American mosques to devote jumu’ah khutbas to racism and police brutality

Mosques across America are being urged to dedicate their jumu’ah khutbas to the subject of anti-black racism and police brutality.

A coalition of black Muslim leaders in California has demanded that Islamic organisations address racism in their Friday sermons which will be livestreamed in most cases because of coronavirus closures.

Led by Imam Jihad Saafir of inner-city community center Islah LA, the coalition is encouraging non-black Muslims to take a series of actions including:

  • Drafting a letter of solidarity with the black community whose loved ones have been impacted by police violence.
  • Committing internally to addressing anti-blackness within their locality through education, dialogue, courageous conversations and a firm commitment to accountability.
  • Joining local efforts to uplift justice and equity for the black community, including calls to actions, protests etc.

And according to the Religion News Service,  the campaign seems to be catching on, from Georgia to Seattle to Philadelphia.

The Islamic Association of North Texas has been holding a series of livestreamed conversations on race between local Muslim leaders. Its previous Friday sermon focused on racism, as will this week’s.

In New Jersey, more than 60 groups signed on to a statement agreeing to commit to the action items.

In the Bay Area, nearly 30 mosques took part in a Day of Outrage on June 5.

The Northern California Islamic Council was one of the first Muslim organisations to publish a statement in “steadfast solidarity” with black Americans.

“We are all connected through the long, painful, and constant historical struggle for justice, fairness and equality for all,” the group, led by Zaytuna College co-founder Hatem Bazian, wrote. “Let’s be clear, State violence against Black Americans has gone on for far too long and without any accountability; the time to end it is NOW and calls for our urgent attention.”

The Islamic Center of Naperville said in a statement: “Our African American brothers and sisters have been discriminated against and oppressed, and it is our collective responsibility to stand with them and make sure that any discrimination, racism, and prejudice is eliminated.”

And the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, which focused last week’s Friday sermon on racism, said: “We ourselves affirm that we too are bound by the same standard of justice and equity that we expect others to abide by, for like the American community, the American Muslim community too holds justice as a virtue.”

Black Muslims comprise around 20% of America’s Muslim population, with Arabs and South Asians making up the majority of non-black Muslims.

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