This Friday, February 22, President Obama has asked all Americans to focus on the need to reduce gun violence in our society to better protect our children and our communities. In this spirit, I am asking community leaders to make this Friday an opportunity to address the issues surrounding violence in our society; and to talk about how we as Muslims can take some initiative to help stem the escalating threat of violence. One way of doing this is to get Congress to pass legislation to require universal background checks for gun purchases and removing loopholes. Every Muslim should contact his/her representative this Friday to have his/her voice heard on the issue of gun violence.
The Victims of Violence
We have recently been shocked by unspeakable violence perpetrated in Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, and Tucson; and as our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims of these senseless crimes, our thoughts and prayers should also be with the victims of the gun violence that occurs almost daily on the streets of our inner cities.
And as many of you know, Muslims are not being spared from this violence. Many inner-city victims of gun violence are innocent Muslims who live and work in big cities...or Muslim youth who are caught up in the culture of gangs and drug violence, or are victims of drive-by shooting or casualties of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is especially true for those of us who are Americans of African, or Spanish-speaking descent.
The Muslim Community Must be Heard
It is important that as Muslims we begin to make our voices heard on issues that affect our families and our communities. It is important that we speak to our people about this issue. Imams should address it in the Friday khutba and urge action. Our Representatives must know where we stand on the problem as well.
Contact your representative at:
and/or organize a community letter-writing campaign
Muslims are Obligated to Respond
We should remember the command of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who told us that when we see an evil we should change it with our hand (i.e. take action), and if we can't do that, then speak out against it. If we can't do that he said, then at least hate it in our hearts, though that is the weakest of faith. We can do more than hate it. We can speak out and act--and we are obligated to do so.
Studies have shown that in communities where there is a deterioration of family and absence of mature men, gun violence is rampant. These studies justify MANA's humble efforts in the areas of Healthy Marriage Initiatives, Community Re-Entry Programming, and the support communities receive through our SHARE Centers. But there is much more we must do. We must enlarge our efforts by reaching out to and joining hands with others who seek to enjoin the good and forbid the wrong in society, in protection of the sacredness of human life.
May Almighty Allah guide us to what is just.