Muslim Groups Hold #BlackLivesMatter Protest As NYPD Buries Slain Officer

AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek
AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek
Philadelphia, PA

Three Muslim groups joined forces to organize a Saturday protest in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania invoking Koran scripture and the words of Malcolm X in announcing the “Muslims Mobilized Against Police Brutality” protest.

Muslim groups who coalesced to lead the protest charge were Muslim Wellness Foundation, Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, and United Muslim Masjid, a south Philadelphia mosque.

Ferguson National Response Network also promoted the Saturday demonstration. The group has promoted hundreds of protests and has been connected to Ferguson Action which recently held a “Transition and Transform” mass meeting.

Protesters met at Philadelphia’s Love Park at noon with a call to prayer led by Dash Brookins. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Brookins said, “It’s part of black American Muslim tradition to stand for social justice. We need only go back a few decades to Malcolm X . . . and being a part of leading civil disobedience back in the late ’50s and into the ’60s.”

The protest began around the time the funeral for slain New York City police officer Raphael Ramos was concluding in nearby New York City. Protest leaders said the demonstration was not “against police per se,” reported the Inquirer.

A press release for the event quoted the Koran and Malcolm X and called the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner “catalysts sparking a long overdue and necessary series of dialogue and action around issues of race and policing in the U.S.”

“Collective attention has been directed to the ongoing epidemic of extrajudicial killings of black citizens,” the message continued. The groups claim, “These killings are not isolated events, but reflect systematic racism in which social, economic, educational, and political forces or polices foster discriminatory outcomes for Black people.”

The groups harken their roots to Malcolm X, Muhammed Ali, Mother Clara Muhammed, and Ameena Matthews.

The message concludes with, “We must put FAITH INTO ACTION and TAKE A STAND against oppression, whether by seeking to remove it with our hands, speaking against it, or by hating it in our hearts.” Everyone within the broader public was encouraged to participate.

During the event, protesters marched around city hall three times to symbolize purity and self-examination.

Supporters also posted comments and photos of the event online.

Khaled Bey ‏‪@KhaledBeydoun‬ wrote, “Powerful protest held by Muslims in Philadelphia today. h/t ‪@Yarehk ‪#MakeItPlainPhilly ‪#BlackLivesMatter”

VaughnMuhammad @VaughnMuhammad posted, “The Muslims rally and march against the police in downtown Philadelphia. ‪#MakeItPlainPhilly”

The event ended as it began, with Muslim prayers.

The site posting the event press release also announced, “Make it Plain is a group of concerned Muslims who are working to raise awareness to encourage, inspire, and support the mobilization of the Muslim community to respond to police brutality and the conditions that bring about the over policing of the Black/African American community. We are kicking off this movement in Philadelphia.”

Sunday afternoon another Philadelphia protest took place at 7pm for about an hour, promoted with the hashtag #IWantToLive.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.