Muslim Community Reacts to Ferguson Grand Jury Decision, Call for 'Black Friday' Boycott
Muslim activist Najee Ali speaks to the local media just moments before the Ferguson, Missouri Grand Jury Decision
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 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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