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Lessons from Our Past: CVE, Black American Muslims, and Social Justice

Margari Hill

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By Margari Hill

On February 5th, Muslim twitter responded to the Right Wing backlash over Obama meeting with Muslims leaders with hilarious tweets #MuslimMeeting. Although many of the tweets were light hearted, others were critical of the meeting largely due to its secrecy. “We want to know who attended the meeting?” While Dean Obeidallah released his statement right away, organizations such as American Muslim Health Professions, Muslim Advocates, and Muslim Public Affairs Council released separate statements. The White House issued a statement saying that “Among the topics of discussion were the community’s efforts and partnerships with the Administration on a range of domestic issues such as the Affordable Care Act, issues of anti-Muslim violence and discrimination, the 21st Century Policing Task Force, and the upcoming White House Summit on Countering Violence (sic) Extremism.” Despite the controversy on social media, numerous people noted the unprecedented gender and ethnic diversity of the meeting once all the attendees were identified.[1] And within that diversity, African-American or Black Muslims addressed their community’s concerns in a space where they had historically been excluded.

While diversity is often dismissed as a politically correct catchword, the lack of diversity in representation and opinion within the Muslim community when it comes to representing our collective concerns to administrative bodies has had a troubling effect on Black and Latino communities. A salient example of this is the pervasive CVE programming that has been created by Muslim organizations.This programming has ignored the complex and difficult history that Black and Latino communities have had faced with law enforcement and created a new set of mechanisms to criminalize and marginalize these communities.

The US government has reduced its engagement with the Muslim community and increased focus on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs. By internalizing the security framework, Muslims are undermining their own empowerment and overlooking important lessons from our past. CVE programs arise from the 2007 Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States (SIP.) According to Bloomberg ”A pilot program in the Department of Justice that started in mid-2013 sought to forge links between law enforcement and Muslim communities in Boston, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. Best practices from those three cities will be discussed at the summit later this month.”[2]

While CVE programs may not be not nefarious in and of themselves, they represent many converging forces on the Muslim American community. The framing asks Muslim Americans to adopt the Islamophobic rhetoric where the good Muslims need to confront the bad Muslims. Haroon Manjlai, Public Affairs Coordinator of Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA), explains, “Given the potential of CVE program to impact first amendment freedoms and protected activities and it’s potential of criminalizing the Muslim Community as being is a cause for concern and is something that CAIR does not agree to and sign off.”Kameelah Mu’min Rashad, Founder of Muslim Wellness Foundation and University of Pennsylvania Muslim Chaplain who had attended the closed door meeting with the President discussed her concerns about the CVE programs.

Pointing to Black American Muslims distrust of these types of program, she said:

We come with more skeptical born of historical reality. We come to these programs, asking how do these programs do damage to our community. There are people who are watching and reporting back to the government, we are very ambivalent about the stated goals of these types of programs.

For many Black American Muslims, CVE programs reminds them of the actions of  COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program), a program conducted by the FBI against civil rights leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panther Party. TIn essence, NAACP, Martin Luther King, NOI, and Black Panther Party challenged the status quo system of white supremacy. In the context of  American Muslims, Black History is our history. The intended effect of these programs included the following:

  1. Create a negative public image
  2. Break down internal organization
  3. Create dissent between groups
  4. Restrict access to organizational resources
  5. Restrict organizational capacity to protest
  6. Hinder the ability of targeted individuals to participate in group activities,[3]

As Rashad points out that organizations aligning with CVE might not “recognize how programs just like this have been used to undermine self determination and self identity of a community.” This has led to ambivalent feelings about the government and law enforcement agencies.   Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X’s FBI files provide some insight into the extent of surveillance.[4] It should be remembered that Malcolm X did not grow up in a vacuum, as his father who was a follower of Marcus Garvey met an untimely death and the US government worked to undermine Black self determination, from the time of Marcus Garvey to the Black Panther Party. Thus, these suspicions are not unwarranted. Black American Muslims have good reasons for looking at CVE programs not as partnerships between government and Muslim communities, but mechanisms of control. Yet, violent extremism seems to be the only platform that some Muslim groups are gaining traction in DC. This is causing further fragmentation within the American Muslim community along racial lines.

Muslims and non-Muslim activists and civil liberties groups are concerned about the security framework for Muslim engagement with the government. Local and Federal law enforcement agencies often do not approach the Muslim American community outside of issues of national security or foreign policy. In essence, Muslims are criminalized and deemed foreign. Such approach also marginalizes the Black Muslim community and creates a dichotomy, which was applied during the colonial period: the good Muslim versus the Bad Muslim.

From a civil liberties perspective, Counter Violent Extremism programs and the Security framework is deeply troubling. The unease is especially tangible as Muslim Americans are still waiting for the decision of the appeals case is considering constitutionality of NYPD’s spying program, which targeted Muslim Americans simply for their religion. Although LAPD did not take the same measures as the NYPD in spying, the Suspicious Activities Reporting (SAR) program has raised similar concerns amongst civil liberties groups, such as the ACLU. Based on the type of activities falling under Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) individuals doing simple things such as taking pictures or asking directions can come find themselves under state surveillance.

This is exactly what happened to my husband, Marc Manley, while he was student at Temple University and Chaplain of UPenn. He took a picture for an art class, which resulted in the Philadelphia Police department and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) police de-training, searching and questioning him. A few days later two FBI came to his job. After talking with some friends, he contacted the American Civil Liberties Union, which provided a lawyer who was present in the meeting with two FBI agents. and asked him questions about his ethnicity, origins, where his parents were from, notably they asked whether he was of a Middle Eastern background.   Following that initial meeting, then the FBI wanted to establish a relationship with them as a chaplain to work cooperatively as Chaplain of University of Pennsylvania. He stated, “It was never clearly stated about what that meant.”

According to the LA Times, the Obama administration has chosen LA as one of the pilot programs for CVE. I spoke with Garrison Doreck, a PhD student at Irvine who has worked on Muslim Rights, Mapping programs, and civic engagement. He attended a series of law enforcement outreach meetings as a participant observer. He explained that they were a series of public forums where the LAPD goes to different mosques to address various issues or themes. These meetings are powerful junctures where the community can voice their concerns, all the while feeling the watchful eye of the government. In October 2014, Sahar Aziz argued that these meetings could be intelligence gathering opportunities. While Aziz pointed to the profiling of Arabs and South Asians, increasingly Black American Muslims are under suspicion. Doreck pointed to the Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) audits, highlighting some of the racial disparities. Although Muslim groups in Los Angeles have pushed for more reform, the suspicions have shifted away from immigrant Muslims and increasingly towards Black Muslims, who are now disproportionately the subject of Suspicious Activity Reports.[5]

This points to several prominent Black Muslim community leaders, have called for Muslim advocacy groups in DC to be more representative of the diverse Muslim American population. So when MPAC gave Michael Downing an award, it reflected that disconnect with the Black and Latino community who were still reeling from police killing of Ezzel Ford. The petition that circulated before the event prompted MPAC to create hold a “Let’s Be Honest”panel at the MPAC 2014 conference moderated by Jihad Turk, and featuring Jihad Saafir, Hind Makki, Marwa Aly, Rami Nashashibi, and Khalid Latif. Many, have pointed to MPAC’s tone deaf choice for MPAC to name its CVE “Safe Spaces.” Safe space is a term where a marginalized group does not “face standard mainstream stereotypes and marginalization” or people with shared political and ideological stances can express themselves openly. By being asked to report “Suspicious Activities,” this means that Muslims are supposed to internalize the CVE and report on each other.

Black American Muslim leaders are asking the government to stop viewing Muslim Americans as a problem, but as partners because many Muslim communities are involved in alleviating poverty, reintegrating the formerly incarcerated, recovery programs such as Milati IIlami, which is a 12 step program to support Muslims recovering from substance abuse. Muslim advocacy groups should promote policies that reflect Muslim American interests, and not just foreign policy or counter violent extremism. One example is ILM, a human development organization focusing on building “self-worth” through various humanitarian projects. ILM’s executive director Umar Hakim told me, “If we start where Malcolm X left off and gain political voice, we are going to have to start dialoguing to begin understanding one another, we need to identify each others’ self interests”

Like others, Hakim stated that he would like to see Muslim advocacy groups engaged in law enforcement outreach programs address police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter movement was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime. The organization works to resist the de-humanization of Black Americans. Social justice groups have pointed to the criminal justice system and the mass incarceration of Black Americans. Many have pointed to how the criminal justice system dis-empowers formerly incarcerated individuals, depriving them of rights to vote or receive assistance for education, in addition to a record that creates barriers to education.

In California, activists worked on a Proposition 47 that passed this November, which made 6 non-violent felonies into misdemeanors. In addition to alleviating barriers to reentry in society, the programs save the state approximately $150 million to $250 million per year which would go to Safe neighborhoods and school.

Marcus Allgood, a community activist who was the Proposition 47  team captain in South L.A , noted that although Black Muslims are disproportionately affected by racial and religious profiling they receive little support. He said, “The consensus is that when it comes to the issues of social justice, we don’t see the participation of Muslims at all.” Marcus explained that it was the Quran’s message of social justice that attracted him to Islam.  He noted, “Yet, the imams in the local LA community were hard pressed to show their support.” Allgood explained after a lot of phone calls and discussions, many slowly became on board. This past week, he saw some progress:

I was just dealing with CAIR, they came to ACLU and 10 organizations including members of Black Lives Matter who were interested in dealing with definition of racial profiling trying to get LAPD to have a definition aligned with DOJ on their definition. We are working on drafting a bill with Senator Weber.

Hakim, Allgood and Rashad point to the need to address the conditions that cause the radicalization or destructive patterns in multiple groups. While people have looked to Islam as the problem or Black and Latinos as a problem, the very same conditions cause disaffected white men to join hate groups or become involved in drugs and gangs as well.

The PhD student, Doreck explains, “ the Muslim community has been put in a security box since the mid 90s with the 1996 secret evidence act and of course after 9/11. How do you break out of that box? Or, how do you broaden the discussion? There are muslims interested in education and health care that affect their lives more.”

Kameelah Mu’min Rashad hoped that Muslim national organizations followed Black American Muslim approaches to civic engagement and social justice work. She explained “The government engagement, civic work, and community involvement is different, the reach of Black Muslims usually extends to the community regardless of faith,” Umar Hakim affirmed this sentiment, pointing out that he is not just concerned about social justice as it relates to Muslims, but to the broader society. In other words, Muslim social justice issues should broaden to not just focus on Muslim specific issues, but issues that improve the overall conditions in society.

Manjlai of CAIR stated based on previous CVE discussions, meetings with Secretary Johnson, Department of Homeland Security and FBI, CAIR anticipates that the program which will be announced on February 18 CVE summit to have the same problematic aspects, exemplified by the infamous questionnaire which asks Muslims to rate families at risk of raising extremists. He said, “we are going to be proactive with masjid boards and community leaders to educate them on what CVE is and its potential impact on our community.”

The most important lesson learned from the Muslim meeting is that the Black American participants pointed to ways in which the government can engage with Muslims as partners in addressing social justice issues. Focusing on local efforts, Muslims have the most potential for change. Also centering Black/African American Muslims in this conversation is also critical to achieving a shift in civic engagement. One such issue is racial profiling, police brutality, and the Prison Industrial Complex. Muslim Americans must come together and take a stand, make a statement about 21st century policing in support of #BlackLivesMatter. We need our Muslim stakeholders, including imams, grassroots organizers, concerned citizens, community leaders, and civil service workers, to come together, create a roadmap, build coalitions and engage in a meaningful way. As national organizations such as CAIR and Muslim Advocates become more aligned with grassroots work against racial and religious profiling, they can become more inclusive, effective, and responsive to our community’s needs.

[1] http://www.isna.net/isna-president-at-the-white-house.html ISNA writes that the members who attended inclued: Dr. Sherman Jackson, the King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC), Farhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates, Imam Mohamed Magid from All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) and former president of ISNA, Arshia Wajid, founder and president of American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP), Hoda Elshishtawy, the national policy analyst for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Farhan Latif, chief operating officer and director of policy impact with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab-American Institute (AAI), Palestinian-American comedian Dean Obeidallah, Rahat Hussain, director of legal and policy Affairs with Universal Muslim Association of America (UMAA), Diego Arancibia, Board Member and Associate Director of Ta’Leef Collective, Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad, Muslim Chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania and Founder of the Muslim Wellness Foundation,and Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, a graduate assistant with Indiana State University’s women’s basketball team who played basketball while wearing the Islamic headscarf.?

[1] http://www.isna.net/isna-president-at-the-white-house.html ISNA writes that the members who attended inclued: Dr. Sherman Jackson, the King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC), Farhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates, Imam Mohamed Magid from All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) and former president of ISNA, Arshia Wajid, founder and president of American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP), Hoda Elshishtawy, the national policy analyst for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Farhan Latif, chief operating officer and director of policy impact with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab-American Institute (AAI), Palestinian-American comedian Dean Obeidallah, Rahat Hussain, director of legal and policy Affairs with Universal Muslim Association of America (UMAA), Diego Arancibia, Board Member and Associate Director of Ta’Leef Collective, Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad, Muslim Chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania and Founder of the Muslim Wellness Foundation,and Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, a graduate assistant with Indiana State University’s women’s basketball team who played basketball while wearing the Islamic headscarf.?

[2] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-05/white-house-woos-american-muslims-as-obama-hardens-stance

[3] Mathieu Deflam (2008). Surveillance and governance: crime control and beyond. Emerald Publishing Group. pp. 184–185

[4] With the controversial claims that law enforcement agencies knew of the plot to assisiinate Malcolm X, but did not intervene, there is a petition to open his FBI files and remove redactions. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2000-05-14/news/0005140182_1_malcolm-x-kill-malcolm-muhammad; http://baltimoretimes-online.com/news/2014/dec/26/petition-launched-open-federal-files-malcolm-x/

[5] http://www.lapdpolicecom.lacity.org/031913/BPC_13-0097.pdf

Margari Aziza Hill is co-founder and Programming of Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative and (February 2014- current) and Muslims Make it Plain (December 2014-current). She is also a volunteer at ICIE, an adjunct professor, blogger, editor, and freelance writer. After converting to Islam in 1993, her life experiences as a Black American woman have informed her research and writing on Islam, education, race, and gender. She has nearly a decade of teaching experiences at all levels from elementary, secondary, college level, to adult education.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in History from Santa Clara University in 2003 and master’s in History of the Middle East and Islamic Africa from Stanford University in 2006.

Margari Aziza Hill is co-founder and Programming Director of Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), assistant editor at AltM, co-founder of Muslims Make it Plain, and columnist at MuslimMatters. She is on the Advisory Council of Islam, Social Justice & Interreligious Engagement Program at the Union Theological Seminary and winner of the 2015 MPAC Change Maker Award. She has nearly a decade of teaching experiences at all levels from elementary, secondary, college level, to adult education. She earned her master’s in History of the Middle East and Islamic Africa from Stanford University in 2006. Her research includes colonial surveillance in Northern Nigeria, anti-colonial resistance among West Africans in Sudan during the early 20th century, and race in Muslim communities. She is also a freelance writer with articles published in Time, SISTERS, Islamic Monthly, Al Jazeera English, Virtual Mosque (formerly Suhaibwebb.com), and Spice Digest. She has given talks and lectures in various universities and Muslim communities.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Abdulhaleem Rasheed

    March 2, 2015 at 6:13 PM

    SubhanaAllah, very informative and uplifting. Your professionalism and Quranic guidance are excellent combinations.

  2. Avatar

    zaigham majeed

    March 3, 2015 at 8:21 AM

    aslam o alikum
    Dear Sisters/Brothers we teach holy Quran online with expert Quran tutors if any one want to take Free Trial classes with our expert male/female tutors Register freely at http://www.peaceQuran.com

  3. Avatar

    GregAbdul

    March 6, 2015 at 6:24 AM

    This article is too long. It has grammar errors. I am not a perfect writer, but if Muslim Matters is going to give someone space, first the person needs to be concise and no grammar errors. Then there’s the substance….
    (and my turn to be too long)

    I spoke to a kid recently who told me he hates the police. He hates America. He is a warrior and it is his intention to drive the police out of the county where we live. He is unstable. He’s already been kicked out of another masjid in our area. There are unstable Muslim boys out there. We have had a generation of Muslims who are now elders who have gamed this religion and treated it like a joke and now are starting to reap the whirlwind. You want to hide and treat your religion like a secret cult, so as not to offend non Muslims. You don’t want to wear hijab, beard or come to the mosque, except for Eid.

    If the police want to spy on Muslims, they do not need our permission. They have done it before and they will probably do it again. We know the game.
    They walk up to you and say, “let’s go blow up something…” and if you are fool enough to say, “let’s go!” They will pull out handcuffs and away you go. Now if you are that foolish, I really want them to get you. That’s not our religion. The only way to reduce such spying is for our leaders to work with law enforcement to identity the problems in our masjid. We need to self-identify the radicals. This is not COINTELPRO. This is not the 60s.

    Further, we really need to get real when we talk about Black American Muslims. The Panthers read the Autobiography of Malcolm X and the last thing they did, after all the shootouts with the cops and death, were to become Muslims as older men.

    Malcolm X is the greatest black theologian in American History. His impact was so great that we confuse his legacy. He taught black liberation theology from a Muslim perspective. Today we have black American mosques in the heart of America’s ghetto’s and they have become castles and the drawbridge is up. They do almost no outreach, at least not the one in my area. They refuse to compete with churches, even in areas where the churches are failing black people.

    If you live in an area where blacks are killing each other at a high rate, the police are not the number one problem. Black on black crime is the real plague on black people. There is no epidemic of white policemen shooting black boys. You can’t count ten. Yet hundreds of crimes against blacks occur on a daily basis and no one cares because the criminal is not a white man in authority. This is not Islamic justice.

    Blacks do need more of a voice in the American Muslim discourse, but then organizations like the Muslim American Society have to get serious and stop the closed minded thinking. CAIR only wants to fight with the federal government (only the FBI). Many modern black American organizations only want to fight with the police. We need to stop with the old school politics and work for our young people. First on the list is we do all we can to make sure they do not end up in Syria fighting for Da’esh. A big reason this happens is because our boys see too much watered down Islam coming from the parents, so they end up going overboard, trying go beyond the lip service some of us give the great gift God has given us.

    If blacks American Muslims were not in the Obama meeting, it is because we don’t have black kids going overseas to fight in Syria and that is the way it should be seen by black American Muslim leadership. Blacks and immigrants need to have more unity. But more important is that we unite on what is right.

    We need to focus on our youth, purifying our religious practice and standing up for who we are as we partner with law enforcement, rather than the present norm where we use our cross cultural experiences as an opportunity to talk down to one another with the same old tired cultural agendas.

    May Allah guide us.

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#Current Affairs

Malaysians Ask China To Free Uyghurs, Close The Camps

Hena Zuberi

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Free Uyghur Malaysia

By Gulnaz Uighur

Muslims are standing up for Uyghurs, protests held in Malaysia.

5th of July could be just like another day for people but for Uyghurs, it brings back dark memories of a bloody past. This day, in 2009, thousands of Uyghur students were massacred by Chinese police in Urumqi. These young students were demanding an investigation into the rising number of homicides in a toy factory. These people only wanted justice. They were also upset by the ongoing discrimination in the employment sector. Graduates were denied jobs because of their Uyghur ethnicity. After the protests, China started abducting the Uyghur youth and no one knows where the missing went. Its been 10 years since that horrifying incident and the condition of Muslims have devolved in a genocidal nightmare.

Communist Government in China Has over 2 Million Uyghurs in Concentration Camps

Beijing has now locked over 2 million Uyghurs in concentration camps. People in these places are forced to denounce Islam, forget the teachings of Quran, prohibited from praying, asked to learn Xi Jinping’s speech and tortured for not obeying these orders. Sadly, Islam is being treated as a disease in China and most of the Islamic nations are turning a blind eye to it.

So Malaysia came as a breath of fresh air when Muslim NGOs organized an anti-China protest against Uyghur persecution.

On 5th July 2019, a coalition of 34 Malaysian NGOs gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to protest the persecution of Uyghurs. The organizations prepared a memo of protest to be submitted to Chinese officials. In the memo, they demanded Beijing to ‘Respect the human rights of the Uyghur people, in particular, their right to life and freedom of religion and belief.’ , ‘immediately stop the persecution and extreme repression of the Uyghur people.’ and close the camps. They also called upon the International community to increase the voices of protest and disfavour upon the Chinese government and to work together to improve the situation for the Uyghur people through concrete actions.

The protesters shouted slogans like ‘Me Too Uyghur’ and ‘Save Uyghur’. In a media interview, president of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim), Mohamad Raimi Abdul Rahim asked immediate freedom for all those who have been detained in concentration camps.

Malaysians Stand With Uyghurs

Abim secretary Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz accused the Chinese government of concealing the plight of the Uyghurs by offering NGOs and government agencies free trips and painting a rosy picture of the camps. Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, chairman of the Malaysian Consultative Council Of Islamic Organizations (Mapim), said the atrocities committed against the Uyghurs could not be denied or disguised. The Group of NGOs also included Ikram Association and the Malaysian Youth Council among others.

Though no Chinese official came out to accept the memo, the message was clear that now people won’t keep quiet about the Uyghur persecution. There is a dire need for Muslim countries to break their silence on this issue. There is enough evidence to prove that something unholy and inhumane is happening with Uyghurs. If these countries consider China their friend then ask it to stop being a Shaitan. The leaders must realize that their first duty is towards the Ummah and not towards China.

Now is the time to stand for Uyghurs before nothing is left to be saved.

This protest in  Malaysia has proved that people in Muslim countries do support Uyghurs even if their governments are silent and are upset with Beijing’s policies. This event proved that governments may fail to fight but people won’t.

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#Current Affairs

The Environmental Cost Of War With Iran

Abu Ryan Dardir

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war with Iran

Report after report shows how planet Earth may reach a point of no return. An analysis written by Ian Dunlop claims the planet cannot be saved by the mid-century if we continue on this path. And yet here we are marching towards a war with Iran.

When we think of climate change, we rarely think of war. On June 12th, 2019, Brown University released a report declaring the Department of Defence to be “the world’s largest institution to use petroleum and correspondingly, the single largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world.” Burning jet fuel for transportation of troops and weapons make up 70 percent of the Pentagon’s emissions.  Ironically, earlier this year the Pentagon released a 22-page report to Congress stating the ⅔ of their mission-essential installation in the US are vulnerable to flooding, and ½ are susceptible to wildfires. To no surprise, Trump rejected those findings at the time. The Pentagon is now concerned with the impact climate change has on their “foreign missions.”

war, iran, America, Climate change, pentagonWith tensions high with Iran, and several thousand troops are expected to be deployed, if war with Iran is to happen, it may lead us to a more damaged planet that may not recover. This makes the Pentagon guilty of killing people and the earth. The Department of Defense has consistently used between 77-80% of the entire US energy consumption. We see spikes during times of massive war (since America is in a constant state of war), like in 1991, 2001, and so on.

Here is a list of the seven significant sources of greenhouse emissions done by the Department of Defense:

  1. Overall military emissions for installations and non-war operations.
  2. War-related emissions by the US military in overseas contingency operations.
  3. Emissions caused by US military industry   — for instance, for production of weapons and ammunition.
  4. Emissions caused by the direct targeting of petroleum,   namely the deliberate burning of oil wells and refineries by all parties.
  5. Sources of emissions by other belligerents.
  6. Energy consumed by reconstruction of damaged and destroyed infrastructure.
  7. Emissions from other sources, such as fire suppression and extinguishing chemicals, including   Halon, a greenhouse gas, and from explosions and fires due to the destruction of non-petroleum targets in warzones.

This impact on the climate is just the portion from America, in the Iraq war, 37 countries fought alongside America, and 60 are allied against ISIS. There is a way to calculate those emissions as well.

The Rules of War

Before engaging in battle, the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) instructed his soldiers:

  1. Do not kill any child, any woman, or any elder or sick person. (Sunan Abu Dawud)
  2. Do not practice treachery or mutilation. (Al-Muwatta)
  3. Do not uproot or burn palms or cut down fruitful trees. (Al-Muwatta)
  4. Do not slaughter a sheep or a cow or a camel, except for food. (Al-Muwatta)
  5. If one fights his brother, [he must] avoid striking the face, for God created him in the image of Adam. (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)
  6. Do not kill the monks in monasteries, and do not kill those sitting in places of worship. (Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal)
  7. Do not destroy the villages and towns, do not spoil the cultivated fields and gardens, and do not slaughter the cattle. (Sahih Bukhari; Sunan Abu Dawud)
  8. Do not wish for an encounter with the enemy; pray to God to grant you security; but when you [are forced to] encounter them, exercise patience. (Sahih Muslim)
  9. No one may punish with fire except the Lord of Fire. (Sunan Abu Dawud).
  10. Accustom yourselves to do good if people do good, and not to do wrong even if they commit evil. (Al-Tirmidhi)

A verse in the Holy Qur’an

4:75 (Y. Ali) And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!”

How does this potential war against Iran play into all this?

Our first call to action is to organize an anti-war rally. This type of work is weak in America, and virtually non-existent within the Muslim community.

فَقَالَ أَبُو سَعِيدٍ أَمَّا هَذَا فَقَدْ قَضَى مَا عَلَيْهِ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ مَنْ رَأَى مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُنْكِرْهُ بِيَدِهِ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ وَذَلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الإِيمَانِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ ‏.‏

Abu Sa’eed said: ‘As for this, he has fulfilled what is upon him. I heard the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saying: ‘Whoever among you sees an evil, then let him stop it with his hand. Whoever is not able, then with his tongue, and whoever is not able, then with his heart. That is the weakest of faith.”‘

War with Iran will be a Greater Mistake than War with Iraq

Historically, anti-war sentiment in America has grown over the years. When the Iraq war first started only 23% thought it was a mistake, today it is close to 60% that believe the war is a mistake. Yes, this is in hindsight, but that it is also growth. The reason the anti-war movement is feeble in America is that there is no platform for the campaign to grow. Both parties are guilty of starting wars or taking over the wars from the past administration. Whether we do it alone as an individual or as a group, we should do everything we can as privileged members of this planet to save and protect those that can’t defend themselves.

There is a famous quote of the famed boxer Muhammad Ali when explaining why he wasn’t fighting in the war. He said, “…I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion.”

Fighting Earth

With that said, there is a significant interest in the region for more than just fuel and resources. It is truly a problem, our operations in the Gulf is to address our dependency on Persian oil, and the fuel that is used to address our dependence is to protect those resources and access to them. One estimate is that America spends $81 billion annually defending the global oil supply. They do this because the DOD feels its dependency will make it vulnerable on a larger scale.

In 1975 America decided to take away the fear of losing the resources and developed the “Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” and in 1978, they created the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF). Their only purpose was to defend US interest in the Middle East. This, in turn, leads to extractivism of resources and supplies. (Which will be explained in a future article).

This war can be the end of all wars as it can accelerate us to the point of no return in regards to climate change.

A war with Iran is a war with Earth and all who live on it.

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5 Quick Things Americans Can Do For Uyghurs Today

Abu Ryan Dardir

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“I may die, but let it be known that my nation will continue their struggle so long the world continues to exist.” Kazakh leader Uthman Batur. He said these words as Chinese authorities executed him for resisting the communist occupation. Currently, China has, one million Uyghurs (Uighurs), Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities held in concentration camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) (East Turkistan) in northwestern China.

Their struggle surpasses the 10 or so years since we have become aware of it. Just like the Rohingya genocide, we waited till the last minute. We are always late and say, “Never Again.” It happens again and again.

In my lifetime, there have been horrendous genocides that could have been prevented to stopped. As a child, I remember Rwanda in the headlines, then a year later Bosnian genocide. Then we hear these demonic stories after the fact. I remember stories from survivors from Bosnia, and thinking to myself, “How are you here and functioning?”

Let us not be fooled to why this is happening now. It is related to economic advantages. The Chinese government’s present signature foreign policy initiative is the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) that seeks to connect the PRC economically to the rest of the Eurasian continent through massive infrastructure projects that will stimulate international trade. The western and south-western components of the BRI require the XUAR to serve as a transportation and commercial hub to trade routes and pipelines that will join China with Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and the entirety of Europe. As a result, the XUAR has become an important strategic region for the Chinese, and the state views its indigenous populations as an obstacle to developing its vision for this future critical center of international commercial networks.1

The expansion of their trade route also ties in Iran hence the sanctions placed, but that’s a different report for a different time. China, of course, has defended their actions by claiming its an anti-terrorism plan. Getting reliable information is hard. China has made it a point to make things difficult for reporters. Yanan Wang, a China-based journalist from the Associated Press, has reported extensively on and from Xinjiang.

In a ceremony at Asia Society on Tuesday commemorating AP’s 2019 Osborn Elliott Award for Excellence in Journalism on Asia, Wang described the subtle ways government minders worked to thwart her reporting: “(Both of the times we went there we arrived at the airport, we had a welcoming committee from the local authorities. They’re always very polite and professional. They say that “you’ve arrived in Xinjiang and we’re here to assist you in your reporting. Tell us what you’re working on so we can help you.” They offer us drives in their car and plenty of hospitality.

Basically, from the moment we arrive, we’re followed by at least one car. There are a bunch of interesting scenarios that we came across. You can see that the local handlers are trying hard to be professional. They are members of the propaganda department, so they’re PR professionals. They don’t want to make it appear like it’s so stifling. At one point, we were taking photos, and someone suddenly appeared on the scene to say he was a “concerned citizen.” He said he’d seen us taking photos and that it was an infringement of his privacy rights. He had this long monologue about privacy rights and about how it wasn’t right for us to take photos of him without his knowledge. We asked him, “Well, where are you in these photos?” and he’d go through all of them. He said we had to delete all of them. He’d say, “This is my brother,” or “This is my place of work, you have to delete it.”

They had all of these interesting tactics to work around the idea that they were trying to obstruct our reporting and make it appear that someone who claims to be a concerned citizen.)”2

On top of that, locals that talk to journalist are punished, sometimes go missing.

I decided to do something this time around; I got in touch with an Uyghur community near my residence to see how an individual could help. It started at a Turkic restaurant, and from there, I have been involved in whatever capacity I am able. Through this effort, I got in touch with a Turkic professor in Turkey who has students stranded as they are cut off from contacting family back in Xinjiang. He helps them out financially; my family and friends help with what they can.

As Muslims in the West, there is no doubt we should act. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith” (Muslim).

How Can You Help Uyghurs

Here are a few things you can do to help:

1. Ask Congress to pass To pass S.178 & H.R.649 Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019. Urge your senator and representative to support this cause. It has been introduced. This bill can help the Uyghur community to be treated like Tibetans (another region oppressed by China).

2. Stay informed. The mainstream media is not the place to get accurate information on the situation. Be skeptical of where the data is coming from, stick to reliable sources that are verified. As mentioned above, journalists find it difficult to report.

3. Donate to Uyghur Human Rights Organizations to end concentration camps: UHRP, Uyghur American Association  Donate to Awareness Campaigns: Save Uigur Campaign 

4. Boycott or reduce buying Made in China products

5. Follow these links for updated information: facebook.com/Uyghur-Human-Rights-Project-227634297289994/ and facebook.com/ChinaMuslims

This crisis is an ethnic cleansing for profit. These are dark days as we value profit over people.

1.Statement by Concerned Scholars on mass detentions | MCLC …. https://u.osu.edu/mclc/2018/11/27/statement-by-concerned-scholars-on-mass-detention s/

2.Why It’s So Difficult for Journalists To Report From …. https://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/why-its-so-difficult-journalists-report-xinjiang

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