Dear Community Members and Friends,
Greetings of peace.
On behalf of the entire CAIR California (CAIR-CA) family, we write to express love for, solidarity with, and commitment to the Black community, especially Black families who have lost loved ones to state-sanctioned violence.
We are heartbroken over the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Steven Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and David McAtee. They are the latest in a long line of Black men and women struck down by police officers who were sworn to serve and protect them.
As a Muslim civil rights organization dedicated to harnessing our values in service to our society, CAIR-CA recognizes that justice for all people in America cannot come to fruition without an unwavering and unapologetic commitment to achieving justice for Black Americans. That includes an honest acknowledgment of entrenched anti-Blackness within our society.
To that end, CAIR-CA condemns all forms of anti-Black violence and systemic racism. We also unequivocally condemn the dehumanization of Blackness, whether it occurs inside or outside our community.
However, we must do more than condemn. We must take concrete action.
As a first step, we urge mosques and Muslim organizations to learn more about anti-racism initiatives by partnering with organizations like Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative and Islah L.A. We further uplift the following demands that we have heard from our Black Muslim leaders:
1. Public Statements: Muslim organizations, mosques and community centers can sign on to this letter or write your own message of solidarity. This can be posted on your website and social media and/or distributed via email, but you are urged to communicate this publicly.
2. Pressure Officials: Contact the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison at 800-657-3787 to demand justice for George Floyd.
3. Join Events:
a. Participate in the upcoming day of outrage on Friday, June 5, by dedicating your Friday talks/khutbas/recorded messages to condemning anti-Blackness and police brutality.
b. Join local efforts to uplift justice and equity for the Black community, including calls, actions and protests.
c. On July 4 across California, there will be a California Muslims Ride Out Against Anti-Blackness event. More information to come.
4. Community Education and Empowerment: Muslim organizations, mosques and community centers should commit to learning about and addressing anti-Blackness in our society and even within our own community. For example, you can:
a. arrange events featuring Black elders and youth inside and outside the Muslim community, including Black scholars and imams, Black civil rights leaders, and Black activists.
b. engage in more courageous conversations across lines of race and culture that move us toward deepened partnerships; and
c. ensure that the leadership and membership of our organizations reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the American Muslim community.
d. CAIR-CA offices will also be announcing an educational series with curriculum aiming to address these issues that can be co-hosted by Islamic mosques, centers and organizations.
We know that our faith is incompatible with systems of racial hierarchy, but we should do more to put this knowledge into action. We should redouble our efforts to do what our Prophet Muhammad (may peace, prayers and blessings be upon him) taught us to do: recognize, expose and reject racism, particularly the scourge of anti-Blackness.
Thank you for your support. Feel free to reach out to us with additional ideas, and please reach out to us if we can assist your community in pursuing these efforts.
Onward, God willing. Jazak’Allah khair.
In love and solidarity,
Hussam Ayloush, CAIR-CA CEO and CAIR-LA Executive Director
Zahra Billoo, CAIR-SFBA Executive Director
Basim Elkarra, CAIR-SV/CC Executive Director
Adib Mahdi, CAIR-SD President