BLACK LIVES MATTER! BLACK LIVES MATTER! Unless, you are living under a rock and unaware of what is going on in the United States of America, anywhere and everywhere you go, you see and hear these three words.
The killing of George Floyd has sparked outrage amongst African Americans, along with other races, who are tired of being treated less than ‘White Americans.’ The so-called ‘White privilege’ is being called out and people of color are standing up to injustices from past and present.
Which got me thinking, where do Muslim Lives fall into place?
In the early 2000s, crimes against Muslim Americans were so prevalent that they simply became a norm in Muslim households; incidents had become cautionary tales for Muslim Americans to ‘be careful when you step outside.’
After the September 11, 2001 attack, lives for Muslims in the United States have never been the same. Many Muslim men and women have been through and subject to some form of racism.
Pakistani women were forced by their spouses and fathers to not wear traditional clothing outside of the home. Muslim women who wore hijabs were asked to remove them, men who had beards shaved them, all because of ‘fear.’
Fear of being pulled over by the police, fear of being verbally attacked while grocery shopping, fear of taking your child to the park, and being cursed at by others, telling you to go back to your country.
Here are some of many examples of racism and clear examples of white privilege, against Muslim Lives.
In Irving, Texas in 2014, Ahmed Mohamed a 14 – year old boy was sent to jail for bringing a science experiment to school, which was simply a homemade clock. After the school and Ahmed’s teacher came to the conclusion that it was all a big misunderstanding and in-fact the science experiment indeed was a clock, by then Ahmed’s life had changed completely.
Due to all of the media attention that Ahmed received his life became unbearable here in the United States, he was getting constant death threats, harassment by phone, and because the media had put out his picture “being that he was a minor” people knew what he looked like. His mother then concluded that it was better for them to go back to their home country, for she was concerned for the safety of her son.
This is a perfect example of how ones’ skin color and name played a huge role in how Ahmed was treated. Had Ahmed been a Caucasian boy, would anyone had suspected the clock to be other than a clock?
In another case named (the United States Of America vs. Ali Shukri Amin, 2015), this 16-year-old boy created a fake twitter account and was putting radical Islamic information out. Through social media, he was able to get in touch with a radical Islamic group and was brainwashed and manipulated into doing what he did.
His defense attorney told the judge that, he was a confused teen looking for guidance from adults in his life, including religious leaders, but wasn’t getting the answers. The internet gave him answers, Albeit the wrong ones.” Amin was sentenced to 11 years in prison and fined $100,000 and must submit to federal supervision for the rest of his life, including government monitoring of his internet activities.
Throughout the case, it was concluded that Amin was a lost child, who needed psychological help, who was an individual who could be easily manipulated.
Now lets’ think for a moment, what if Amin was a Caucasian boy, it’s clearly stated that Amin needed mental help; would he then have been sent to prison or placed in a psychiatric facility and gotten the help he needed?
Lastly, in recent news, Urooj Rahman a 31 – year old Pakistani woman who is being prosecuted to the full extent of life in prison for vandalizing an empty police vehicle, that had previously been vandalized and had no human in sight near it.
Does she have no previous criminal record or background? Where in normal sentencing for a crime of this nature would have punishments such as jail time for one year to several years, fines, restitution, probation, and community service? Granted it was a Police vehicle, but does the punishment fit the crime?
She has been getting a lot of support from her local community, her colleagues, along with from various media and social media outlets, all claiming that ‘yes she should be prosecuted,’ but why with a life sentence?
Fordham University (the University from which Rahman got her law degree) has put out an open letter, “We believe that the Department of Justice’s prosecution and efforts to incarcerate Urooj [sic] is a gross overreach of federal law enforcement power, and an attempt to stifle and delegitimize dissent against police brutality.”
The list of incidents and stories can go on and on, the injustice that Muslim Lives have faced in the United States have no boundary.
In 2016, (In The Superior Court Of The State Of California In And For The County Of Santa Clara The People Of The State Of California vs. Brock Allen Turner, 2016), Turner in cold with a foreign object raped a young woman while she was unconscious, and for his heinous crime received 6 months in jail of which he only completed 3 of.
Let’s take that in … 6 months for rape, with a foreign object. Now, think about the above-mentioned incidents and imagine if Turner was a Muslim American?
What would Turner’s outcome have been then? Is religion/race a true factor in how you are treated?
Racism in the Oxford dictionary is defined as, the inability or refusal to recognize the rights, needs, dignity, or value of people of particular races or geographical origins. More widely, the devaluation of various traits of character or intelligence as ‘typical’ of particular peoples.
Keyword, ‘devaluation.’ In some incidents, Muslim Lives have been affected to the point where their lives, lively hood and general means of living have been destroyed, all because of racism.
In the wake of recent events, we as Muslim Americans must also ride this wave of injustice and help our fellow African American friends and at the same time help ourselves and bring light to create awareness and stand up against these injustices that Muslim Lives also face.
BLACK LIVES MATTER! BLACK LIVES MATTER! MUSLIM LIVES MATTER! ALL LIVES MATTER!