The Muslim Coalition of Connecticut stands in support of our Historically Black Colleges and Universities, many of whom were targeted by recent bomb threats. Targeting by racial, religious or ethnic profiling is antithetical to our identity as Americans. The Muslim Coalition of Connecticut stands in solidarity with our black American brothers and sisters in this difficult time. Dr. Bilal Ansari, the co-director of the Chaplaincy program at the Hartford International University for Religion and Peace kindly agreed to write a letter highlighting the history of racism the black American community has faced, and encouraging our involvement in these efforts.
Open Letter from Dr. Bilal Ansari: My name is Bilal Ansari. I am a Black American Muslim. Quite often I feel stretched out – pulled in all directions – with the weight of racism on my chest, and I pen this message to you, hoping to inspire the support of the courageous anti-racist Abu Bakrs of our community. It is the strong lobbying pull of racism across several states in America that is working hard to keep us chained and restricted from voting access that my parents fought for as their American civil rights.
This week 16 Historically Black Colleges and Universities were under the heavy weight of bomb threats as a way for white supremacists to turn up the heat during Black History Month. Our own Muslim sister, Dr. Nisa Muhammad, the chaplain to the Muslims at Howard University, experienced the terror and disruption of these racist threats. I called to offer her encouragement and to let her know I am praying for her and the students, faculty, and staff.
There were also neo-Nazi demonstrations and threats against two medical doctors of color in Boston. At the same time, just after the anti-Jewish racist attacks in Orlando by neo-Nazis last week, when he himself was weighed down with worry and duress, a colleague of mine, Rabbi Seth Wax called to check on me, and this inspired me to action. I am thankful to him for the reminder to continue to stand up courageously in anti-racism work, and in turn, I write this to encourage our Muslim community to take a stand in anti-racism work as Abu Bakr (RA) did.
I call upon all Muslims of Connecticut to get involved wherever you stand. I encourage all Muslims to become active supporters of the Muslim Coalition of CT in its anti-racism and community building efforts. Support your own civil rights organization, CAIR-CT and other legislative efforts, to preserve your civil rights. Support anti-racism actions and demonstrations; and if you are unable to do these, at least detest these racist attacks in your heart – and pray! Pray for God’s protection upon all innocent people harmed by vicious racial, religious, or ethnic hatred.
Celebrate Black History Month with us by learning something of our history through MCCT’s webinars. Bail out a potential Bilal ibn Rabah from prison; hire a formerly enslaved person as Prophet Muhammad hired Bilal ibn Rabah; and commit to being anti-racist as Abu Bakr was, by standing up for justice in whatever way you can.
Remember that Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of white supremacy are all part of the same crushing, destructive racism we all need to fight. God calls upon us in the Holy Qur’an: “And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.” (Sahih International 5:2)