Imams of New York hit the streets in protest against terrorism, Islamophobia
Apr 05 2011
In a bid to rebut accusations by a Republican lawmaker of not cooperating in fighting terrorism, Muslim imams are planning to take to the streets of New York next week to make loud and clear their opposition to terror, Islamophobia and wars.
“We call upon all Muslims to come out with their families on Saturday, April 9, 2011 noon at Union Square in NYC,” reads a statement endorsed by 100 imams from New York and published by The American Muslim website.
The imams will march from Union Square in NYC at noon before moving south through the Broadway street at about 2:30 pm to Foley Square, where the rally will show their cause until 5 pm.
The march comes at an initiative from the Muslim Peace Coalition USA, a recently formed coalition of Muslim peace activists and organizations with members in 14 states.
In the statement, the imams voiced appreciation at Americans who sided with Muslims against a growing sentiment of Islamophobia in the United States.
“We, 100 Imams from the Muslim community in New York area, stand together to thank our neighbours who have defended the Muslim community against Islamophobia,” the statement reads.
Since 9/11, US Muslims, estimated between six to seven million, have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was stigmatizing their faith.
Anti-Muslim frenzy has grown recently over plans to build a mosque near the 9/11 site in New York, resulting in attacks on Muslims and property.
Representative Peter King, the chairman of the US House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee, has sparked further uproar by claiming that US Muslims are being radicalized by Al-Qaeda operatives.
The New York Republican has also accused Muslim leaders of not cooperating with law enforcement authorities in fighting terrorism, drawing fire from several Muslim and non-Muslim Americans.
“Our neighbours have stood in opposition to Congressman Peter King’s hearings and against the efforts of the extremists to criminalize the practice of Islam in America,” the imams said.
The April 9 march will aim to “stand in solidarity with our neighbours for justice at home and abroad; for peace and jobs; against wars and terrorism, and to bring our troops home.”
“We support the rights of all people to practice their beliefs in peace at home and abroad, as well as equal opportunity for all.”
Reaching out to the larger community, the imams reiterated support for demands raised by American trade unions and for reforming the US justice system.
“We support the rights of unions to bargain and the rights of undocumented workers to due process of law,” the signatories said.
“We demand reform of our justice system to eliminate secret evidence and the consistent criminalization of inner-city communities.”
According to the Muslim Peace Coalition USA, 400 organizations from labour movement, peace movement and civil rights groups have endorsed the call for the rally.
The imams also called for hearings to investigate mounting hate-mongering in the United States.
“We ask Congress to conduct hearings against the rise of hate and hate groups in the United States.”
Last week, Dick Durbin, a Democrat House representative peer, held a hearing on anti-Muslim bigotry that threatens US Muslims’ civil rights, two weeks after King’s hearing.
Estimates show that 14 per cent of religious discrimination is reported against Muslims.
Ending wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is one more demand for the imams along with other the groups to partake.
“Together we urge that the untold billions of dollars now spent for wars instead be used for Americans’ needs at home,” the Muslim imams read.