts of random hooliganism that the media would rather we concentrate on.”
In the United Kingdom the Islamic Human Rights Commission called on Muslim movements to stop working with the United States.
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “This moment in U.S. history is crucial. The U.S.’s foundational system of oppression based on racism and otherisation is writ large for all the world to see. We need to support the calls for justice in whatever way we can, by protest where possible, giving verbal support and dua for the end of oppression.
“Muslim movements worldwide also need to take a good long look at themselves. Many have worked overtly or covertly with the U.S. in the name of achieving their goals. We must now realise that we cannot hope to achieve liberation of any sort whilst in alliance with or deferring to a regime that was created on the basis of genocide and racism.”
The Muslim Council of Britain also issued a statement on events in America, saying: “As Muslims, we must stand against injustice, and so, we take this moment to say: We stand in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters in the United States, UK and beyond, wherever anti-Black racism manifests. We recognise that anti-black racism must be stamped out wherever it may manifest, for a failure to do so will continue to result in the taking and ruining of precious life.
“We commit to playing our part in tackling anti-black racism within the UK, supporting the individuals and organisations doing vital work in this space, whilst focusing on addressing anti-black racism within Muslim communities.”
And the Muslim Association of Britain said: “The protests which broke out across the United States and the world demanding justice for George and for all black men and women killed at the hands of racism and anti-blackness, reflect the anger and pain many of us feel. But this feeling of anger alone is not enough to bring about justice and to drive the change that is so desperately needed.
“We have an obligation as Muslims to be anti-racist, and to stand up against injustice wherever it arises. Racism is not an opinion; it is the lived reality of many of our black brothers and sisters. Solidarity is not an option, it is a duty and lifelong commitment to end racism. Solidarity means to drive out anti-blackness wherever it arises, from our hearts, speech, actions and from our local spaces and communities.
“We also recognise as an organisation that there remains a lot of work for us to do. That is why we will commit to ensuring that we raise awareness within our own membership by collaborating and working with more black activists and black-led organisations. We are also committed to ensuring that our current and future leadership and members are trained and developed on institutionalised racism and the necessity of ensuring within their role, that the organisation is truly more inclusive and reflective, to eradicate racism locally and globally.
“May we be agents of change and justice on this earth. Please keep our black brothers and sisters in your prayers and join our commitment to fighting racism and ending this injustice.”