America Ablaze: The Solution to Racism’s Inferno

Memorial for police officers killed in Dallas on July 10th, tragic casualties of the simmering inferno spreading throughout America.

In an unprecedented attack on United States law enforcement, 5 officers were killed and 7 wounded in Dallas, Texas. A military veteran from Mesquite, Texas, Micah Johnson, is alleged to have carried out the attack. Dallas PD has stated that before being killed by a Dallas police bomb squad robot, Johnson informed them that he had committed these acts in retaliation for recent police murders of two black men. The Dallas police chief also quoted Johnson as saying, “he wanted to kill white people – especially white officers – and he acted alone.” At the time of the attack, Dallas police were policing at a peaceful demonstration in honor of Philando Castile who sustained multiple gunshot wounds and died at the hands of a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota at a traffic stop; and Alton Sterling who was shot 5 times and killed by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana outside the convenience store where he was selling CD’s.
A social fire has been burning for centuries in the United States of America, and it is a healthy dose of racism that contributes to the blaze. These flames have recently been fanned by the repetitive incidents of the killing of African Americans by members of Law Enforcement. Although such incidents are not new, the proliferation of cell phones, cameras and social media have captured far too many incidents that allows the average citizen to view the victimization and deaths repeatedly.
The country was shaken when Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, in 2012. However, it was the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August of 2014 by a police officer that sparked nationwide protest. The embers of racism that were burning became a furious inferno threatening to burn and char all of America.
With documentation and video of killings that include: Eric Garner, New York City, killed by a police chokehold on July 17, 2014; 12 years old Tamir Rice shot and killed by police in Cleveland, Ohio while playing in the park with his toy gun; Rumain Brisbon in Pheonix, Arizona killed after police mistook his pill bottle for a weapon; and Freddie Gray who died of spinal cord injuries received from Baltimore, Maryland police officers, feelings of alienation, oppression and injustice have been overflowing in African American communities. These incidents are what ignited calls for a new movement by brown and black people in the United States demanding social and political change that would protect its minority citizens from dying at the hands of the police, and subsequently there being no accountability, vanquishing any hope for Justice.
The Black Lives Matter movement was born from the aforementioned realities that people of color face regularly in this county. The movement became controversial and counter arguments that “All Lives Matter”. Indeed, all lives do matter. As Muslims we believe strongly that all lives and disavow the indiscriminate killing. At the same time as African Americans we know the reality of this matter that unfortunately, it has been proven in the United States that “All Lives Matter” is not inclusive of African Americans who are disproportionately killed by the so called “trustees” of justice at a higher frequency compared to other groups.
In these times where racism and social strife are rampant, it is imperative to focus on the solutions and not the problem. That is, Islam. 1500 years ago Muhammad, the Messenger of the Almighty Creator provided the remedy and healing to what is ailing our nation today. In his last sermon to humanity, Muhammad (peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) stated:
All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non- Arab have any superiority over an Arab. A white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white except by piety and good action.
The power and wisdom behind this prophetic teaching has the power to heal the maladies currently gripping our country and people throughout the world. Racism and ethnic discrimination are social vices destroying the fiber of our great nation. The mercy and beauty of Islam is that it is a religion and way of life applicable to any time period. May the thirst for justice and freedom be quenched by acknowledging and understanding that “All Lives” truly do matter and that without a doubt it’s inclusive of “Black Lives” as well.
Condolences and peace to the families of our law enforcement and citizens who have suffered from unnecessary loss of life and grief.