This past week, there were two Iftars in Washington DC, one by the State Department and the other at the White House. I was honored to be invited to the former but was unable to attend. What surprised me was a huge controversy that erupted between Muslims on twitter about whether these Iftars were worthy of attending, tagged with #WhiteHouseIftar. The twitter debate was, as usual, more vitriolic than useful, but Prof. Omid Safi laid out the case for boycotting the iftars in a civil and reasoned way. In a followup post, Omid called upon Muslim Americans to stand up for Justice (as per Qur'an 4:135), specifically about drones and Gitmo. In response, I lay out a vision for a Muslim American domestic agenda that I'd like to share here, below the fold.
from my post:
I fully agree with Omid that we as Muslim Americans should organize collectively and productively, following the example of the civil rights movement. But our target should not be foreign injustice, it should be the injustice right here at home. Examples:As I explain in my post, I am not trying to ignore drones or Gitmo or other issues of Justice abroad, but I simply am trying to make teh case that our Muslim American community's activism at home should be focused on Muslims and Americans at home.
* Islamophobia-inspired violence against Muslims and “Muslim-like” minorities (ie Sikhs)
* Religious freedom in terms of building mosques and Islamic centers (notably, Joplin and Park 51)
* Racial profiling, especially of African Americans (who comprise half the Muslim American population)
* TSA and immigration and customs persecution of Muslims (particularly, the No-Fly list)
* Invasion of privacy and domestic surveillance of Muslims by the NYPD (even in Jersey!)
and we should also lend our organization towards these causes which affect more than just the Muslim American community:
* Government data collection on all citizens (NSA/PRISM)
* Economic injustice (Detroit going bankrupt)
* Feeding the poor (budget cuts to child food programs)
* Jobs, jobs, jobs
These are all areas in which sustained Muslim American organization and action can make a substantive impact and directly influence the quality of life and increase social justice not just for hundreds of thousands of Muslim Americans, but millions of Americans overall. That is how we should be spending our social capital and the justice we should be standing for.
I invite you all to check out the piece and share your feedback. What do you think a Muslim American domestic agenda should look like?