Justice for George Floyd, solidarity with Black people

Statements
May 29, 2020
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American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) stands firmly in solidarity with Black Americans and all marginalized communities experiencing state-sanctioned violence in Minnesota and around the United States. 

From the police killing Michael Brown and leaving his lifeless body in the streets for over four hours, to George Floyd begging and pleading for his life by uttering “Please, I can’t breathe,” and the many instances in between, it is clear that Black people in America are still under siege. 

Muslim-Americans, one-third of whom are Black Americans, are painfully familiar with the scourge of racist and discriminatory practices that impact lives, human rights, and dignity on a daily basis. Today, we virtually link arms with our Black sisters and brothers demanding justice and an end to white supremacy, which underpins both police violence and vigilantism. 

A genuine commitment to solidarity with marginalized groups and their struggles for justice and liberation must be rooted in universal principles of justice and human rights. We must speak out passionately against the human rights abuses directed at Black America.

AMP pledges to speak out against police brutality, institutionalized racism, racialized violence, and systemic oppression against Black Americans and other marginalized communities. 

We know that Black people in the United States have been subjected to racism and oppression for centuries. This is not a new phenomenon--white supremacy has been an integral part of our country since its founding. It is our obligation to help undo both white supremacy and anti-Black racism. 

Centuries of institutional oppression against Blacks have been bolstered in recent decades by thousands of US law enforcement personnel being trained in Israel. They are trained by and share “lessons learned” with Israeli counterparts to implement practices of control, surveillance, discrimination, restrictions of movement, repression of social and political movements, torture, and police violence. 

A key example of this collaboration is the New York Police Department (NYPD). Since 9/11, Israel’s security and intelligence apparatus has made it a top priority to collaborate with the NYPD. The NYPD set up a secret “Demographics Unit” designed to spy on and monitor Muslim communities around the city. One study found that this unit has attempted to map the city’s “human terrain” through a “program modeled in part on how Israeli authorities operate in the West Bank.” There’s even an NYPD office branch in Tel Aviv. 

Palestinian solidarity with the Black freedom movement is not a recent phenomenon. The late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish wrote a letter about James Baldwin’s “Nobody Knows My Name,” and stated that “I felt as if James were writing about me personally.” Baldwin’s writings touched Darwish so much that “when he (Baldwin) wrote about love, he was narrating my love story.” 

The resurgence of Black-Palestinian transnational solidarity began in the summer of 2014,  when Palestinians in Gaza experienced their worst massacre to date by Israel and Black Americans continued experiencing numerous acts of police brutality.The motto “From Ferguson to Palestine” resonated with many activists who understood the significance of resisting racialized state violence and oppression.

Today, American Muslims for Palestine commits itself to listening, learning, and acting to build upon this legacy of solidarity.