Trayvon Martin Case and Muslim Community Leadership Disconnect

Trayvon Martin Case and Muslim Community Leadership Disconnect

by Sheila Musaji


When the George Zimmerman verdict was announced, ordinary Muslims on Facebook and Twitter posted thousands of anguished messages.  Muslims shared and requested others to share the NAACP and Move on Petitions requesting the DOJ to open a civil rights investigation regarding this case.  Many ordinary Muslims participated in rallies and demonstrations across the country.  As the list of articles at the bottom of this article documents, many ordinary Muslims wrote about their concerns and frustrations about this case.

However, in spite of the clear concern on the part of ordinary American Muslims, the only national Muslim or Arab organizations to issue any statements at all were MPAC,  CAIR and ISNAMPAC joined the NAACP in requesting a DOJ Civil Rights Inquiry in the Trayvon Martin Case.  CAIR also issued a statement welcoming the DOJ decision to do a civil rights review of the Trayvon Martin case.  The latest issue of Islamic Horizons notes that after the Trayvon Martin shooting ISNA is joining the Coalition Against Gun Violence to work towards gun control as part of the Brady Center’s “Faiths United to Oppose Gun Violence,” and the Islamic group signed onto the Brady Center’s “Faith” group letter to Reid demanding he block the legislation.

Here is the ISNA press release on this:

Many faith leaders and other activists are concerned that Florida’s dangerously irresponsible gun laws allowed George Zimmerman, a man with a criminal record and a violent past, to carry a gun with him and eventually shoot an innocent teenager.

Yet just days after the tragedy, some lobbyists are asking Congress to nationalize these dangerous laws, by allowing anyone with a permit from a state like Florida to carry a concealed weapon with them anywhere in the country, from New York City to Topeka, KS, no matter what the local laws say. This legislation already passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, and now it’s up to the Senate to stop it.  ISNA is taking action through the interfaith coalition, Faiths United Against Gun Violence, by delivering a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, asking him to stop this legislation from becoming law.

Imam Suhaib Webb wore a hoodie in solidarity with Trayvon Martin while giving a Friday sermon (khutbah) about racism, civil rights, and the lessons we can learn from the unjust murder of Trayvon Martin.  Video here.  Imam Suhaib also joined Rabbi Or Rose, Nancy S. Taylor , and Rev. Gloria E. White-Hammond, M.D. in posting an article A Statement of Grief and Hope From Boston:

As clergy serving different religious communities in Greater Boston, we are shocked and saddened by the Patriots’ Day attacks on our fellow citizens, our city and our freedom.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms these and all acts of terror. Those responsible for planning and executing these vicious acts must be brought to justice. May those responsible for administering justice do so with diligence and wisdom.
We grieve for the victims and extend our deepest sympathies to their friends and families. May the memories of the departed serve as sources of inspiration and guidance. And may those given the awesome task of serving as healers attend to the wounds of their patients with skill and compassion, focus and vigor.

As each of us struggle in our own way to process the afternoon’s horrific events, let us seek solace and take comfort in one another. Hold a family member close; inquire about a friend’s wellbeing; reach out to a disconsolate co-worker; offer a hand to a struggling stranger.

Let us also draw strength and inspiration from the countless heroes of the day—professional safety workers and volunteers alike—who provided victims with aid and comfort under the most trying of circumstances. Their acts of kindness, responsibility, bravery and selflessness demonstrate the undeniable power of human goodness in the face of tragedy.

We call on all people of this great city to remain steadfast in their commitment to justice and liberty, and to reject the malevolence and animosity of the terrorists. Let us continue the ongoing work of establishing peace and security in the city of Boston, in the United States of America, and throughout the world.

May we continue to strive to live in harmony, honoring and celebrating our similarities and differences, working together for the common good. — God bless us all.

Imam Zaid Shakir gave a Khutbah titled Trayvon Martin A Sign Of The End Of TimeImam Khalid Griggs of ICNA wrote Trayvon: No Rights That Are Bound to Be RespectedImam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid wrote A Reflection for Trayvon

Rep. Andre Carson Called on Local Communities to Engage Young People in the Aftermath of the Trayvon Martin Case: “Carson also discussed the need to bring our young people into the discussions about their own futures, calling for the creation of Youth Leadership Councils throughout the country that would provide a forum for honest debate about issues of community violence, education and the need to “extinguish the remnants of oppression and profiling that still exist in this country.”  Rep. Keith Ellison said at a remembrance for Trayvon Martin: “It’s so important that when crazy unfair miscarriages of justice like this happen that we don’t get bitter, we get better.”

Both of these statements of our two elected Muslim congressmen apply equally within the American Muslim community, and such discussions need to be held in local mosques.

Where are the rest of the national American Muslim organizations, and the rest of the leaders of the Muslim community in this discussion?  Except for the few examples given here, they are absent.  Was the limited response of American Muslim organizations enough?  Here are three articles by American Muslims that need to be considered in light of what seems to be another case of “disconnect” between American Muslim leadership and the community members. 

Dr. Aminah McCloud wrote Some Ramadan Thoughts on the ‘Americanness’ of some American Muslim Organizations in which she said:

Throughout the year, American Muslims have been asked to write to their legislative representatives over a host of issues – mostly relating to US involvement with Muslim governments, shari’ah law bans and incidents of masajid vandalism. American Muslims have protested in the streets of various cities over US involvement or lack of it in the Muslim world. All major organizations such as ISNA, ICNA, CAIR, CIOGC, MPAC and so on have all weighed in from their various perspectives. We of course have not gotten together to pray for Nelson Mandela, the killing in Senegal or the plight of the disappeared in Brazil or Argentina. We are silent.

Saturday evening, all day Sunday and all day Monday, I waited for some response to the verdict in the Trayvon Martin trial. I really did not care which side that response was on. I cared about a response, any response from these organizations that, claim Americanness regularly when their own self-interest are involved. Only CAIR voiced a feeble, ‘we will support an investigation…’ We did not discuss the case as it was unfolding on live TV. Even conversations about justice, evidence or lack of it, prejudice or lack of it were nowhere in our media.

The beginning of Ramadan did not quell listserve debates on the latest from Egypt, Syria or Turkey. We debated the ousting of Morsi, the continuing debacle in Syria and the ‘too little help, too late’ policy of the US. We even had prolonged, spirited debates on the meaning of the protests in Turkey. Most other Americans however, were busy with healthcare, immigration, voting rights and lastly, Trayvon Martin.

As Americans of various ethnicities and ages poured into the streets either to support or decry the verdict, Muslim Americans remain focused on Egypt, Syria and Turkey while living in America. Ramadan is a time for reflection and I am terribly sad to report that many American Muslims are not either Muslim in their sensibilities or American in their understandings of the need to stand up for justice or against injustice. There is little that has to do with this place of our sustenance that even moves us unless the issue is us. Our organizations only cry out for alliance with others over our own personal issues – Egypt, Syria and Turkey or shari’ah bans, not that which affects this society, our society at its core – justice, prejudice, voting rights, healthcare. Yet all of the apologists among us want other Americans to consider Muslims, American.

We could have vigorously discussed the merits of the case, the potential slippery slopes of either verdict. We could have discussed what this case means for the history of race relations in this country. We could have discussed the potential outcome of ‘stand your ground,’ what constitutes a ‘threat’ to which the response is lethal force, or the refusal of a police department to arrest a user of lethal force until facts could be obtained.

What are our various positions now that we have missed every opportunity to lead a discussion? Do we feel that in light of the facts, that there were prosecutors and defense attorneys, a judge, jury displays of evidence and a ruling that the system worked? Could the prosecutor have been more able? Was the defense convincing that Trayvon Martin caused his own death? How can we lead society in a rational discussion of ‘maslaha?’

Are we so limited that we can only think of our own yet expect others to ignore our singleness of mind and come to our aid when needed? Are we that selfish? Of course, we need to lament and assist other Muslims but we have been so selective and Allah demands that we provide assistance to the orphan, stand up for what is just! Or at least inquire. To ignore this watershed case because the victim is a black boy and not an American Muslim or a Muslim child overseas is an injustice to our own souls.

I also just watched Yasiin Bey’s (formerly Mos’ Def) video conveying to those who have forgotten them in favor of Egypt, Syria and Turkey, the plight of force-fed prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Our government suggested that during Ramadan, the force-feeding would happen after the breaking of the fast. How absurd! But with little outcry from us, why not?

Do we spend this Ramadan, worried about how many hours, how hot it is or that cool drink at the end of the day? It will be a lot hotter where we are going given that we can’t stand for justice in the society in which we live.  Ramadan Kareem.

Kaleem Venable and Ishaam Abdul-Rahman wrote Trayvon Martin: The myth of a non-racialized Muslim community in which they said:

A month after the murder, this incident has sparked a national outrage and has prompted civil rights organizations, members of Congress, student groups, and the general public to demand a full investigation and an arrest of George Zimmerman. To this day, George Zimmerman has not been arrested due to a problematic Florida state law that allows Florida residents to “stand their ground.”

Sadly, this unfortunate event highlights the continued racial profiling and harassment of African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and other minorities in this country. We have certainly been shaken, particularly by the emergence of the recording of Trayvon’s 911 calls and his screams for help. One can only imagine the pain his parents feel.

What is particularly noteworthy is the fact that—- with the exception of a few Muslim advocacy groups and a khutbah given by Imam Suhaib Webb—- no other Muslim organization or leader has made any statement of condemnation, offered condolences for the family of Trayvon Martin or sent messages of solidarity for protests across the country. Worse yet, the response from the Muslim community, particularly the immigrant community, has been silence. As African-American Muslims, we sense a general apathy that has permeated the attitudes of the immigrant, including second-generation immigrant, Muslim community towards the Black community.

As with many in White America, the idea of race and racism in the Muslim community is thought to have been a thing of the past. However, as incidents of Trayvon’s murder have come to light, our nation has once again been shaken by a reminder of a dark history that has come to haunt us. Americans, both Black and White, are responding with a united voice, “I am Trayvon!” But where in this unison is the Muslim community?

After an eventful twelve years of continued racial profiling, demonization by the media, illegal surveillance by the NYPD, and a whole host of other problematic incidents, one would think that our immigrant Muslim brothers and sisters would be on the front lines in support of an innocent Black life that was tragically taken. Why haven’t we yet built “true” coalitions that allow us to support each other’s struggles as we demand the respect and dignity granted to every citizen in this country?

The answer apparently lies in a commonly held, but rarely—- if ever—- expressed view that the African American community is irrelevant and inconsequential in the eyes of the largely immigrant Muslim community. This view need not be made explicitly; one need only look at the actions, or omissions, of the immigrant Muslim leadership and the greater community.

Unfortunately, it does not only seem to be the foreign-born Muslim community that has taken such an attitude. It is also their American offspring who have inherited this apathetic attitude towards African-Americans. There’s an irony here because this same generation has, in many cases, been influenced by Black or hip-hop music, with some imitating stereotypical mannerisms, using commonly used “Black” expressions (even amongst their own ethnic cliques), mimicking Black urban dress, etc. However, what that suggests is that even this second generation, in large part, does not identify with African-Americans. They are entertained by them. Yes, their music is good, they have charisma, and they can play sports. But when it comes to social justice? Nothing. It appears this generation doesn’t embrace the historic African-American struggle. To be fair, there are exceptions to this rule, but that does not change the broader point.

If we were to speculate on the reasons for this, we would surmise that immigrant Muslims fail to identify with African-American culture because it has been historically viewed as inferior and, as they have learned from their parent’s generation and White society as a whole, “White” culture correlates with success. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the myth of a non-racialized ummah. Prejudices such as racism, ethnocentrism and classism are systemic within our oft-romanticized Muslim ummah. Some classic examples of prejudiced behavior in our community relate to marriage. Many immigrants are willing to allow their daughters to marry anyone else from other ethnic backgrounds as long as they are not poor or African-American. We, as African-Americans, are often relegated to performing security related duties at Islamic functions—- perhaps because of our stereotypical aggressive nature. Another example is the poor representation of African-Americans on mosque boards and/or within leadership roles—- despite large numbers of us who are willing and competent.

If we are expected to grow closer to Allah and develop spiritually as an ummah, we have to be willing to be introspective and pragmatic; denial and prejudice have gotten us nowhere and it does not help that many khutbahs on Fridays remain silent on these issues while promulgating the need to help Muslims in foreign lands. The needs of Muslims overseas and in America must not be treated as being mutually exclusive.

As Americans and Muslims, we, African-African Muslims, are dismayed at the treatment meted out to us by various actors, whether it is law enforcement, judges, lawmakers, employers, educators, realtors, the media or our own immigrant Muslim brethren. We are taught that we are one ummah and all Muslims are equal, but this principle becomes a non sequitur when it comes to dealing with African-Americans. The past struggles of the African-American community are intrinsically linked to what our Muslim community faces today. As long as “our” community continues to operate on self-preservation and only speak out on issues that are relevant to our own ethnic sensitivities, we will see ourselves isolated from those organizations who have historically experienced prejudice and fought for equality.

Donna Auston wrote When Silence Says It All: Reflections on American Muslim Leadership and the Trayvon Martin Tragedy in which she said:

... None of that has been obvious in the last few days. In the immediate aftermath of George Zimmerman being declared not guilty by a jury of his peers, reactions poured in from a wide range of quarters—reactions expressing the spectrum of emotions that could be found in the public: shock, sadness, grief, anger, and fear (or conversely, elation, and relief, peppered with racist epithets just for good measure). Wading through the myriad opinion pieces, blog posts, op-eds, and social media posts, I, and many other Muslims that I know kept asking, “Where are the Muslim voices?” Why aren’t American Muslim “leaders” weighing in on a major American crisis? How on earth can a faith community which has produced human rights icons such as Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali fail to offer any insight or comfort to its neighbors or even its own constituency when an innocent black child is dead and his killer has gone free? More to the point, when did we become so impotent?  (Yes, I know that many of us have been speaking up, using our voices and our bodies to talk about this tragedy.  Some imams have given sermons, Muslim artists have written poems and songs for Trayvon, many of us have organized and marched in peaceful demonstrations around the country and will continue to do so.  But taken as a whole, the response from Muslim leadership has been spotty and tepid at best–and in many cases the silence has been deafening.)

It certainly isn’t that we aren’t media savvy. Muslims may not control major media outlets but we have taken full advantage of the more democratic means available to us to make our voices heard. We have websites, blogs, and Facebook pages; we know how to write press releases, and so forth, and have availed ourselves of those outlets in the past to call attention to issues that mattered to us. The next time there is a random terrorist attack, you will be able to witness the truth of my assertion—Muslim “leaders” and organizations will issue direct, forceful, and immediate statements making it clear in no uncertain terms that our religious tradition does not condone violence against innocents and that we stand with the victims. We will be the loudest voices against racial profiling when (and only when, it seems) a Muslim is dragged off a plane for saying ‘Allah’ within earshot of a jittery passenger or TSA employee, or attempting to board a plane in a headscarf. So what happened here?

We have a dirty secret. Muslims have a terrible and cancerous race problem. Many Muslims will tell you with straight faces, mostly because they really do believe it, that “Islam” is even more post-racial than America is supposed to be. They will tell you that we believe in universal brotherhood and point you to Qur’anic verses that instruct us to take human diversity as a sign of the majesty of the Creator and point out to you that Bilal the Abyssinian is one of the most revered figures in the history of Islam. And for the record, this is all perfectly true (except that I don’t believe there is such a thing as post-raciality, at least not in America, but that’s a topic for another day). It is also true that “Islam” is as much a product of flawed human beings as it is lofty principles, and while analytically one can separate the two, experientially they are deeply entangled, for better or worse. Trayvon was a black male victim in a system that in Foucaultian fashion molded him into a particular type of subject from the moment of his birth—and the ugly truth is that many Muslims, even some black and brown ones, have internalized these world views and we allow them to shape our relations with other human beings, both Muslim and not. Put simply, his death does not move many of us because we only care about injustice when it occurs to someone that “matters”–and for far too many of us, black bodies, especially non-Muslim black bodies–don’t matter nearly enough. ...

That there is a “disconnect” on many issues between the leadership and the rest of the community is not a new finding.  In a 2011 article Gallup report on American Muslims Raises Important Questions, I noted:

...  One study finding should be a major concern to American Muslims and to the leadership of existing national organizations.  The interviewers asked - which American Muslim organization most represents your interests?  These were the responses.  The best approval rating any organization received was 12%.  I believe that local, regional, and national leadership of the American Muslim community need to sit down and consider the meaning of this clear vote of “no confidence”.  They need to poll the American Muslim community to find out what expectations of the community they are not meeting, and what they would need to do to fix the problem.

— CAIR - 12% males - 11% females
— ISNA -  4% males - 7% females
— MPAC -  6% males - 1% females
— MAS   -  0% males - 2% females
— Imam W.D. Muhammad group - 3% males - 1% females
— ICNA - 2% males - 0% females
— Other - 6% males - 20% females
— None - 55% males - 42% females

The TAM article collection on American/Canadian/European Muslim - Authority, Leadership, Community building contains many articles expressing concern that the leadership of our community is not in tune with those they are representing.  American Muslim Organizations have made mistakes, only some of which have been used as opportunities for growth.  Community activists have published articles critiquing some of our organizations, and these have been ignored by the American Muslim leadership.

In 1993 through 1995, a series of North American Muslim Pow Wows were held in Abiquiu, NM.  Many of the issues still currently plaguing our community (including racism) were discussed.  Our theme was “We have made you tribes and nations so that you might know one another.”  [If you don’t know about these gatherings, you can find information here] Prior to the first Pow Wow, Prof. Sulayman Nyang sent a letter to the organizers and participants Message to the Muslim People of the United States and Canada in which he noted:

“...  This gathering is also significant and historical at another level. For the first time Muslims, regardless of race, color, country of origin, madhab and sectarian proclivities, have agreed to come together not to advance a single agenda of a national organization or group but for the sake of mutual understanding and mutual development. Whatever you do with this new beginning in inter-communal relationship is going to determine the future of the Muslim community in the U.S. Future historians writing about our community in the next century will remember the works and deeds of all of us who advocate tolerance and willingness to live and let live with others who may disagree with our interpretations of our common Islamic heritage.

...  If, however, we wish to change the negative imagery in exchange for a better one, two things must be done. First, Muslim leaders should sink their differences and develop collective action against prejudice and discrimination against Muslims. This can come about only through greater collaboration and greater appreciation of differences of opinion within the community. By recognizing the diversity in the larger community, Muslim leaders and individual members of the community can begin to assert themselves with dignity and pride. It is only after we have repaired the crumbling psychological walls within our household that we can build bridges linking us to the rest of America. What I have described elsewhere as “islandization” in the Muslim community in North America must be addressed. It is a sociological fact that clustering and spliterization of groups are two processes in social interaction among men and women. However, in order for us to make a significant impression on Americans and Canadians we must begin to see the negative consequences of clustering and splinterization.

There is nothing wrong with African-Americans, Arabs, Iranians, Subcontinent Asians or others within the Muslim ummah congregating among themselves during Muslim gatherings. This is a natural thing that leaders preaching Islam should and must not discourage. What needs to be discouraged is the exclusion of fellow Muslims through the inconsiderate act of linguistic code switching in the company of fellow Muslims who simply do not understand languages other than English. Whether the cultural chauvinist in Islamic garb likes it or not, the fact remains that English is the lingua franca of most educated Muslims today. In the U. S. and Canada it is the lingua franca of the majority population and among Muslims it is the bridge between the various islands of identities. Just as Bahasa Indonesian is today the lingua Franca of the diverse populations of Indonesia, English has been chosen by history to be the Bahasa of the ummah. This does not mean that Arabic is unneeded. This language of the Qur’an is an indispensable tool for religious understanding and spiritual solidarity among the Muslim peoples of the world. Until the end of time Muslims in North America and elsewhere on earth and in outer space win continue to hear the muezzin calling them to prayer in the language of the Prophet. This linguistic enrichment of the ummah demands that we develop greater command of the English language and that we infuse it with more and more Islamic concepts and terminology. This exercise in linguistic cross-fertilization, which was undertaken by Muslims of earlier generations, is the main reason for the present vocabulary of Urdu, Farsi, Malay, Swahili, Hausa, Wolof and other languages in the Muslim World. The American experiment provides a challenge and an opportunity to Muslims. Here in the North American civilization Muslims are coming together in a way they have never come together before; here in the American Salad Bowl the Muslim from Champpa, in Vietnam, jostles with those from Africa, Southern Europe, China, Arabia and the subcontinent.

This diversity among the Muslims is matched only by the fact that here in the North American continent an Muslims, whether they like it or not, must uphold the American principle of live and let live regardless of ones’ emotional attachment to ones’ interpretations of the shared religious heritage. What I am telling you is that here in the U.S. and Canada, Muslims become good citizens by accepting not only each other’s differences but also the right of the non-Muslim to share the Public Square without let or hindrance. This new situation and the adjustments it requires from an those who wish to be part of the North American experiment, have made it categorically clear that life for the Muslim in the U.S. is different from life back home, if he is an immigrant finding a niche somewhere in the American Land of Dreams. For the native-born Muslim life in North America is a challenge that calls for an adjustment which is different from that expected of the immigrant. Whereas the immigrant is most often a human being for whom Islam has been a religion practiced by family and friends in the safety of a predominantly Muslim country, the native-born Muslim struggles with a new identity and a new religion in a society where the majority are practicing or nominal Christians. Under such conditions, it is dangerous and unwise for the immigrant to assume always to be more knowledgeable about the Din than the native-born Canadian or American. It is indeed in this area of cultural and religious sensitivities that dawah work disintegrates into a war of cultural and religious sensitivity.

The second thing that the Muslim leaders and their communities must do is to build bridges into the larger American society. Without the direct miraculous intervention of Allah in human affairs, Muslims are not going to be the majority in this hemisphere any time soon. It is true that within a century Islam has made significant strides forward. All Muslims should be grateful for this historical achievement. However, in order for the community to plan ahead and to deal with current and future challenges, its leaders and community members must develop a modus vivendi with the larger society. In the United States and Canada there are formal and informal channels through which such relationships are built. If we want to be an effective and inspiring part of the larger community we must not only live our Din without pride or shame, but we must get ourselves involved in an issues affecting our individual selves as well as the larger Muslim and non-Muslim community. This is why political indifference in a democratic society, is unaccepted, no matter how imperfect and regardless of one’s critique of its foundational and institutional performance over the years. American and Canadian Muslims are chosen by destiny to be here. If they are willing to flood the tide of history, then they must make the best of the American experiment. And they should not fall into the trap of self-righteous indignation about the failures of North American life, nor should they point an accusing finger at their Muslim co-religionists who dare to go out of their cultural ghettos and assert publicly their religion in the American Public Square. Unless and until those who believe in Islam operate in American society as ordinary men and women who see America and Canada as a divine garden where beautiful flowers can grow and patience, tolerance and hard work are the defining characteristics for personal success, our chances for educating the vast majority of Americans about our religion are going to be very limited and an our efforts at dawah win be doomed.  ...

Many Muslims have become UnMosqued, many Muslim women feel frustrated about Side Entrance and other women-unfriendly mosque issues.  Many converts have issues of inclusion/exclusion in many communities.  Sunni-Shia sectarianism is a problem in many communities. Many young Muslims are facing multiple issues of identity in Growing up Muslim in America.  At the Pow Wow’s we attempted to bring many of these issues to the forefront, and for the most part we were ignored by the American Muslim leadership.

This year ISNA is holding their 50th annual national convention.  This is the largest gathering of Muslims in the U.S. each year.  I sincerely hope that these issues are among those discussed, and that the leadership LISTENS to the voices of the community. 

The Muslim community in the U.S. is different from any Muslim community anywhere else – except for the temporary community created during the hajj - in its wonderful diversity. We are in physical numbers a SIGNIFICANT minority, but until we make the jihad necessary to break down all the artificial barriers separating us we will remain an INSIGNIFICANT minority in terms of our ability to effect change. God will not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition. It is time and past time for all of us to change.

 

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Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989.  Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism,  and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia.  Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan.    Biography  You can follow her on twitter @sheilamusaji ( https://twitter.com/SheilaMusaji )


SEE ALSO:

Here are links to just a few of the articles on this case and the question of racism in our society by ordinary American Muslims:

Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid A Reflection for Trayvon
Imam Abdullah Antepli How to respond to hate
Yara al-Wazir Hijab or Hoodie, Religion or Race — Trayvon’s Killer Walks
Asam Ahmad, We are NOT all Trayvon: Challenging Anti-Black Racism in POC [person of color] Communities 
Donna Auston, When Silence Says It All: Reflections on American Muslim Leadership and the Trayvon Martin Tragedy
Rep. Andre Carson Calls on Local Communities to Engage Young People in Aftermath of Trayvon Martin Case 
Dennis Earl What If Trayvon Martin Was A Muslim?
Rep. Keith Ellison At Minneapolis remembrance for Trayvon Martin Rep. Keith Ellison urges not to get ‘bitter’ 
Saadia Faruqi Trayvon Martin and the American Muslim Perspective
Imam Khalid Griggs, Trayvon: No Rights That Are Bound to Be Respected
Jonathan P. Hicks The Chilling Fate of Trayvon Martin
Arsalan Iftikhar participated in an NPR discussion on the Trayvon Martin case http://www.npr.org/2012/03/23/149222911/barbershop-guys-take-on-trayvon-martin
Nehad Khader Trayvon Martin From a Muslim Perspective
Dr. Aminah McCloud Some Ramadan Thoughts on the ‘Americanness’ of some American Muslim Organizations
Najeeba Syeed-Miller Trayvon Martin Verdict: On the pain of mothers
David Muhammad How Do I Explain Martin Verdict to My Kids?
Precious Rasheeda Muhammad The Qur’an, Trayvon Martin, the Black Pathology Lie and God’s Awesome Creation
Sheila Musaji George Zimmerman’s “Defense” for Killing Trayvon Martin
Maheen Nusrat Ramadan Reflection: On Faith and Trayvon
Robert Salaam Juror B-37 Is A Clear Cut Example Of What’s Wrong In America
Sara at Muslim Girl Why Muslim Americans Should Care About Trayvon Martin
Jeff Siddiqui [url=http://penjihad.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/trayvon-martin-a-case-for-muslim-parents/]Trayvon Martin: A Case for Muslim Parents[url]
Kaleem Venable and Ishaam Abdul-Rahman Trayvon Martin: The myth of a non-racialized Muslim community
Dawud Walid Zimmerman verdict demands candid talk on race
Dawud Walid, and other Muslims joined a rally in NYC

And here are just a few of the many articles written previously by Muslims discussing the issue of racism within our own community and the greater society:

Imam Luqman Ahmad,— Dismantling the culture of Muslim sectarianism http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/dismantling-the-culture-of-muslim-sectarianism— The Tale of The Two Muslim Americas http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the-tale-of-the-two-muslim-americas
Zayn Al-Abideen bin Gregory,  Oh man, white muslims again http://www.bingregory.com/archives/2009/05/19-oh-man-white-muslims-again/
Adam Misbah al-Haqq,  Blasphemy Before God: the Darkness of Racism in Muslim Culture http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/blasphemy_before_god_the_darkness_of_racism_in_muslim_culture
Faith, The invisible Muslimah http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mmw/2008/10/the-invisible-muslimah/
Safia Farole, Colorblind Racism in the Ummah http://muslimmatters.org/2011/02/21/race-matters-colorblind-racism-in-the-ummah/
Karen Leslie Hernandez, Racism in America As Noted By A Light-Skinned, Mexican-American http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/racism-in-america-as-noted-by-a-light-skinned-mexican-american
Dr. Sherman Jackson, Book Announcement:  Islam and the Blackamerican http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/book_announcement_islam_and_the_blackamerican_sherman_jackson
JAmerican Muslimah, To be a Black. Convert Muslim. Female http://jamericanmuslimah.wordpress.com/category/racism-in-the-ummah/
James Edward Jones, The “X” Phenomenon: Reflection on the Resurrection and Commercialization of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_x_phenomenon_reflection_on_the_resurrection_and_commercialization_of_el
Jamillah A. Karin, To e black, female, and Muslim: A candid conversation about race in the American Ummah http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13602000600937655?journalCode=cjmm20#preview
Imam Ghayth Nur Kashif, Islam and the African American Ethos:  Malcolm X/US Muslim Legacy Abused http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islam_and_the_african_american_ethos_malcolm_us_muslim_legacy_abused
Tariq Modood, Multicultural Politics Racism, Ethnicity, and Muslims in Britain http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/books_multicultural_politics_racism_ethnicity_and_muslims_in_britain_tariq
Masjid Al-Salaam, (Subconscious) Racism in Our Islamic Centers and Mosques http://www.salaammasjid.com/article/racism.htm
Aminah Beverly McCloud, African American Muslims Key to Bridge Building in US http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/african_american_muslims_key_to_bridge_building_in_us
Dedrick Muhammad and Aisha Brown, White Privilege in the Americas http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/white_privilege_in_the_americas
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, 33 Tips to launch your personal Jihad against Racism and Nationalism http://islam.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=islam&cdn=religion&tm=6&gps=78_11_1673_921&f=01&tt=14&bt=7&bts=7&zu=http%3A//www.soundvision.com/Info/racism/personaljihad.asp
Melody Moezzi, Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism? http://msmagazine.com/blog/2011/01/13/muslim-dating-ads-whats-with-the-racism/
Sheila Musaji— How Dare Muslims Notice Racism http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/should-some-traditions-be-rethought — The death spasms of American racism? http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_death_spasms_of_american_racism — Racism is Certainly One Component of Disrespect Towards President Obama http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/racism_is_certainly_one_component_of_disrespect_towards_president_obam — Attacks on Obama Highlight Racism and Islamophobia http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/obama
National Coalition of African American Muslims Formed http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/national_coalition_of_african_american_muslims_formed
Farish A. Noor, Race And Islam http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/race_and_islam
Amira Rahim, On Racism and Prejudice in the Muslim Community http://dremali.net/Racism-In-Muslim-Community.html
Hasan Zillur Rahim, Chasm Between African Americans and Immigrant Muslims
http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/chasm_between_african_americans_and_immigrant_muslims1
Emdad Rahman, Big Brother’s racism gives us a glimpse of prevalent attitudes in the UK http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/big_brothers_racism_gives_us_a_glimpse_of_prevalent_attitudes_in_the_uk
Tariq Ramadan, The language of the “guts” and racism http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_language_of_the_guts_and_racism
Robert Salaam —Just say you don’t like him because he’s black so we can move on already http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/just_say_you_dont_like_him_because_hes_black_so_we_can_move_on_already — Obama and Racism http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/obama_and_racism_part_ii
Imam Zaid Shakir, Reflections on black history month http://www.newislamicdirections.com/nid/notes/reflections_on_black_history_month2
Amad Shakur, Race as Weapon and Ideology in America http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/race_as_weapon_and_ideology_in_america
Yusuf Smith, White privilege and the white convert http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/white-privilege-and-the-white-convert
Sound Vision, Muslims in the Mirror:  Prejudice in the Muslim community http://islam.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=islam&cdn=religion&tm=11&gps=86_7_979_638&f=20&tt=14&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.soundvision.com/Info/racism/amongmuslims.asp
Haris Tarin, Transcending Cowardice In Matters Of Race http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/transcending_cowardice_in_matters_of_race


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