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Muslim Community Reacts to Ferguson Grand Jury Decision, Call for 'Black Friday' Boycott



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Prominent U.S. Muslim Group Blasts Obama Administration over 'Blindley One-Sided' PolicyMuslim activist Najee Ali speaks to the local media just moments before the Ferguson, Missouri Grand Jury Decision


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As details of the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo., trickled out Monday night, many Muslim Americans braced for a painfully familiar outcome.

On Facebook and Twitter, many began to express outrage as the announcement was delivered that a white police officer would face no charges in the shooting of a black teenager.

Melina Abdullah of Los Angeles stated, "When the "no indictment" announcement came down my face got hot and my heart pounded out of my chest. I know this system is oppressive, even murderous, that it has no regard for Black life, but somehow I held out just a little hope…that this time would be different."

Ferguson's story is a familiar one to Los Angeles. Since the Watts riots left 34 dead in 1965 and the acquittal of four police officers in Rodney G. King's beating sparked the L.A. riots in 1992, stories of violence against young black men nationwide have reverberated in Los Angeles. Most recently, tensions flared over the fatal LAPD shooting of Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old mentally ill man who was killed two days after Brown was shot.

The city has a wrenching history when it comes to police action and the African American community, one forged by two deadly riots and decades of distrust.

In recent years, there have been clear signs that the relationship has improved. But many in Los Angeles saw Monday night's decision through the prism of the past.

When activist Najee Ali delivered the news at a microphone in Leimert Park, chants of "no justice, no peace" fell silent. Many shook their heads and walked away, overcome with disbelief. Tears welled as the news sank in.

Ali, who was criticized heavily by Fox News leading up to the announcement had this to say, "Dear Fox News, I don't care what you say about me. I can't be intimidated or silenced. You're evidence is irrelevant when an unarmed Black child is murdered by police."

His organization Project Islamic Hope has called for a "Black Friday" boycott of all stores not African-American owned. That sentiment has now gathered a head of steam on social media networks. On Twitter it was hash tag, #NotOneDime.

"I'm not spending one dime, unless it's a Black-owned business. Now get mad at that," stated Cornell Ward on the Facebook group site, Leimert Park Beat. ""

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, called for a "national action" to address issues of racism in the aftermath of the Missouri grand jury's decision.

CAIR also questioned the "problematic" grand jury process that resulted in a failure to indict the officer.

In a statement, CAIR said:

"The tragedy in Ferguson makes it imperative that Americans of all races and backgrounds initiate national action to address the issues of systemic racism and police profiling that the shooting brought to the surface.

"We question the problematic conduct of the prosecutor's office in the grand jury process as demonstrated by showing unprecedented deference to the officer, a potential criminal defendant. 

"We urge all Americans to contact their elected officials to urge passage of the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) and any similar legislation that addresses unconstitutional actions by American law enforcement. We once again call on the Department of Justice to complete its independent investigation of the killing of Michael Brown in a transparent and thorough manner. CAIR is also concerned about any militarized response of law enforcement to peaceful protesters in Ferguson or in other cities nationwide.

"If any good is to come of this heartbreaking incident, it will be in the recognition that many Americans still feel the impact of institutional racism and that there is still much work to do to create a society in which people 'will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.'

"CAIR and the Muslim community join all Americans of conscience in reaffirming our commitment to fighting for racial and social justice. We must work together to seek an end to racial profiling and the injustices perpetrated against racial, ethnic or religious minorities. We must also address the fact that there is a growing concern in our nation about the mistreatment of minorities by law enforcement personnel.

"As a core principle, CAIR is an ally of groups -- religious or secular -- that advocate justice and human rights in America."

The Fergusson Grand Jury's decision will likely be debated for some time to come. But many African Americans and Muslims have lost confidence in our system.

On Facebook, Bilal Shabazz from Atlanta, simply put up a quote by W.E.B. Dubois which read, "A system cannot fail those it was never built to protect."

Aisha Ahmed from Washington responded, "Why can't our people see that?"




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