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Palestine Solidarity Actions This Weekend #StopGazaMassacre #IStandWithGaza

MuslimMatters

Published

By Andrew Day
In Solidarity with the residences of the the Gaza Strip: the world largest open air prison. There are protests worldwide scheduled over the next days against the occupation of Palestinian land and Israeli bombardment resulting in the deaths of innocent civilians, many of which are women and children.
We encourage you to send photos of solidarity to this Facebook page; https://m.facebook.com/events/310137309145499?ref=m_notif&notif_t=plan_mall_activity&actorid=1551053902 holding #IStandWithGaza and / or #StopGazaMassacre placards to show worldwide support for the people of Gaza and for those demonstrating in all countries.
You can also post your photos on twitter using the #IStandWithGaza and #StopGazaMassacre hashtags in your tweet.
photo1

The following is a list of demonstrations being held over the next few days complied by Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network:

Boston, MA
Friday, July 11
12:00 PM
Israeli Consulate, 20 Park Plaza Suite 1020, Boston, MA
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/275932199257278/

Boston, MA
Friday, July 11
6:00 PM (continuation of above)
Copley Square
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1440066059587973/

Toronto, Canada
Friday, July 11
6:00 PM
Royal Ontario Museum, Bloor and Avenue, Toronto (Across from Israeli Consulate)
Organized by Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA)
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/594819810634425/

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Washington, DC
Friday, July 11
3:00 PM
Israeli Embassy, 3514 International Drive NW
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/592811077505426/

Greenville, North Carolina
Friday, July 11
2:00 PM
1303 Evens St, Greenville, NC

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Friday, July 11
5:00 PM
Waterloo Public Square, 75 King Street South, Waterloo
Sponsored by U Waterloo Students for Palestinian Rights
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/653186291424675/

Albuquerque, NM, USA
Friday, July 11
4:30 PM
Menaul and Louisians, Albuquerque
Organized by Students for Justice in Palestine
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1434655206819887/

Anaheim, California, US
Friday, July 11
2:00 PM
Brookhurst and Ball Streets
More info: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204240196383206&set=p.10204240196383206&type=1&theater

Philadelphia, PA
Friday, July 11
4:00 PM
Israeli Consulate, 1880 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/688939184475596/

Pittsburgh, PA, US
Friday, July 11
7:00 PM
3960 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh (Hillman Library)
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/731260083599270/

Nashville, TN, US
Friday, July 11
4:00 PM
Centennial Park, West End Ave Entrance
More info: Lynnx@comcast.net

San Diego, CA, USA
Friday, July 11
4:00 PM
880 Front Street, San Diego
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1440174092925812/

St. Paul, Minnesota, US
Friday July 11
4:30-5:30
Snelling and Summit Aves.
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/256683651204976/

New York City, NY, US
Friday, July 11
6:00 PM
Union Square, south side, near Broadway
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1524855184392511/

Tampa, FL, USA
Friday, July 11
4:30 PM
Sam Gibbons Federal Courthouse, 801 N. Florida Avenue
More info: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203831880293363&set=a.1553685037978.2074223.1110720026&type=1&theater

London, ON, Canada
Friday, July 11
4:30 PM
Victoria Park
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/759801407403864

London, UK
Friday, July 11
3:00 PM
G4S Headquarters, 105 Victoria Street, London
Organized by Inminds
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1525494837679446/

London, UK
Friday, July 11
5:30 PM
Embassy of Israel, London (Nearest tube: High Street Kensington)
More info: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152124765002890&set=a.10150430348142890.356598.188528597889&type=3&permPage=1

Leicester, UK
Friday, July 11
5:30 PM
Outside clock tower, Leicester city centre

Bristol, UK
Friday, July 11
6:00 PM
BBC, Whiteladies Road, Bristol
More info: http://www.facebook.com/bristol.psc

Athens, Greece
Friday, July 11
7:00 PM
Israeli Embassy, Marathonodromon 1
Called by Palestinian Community in Greece
More info: http://www.clevernews.gr/diamartiria-exo-apo-tin-israilini-presvia-diorganoni-palestiniaki-parikia-ellados/

Uccle, Belgium
Friday, July 11
12:30 PM
40 avenue de l’Observatoire a Uccle, Sterrenwachtlaan 40 Ukkel
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1431724417108132/

Bogota, Colombia
Friday, July 11
5:00 PM
Embajada de Israel/Embassy of Israel in Colombia (Cra.7 Cll.32, Bogota)
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/920799497945895/

Amman, Jordan
Friday, July 11
1:00 PM
Al Kalouti Mosque , Rabyeh
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/791980534179706/?ref=22

Bonn, Germany
Friday, July 11 
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Münsterplatz, Bonn
Organized by the BDS-Group Bonn
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/473127226158134/?ref=2&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Friday, July 11
6:00 PM
City Hall, Calgary
Sponsored by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights and Justice for Palestinians
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1505147226381900/

La Paz, Bolivia
Friday, July 11
12:00 PM
Venezuela Square (en el Prado)
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1511607425717888/

Birmingham, UK
Friday, July 11
5:30 PM
Outside Waterstones, High Street, near the Bull Ring, Birmingham City Centre
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/359918157493535/

Geneva, Switzerland
Friday, July 11
4:00 PM
Place des Nations, Geneva

Rome, Italy
Friday, July 11
6:00 PM
Largo Corrado Ricci, Rome
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1432787490334843/

Pretoria, South Africa
Friday, July 11
1:30 PM
Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Union Bldg
Government Ave, Pretoria Central, Pretoria 0002
Called by BDS South Africa
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1444600715801889/

Brisbane, Australia
Friday, July 11
4:30 PM
King George Square
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1472994132943276/

Ottawa, Canada (unceded Algonquin territory)
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Human Rights Monument (Elgin/Lisgar), then march at 3:30 PM to Parliament Hill
Sponsored by Students Against Israeli Apartheid
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/831288953562676/

Fort Worth, TX, US
Saturday, July 12
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Tarrant County Courthouse, 100 W. Weatherford St, Arlington, TX
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/460593830751274/

Houston, TX, US
Saturday, July 12
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Corner of Wesleyan and Norfolk Sts (near Hwy 59)

Portland, OR, US
Saturday, July 12
11:00 AM
Pioneer Square
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1442858732642715/

San Francisco, CA, US
Saturday, July 12
12:00 PM
Justin Herman Plaza, 1 Market Street, SF
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/253445234779542/

Racine, Wisconsin, US
Saturday, July 12
10:00 AM
Northwest Corner, Intersection of Highways 20 and 31
More info: elenak38@yahoo.com

Indianapolis, IN, US
Saturday, July 12
6:00-7:00pm
at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, corner of East Georgia and South Pennsylvania Sts
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1487095548193994/

Columbia, South Carolina, US
Saturday, July 12
10:45 AM – 12 Noon
SC State House, 1100 Gervais Street, Columbia
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/297558200415934/

Atlanta, Georgia, US
Saturday, July 12
12:30 PM
Woodruff Park, 91 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/719731104729113/

Manchester, UK
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Picadilly Gardens, move to BBC Headquarters in Salford Media City
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/302299863277339/?fref=ts
https://www.facebook.com/events/1452793838310263/?fref=ts

Brighton, UK
Saturday, July 12
11.00am – 1.00pm
War Memorial, Old Steine, Brighton
More info: http://www.brightonpalestinecampaign.org

Frome, UK
Saturday, July 12
11:00 AM
Outside Oxfam, Frome Town Centre

Cambridge, UK
Saturday, July 12
11:00 AM
Guildhall, Cambridge market square

Bristol, UK
Saturday, July 12
12:00 noon
Sainsbury, Triangle Clifton
More info: https://www.facebook.com/bristol.psc

Sheffield, UK
Saturday, July 12
12:00 PM
Town Hall, Sheffield

Leeds, UK
Saturday, July 12
12:00 PM
Dortmund Square, The Headrow
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/271564033049869/

Glasgow, Scotland
Saturday, July 12
1:00 PM
Buchanan and Gordon Streets, Glasgow City Centre
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/660035234091215/

Cardiff, UK
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Nye Bevan Statue, Queen Street, Cardiff

Halifax, UK
Saturday, July 12
2:30 PM
Outside Central Library on Northgate

Perth, Australia
Saturday, July 12
11:00AM
Murray St Mall, Perth CBD
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/681626315250143/

Montreal, Quebec
Saturday, July 12
5:30 PM
Metro Guy-Concordia, Montreal
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/254851571380699/

Stockholm, Sweden
Saturday, July 12
1:30 PM
Mynttorget, Stockholm
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/337504023074027/?ref=22

Uppsala, Sweden
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Med samling i Slottsbacken
More info: https://www.facebook.com/palestinagrupperna

Göteborg, Sweden
Saturday, July 12
1:30 PM
Gustav Adolfs Torg
More info: https://www.facebook.com/palestinagrupperna

Umeå, Sweden
Saturday, July 12

1:00 PM
Rådhustorget, Umeå

Santiago, Chile
Saturday, July 12
12:00 PM
Paseo Ahumada, Santiago
More info: https://twitter.com/UnadikumChile/status/486596522293751808/photo/1

Melbourne, Australia
Saturday, July 12
1:00 PM
Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne
Initiated by Students for Palestine Victoria and Socialist Alternative
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1429660373980889/

The Hague, Netherlands
Saturday, July 12
1:30 PM
Vredespaleis, Carnegieplein 2
2517 KJ Den Haag

Lyon, France
Saturday, July 12
3:00 PM
Place de la Republique, Lyon

Montauban, France
Saturday, July 12
11:00 AM
Prefecture of Montauban
More info: http://www.france-palestine.org/Rassemblement-pour-la-Palestine,23866

Marseille, France
Saturday, July 12
4:00 PM
Angle Canebiere Belsunce
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/680204138700280/

Nantes, France
Saturday, July 12
3:00 PM
Croisement cours des 50 otages / rue de la Barillerie
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/680204138700280/

Strasbourg, France
Saturday, July 12
4:00 PM
place Kléber
More info: http://la-feuille-de-chou.fr/archives/69487

Montpellier, France
Saturday, July 12
3:30 PM
Place de la comedie, Montpellier
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/680204138700280/

Chico, CA, US
Saturday, July 12
12:30 – 1:30 PM
3rd & Main Streets, Chico, CA
Sponsored by the Chico Peace and Justice Center, the Chico Peace Vigil and Chico Palestine Action Group.
More info: contact CPJC at 893-9078, http://chico-peace.org/ or 893-3530

Gijón, Spain
Saturday, July 12
8:00 PM
Delante de la Carpa Central de la Semana Negra
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1439195829693266/

Dublin, Ireland
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Spire, O’Connell Street
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/791296720902503/

Limerick, Ireland
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Thomas St., Limerick
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/264087167114518/

Cork, Ireland
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Daunt Square
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/818439651513301/

Parma, Italy
Saturday, July 12
7:00 PM
Portici dell’Ospedale Vecchio, via d’Azeglio
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/299242113570650/

Dallas, TX, US
Sunday, July 13
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Grassy Knoll Kennedy Memorial Plaza, 646 Main Street, Dallas, TX
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/460593830751274/

Toledo, Ohio, US
Sunday, July 13
5:00 PM
West Central Ave and Secor Road

Quebec City, Quebec
Sunday, July 13
1:00 PM
Assemblee Nationale du Quebec, 1045 rue des Parlementaires, Quebec
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/685736318147306/

Antwerp, Belgium
Sunday, July 13
1:00 PM
Kerkplein, Antwerp
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1425013207786458/

Edinburgh, Scotland
Sunday, July 13
3:00 PM
Scottish Parliament, Hollyrood
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1449326921990561/

Sydney, Australia
Sunday, July 13
1:00 PM
Sydney Town Hall, 483 George St, Sydney
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/678776442175783/

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US
Monday July 14
4:30-6:00 pm
Mayday Plaza, 301 Cedar Ave , Minneapolis
Organized by MN Coalition for Palestinian Rights

Honolulu, Hawa’ii
Tuesday, July 15
4:00 PM
Corner of Ala Moana and Atkinson Boulevards
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1509331439279726/

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Tuesday, July 15
5:30 PM
Grey’s Monument, Blackett Street
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/672038099551306/

Glasgow, Scotland
Wednesday, July 16
7:30 PM
Glasgow City Chambers
Called by CNEScotland Youth

Elche, Spain
Wednesday, July 16
11:00 AM
Semaine suivante
Plaza de Baix Elche (Ayuntamiento de Elche)

Spokane, Washington
Thursday, July 17
5:15 PM
Fountain in Riverfront Park, then marching to offices of Sen. Murray and Rep. McMorris Rodgers
Organized by Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1534815283401011/

Buffalo, NY, US
Friday, July 18
3:00 PM
City Hall
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1434715530140132/

Wellington, New Zealand
Friday, July 18
12.30PM
Embassy of Israel – Baileys Building, 36 Brandon Street (off Lambton Quay)
Initiated by SJP (Victoria University), International Socialists
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1445924692327106/?fref=ts

Brussels, Belgium
Saturday, July 19
1:00 PM
Brussels North Station (Bruxelles Gare Du Nord)
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1463001090609321/

Columbus, OH, US
Saturday, July 19
11:00 AM
Holiday Inn Columbus Downtown Capitol Square, 175 East Town Street, Columbus
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1438632039756373/

Auckland, New Zealand
Saturday, July 19
2:00 PM
Aotea square
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/170471706456396/

Houston, TX, US
Friday, July 25
3:30 PM
Corner of Westheimer and Post Oak, Houston, TX

New York City, US
Friday, July 25
4:30 PM
Times Square, Corner of 42nd and 7th
More info: https://m.facebook.com/events/743760239016219/?ref=22

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Friday, July 25
6:00 PM
Alberta Legislative Grounds, 10820 98 Ave, Edmonton

Keep updated about protests with Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and UFree Ntework

UFree Network to support the rights of Palestinian political prisoners and detainees joins Samidoun a Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network for its call to shed light on the current Israeli violations across the Palestinian occupied territories to organise protests around the world to respond to the ongoing Israeli assaults on Palestine and the Palestinian people, including the murders of Palestinians (including 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, murdered brutally by Israeli settlers).
 
Over 900 Palestinians detained in West Bank and Jerusalem including 11 MPs and dozens of ex-detainees were detained so far since Israel started its arbitrary mass arrest campaign throughout occupied West Bank on Thursday evening 12th June 2014. 
 
Over the past 4 days, Israeli occupation forces have been bombing the Gaza Strip, killing of over 70 Palestinian civilians, over 500 injured and 350 houses destroyed so far.
 
Please add any protests taking place in your city/country

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    heningsept

    July 10, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Friday, July 11
    1:00 PM
    Bundaran HI, Jakarta
    More info: @InfoKNRP, pic.twitter.com/aSj5bV8UDY

    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Sunday, July 13
    8:00 AM
    Bundaran HI, Jakarta
    More info: @onedayonejuz, pic.twitter.com/UE1AmEiaXD

  2. Avatar

    Kenta nilsson

    July 11, 2014 at 1:14 AM

    What about stop attacking Israel?

    • Avatar

      Mustaffa

      July 11, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      Where is the Ummah. I have finally lost respect for any so called Islamic states in the world. How can you let them take Palestine and then slowly destroy our brothers, sisters, and children. Why not stand against the enemy and the people who follow them. Not terrorism but annihilation at the head.
      May Allah make things easy for Muslims in this world. Let your will be done. Ameen

    • Avatar

      Jon Solis

      July 14, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      Hamas realizes it cannot defeat Israel. So what then is their strategy? They throw unaimed rockets at Israel hoping to inflict terror and perhaps they actually get lucky and hit a target either military or civilian. They launch these rockets and store them as close as possible to civilian areas so that when Israel counterattacks, the proportion of civilian to military casualties will be as high as possible. They then cry to the international community hoping that they will put pressure on Israel to give up their counterattack. Meanwhile, they reject any call for a cease fire and will only begin to consider it when one of their rockets actually hit something so they can then call it quits and try to claim a moral victory. This time, they have miscalculated, as the rest of the world has seen this enough times that they are just getting sick of it all. The rest of the world will pretend it doesn’t see anything and let Israel do whatever it wants. It is hard to feel sympathy for the Gazan Palestinians because they elected these idiots to power knowing exactly what they were going to do. Now they are going to pay the price for the stupidity of their elected leaders.

  3. Pingback: MO Monthly Round-up: June-July | Muslimas' Oasis

  4. Avatar

    Saliha

    July 11, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Thursday, July 17th
    7:00 PM
    125 South State Street (in front of the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building)

  5. Avatar

    Monica

    July 18, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Is there a protest In Manchester , Piccadilly gardens on the 19th of July

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#Society

Beyond 2020: Grounding Our Politics in Community

Kyle Ismail, Guest Contributor

Published

As tense and agonizing as these unending election days have been, it pales in comparison to the last four years.  I plainly remember how it all began on the night of November 07, 2016. I watched as the political map of the US became increasingly red late into the night. All the social media banter, conspiracy theories and left-wing critiques of candidate Hillary Clinton, formed an amorphous blob of white noise as I heard Trump announced as the next president. Now that Trump has run for re-election, half the country was hoping for a repudiation but will have to settle for the fact that despite a small margin, Donald J. Trump will not have a second chance to erode our democratic institutions and divide us. But we can’t move forward until each of us acknowledges our own pathological role in what we’ve become as a deeply divided country. 

We need to grapple with how we can gradually improve the circus-like reality that has become our ordinary, daily politics. We’ll relive more and perhaps improved “Trumps” if we don’t accept our own responsibility in creating a divided America. This starts with being better members of local communities. Here are a few of Trump-induced realizations that I’ve come to accept:

  1. Caring about our immediate neighbors and listening to their challenges and concerns is the part of political engagement that we all have to embrace above and beyond actually voting if we hope to be more than a 50/50 nation.
  2. Social media and its profit-driven algorithms are actually eroding how we see each other but could also be altered to help better educate us about our local social/political landscape.
  3. Local Politics has direct impact on our lives and is also at the heart our religious obligations to our neighbors. It also sets the tone for where the federal level derives policies that prove to be best practices (some examples are included below).
  4. Agitation and protest are not the same as being politically organized on a local level. Protest is sometimes needed, but it will never replace consistent and patient work. We learned this lesson with the Arab Spring as that movement failed to transform into a movement that was able to govern effectively. And the same appears to be true about the Black Lives Matter movement.

The voting is over for now. But voting is really the smallest part of being committed to bettering our communities. It was Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who gave the most specific definition of community/neighbor and encouraged his followers to guard the rights of the neighbor:

“Your neighbor is 40 houses ahead of you and 40 houses at your back, 40 houses to your left and 40 houses to your right” Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Why does this relate to being politically organized?? The need for political organizing comes when any group of people want to create change in accordance with their values. We’ve all watched protest after protest that change little to nothing at the neighborhood level. This will continue to happen without organization, which span school boards, block clubs, nonprofits, and religious community outreach.  How can Muslims enjoin right and discourage wrong in any meaningful way? It comes through having authentic relationships with neighbors and turning that into organized and engaged communities.

Rosa Parks

Nothing illuminates the value of such relationships better than the story of Rosa Parks in her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. People often think that she was the first brave soul to defy the custom of allowing whites to sit before African-Americans could be seated on her city’s buses. Nothing could be further from the truth. The difference was that her sets of relationships were so interwoven into her local community that it forced a massive response. Park’s connections spanned socioeconomic circles as she had close friendships from professors to field hands. She held memberships in a dozen local organizations including her church and the local NAACP. She was a volunteer seamstress in poor communities and provided the same for profit in wealthy white circles. When someone with her relational positioning was able to leverage the political organizing ability of MLK and Dr. Ralph Abernathy, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was sparked.

When something happens to Muslims, who can we mobilize to respond? Who becomes angry? Who do we work with in our communities to create policies that reflect our values And what are our internal barriers to such cooperation?

“Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart—and that is the weakest of faith.” Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

Our Predecessors Organized Locally

At some point in time voting became the sum total of political engagement in the minds of many and is now deemed by some as worthless. We quickly forget that the organizations that battled for voting rights were first locally organized to improve communities. SNCC, SNCC, CORE, NAACP, and the Urban League all formed to create change in various ways and the fight for voting rights was a component of these local agendas. So when we’re tempted to believe that voting doesn’t matter, it’s likely due to our lack of engagement in local issues that form the contours of our community life. If you’ve ever heard of Ella Baker or Fannie Lou Hamer (worth researching!), you probably never bought into this type of logic.

One of the many lessons we can pull from this rich history is that we cannot pursue policies, seek alliances, or negotiate a position with political parties (see Ice Cube’s debacle in negotiating with Trump) without first being organized from within. No set of friendships or outside philanthropic support can supplant the need for internal organization. This lack of organized political engagement has weakened Muslims in general but has fatally weakened African-American Muslims as voices within the larger Black community – a voice that gave Islam its first fully accepted and influential place in American society.

Immigrant-based Muslim communities could also benefit from a local approach because despite being several generations in America, their American bonafides are still not set in stone. Concerns about Islamophobia will not change outside of developing authentic relationships with non-Muslims.

This also pushes back against a culture shaped disproportionately by social media algorithms that promote isolation and division for the sake of profit. Our attention to the national news cycle also takes our attention away from local communities where our power is formed. In this type of political malaise, re-engagement in local politics and community relationships can bring us back to important principles that resonate with the values of Islam.

Local politics help shape federal policy

The final word on any law or policy rests with the federal government, but much of what becomes orthodoxy begins with a few concerned citizens in local communities. As with community policing, criminal justice reform, climate sustainability, or any issues that has not caught on, the federal government will often step back to see how a new law plays out at state and local levels. Illinois didn’t wait for Obamacare but has a well-established program to ensure that anyone 18 and younger in Illinois has health insurance through a program called All Kids . Colorado has, in the midst of protests against police brutality, altered their law of Qualified Immunity to make police more accountable. And California has advanced the conversation on reparations  by sanctioning a study to understand how the state could benefit by redressing the descendants of American slavery.

By advancing issues and electing representatives who support the causes we believe in, we insert ourselves into a narrative that would’ve otherwise been forged without us. There’s no shortcut in this process short of rolling up our sleeves to understand our local systems and existing organizations. Moneyed interests are prepare to control the narrative regardless of who the president is and we have to remake this system from the ground up. Our history provides us with a roadmap to do this and it goes far beyond being citizens who only argue over national issues while standing on the sidelines. Remembering our 40 neighbors as advised by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is the best place to start.

Some helpful links:

Local Elections

State Legislatures

School Boards

County Prosecutors

Mayors

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Why Boycotting France is the Wrong Response

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“I don’t think it’s safe to come visit you in France with your Aunt…she wears a hijab, and she will have trouble getting around”, my mother nervously quipped as we discussed travel arrangements for their trip. 

“Of course it’s safe! How could you say that? There are women wearing hijab all over this country!”  I protested, as I tried to assuage her concerns.

I was living as an expat in France when my family was planning their visit to the country last year. I was surprised to hear the reservations from my own folk; it went on to highlight the pre-conceived notions Muslims often have about the French. “They hate Muslims!” “They are racists” “They insult our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)!”. The list goes on.  

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Having spent a considerable amount of time in France, Quebec and Suisse-Romande, I’ve developed an affinity towards the French culture, language and people. I’ve never felt marginalized in these lands because of my dark skin, my Muslim faith, or my never-ending struggle with French conjugation. Yes, I am privileged in many ways, but that doesn’t negate the validity of my experiences. 

I was thus naturally taken aback by the recent calls to boycott France in light of the opportunistic and contemptable actions of Emmanuel Macron. If these boycotts made me uncomfortable, I can imagine how much more offended the average French person would have been. Macron’s decision to first politicize an unspeakable crime, and then to insult our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was a deplorable move. It exposed his true colors and showed us that he is just another disdainful politician who seeks to divide, rather than build bridges. 

As pitiful as Macron’s actions are, is the Muslim response calling for boycotts of France justified? Is it fair to hold all of France guilty for the comments made by its President? Are we not only advancing the ‘Us vs Them’ narrative that extremists on both sides want? No one holds all of America responsible for the ridiculous comments that Trump makes – why a different standard for France? 

Collective guilt is a serious disease that we must overcome. We need to stop holding a people accountable for the actions of a few. We need to stop blaming a people for the actions of their ancestors. French corporations, that employ thousands of Muslims across the world, did not insult the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) – so why take them to task? French Muslims have not called for these boycotts, so why are we advocating for them?  If we collectivize and boycott all of France, how are we any different from those who hold all Muslims responsible for the violence perpetrated by a few? 

We need to abandon the ‘Us vs Them’ mindset; this parochial idea of ‘Islam vs the West’ or ‘Islam vs France’. We need to adopt a post-nationalist worldview where we look at all people as one, as our own. There is no ‘Them’ – it is all ‘Us’. It is ‘Us’ against hatred, bigotry, divisiveness, and racism. It is ‘Us’ against those in power, on both sides, who seek to exploit ‘Us’ for political and personal gain. 

As one people, we should never advocate for boycotts which seek to create divisions and animosity between ‘Us’. Blanket consumer boycotts are short lived and have a minimal impact regardless. What lives long past the boycott are the feelings of resentment, hatred and enmity directed towards an entire nation. Our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is a prophet to all people, to the French people – our people. We must not partake in actions which alienate our kin from being receptive to his message.  

Know that paltry cartoons will not take away from the rank of the Chosen One. One of his miracles in these modern times, is that those wishing to disparage him have been unable to succeed. His enemies have caricaturized him over and over again, but none of their images have stuck around or gained acceptance. Despite all of these attempts, the only descriptor with which he continues to be universally recognized is that of prophethood. You read a headline: ‘Artist makes images of the Prophet’, and you know instantly who ‘the Prophet’ refers to regardless of who you are. Unqualified, the word always brings to mind the thought of one man!   

Even those that don’t believe in him call him ‘the Prophet Muhammad’ – lips refuse to utter his name with anything other than his noble epithet. So, fear not about the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) rank – for the one being praised by angels in the Heavens cannot be belittled by lowly men here on Earth. 

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OpED: Sri Preston Kulkarni’s War on Facts

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“Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.” — Dorothy Allison (American Writer)

By Ghazala Salam, Founder & President, Muslim Caucus

Elections are a time when stretching the truth is the norm rather than the exception, and “fact checking” an imperative for anyone who wants to make an informed decision about their vote. However, nowhere has the narrative collided as head on with the truth as in the campaign of Sri Preston Kulkarni, Democratic candidate for the Texas Congressional District #22. Such is the brazenness of Kulkarni’s lies that multiple groups that have vowed to vote President Trump out of office believe it is in the best interest of the district and the country if Kulkarni loses his second bid for a place in the US House of Representatives, his purported commitment to the Democratic platform notwithstanding.

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Many are understandably curious about the reason for so many Democrats turning against a candidate from the party they normally support. To be clear, it is not so much Kulkarni’s campaign narrative, as the conflict between that narrative and the truth. To many voters of District 22, Kulkarni’s campaign ostensibly stands for human rights and religious freedom, and against fascism and nationalism. Unfortunately, and as multiple exposes that are now going viral have demonstrated, Kulkarni’s association with fascist and nationalist elements both in India and the US run deep, and indeed are the key drivers of his candidacy.

Kulkarni is no ordinary immigrant success story, having come from a family with deep connections to India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and its ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The RSS is one of the world’s largest militia, and the ideological fountainhead of Hindutva, a fascist and supremacist ideology that seeks to turn India into a Hindu state, where Christians, Muslims and other religious minorities are relegated to the status of second-class citizens with few rights. In the last two decades, front organizations of the RSS in America have fielded multiple candidates for political office, some of whom have gone on to make significant contributions to advancing Hindutva’s agenda in Washington, DC. It is no surprise therefore, that the RSS’s American affiliate, the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), are among the primary backers of Kulkarni’s candidacy. The irony of a man who claims to stand against racism, fascism and nationalism, being backed by the same forces that assassinated Mahatma Gandhi is something Kulkarni would prefer voters don’t pay attention to.

However, the connection with RSS is based on more than just mutual benefit. Kulkarni is the nephew of the late Pramod Mahajan, a highly influential Indian politician and minister, who was an RSS veteran and the BJP’s chief strategist. He held several important cabinet positions including Defense, and until his murder in 2006 by another uncle of Sri Kulkarni, Mahajan was considered the “heir apparent” to the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee. Mahajan was among the key organizers of L. K. Advani’s Rath Yatra, a campaign that finally led to the criminal demolition of the Babri Mosque and the subsequent killing of over 3,000 people in sectarian violence across India.

What is striking about Kulkarni’s candidacy is not just these RSS connections that are now falling out of the proverbial closet, but Kulkarni’s silly attempt at feigning ignorance about the RSS, claiming he did not know it was an organization until two years ago. This is rich, coming from a man who claims to have been a career diplomat, and whose next posting before he quit the Foreign Service was going to be in New Delhi. Kulkarni has gone on record to say that Ramesh Bhutada, the Vice-President of HSS, was “like a father,” to him, and his son Rishi Bhutada was among those without whose support the campaign itself might not have been possible.

Another relative of Sri Kulkarni is the well-known Indian politician Gopinath Munde, who married Mahajan’s sister. Munde was a member of Modi’s cabinet before his death in a road accident, and was once in charge of the RSS branches in the city of Pune. Kulkarni’s cousin Poonam Mahajan, currently a member of the Indian Parliament, was once the national President of the BJP “Youth Wing” and the Secretary of the BJP in 2013.

Much to Kulkarni’s discomfiture, his fascist friends are actually flaunting their connection to him, starting with BJP ideologue Subramanian Swamy, hailing Kulkarni’s candidacy as “Hindutva’s hope in Houston.” Yet, Kulkarni wants voters to believe him when he claims ignorance about the RSS.

The struggle with facts continues, with Kulkarni claiming without proof, a lineage from the famed General Sam Houston. Short on facts are also Kulkarni’s claims of expertise on issues of national security, as he has provided almost no details of his tenure in the Foreign Service. Kulkarni’s complete refusal to acknowledge his campaign’s connections to RSS should also be seen in light of the fact that the RSS’s nationalist and Islamophobic agenda finds a natural ally in the Republican Party, particularly in Donald Trump. It is no surprise therefore, that Prime Minister Modi was welcomed in Houston by President Trump and prominent Republicans at a massive “Howdy Modi” rally in September 2019. The same Rishi Bhutada who helped Kulkarni launch his campaign was one of the main organizers and spokesperson for the event. Not to be outdone, Prime Minister Modi broke protocol in giving President Trump a rousing endorsement for reelection during the latter’s visit to India.

None of these would have been uncomfortable truths for Kulkarni, had he been running as a Republican. However, Kulkarni’s candidacy as a Democrat flies in the face of facts, and the support he is getting from many of the district’s Democrat voters is more the result of revulsion against President Trump than a proper vetting of Kulkarni’s politics.

If Kulkarni makes it to Capitol Hill, expect stonewalling on issues of human rights and religious freedom by right wing forces around the world. With Kulkarni as their representative, South Asian voters can forget about any accountability for India, for its egregious violations of human rights and religious freedom. In a “letter to the Muslim community,” apparently conscious of the growing disquiet about his candidacy among Muslims, liberals and progressives, Kulkarni brags about having taken a stand on the “violence in Delhi” and the “situation in Kashmir,” as evidence of his commitment to human rights and religious freedom. In truth, both statements by Kulkarni are ritualistic expressions of standing for peace and human rights, while failing to call out the role of ideologically driven violence against religious minorities. The perpetrators of such violence are widely known to be proponents of the same ideology whose affiliates in the US are among his donors. Such statements are actually a disservice to the victims of sectarian violence for they seek to obfuscate the role of Hindu nationalism in driving such persecution.

Kulkarni’s has apparently promised to take a public position against the use of India’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to strip citizenship away from India’s Muslim citizens. Absent from Kulkarni’s narrative is any mention of how the CAA and NRC are discriminatory in their essence against people of the Muslim faith, and a clear violation of India’s secular Constitution. Clearly Kulkarni is not on the same page as respected human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. How Kulkarni is expected to be vocal about civil rights in the US, while actively shielding those who are eroding these very rights abroad defies explanation.

Similarly, Kulkarni has issued a statement on the “situation” in Kashmir that does nothing to shine the light on the historic betrayal of the Kashmiri people represented by the revocation of Article 370, and the enormous human suffering caused by the Government of India’s tyrannical curfew and lockdown, imposed long before Covid-19. In this regard, Kulkarni apparently does not want to displease his RSS supporters by condemning the unprecedented human rights catastrophe in Kashmir, something many prominent Democrats have done, in the form of statements and House resolutions. For Kulkarni to call out the role of the India’s Hindu nationalist government in causing such suffering on Kashmir’s civilian population is unthinkable. In fact, Kulkarni is loath to even call out the Indian military’s tyranny in Kashmir, and instead prefers to advise the Indian government “behind closed doors,” through the “ladder of diplomacy.”

The truth about Sri Kulkarni’s campaign is closely tied to the money trail. Kulkarni has accepted in excess of $80,000 from just 10 families linked to RSS affiliates in the United States. Despite repeated demands by voters in his district to return such tainted donations, Kulkarni has instead doubled down, attacking those raising concerns as “nefarious actors,” while claiming he was unaware of the RSS as an organization.

It is possible that Kulkarni is genuine in his advocacy for the environment and his concern about gun violence. However, his janus-faced campaign is being weighed down by its own internal contradictions and his refusal to come clean on important facts that affect his prospective constituents. Among all the lies of the 2020 elections, Kulkarni’s claim that he is against fascism and nationalism must rank among the most brazen.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own.

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