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Open Letter & Petition: Cancel Event with Plano Police Chief Now!

ATTN: Imran Chaudhary, EPIC President

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The East Plano Islamic Center has invited the Plano police chief for a discussion on Systemic Racism scheduled for Tuesday June 16, 2020 at 9:00pm broadcast live on YouTube. To have a representative of the very system of oppression and brutality millions are protesting in this watershed moment in history is completely tone deaf and harmful to progress against dismantling these systems of oppression. This is an affront to the black community, their allies, and justice seekers everywhere and we call on EPIC to cancel this event immediately. See our petition and demands below.

Petition by
Sara Bawany
Garland, Texas

To: ATTN: Imran Chaudhary, EPIC President
From: [Your Name]

Assalamu Alaikum. InshaAllah this email finds you well and in good health. We write to you all today to express our shared disappointment as community members who are concerned and disheartened by the masjid’s decision to proceed with a public discussion on “Systemic Racism” with the Plano Police Chief. It’s troubling that the masjid would choose to move forward with such an event at a time when our Black brothers and sisters, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, are collectively hurting and taking to the streets to demand justice for George Floyd and countless other Black lives lost to police brutality while demanding structural change that will hold the Police accountable and bring an end to systemic injustice.

As a community, we should take direction from those leading the movement to end police injustice by engaging with their demands, and listening to and amplifying the concerns of our Black Muslim brothers and sisters within our own spiritual spaces, instead of using a community gathering to center the Police Chief and policing tactics. This political moment is a critical juncture that requires our community to reflect on the ways we are complicit in the systemic subjugation of our Black brothers and sisters in this country.

Our priority needs to be remembering and grieving the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and other Black lives taken at the hands of the Police, while beginning the hard work that will move us toward a more just society. We must stand with the protestors of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Dallas, Atlanta, Brooklyn, Washington D.C., Oakland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Louisville, and all other cities across the U.S. that continue to take a stand against police brutality and racism in all its forms. The importance of solidarity cannot be underestimated. As Muslims, it is a moral imperative and our Islamic obligation to stand against injustice wherever it may appear.

This means that we must stand with the oppressed, not with the leadership of the very institution that is being protested. The deafening silence of our Muslim leadership on issues of racism and racial injustice must change if we are to align ourselves with a truly Islamic vision of a just world.

With this in mind, we ask the masjid to sincerely reflect and implement these demands immediately inshaAllah:

1.) To cancel this event with the Plano Police Chief and commit to programming dedicated to understanding the history of Police violence towards Black people in this country.

2.) To commit to engaging demands by the community to divest from Police and invest in the Black community.

3.) To publish a statement of solidarity with the Black community with actions it will take to support the Black community at this time.

4.) To participate in Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative training and commit to internally addressing anti-Blackness within their locality and congregation through education, dialogue, and a firm commitment to accountability.