Sunday, February 15, 2015
Chapel Hill: Whose Lives Matter?
Some thoughts in light of recent events:
Just thought I would share some analysis on things I've been reading/seeing/hearing. Feel free to post your own thoughts/criticisms here too
1. Now more than ever Muslims need to be gentle with each other & hold each other with immense love. There is so much Mercy in our differences and we can't forget that. Even amongst the companions of the prophet (saw) there were such radically different personalities which managed to coexist. At a time when our faith and our identities are being put on trial at every corner its imperative that as a community we at least try to lift each other up.
2. Being gentle does not mean being passive, nor does it mean your anger is not justified. Anger, pain, fear, sadness, rage are all valid emotions. Feel them, let them be heard. But make sure that they are channelled in a way that is constructive, not destructive. Channel your anger in a way that is healing for us all.
3. Its important to keep in mind that the brutal murdering of Muslims is not an isolated case. Nor is it an "American Problem", This is a product of structural racism & Islamophobia which is increasingly becoming more commonplace even in Canada & to deny this is a great injustice that will only allow the problem to escalate. Of course this is hardly the narrative we see in mainstream media where women are deemed oppressed and our men are made to seem barbaric. So to this I would say (this includes you Canadian-Muslims) Please be aware of what is going on a systemic level. This includes Bill C-51 (the new anti-terror legislation) and Bill S-7 (the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act). Both of which are explicitly racist legislation which will effect many racialized communities including Muslims. (if you want to learn more about these bills theres a really great teach-in happening this sunday check it out here:https://www.facebook.com/events/763877057041681/?ref=22) . Yes, getting involved in politics & speaking your mind is important, but also make sure that before you speak, you understand the implications of what you're saying. Make sure you understand the historical context because everything that is occurring presently is a product of history that we often ignore or forget (i.e. colonialism).
4. Lastly, and I think most importantly is: whose lives matter? We all know as Muslims that the media could care less about Muslims being brutally murdered in cold blood. Muslims are only ever in the headlines when the word terrorism can be attached to it. However, what is more alarming to me is the hierarchy within our own community.
This passed December Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein a 15 year old Somali Muslim boy was killed by the police (http://www.theguardian.com/…/community-mourns-somali-muslim…). Even more recently Mustafa Mattan a Canadian-Muslim, was murdered in cold blood on Monday at the age of 28. He was also Somali (http://www.cbc.ca/…/mustafa-mattan-shot-dead-through-fort-m…) What is most heartbreaking is I don't see the same rage, the same sadness, the same pain or mourning for these Black Lives as I have seen for non-black Muslim lives which is why it is so important to not co-opt #BlackLivesMatter to #MuslimLivesMatter. Because the fact of the matter is it takes away a tragic reality that often Black lives are forgotten, even within Muslim communities (read more abt co-option of Black Lives Matter here;https://m.facebook.com/namira.islam/posts/10104887162703583?refid=52&ref=bookmark)
Our experiences are inextricably linked to other causes: #BlackLivesMatter #IdleNoMore, the struggle for #TamilEelam, #Kashmir,#Tibet, #CentralAfricanRepublic
May God grant us the ability to recognize the humanity in others. May God grant forgiveness and peace to the deceased, and may we all be amongst those who are most Beloved to God.