Muslims Stand for Justice, Humanity’s Rights – from Atlanta, Ga., to Boulder, Colorado
By Imam Talib Shareef
WASHINGTON, D.C. – We join the President, Vice President, and all those across the nation in extending our condolences to the families of the eight lives lost in the recent attack at three Atlanta-area massage parlors, six of whom were Asian Americans.
And in a matter of just days, the same sentiments are extended to the community of Boulder, Colorado, which lost 10 souls to the assault of an inhumane gunman. Acts of violence and extremism continue to grow and continue to present serious challenges to our society.
Although the motive for the killings in the Atlanta area, at press time, have not been declared a hate crime, it has occurred on the backdrop of discrimination and hate crimes against Asian Americans has increased nearly 150 percent over 2020.
We cannot just look at what’s happened in Atlanta and isolate it from these staggering increases in the numbers of assaults on Asians nationwide. As people of faith and good conscience who want peace for themselves, peace for their fellow man and peace for the world, we condemn all bigotry and hate crimes against Asian Americans and stand in solidarity with them.
Regardless of the motive, it is certainly apparent that a divisive racially charged atmosphere has been prevalent in our society. So, let us not overlook that a major enabler giving life to the present situation was a suitable environment.
Over the past four years or more, the former president, whose primary responsibility was to keep safe and unite our nation, instead incited violence against our government and fellow citizens. He and other leaders who apparently support him have consistently gone against the best of human motivations and the best of American traditions.
Their spew of hatred: Openly expressing divisive disparaging racial and ethnic comments, courting radicals, hate groups and white supremacist, ignoring and rejecting laws and betrayed American democracy….
With these things coming from leaders and being put on the minds of followers and persons taken over by violence, by bitterness, by hate, by rage, those persons, naturally, are becoming more bitter, enraged and or very destructive, often resulting in these senseless violent tragedies.
The Most High says in the Qur’an: “Oh you who have true faith, be a people for Allah (Almighty G-d) as witnesses for justice, and do not allow your dislike or hatred for any people to influence or cause you to have bad conduct or to do wrong and swerve from justice.
“Do justice; it is the nearest to true piety. And reverence Allah, indeed Allah is aware of the innermost secrets.”
So that tells us that no matter what the circumstances are in the world or if something causes me to act out in the spirit of bitterness, hate or injuries (real or perceived) caused to me, my family, or my nation, we are still to obey G-d, remain peaceful, obedient, respectful of our fellow human and their life, respect G-d, and conduct ourselves in a way that is acceptable to Him.
It’s imperative that leaders understand that it is an integral part of their duties to use their words responsibly, to speak out against, establish laws and assist in any efforts to create an environment where such a climate of hate and violence, whatever the motive, does not exist.
We must look at these attacks and learn from them, so they do not continue to occur. Whether it is stronger hate crime/domestic terrorism and gun laws, violence in video games, media, magazines, or concerns in areas of mental health, we cannot close our eyes to the signs we are given.
Nor can we close our eyes to the roles that our actions, thoughts, words, products, and services play in nurturing the minds of our fellow citizens.
We are one nation, under One Creator, upon one common humanity. We are asking our leaders to be reflective of our national motto, E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One; the many diverse, wonderful expressions of human life that have contributed to America.
(Imam Dr. Talib M. Shareef is USAF-Retired and Resident Imam at the Nation’s Mosque/Masjid Muhammad, 1519 Islamic Way, 4th St., NW, in Washington, D.C. He is the former president/chairman of the Interfaith Conference, Vice Commander-Chaplain for Muslim American Veterans Association (MAVA), Director and Islamic Chaplain for Global Oved Dei Seminary University, Director of American Muslims Against Terrorism and Extremism, part of the D.C. Mayor’s Interfaith Council.)