By K. H. Hamilton
“O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both.
“Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve. And if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” (Qur’an, Surah 4, Ayah 135)
Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillahi Raabilalameen (All praises due to Allah, Lord of all the Worlds). As we near the ending of Ramadan during these last 10 days seeking Allah (SWT’s) Mercy and Forgiveness to protect us from the tormenting hellfire, we are reminded to speak out against injustices whenever they occur in the land.
The death of our dearest Ahmaud Arbery impacts our hearts and spirits, leaving many of us filled with anxiety, stress and despair – all of which is referred to as Racial Battle Fatigue (Smith, 2003) and Racial Traumatic Stress Disorder (Carter, 2007).
Therefore, let us be reminded that it was during the Battle of Badr, on the 17th day of Ramadan to be exact, that Allah (SWT’s) most beloved Prophet Muhammed (saas) pleaded to his Lord for Mercy against the Quraish who appeared far more powerful in outnumbering the believers.
However, when we put our trust in our Lord, we, like our beloved Prophet (saas), can never fail, Insha’Allah. So while we are fasting and trying hard to remain steadfast, we must speak out against the crimes that are taking place in our communities, for we are all one humanity.
Personally, like many of you, I couldn’t bear to hear of another slaying of a Black Male in broad daylight at the hands of some self-proclaimed neighborhood watchmen/vigilantes.
I so desperately wanted to email Sis. Sutanah to ask if she had a story on Mr. Ahmaud Arbery’s tragic death, but each time my fingers reached for the keyboard in an attempt to email, I pulled them back and collapsed into my chair gasping for air amidst my despair.
I reflected on Trayvon Martin, who at 17 years of age was killed in 2012. Just hearing about his unjustified murder when I was one month pregnant sent chills down my spine in knowing that his mother and father would never see their child again.
Then I thought about Tamir Rice, a baby. Tamir was 12 years old when police killed him over a toy gun while he was playing in the park.
In my internalization and remembrance, I reflected on 28-year old Sandra Bland who after being confronted for a “traffic violation” was found hanging in her jail cell.
Let’s not forget about 22-year-old Tyrique Hudson murdered by his schizophrenic neighbor, 26-year-old Botham Jean, slain in his own home at the hands of his neighbor – a police officer. And Bro. Amadou Diallo was murdered in 1999 by four plainclothes NYPD officers.
There are names, countless names known and unknown, too many to list in one article. So when Sis. Ayesha and Sis. Sutanah, Editor and Assistant Editor of the Muslim Journal, spoke up and wrote about this heinous crime, I applauded them for their courageous journalism.
Mash’Allah, believers in a multitude of ages have flooded social media with articles and live streams along with forums of debate and protest. For our brothers and sisters, along with allies in Georgia, thank you for taking a powerful stand and mindfully protesting, demanding justice.
To the National Black Muslim COVID Coalition, founded by Sis. Margari Hill of Muslim Anti-racist Collaborative and Dr. Kameelah Rashad of Muslim Wellness Foundation, Jazakum Allahu Khairan for both of your efforts in keeping our community not only informed and connected but providing strategies to more towards healing.
Their recent On the Leaves Townhall, moderated by The Village Auntie, Angelica Lindsey-Ali, included: Community Outreach Director and Michigan Muslim Community Council Imam Mika’il Stewart; Grammy-nominated Singer, MC, Songwriter and Activist Maimouna Youssef (aka MuMu Fresh); Director, Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) in Atlanta Imam Mansoor Sabree; and Award-Winning Author of Black Seeds and 2 Parts Oxygen, Artist Tariq Toure.
Sis. Maimouna powerfully sang Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit, while Dr. Rashad reminded us that in our resiliency, it is perfectly okay to be angry. In fact, we must honor our true feelings as we transition towards a process of healing.
On keeping in-tuned with spirituality, it was in fact Imam Sabree who informed us of Prophet Muhammed’s (saas) test during the Battle of Badr in this most blessed month.
Bro. Toure shared his poetic words of justice, while Imam Mika’il Stewart urged us to include educators at the forefront of our conversations.
Alhamdulillah, with over 10 years’ experience in K-16 education, National Black Muslim COVID Coalition’s co-founder, Sis. Margari is indeed making our voices count. Moderator, Sis. Angelica commented on her own experiences when her son’s online teacher asked him and his classmates to take a break and jog.
Not surprisingly, the trauma of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder triggered her internalization and fear. Fortunately, her son was ready to run. Yet as a parent, Sis. Angelica made sure she did not displace her fear onto her son.
Quite naturally, the unjust murder of Ahmaud produced feelings of helplessness that most African American parents endure – the inability to fully protect our children. In this time of uncertainty, parents will experience emotions and “what if” feelings of anxiety in wanting to shield their children from harm.
In a society where our children learn in schools and through the media that their lives don’t matter, we must pay close attention to our children and their emotions. Especially when the vast majority of our children are pinned up inside and experiencing the traumatic impact of COVID-19.
Dr. Rashad warned us not to turn a blind eye or place judgment. We must be cognizant of the fact that suicide and suicidal thoughts are non-discriminatory, and it is very important to acknowledge our children’s feelings as well as our own. Should anyone have such thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255.
Dr. Rashad is also asking for all Muslim therapists, counselors, psychologists, social workers and clinicians to answer the call and join Muslim Wellness Foundation and National Black Muslim COVID Coalition’s efforts.
For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Dr. Rashad on Facebook and Twitter.
Our people, including our children, are at a crossroads, and it’s up to us to stand up and fight for our right to exist. We must not allow the system to railroad Ahmaud Arbery’s parents and family, including his cousin Detroit Lions safety Tracey Walker by letting these … off the hook.
Taqwa and Sunnah is truly called for as this impacts us all. For more information on the National Black Muslim COVID Coalition’s profound work, please visit https://www.blackmuslimcoalition.com/.
Thanks to all of you who spoke out and are continuing to speak out, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or physically protesting. Your collective voices prompted Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr to appoint Joyette Holmes, District Attorney of the Cobb County Judicial Circuit to Ahmaud Arbery’s case.
Attorney Holmes is the first African American woman to serve as DA in Cobb County of Georgia. We are optimistic in this decision and will continue to fight for social justice and reform until justice prevails.
Lastly, whether you like or dislike Joe Biden, until we can get rid of this sandblasted Electoral College, it is incumbent that we send a message to constituents that #sorrypoliticianstimeisup.
Vote and get involved to support organizations like Stacey Abrams Fair Fight (https://fairfight.com/)
Encourage Presidential hopeful Biden to do the right thing and appoint Ms. Abrams or Sen. Kamala Harris as his VP. In the spirit of Garvey, Malcolm and Imam Mohammed, our voices as African Americans and as African American Muslims must be renewed.
It is time. Ramadan Mubarak!