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Sustained Solidarity: Why We can’t Let this Moment Fade

Racism is consistent. Our communities have to be consistent in fighting it.

What Protests Can (And Can't) Do | FiveThirtyEight

What We know 

If you are Black in America, fatigue is a luxury. Rest of mind, body, and soul can’t be weighed in gold. Leisure time is to be savored, vacations guarded. The long held tradition of subjugating Black people by lethal and legal force makes all of the above priceless. When Sandra Bland was taken, there was no time for fatigue.

When Breonna Taylor was taken, it was still no time for fatigue. Though many media outlets have since move on from the Murder of George Floyd and the resulting uprisings, the compassion and support needed to work against a system that makes food of its own citizens is ever-present. Marathons are won through measured strides and a relentless will to push forward. Outcries from Muslim communities who are non-Black echoed more than ever the past two months.

To not let this moment of solidarity fade we will have to examine our own ideas about race and racism. The Muslim community has to find a mirror, and peer deep with ugliness that shows up. We have to look at the stains that racism within our own ranks has left. So as we feel the electrical current of this passage of history, please know much is needed for well-being and growth. There are many miles to go. 

Social Distancing before Corona

It is an unspoken reality that when people immigrate into America the distance between themselves and Black people, particularly the downtrodden, is to be maintained at all cost. Proximity to the millions of forgotten citizens of this country is a threat to proper assimilation. The idea of model minority is based on Black boogeymen and women who threaten their American dream.

There has been incredible benefit gained from this Social Distancing before the coming of COVID-19. Too many suburban enclaves, corner stores, gas stations etc. have been made into fortresses of wealth and willful ignorance. There is a line mentioned in one of my poems, “your hands can’t free, what your eyes can’t see.” What then can be said of when hearts gone blind because we chose to buy into any and every single narrative that licenses the assault on Black life daily. To right wrongs, to repair the trust broken, and to begin a radically different chapter of race relations among Muslims in America is to recognize that the distance practiced was not built to make hearts grow fonder.

A Commitment to Community

The seed of Islam was planted from heart to heart and household to household. It blossomed into the community that should be striving to develop as Muslims in. The heart is neutral soil. It’ll grow whatever the gardener cares for in it. Our stereotypes, prejudices, hatred, and ignorance is cultivated in the same way. This is time for long-term personal responsibility, household vigilance, community care, and most importantly, institutional accountability. Allah redeems us through intentions, repentance, purifying deeds. If the non-Black Muslim community seeks to redefine it’s relationship with the Black people of America particularly their co-religionists, they will need to take diligent steps toward what Allah loves, consistency.

Tariq is part of the Communications & External Relations team at Islamic Relief USA.

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