The Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC) is a volunteer-driven education organization. Together, we are working to build and collect the tools needed to creatively address and effectively challenge anti-blackness and racism in Muslim communities. On the web at www.muslimarc.org.

strugglinghijabi:

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When Sister Tayyibah passed, my timeline became flooded with posts about her. They weren’t the typical “a hero has fallen” posts. They were stories, many of them quite detailed, from people who had met her, worked with her, been mentored by her, or were simply touched by her presence. I read…

Check out #29. -NI

#LatinoMuslims

Andalucía

Enslaved Moorish Muslims, Spanish Muslims, and Moriscos in the Americas

News stories about Latino Muslims

Islam in Latin America

Resource sites for or about Latino Muslims

Youtube:

The U.S. marks National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 each year. In honor of this, MuslimARC will use September 2014 to highlight Muslims who identify as Latino, Hispanic, or of Latin American heritage. Through the #BeingLatinoMuslim live panel we will host on YouTube, and a hashtag conversation, #LatinoMuslims, held on Twitter, we will explore who Latino Muslims are, how they come to Islam, and the issues facing the Latino Muslim community and Latino Muslims as individuals. We will also learn about the history of Islam and Muslims in Latin America, look back at Andalusia and its continuing influence on the Spanish language and on Spanish and Latin American cultures, and explore the deep roots of Afro Latino Islam.

The objectives for our Latino Muslim Heritage Month programming are as follows:

  • Amplify the voices of Latino Muslims and provide a platform for activists, scholars, or leaders to discuss issues facing their communities
  • Provide resources for non-Latino Muslims to learn about the history and heritage of Latino Muslims
  • Increase understanding among non-Latino Muslims about the unique needs and circumstances of Latino Muslim converts
  • Highlight the historical and contemporary contributions of Afro Latino Muslims
  • Explore the intersections of Islamophobia and anti-Latino racism and how these affect Latino Muslims
#25Under25 (2)

Huda Alawa

As a 20-year-old Muslim American with Syrian and Danish roots, culture and ethnicity has influenced my life drastically. Throughout my life, my Arab acquaintances informed me that I wasn’t “Arab enough”, while my American ones saw me as “too different.” So, when I found my academic passion in Anthropology, I decided to uncover the diversity of Muslim Americans through my role with Coming of Faith.

Cultural and ethnic divides have long prevailed within the Muslim American community due to a lack of awareness from the community itself. Coming of Faith is a non-profit organization with the main focus of redefining the narrative of Muslim American women. Through in-person events and online submissions, Coming of Faith aims to empower Muslim American women to speak about their identity while challenging them to show the world the diversity of Muslim Americans. The potential within this initiative is profound, as it bring awareness to the plethora of experiences while weaving a narrative enriched with various cultures and ethnicities.

Sharmin Hossain 

In an interview email, we asked this outstanding community leader, who will be turning 22 on August 30th the following questions:

Q: How do you identify ethnically?
A: Bangladeshi, South Asian.

Q: What has been your involvement or leadership in the Muslim community?
A: I have been a youth educator and community organizer for the past 6 years in New York City. I have been involved with organizations that have served South Asian and Muslim populations - I joined South Asian Youth Action! as a youth, the Council on American Islamic Relations, and later learning from great organizations like Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM). I work alongside a collective of South Asian activists through East Coast Solidarity Summer (formerly known as DC Desi Summer) to educate and organize young South Asians to be committed to social justice movements. I have supported solidarity work against Palestinian occupation, with Students for Justice in Palestine, the war(s) in Iraq, Afghanistan, through the University at Albany Muslim Student Association, and fundraising for the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Growing up as a Muslimah in Queens, Muslim community has been an intricate part of the social groups I have been working with - to organize, educate and create alternative models of social justice. I have created and facilitated many workshops throughout New York City against Islamophobia, anti-black racism, and historical dialogue unpacking the war on terror. Many of the youth attending political education program at the Ya-Ya Network, where I work as an organizer to train youth activists are Muslim, and I am both a mentor and ally to their resistance stories.

Q: What are your thoughts on the future Muslim inter-ethnic relations?  What would you like to see? What are some possible solutions?
A: The Islamic community (like many communities) a lot of internal work to do, in unlearning the ways classism, anti-Black racism, white supremacy and Arab supremacy have worked together to create schisms and divides in our communities. The silence around the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma, while Ethiopian migrants are being slaughtered at rates unseen, are all interconnected with the supremacy of the Arab (Saudi, Qatar, United Arab Emirates) Empire and the complacency in the violence against Muslims who are marginalized in the war for oil and global domination. Inter-ethnic relations are related to the legacy of colonialism in the Muslim world, and the ways that powerful governments facilitate ethnic divide and cleansing - whether it be the victims of the Sahara being violently repressed by Algerian/Moroccan borders, or the silence around the violence faced by Bangladeshi migrants being exploited by the Arab capitalist project. I would like to see more intergenerational, anti-sexist approaches to building unity within the ummah. Addressing the ways capitalism and white supremacist heteropatriarchy have dominated the social and political paradigms in Muslim communities is integral, if we want to truly decolonize a history that has potential to liberate and unify. I would like to see more female imams leading mixed gender prayer, and more breaking down of hierarchy and complacency in political silence. In our Muslim communities, we must learn the ways our struggles are all interconnected to the ideas of Empire and colonization, in order to stand in solidarity with non-Muslim populations, non-Arab communities, and communities of gender non conforming trans* and gay people - who are also a part of our community, yet oftentimes invisibilized. In order to begin addressing these issues, we must begin to address the ways our differences have alienated us, while doing the intricate work to become allies and comrades with Black, Native, trans and migrant communities who are different from us. We should do more political education work, to creatively participate in social movements that are breaking down the norms of capitalism and model minority myths.  

Azza Altiraifi 

I am 20 years old. I am an Afro-Arab, Sudanese-American. While attending American University, I became the president of the MSA. Previously, the events and services provided by the MSA reflected the interests and concerns of one or two ethnic groups at the expense of the other communities on campus. As outreach coordinator and then president, I helped the organization become more responsive to the Muslim student community as a whole. We began partnering with organizations such as the African Student Organization, Black Student Alliance, and the Dominican Student Association, among others. In the interest of furthering inter-cultural engagement and combating racism within Muslim communities on a national level, I joined the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC). I now serve as the chair of the Outreach Committee. I have also begun work on initiatives to combat mental health stigma within the Muslim community as well as provide resources and support for those who suffer from mental illnesses.

Hearing the stories of others has made me acutely aware of the community’s failure to address these issues in a comprehensive way. I work to partner with organizations to create a buffer between the mentally ill and law enforcement, combat stigma, raise awareness and train community leaders to recognize signs of mental illness and refer people to the appropriate care. Muslim American discourse is dominated and shaped by Arab and South Asian communities, often leaving out Black, Indigenous, Latino and other minorities. Our task is to amplify the voices of marginalized communities, and to ensure that the issues that matter most to them are comprehensively addressed. Additionally, we must work to promote inter-cultural engagement and break down the barriers erected by increasingly insular communities. More collaboration between mosques that represent people of different ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds is vital in breaking down stereotypes. There needs to be a concerted effort to engage all segments of the Muslim community, and ensure that the Muslim American narrative is accepting of a plurality of views. Follow her on twitter.

Nafisah Tung

Nafisah Tung is a 24-year old Chinese Muslim from San Diego, CA. She’s a prominent artist online and is currently working on video games professionally. Ever since starting her online identity in 2006, she’s maintained an active role in communicating with her peers through self expression and story-telling with a focus on body diversity, identity, and self love. Her audience is generally non-Muslim, so most efforts and artistic endeavors seek to educate about the religion when applicable. Her blog serves as a part-time advice column and she also helps moderate I am not Haraam, an online resource and safe space for Muslims who identify on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. http://www.nahfeesawh.com/

Liban Yousuf 

 Liban Yousuf is a 23 year old CAIR-AZ Civil Rights Director. He’s been an active member of the Arizona Muslim community since he moved to Arizona from San Jose, California in 2006.  Since then, he has been active with various Muslim organizations in the valley including Arizona State University’s Muslim Students’ Association, MAS, and Why Islam.  Liban served as the former legal intern at CAIR Arizona since May 2013.  Follow this rising leader on twitter.

#25Under25 (4)

Nesima Aberra

I’m a 23-year-old storyteller and social do-gooder at heart who lives in Oakland, California and works at a nonprofit in San Francisco. I’m an Arizona native and daughter of Eritrean immigrants. I’ve been involved in the Muslim community through my high school and university MSA’s, a volunteer at local masjids and refugee assistance, president of a women’s empowerment organization, speaker and organizer for community service events and treasurer of Coming of Faith.

In the past, Muslim inter-ethnic relations have been mostly all talk and no action. We know in theory that Islam came to get rid of racism, classism and sexism and that an Arab is no better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is no better than an Arab, but people are fed up with not seeing that philosophy play out in real life in Muslim communities. I am however, optimistic that today’s youth are more equipped with the tools and resources to discuss openly online and offline issues like privilege, racism, structural inequality and oppression in a productive manner so that our community begins to heal that divide. More Muslims of different ethnicities are working in leadership positions and marrying into multiethnic families each other so there is also a natural relationship building and understanding that comes with that.

Sharing individual stories, developing educational materials to implement in Islamic school curriculum, creating social media campaigns and stressing to influential Muslim leaders to get involved with inter-ethnic initiatives are a few ways to get the conversation started, but I believe working at a grassroots level to understand each community’s unique perspective and history is the best way to move forward.

Follow her work on twitter.

Rubayya Hoque 

The twenty-five year old, Bangladeshi American shares her thoughts:

What is you Involvement in the Muslim community?  
Though my blog was on hiatus while I earned my graduate degree, I am a long-time writer on Islam, race, community, and identity in America. Most recently, am Fundraising and Development Intern at Coming of Faith. I have also written two articles for Coming of Faith, one about the need of an organization dedicated to Muslim women’s storytelling and one for Coming of Faith’s Huffington Post column about the overlapping development of my faith and my feminism. I am also a librarian, and as such, my primary goal is to create resources to help sort through the mass of both credible and questionable resources on Islam and Muslims available online.

Muslim inter-ethnic relations:
I have been part of a number of American Muslim communities and most of them have also been some of the most ethnically diverse communities with I have been involved. On too many occasions, I have witnessed conflict between ethnic groups stemming from a lack of knowledge and empathy with the the history of other groups. It is easy to believe that Islam levels the playing the field between us, as we are all equal before Allah. But also remember that Allah asks us whether the blind are equal to the seeing (13:16), points out that physical strength and earning power endow greater responsibility (4:34), and tells us we were made different so we may know each other (49:13), so we must be aware, respectful, and compassionate about the differences between one another.

Nihal Khan

I am a twenty-three year old American of Indian origin. As a young person who has worked as an assistant Imam, prison chaplain, youth director and community organizer, I feel that many Muslim communities are struggling with creating a common Muslim-American identity which strikes a balance between being inclusive of one’s cultural heritage while also removing a sense of hierarchical exclusivity. As if one culture is better than the other. On one hand many Muslim youth know nothing about where their roots are from while on the other end there are those that elevate their culture over that of others. The reality is that one’s cultural heritage is part of one’s identity.

I would be love to see Muslim youth begin to learn and appreciate the history and language of their cultures. Knowing that will truly help them discover their identity and perhaps help them grow in their faith.

I feel that the solution to fixing issues of cultural superiority in our communities will come from creating programs and events where Muslim youth can learn about their cultural heritage as well as that of others will be very beneficial to them. Secondly, creating initiatives where youth of various cultural backgrounds can work together and learn about each others’ cultural heritage is necessary.  Learning to appreciate the other will be direly needed in fixing this issue in our communities.

Muhga ElTigani 

This 23 year old Sudanese American answers our questions:

What has been your involvement or leadership in the Muslim community?
During High School, I was the Islamic Studies teacher for girls aged 10-12 girls  at Al-Furqan Masjid. During my senior year, I participated and won first place overall at at the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament (MIST) held at the University of Pennsylvania which allowed me to befriended many Penn MSA members who would later become my closest friends and mentors. My early connection to the Penn MSA led me to pursue leadership positions right away on the MSA executive board. I served three terms, first as the Islamic Education Co-Chair, then as a Social co-chair and finally as the first African American female President of Penn MSA. I helped create the Board Council adding ten more leadership positions to meet the growing needs of the Penn MSA. The executive board and I focused on uniting the Muslim community on and off campus and the broader Penn community as well as record the rich history of the Penn MSA amongst other goals. I also found it important to make the MSA more systematic so that the next President could hit the ground running without worrying about as many tedious problems from the previous term. Now, that I have graduated, I am constantly getting updates on the amazing progress the new board has achieved and I am very proud. One of  my biggest hopes is that MSAs across the country continue to grow and create manful relationships with their communities.

What are your thoughts on the future Muslim inter-ethnic relations?  
I grew up with an immigrant Sudanese community. The masjid that my family attended was also filled with other immigrant communities.  Although, it was a diverse environment, people usually grouped with people of their own ethnicity. I can relate because I understand the peaceful familiarity that comes with being around people of your own culture but I had hoped that the groups would intermingle. As the years pass, I find that the more accustomed people became to the United States the more intermingling I saw in the Masjid.
I also find that the challenges within our communities are times of greatest Muslim inter-ethnic conflict. 9/11 brought my  Muslim community regardless of ethnic background together to discuss this tragedy. Currently, the political struggles of the Muslim World unite Muslims in America as we pray for a better and safer ummah around the world.

What would you like to see?
I would like to see more inter-ethnic relations in times of triumphs just as much as in times of trouble. I would like to see our community unite around religion just as strong as we do with people of our own culture.

What are some possible solutions?
A possible solution to increasing inter-ethnic relations within Muslim Communities is to focus on bringing youth from diverse backgrounds, together. Youth usually can organize and meet more conveniently as they are students, while their parents may have many more various types of commitments. The most important outcome of gathering is  communication. Students from different communities can communicate what is going on their communities, keeping each other in the loop. Students could also discuss their trials and triumphs of growing up Muslim and can form friendships. This, in turn, can make their parents even more united in other communities. Regardless, the students will then grow up and help lead a more inter-ethnic community because they were exposed to it at a younger age.

Sadia Saifuddin  

She is the First Muslim on the University of California Board of Regents (the governing body of the UC system). She represents diverse cross-section of the UC student community, and their needs. This sister is another rising star you need to follow on twitter

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Mohammad Sattaur 

I am a 22-year-old Muslim-American born in Guyana, South America from Philadelphia, PA. Being the son of an imam in New York City, I have always been active in the Muslim community both in America and beyond. The community I grew up in was primarily made up of immigrants from Guyana and other parts of the Caribbean. The Guyanese community in the United States is no older than 40 years, with the majority of immigrants arriving after 1990. As such, growing up, there was a strong emphasis placed on the preservation of the Guyanese-Muslim culture (which differs vastly from the Caribbean/South American culture) followed by the establishment of masajids and community centers. Beyond that, I have had the honor of working on several projects and with various organizations. In 2008 I became the youngest government-recognized Hajj Leader (Munadhim) in the world. I have previously served on MSA National’s Executive Board as the Eastern United States Representative – during my term, news of NYPD spying on Eastern MSAs leaked and a lawsuit was initiated. In 2010, I became the Executive Director of the Mahabbah Foundation, while in 2011 I became acting director of the Imam Ghazali Institute. I also serve on the Board of Trustees for SKT Welfare, a charity that operates directly in Syria and Palestine. As newer generations of Muslim Americans are born with an American identity, the national Muslim community will begin to integrate naturally as we no longer emphasize “back home” cultural identities. In essence, inclusiveness hinges on realizing what is to naturally occur and beginning to acknowledge the reality of a diverse Muslim community.

Follow his commentary on twitter and his more detailed thoughts and ideas on his blog.

Yasmeen

She’s 18 years old, she’s headed to Cal. Her tumblr posts showed the world what young American Muslim women must face.  This socially conscious, whip smart hijabi has a wicked humor to bat.  Follow her on twitter or tumblr.

Arthur Richards

The name is Arthur Richards, I am a Jamaican American, or rather American Jamaican as I certainly identify as American first and foremost. Within the Muslim community I have served several roles in my local region. It all started off with volunteering in my local MSA, which then turned into me holding office within the organization. That eventually led to me volunteering with Al Maghrib, an organization that allowed me to become active in the community on a larger level but also to begin the process of solidifying myself in Islamic knowledge. I now currently serve as the Hunger Prevention director for ICNA Relief, and a founder of LEAP, a Muslim scholarship program (Leapup.org).

My thoughts on Muslim inter-ethnic relations are that we currently do not find ourselves heading in a place I am proud to identify with. There still remains much work to be done in order to solidify a strong foundation of camaraderie within our places of worship and in the general community. I would like to see more dialogue and a head-on approach to nullifying and completely eradicating the problem that ultimately stems from racism. My strongest solution has been and will continue to be to speak on the issue of racism. The reality is many of our communities do not see this as a significant dilemma because we are not voicing our concerns loud enough. Which leads me to the concept of activism. The Muslim community is a few generations behind when it comes to activism, and as such much of the perks that come with strong activist movements are lost. By making this issue of racism into a movement within the Muslim community to educate the masses I daresay we would move forward as a community. Allah knows best.

Damali Stennette

My name is Damali Stennette and I’m 21 years old. I’m half Belizean and half Panamanian so I identify myself as latinegra, also known as a black Latina. I have taught basic Islamic studies on Sundays for the past 3 years at my local masjid to 4-6 year olds. I have just started as a social media intern for MuslimMatters.

I feel like many Muslim communities lack unity and a healthy distinction between culture and religion. Culture is beautiful and should be embraced but Allah divided us into nations and tribes so that me may recognize each other but sometimes I feel like Muslims use it to divide each other.

Malek Bendelhoum

My name is Malek Bendelhoum. I am 24 years old. My father is Algerian and my mother is from Alabama. So I guess you could say I am THE definition of African American. My involvement in the Muslim community consists of a variety of volunteer and leadership roles. Currently, I am the Administrator at the Islamic Center of the Inland Empire (ICIE) where I deliver the khutbah, plan and implement different programs at ICIE, including lecture series, special invited guests, coordinate social services, etc. I also volunteer to give khutbahs, and speak at masajid around California. I serve as the Vice President of Sahaba Initiative, a grassroots social services organization serving the second poorest city in the nation (San Bernardino). I also volunteer with Islah LA, a grassroots initiative striving to revitalize community, education, civic engagement, and economic empowerment in South Los Angeles. I believe Muslim inter-ethnic relations are continually improving and while we are seeing more collaborations and inter-ethnic marriages, we could still be better in terms of diversity and acceptance. Muslims still hold stereotypes about those not part of their ethnic background, make racists remarks about others, and refuse inter-ethnic marriages. I would like to see more collaboration between those of different races and an appreciation for different ethnicities, upbringing, skin color, and culture. A possible solution to this problem is continued dialogue. We should continue to remind Muslims of the beauty of diversity because Islam is made up of people from different cultures and skin colors for this very reason, so that we may get to know one another. I believe that Muslims should continue to remind each other of this important value. As we continue to see more inter-ethnic diversity in the Muslim community, and applaud it, we will slowly see these barriers breaking down.”

You can support his work by following the Sahaba on twitter.

#25Under25 (5)

Damiyr Leonard

Damiyr Leonard is 23 years old and spent his early life living on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean Sea. He then immigrated to the United States with his parents and was raised in southern Texas. He currently attends Florida State University where he is finishing degrees in Computer Science and Computational Biology and entertains goals of one day building a career in the United Nations’ World Health Organization. He just returned from a trip to Palestine, and after seeing the situation in the area, believes that the future of inter-ethnic relations is dependent on cooperation despite conflict. He is the former president of Florida State University’s Muslim Student Association and the current Executive Director of the non-profit organization Heart of Dua.

You can follow this #MYRising on twitter.

Numan Ali Dugmeoglu

 I am a 20 year old Muslim-American of Turkish heritage. I was born and raised in south New Jersey. I grew up in a very active and large Turkish community that had a robust emphasis on preserving its culture despite being two generations removed from the homeland. The community was and still is comprised mostly of people coming from a poor background. Often after arriving in the US these people usually lost focus on the religion, in favor of making strides to guarantee a comfortable financial future for their families. As a result, Islam in the community became a facet of the Turkish culture only really acknowledged during holy days. I was fortunate enough to have come from a family who emphasized education. Though my grandfather was a teacher in Turkey, he left all he had to work in the food service industry.  I was blessed to grow up in a household that not only emphasized traditional schooling but also a thorough religious education. Since graduating from high school three years ago, I’ve tried to give back to the community by educating and rallying youth that are in danger of losing any understanding of what it means to be Muslim. Through this work I am hoping to help them develop not only a thorough understanding of Islam and its practice, but also a Muslim identity. Now entering my third year at Drexel

University studying Political Science, I hope to essentially bridge the gap between the various Muslim minority groups in the area that cling to culture rather religion. As I look forward I truly believe the coming generation has an unprecedented opportunity to bring together all their differences into one unique Muslim- American identity.

Visit his blog or follow him on twitter.

Noor Tagouri

img source:  Lovelyfish.com

This 20 year old Libyan American’s viral pic showed us what it would look like if her dream of becoming the first hijab wearing American newscaster came true. Her budding career in journalism continues to show promise as she’s shown us how to handle Islamophobic attacks with grace.   Follow her on twitter to stay up to date on current events

Laila Alawa

We asked Laila the following questions and she answered:

What is your age?
I just turned 23 years old.

How do you identify ethnically?
I am ethnically Syrian and Danish, but if you ask me, I consider myself to first and foremost be Muslim American.

What has been your involvement or leadership in the Muslim community?
I used to be a leader in my local mosque, but these days, focus my efforts in developing third spaces - two efforts that I founded are Coming of Faith, LLC and The Everyday Bigotry Project. I am also a cultural critic and writer for a number of online news sources.

What are your thoughts on the future Muslim inter-ethnic relations? What would you like to see? What are some possible solutions?
I want to see more conversations with those who feel we are in a post-racial society - I want to see us confront hard questions frankly and with the understanding that feeling uncomfortable is perfectly okay. The Muslim American community has a tendency to pretend that everything is okay, that our religion is post-racial - and that’s all fine and dandy, but that means the real issues and questions are being shoved beneath the rug.

Follow Laila’s work on at Coming of Faith  or on Twitter.

Last but not least….you,
If you’re 25 and under, this is your time to shine.  

#25Under25 #MYRising (1)

25 Under 25 Leaders in the Muslim Community

…the youth are not our future, they are our present 

Youth have been central in Muslim societies so much so that the medieval Islamic concept of chivalry, futuwwa, is tied to the concept of youth. Futuwwa comes from the Arabic word fata which encompasses the meaning of chivalrous young man.There are two sources for futuwwa in the Quran, one when Abraham (upon him peace), in obedience to Allah, was willing to sacrifice his son thereby establishing hospitality. The second source for futuwwa are the monotheistic youth in People of the Cave whom Allah protected.  Futuwwa also means:

1. Servitude and constant remembrance of God;

2. Seeking company of good people (good fellowship) and hospitality;

3. Being introspective;

4. Focus on remembering one’s own defects;

5. Guarding one’s soul against all temptations.

The role our Muslim youth play, whether as students, activists, or volunteers, makes it even more essential that our institutions address the needs of the youth, encourage them to participate in shaping the narrative of Islam in our communities, and include them in institutional decision making

We will feature 25 and Muslim leaders and change makers, representing a diverse cross-section of  Muslim community. Twenty of them share their thoughts on identity and put forward their vision for the future of  intra-Muslim ethnic relations.

Waleed Shahid

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Waleed Shahid is a 23-year old, Pakistani-American. He grew up in Northern Virginia on a diet of pulao, pho, pupusas, and a steady stream of government surveillance. He now lives in Philadelphia and works with an organization seeking to challenge mass incarceration in Pennsylvania. He also works with East

Coast Solidarity Summer, a social justice retreat for South Asian youth. He hopes one day to help bring together a social, racial, and economic justice summer retreat for Muslim youth. This retreat would allow people to share their personal experiences with political and social issues, revisit and rethink Muslim history, gain tools to organize their communities, and learn how to cultivate their collective power.

Drost Kokoye

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 My name is Drost Kokoye and I am 23 years old. I am a Kurdish American Muslim. My family and I arrived in the United States from Kurdistan in 1997 as refugees of war. Shortly after our arrival, we moved to Nashville, Tennessee which is now known as Little Kurdistan, since we have the largest diaspora of Kurds in the nation. For the last four years, I have worked as an organizer in the Muslim community across Tennessee to help educate and empower the Muslim community here to stand for the rights that the Constitution guarantees us and all other residents of Tennessee and the United States. Working from what we call ground-zero of the anti-Muslim movement is difficult, but also a blessing in disguise because it forces our ethnically divided Muslim community to unite as one Ummah. I hope that in the future, it is not just in times of difficulty and attack that we realize that we must work, live, and worship together. My ultimate goal in organizing is to help foster communities where ethnicity and culture enrich relationships and show the real diversity that Islam promotes. One step towards this is through youth engagement across masjid lines. We mustn’t reinforce the division our parents sought safety in. Salaam.
 

Emir Eric Webb

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I am African-American. I have been president of the MSA at Montgomery College. I have worked on The Arab/Muslim Outreach Program to the White House. I would love to see the dialogue within the Muslim community become more open minded. To do this we must separate culture norms from Islamic ethics. Too many times culture masks itself as Islamic norms and becomes seen as “Islamic”. As a community we must educate each other about each other. At the same time we must adhere to the Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Shireen Hamza

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My name, Shireen Hamza, does not easily betray my diasporic history. I’m a 22 year old Gujarati Muslim, whose parents left India for America before my birth. If my father had not changed his last name, it would have spoken of our roots: Balasinorwala means “one of Balasinor.”

Together with my inspirational peers of all faiths in New Brunswick, NJ, I helped form a safe space for people of South Asian origin, in order to help fill in some of the silences diaspora has left in our histories. We aim to scrutinize some of the prejudices that exist within our religious communities  - as well as those we inherit from mainstream structures of white supremacy. Together, we discuss how to dismantle anti-black racism, Islamophobia, gender violence and other constructs supporting imperial agendas — in our current community, as well as in our communities of origin. Creating inclusive, safe spaces is vital to the anti-racist activism of Muslim Americans.

Safaya Fawzi

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I am 22 years old, and identify as mixed race, of Egyptian and Italian descent. I am just getting started in leadership with the Muslim-American community. I am really excited about MuslimARC and Coming of Faith, where I write monthly. I have just joined the board as the Midwest Regional Director. I think that there’s this idea among most young Muslim-Americans that we’re “Muslim and American first” or there’s some commonalities we all have being Muslim-Americans, no matter how long our families have been here. This shared belief has the powerful potential to transcend ethnic differences among our generation. InshaAllah, this common ground can also be an impetus for increased collective action against the colonial legacies left in our home countries around the world. I think this belief is an effective tool against racism in all its forms in the US. Ultimately, however, I believe any actions we take can only be successful if we start them in our mosques. Follow this bright star on twitter.

Have questions or concerns? Email info@muslimarc.org. 

This petition is for Amadou Diallo - shot at 41 times. An innocent, hardworking man simply reaching for his wallet, Diallo should be alive today.

This petition is for Sean Bell - shot at over 50 times and killed on his wedding day. 

This petition is for Oscar Grant - handcuffed with his hands behind his back for breaking a fight on the subway - Oscar was shot in the back and killed by a police officer while sitting down.

This petition is for Chavis Carter - arrested for marijuana, searched, handcuffed with his hands behind his back, and put into the back of a police car. Chavis is then said to have somehow killed himself with a gun. 

This petition is for Wendell Allen - just 20 years old - police busted into a house and shot him in the heart - killing him. He wasn’t who they were looking for.

This petition is for Eric Garner - choked to death on YouTube for the entire world to see. While the coroner has deemed his death a homicide, we must change the laws to prevent this from ever happening again.

This petition is for these men, and for many other unarmed men and women who have been killed by the police. It is unacceptable for the police to serve as JUDGE, JURY, and EXECUTIONER.