Ours is Not a Caravan of Despair

By Arshia Ali-Khan

January 13, 2o23

Assalamualaikum my dear brothers and sisters,


I stand before you today – and bear witness to the cries of our sisters being locked up in solitary confinement, drugged for 23 of the 24 hours a day; being pulled apart from her 2-year-old son;


I bear witness to our brothers being chained, and beaten in custody, and held without any charge; learning about the passing of their mothers behind bars and not being able to be with them.


I bear witness to our youth being arrested and charged for posting something on the internet (out of ignorance, not malice) – facing 30 years; yes 30 years of jail time for posting something.


I bear witness to families being torn apart, I bear witness to my clients and staff developing PTSD because of what they have endured and or witnessed.


I know this is hard stuff to hear, I know, but this is also real and happening today in America and worldwide. “Ahad! Ahad! Ahad.” (Bilal RA)


Ignorance, my dear brothers, and sisters is not an excuse. We must rise. We must organize. We must get out of our own ways. We must support organizations that you see here at MAS, on this stage and on the floor fighting for our collective futures, for our today; and for our next generation. What we do today matters and directly affects what comes next for us.


If not us, then who? If not now then, when? We as American Muslims have the power to effect change, demand change, create new laws, to dismantle the ones that have locked us into fear, that have locked us into apathy.


Our beloved Prophet (SAW) cared deeply. Cared with everything he had and everything he was for us, for his ummah. We need to care. We need to care deeply, and we need to determine – each and every one of us – what we CAN DO. We can ALL do something; we can all show up! “Ours is not a caravan of despair.” (Rumi)


We need you – as much as you need us. If you don’t know what we are doing – find us, ask us, hold us accountable – there are over 7,000 Muslim nonprofits in the United States working to make a difference; together we must be the change we wish to see. Freedom isn’t always free – so what is it worth to you?


Sources:


Why Bilal cried ‘Ahadun Ahad’ | Ink of Faith