The death of George Floyd has brought many American Muslims to the frontline, joining the fight against racism and supporting the call for justice.
In Milwaukee, teenagers Dana Sharqawi and Sumaya Abdi brought people together at the Islamic Society of Milwaukee on Wednesday, June 3, to remember George Floyd and to protest police violence.
“Our religion tells us that if one part of your body’s in pain, then the whole body’s in pain,” said Abdi, now 19 and a student at UW-Madison, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“So if our black brothers and sisters are in pain, we’re in pain, too.”
Surprisingly, the girls’ effort drew 300 supporters, including several first-time protesters.
“I just want to say I’m so proud of each and every person that has come here today on this hot, humid, sunny day,” Abdi told the crowd. “That means you have a conscience and you know what’s going on in our system.”
Protesters stood silent for Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, i.e. the amount of time police officer had his knee on Floyd’s neck.
“We’re here to use our voice for people who couldn’t use theirs,” Sharqawi said.
“Our religion centers around the belief that we are all created equal in the eyes of God. So today we’re here to prove that: that we’re all equal, we’re one community.”
Speeches & Prayer
The three-mile walk began at 2 p.m. and ended at 4 p.m. after speeches by older leaders with the Islamic Society of Milwaukee and Interfaith Conference Of Greater Milwaukee.
“May Allah bless you for having the courage to stand up for something,” Will Perry, director of the Dawah Islamic Center, said.
“You may not realize the significance of it and how it’s going to impact folks later.”
The group ended with a prayer, each person in the crowd on a bent knee, facing north.
“There is hope, when our young people stand up and say enough is enough,” said Imam Noman Hussain of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee.
George Floyd is not the first victim of racism in the US.
Unfortunately, Black Muslims throughout the US consistently encounter discrimination and anti-Blackness in Muslim spaces.
According to Muslim Anti-Racism Intra Muslim Study, 82% of participants reported that they have experienced racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination.