Target: Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC)
Goal: Applaud campaign to end racism and anti-blackness in Muslim communities
Every community could use a fresh dose of tolerance and respect for others, even though racism and discrimination generally appear to be on the decline. An organization recently launched by a group of activists in the Detroit area, MuslimARC, seeks to combat the anti-black racism within some Muslim communities. The group uses social media outlets and education to effectively share their message. In some communities, the Arab word “abed,” pluralized “abeed,” which means “servant” or “slave” in Arabic, is used as a racial epithet against black people. “Abed” can also be a name, in which case it means “servant of God,” but in common speech the usage is offensive. This variety of racism is especially prevalent in the Detroit metropolitan area, as nearby Dearborn features the highest concentration of Arab-Americans in the country and Detroit is well known for a large population of black Americans.
The group, MuslimARC, decided to spread awareness about the problem of Muslim anti-black racism via a largely Twitter-based campaign centered around Black History Month, in which ending the use of “abed” and “abeed” to refer to individuals of African descent was only part of the program. Using the Twitter hashtags #BeingBlackAndMuslim, #UmmahAntiBlackness, #BlackMuslimFuture, and #DropTheAWord, the group started an international dialogue about racism, inclusivity, tolerance, and the future of the Islamic ummah, or community.
They also wrote an open letter to imams, or the leaders of Muslim communities, for Muslims to share with their own imams. This letter, among other things, outlined the campaign and asked imams to spend some time during their khutbah, or sermon, exploring anti-black racism and Islamic responsibility to embrace anti-oppression, including a reminder that the various racial slurs used to describe people of African descent go against Islamic belief.
By signing this petition, you are applauding the comprehensive efforts of MuslimARC to end anti-black racism in Muslim communities and to remind believers of their commitment to equality and unity.
Despite being so recently founded, you have managed to achieve an astonishing presence through social media, establishing your organization in one of the fastest-growing outlets to raise awareness about anti-black racism and end oppression in and from Muslim communities. Your commitment to healthy Muslim ummahs characterized by unity and equality is inspiring, and hopefully will drive others to start campaigns to stop the use of oppressive language and behaviors.
Thank you for finding creative ways to reach out to a modern Muslim audience and their imams, in the service of fighting against oppression and discrimination. I hope that you continue to develop comprehensive campaigns that remind believers of the damage to individuals and the community caused by anti-black racism and oppression of any kind.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: thivierr via Flickr