The world looks on in shock following the sad death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was in US police custody. Tahir Magazine’s team of young Atfal writers have exclusively spoken to American Ahmadi Muslims as well as experts on policing and international diplomacy in the following special report.
“People are fed up,” says Auntie Rizwana sahiba, an African American Ahmadi Muslim, speaking to Tahir Magazine.
Her succinct summary of the global situation comes only days after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was allegedly killed by Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer. Chauvin was filmed kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck a short while before he passed away. The police officer has since been dismissed and charged with murder, while the death has sparked protests across America and around the world.
Rizwana sahiba describes the killing as unjust and the product of years of systemic injustice: “[Recent protests for African-American rights] started in 2010, and people are still protesting. People are frustrated.”
Rizwana sahiba’s sense of loss is shared by many Americans. Auntie Mobashara sahiba tells Tahir Magazine: “It’s a sad affair! All we can do is pray for the family of Mr Floyd, that may Allah give them the strength to bear their loss and pray to Allah almighty that he may rid the world of all forms of cruelty.”
Similarly, Sir Iftikhar Ayaz, an international diplomat based in London, adds: “My own children live in America. People around America aren’t able to sleep in worry, my children among them.”
The Tahir Magazine team asked retired British police officer, Mr Kamran Chughtai, for his expert analysis of the ongoing crisis facing policing in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death. He said: “Law enforcement are not exempt of the law! In certain countries race and cultural divides unfortunately still exist, and lessons need to be learned to instil public confidence in the police. This kind of thing should not be happening in this day and age in any country, although sadly far too often we hear disturbing news of this kind.”
Unfortunately, there are a small minority of people who have taken advantage of this crisis, pillaging and looting stores. Sir Iftikhar Ayaz says that people should only protest peacefully and take their complaints to the government in a peaceful way. Then, the Government should respond with justice. “All people should be treated equally under the law of the country, as we are all equal in Allah’s eyes. All humans were created by God, the colour of the skin does not matter.”
Rizwana sahiba also touches on this subject, stating that we must be peaceful, and that we have been taught to approach all situations carefully. “To fix injustice, we need to start with ourselves,” as she beautifully put it, “we must inform our own family of what is going on, be peaceful advocates. Educate people so we can help future generations not buy into [racism].”
In the face of all this, what is Islam’s response? God Almighty states in Surah Hujrat, Verse 10 of the Holy Quran: ‘O ye who believe! let not one people deride [mock] another people.’ This shows that no one from any nation is better than any other.
As the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa said on the last pilgrimage of Mecca: “O Ye Men! Your God is One and your ancestor is one. An Arab possesses no superiority on a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab over an Arab; A white is in no way superior to a black or a red, nor, for that matter, a red or a black to a white, but only to the extent to which he discharges his duty to God and man. The most honoured among you in the Sight of God is the most righteous among you.”
NURUDDIN JHEENGOOR, HASHIM KHAN & FARAN AFZAL
Junior Journalists, Atfal Trainee Scheme
Additional reporting by