HALP: Muslims Demanding Action for Justice petition draft—FEEL FREE TO EDIT PLZ
[NOTE: this is a DRAFT and therefore needs editing, suggestions etc]
Dear Scholars of Islam, Muslim Organizers and Masijds
We are Muslims [or non-Muslim allies] who believe in dignity and respect for all humans and pledge to stop and stand up to oppressions of all forms including hate against women, older and younger individuals, people of color, people with disabilities and mental illness, those of all classes, minorities and Queer human beings. We believe in treating people the way we would like to be treated. We believe in taking care of the earth and promoting sustainability and respect for our home.
We believe the Prophet Muhammad [saw] was a radical-feminist-environmental anti-racist community organizer, activist and freedom fighter that believed in freeing people from the status quo and freeing them from oppression through Islam and Allah [swt].
Please stop alienating Muslims from Islam. Allah [swt] doesn’t discriminate and is the best judge. Islam is for EVERYONE, Allah [swt] is for EVERYONE and therefore Allah [swt]’s house is for EVERYONE.
We believe in welcoming everyone to our gatherings by pro/actively welcoming of all people, listing out marginalized groups in a welcoming address and in other material, and promoting a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere at the Masjids via inclusion in all messaging [khutbahs, newsletters] and even the formation of committees and greeters.
Please stop reducing women to their bodies and telling them what to do with them. If you are a self-identified man, feel free to instead ask your sons to dress ‘Islamically’. Please stop policing women’s bodies. Women deal with a lot of other issues besides ‘hijab’. Stop putting women in the basement and other inferior and unequal spaces. If the Prophet allowed women and men in the same space, it’s good enough for us in the masjid/gatherings, especially since it’s already good enough in Walmart [a place which treats their workers like crap]. Allow and ask for more female lecturers and teachers. We women make up half of the community and raise the future generation of Muslims. Alienating women is alienating our community. Stop saying glossing over saying, “Islam honors women” when our Muslim community encourages criticizing and treating women like crap. Treating women like crap is a reflection on how you treat and feel about yourself.
Please stop making racist/homophobic/transphobic/ableist/sexist/ageist/classist etc, jokes. The discrimination and trauma experienced by queers, disabled people, young people, old people, poor people and racial minorities is very REAL.
Please stop romanticizing poverty, especially in gatherings where the entry ticket is expensive.
Please, there is more to the Muslim community then the immigrant vs. born in the West divide. One side is not worth more then the other, nor more ‘Muslim’.
Help our communities to grow away from our isolationist tendencies. Interfaith relations are a fact of all of our lives and a gift and lesson from Allah [swt]. Yes, this includes our atheist siblings.
Allow us to understand that diversity is a sign from Allah [swt] in all its elements and are there to help us grow in faith and imaan.
Please stop allowing only a few people during conferences and events to monopolize discussions. Please allow our gatherings to also to allow people to learn from each other and allow interaction from the audience.
Encourage critical thinking, questions and safe spaces. Arrange people to break into discussion groups.
Talk about how white western supremacy and past colonization/discrimination has made us feel more inferior and has lead our communities to show more prejudice against vulnerable populations like darker people, youth, those with disabilities, minorities, women, and non-gender binary people.
The community is tired of lectures talking about whether music is haram or not. Tired of being Arab-centric. Our communities, as vast and diverse as they are, face the same issues as the mainstream majority.
These issues include: human-trafficking, slavery, sustainability, mental illness, the stigma against queer people, stigma against the youth and old people, money, consumerism, finding peace, stigma against people with disabilities, loneliness, finding community, drugs, domestic violence, emotional abuse, abusing parents, poverty, finding a partner [esp since everyone keeps telling us ‘dating is haram!’] etc.
Post 9-11, there have been many lectures emphasizing how Islam is compatible with the West/USA, combating Islamophobia etc.
“Islam showed itself to be culturally friendly and, in that regard, has been likened to a crystal clear river. Its waters (Islam) are pure, sweet, and life-giving but, having no color of their own, reflect the bedrock (indigenous culture) over which they flow. In China, Islam looked Chinese; in Mali, it looked African. Sustained cultural relevance to distinct peoples, diverse places, and different times underlay Islam’s long success as a global civilization. ” –Umar Faruq Abd-Allah
Islam is diverse and by default isn’t particularly ‘western.’
If you want to combat Islamophobia, stop internalizing it. Combat racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, classism [etc]—and you’ll be also combating Islamophobia. Stop stressing Muslims are normal humans and just be allow us and yourself to be ourselves and be the change we wish to see in the world.
Do dawah/Islam and if necessary, use words. Encourage our communities to commit to engagement and activism. We are not free until everyone is free and freedom is what we need to fight for with every generation.
We are Muslims [and non-Muslim allies] that are against Islamophobia, homophobia, sexism, racism, ableism, ageism and all oppressions and see that these oppressions are widespread within and outside our Muslim communities. We know that religion, like Islam—like any powerful tool— has been used selfishly to retain power to oppress but we also believe Islam has a beautiful tradition of doing the opposite and we would like your help in salvaging this tradition. Islam teaches us to be involved with just causes and to be socially conscious. We want Muslims and our leaders to be at the forefront of the struggles for racial justice, gender justice, environmental justice, and disability justice.
We’ve decided to take a stand against them realizing it is apart of many different intersectionalities of oppression and prejudice like Islamophobia and want to reclaim our Muslim spaces, masjids, lectures, scholars and Islam and ask you to join us.
And Allah swt knows best. InshAllah may She/He/It/Ze/Xe accept our good intentions.
“Truly, God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Quran 13:11)