The growing Muslim outrage over the ever-increasing number of black lives being snuffed out by men in blue has reached a boiling point.
In Philadelphia on Dec. 27, nearly 300 protesters expressed their outrage by marching around City Hall, holding a rally and die-in that included lying on the ground for 4½ minutes to symbolize the 4½ hours Michael Brown laid dead on the street before his body was moved. The event, titled “Muslims Make it Plain,” mirrored other events occurring across the country.
The genesis for the demonstration came from believers concerned that the Muslim community hadn't added its voice to the outrage.
"It was a feeling, a growing frustration, anger, shame at the lack of American Muslim representation in a growing national movement," said Kameelah Mu'Min Rashad, Muslim chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the event's principal organizers.
On Dec. 29, in Houston, a similar march also led by Muslims took place, highlighting what organizers said was the unjust shooting of unarmed Jordan Baker by a Houston police officer and failure by the grand jury to indict Officer Juvenetino Castro for his murder.
Deric Muhammad of the Houston-based Mosque #45, and one of the organizers of the march, said they must march because whenever a "Muslim sees an injustice, it's our God-demanded duty to speak out."
Referencing the Prophet Muhammad, during a phone interview, Muhammad said, "Whenever you see an injustice, the Prophet said you are duty-bound to respond in one of three ways: correct it if you can, speak out, or the least option in your heart, hate the injustice that was done.
"We as Muslims should be at the forefront of the cry for justice. As long as we do it in a dignified manner, protest is not against our religion."
Questioned about the anti-police stance that some feel these demonstrations have taken, Qasim Rashid of United Muslim Masjid and a member of the coalition that organized the Philadelphia demonstration said, "We all know police officers, and for the most part, most police officers are good, but it seems that there is an increasing number of police officers that are not so good.
"We want to bring attention to those cops and to the fact that not one of them has been indicted for snuffing out a black life, "Rashid added. "It really appears in the way justice is met out in America that black lives really don't matter."
Florida-based Imam Abdul Malik, who delivered the keynote at the rally, noted in his opening remarks that "this (rally) is not about police bashing… It's about Muslims coming out of hiding and coming out of the mosque, from those four walls of prayer and doing what Allah said we must do, stand up for justice."
The youth, who have largely been the catalyst for the growing national outrage against police violence, were well represented by spoken-word artist Youssef Kromah and activist and journalist Shahida Muhammad.
Asked about the significance of the protest and rally, Muslims Make It Plain (MMIP) member Donna Auston said, "Protests should never be seen as an end in and of themselves. They are but one tool that can be effectively employed to educate people and mobilize communities around a set of issues."
According to its Facebook page, MMIP "is a coalition of concerned Muslims working to inspire, empower and support grassroots mobilization around direct action to address police brutality, racial and religious profiling, unlawful surveillance and the over policing of America's Black and Brown communities."