Statement on the Death of George Floyd on Behalf of Connecticut’s Muslim Community
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un / “Verily we belong to God, and verily to Him do we return.”
Social media images of the incident that ended with death of Mr. George Floyd highlight that the justice system in America is broken and cannot be repaired until bad cops are held accountable for their actions. Mr. Floyd died in the custody of Minneapolis police after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes until he lost consciousness despite repeated pleas from him that he could not breath.
These types of extrajudicial killings of African Americans have occurred all too frequently across the country for decades, and Connecticut has not been spared. In January, Mubarak Soulemane an unarmed 19-year-old African American teenager with a history of schizophrenia was shot by state troopers after a high-speed car chase. In 2017, Jayson Nagron, an unarmed 15-year-old boy was killed by Bridgeport police in the aftermath of another high speed chase.
The public’s trust in law enforcement will not be regained unless an independent agency not affiliated with local law enforcement is established to investigate such incidents, and in a way that does not show or appear to show favor or bias towards police officers.
At the same time, we acknowledge the role of law enforcement in our society and encourage a department by department evaluation. Islamic centers in Connecticut have always had a good relationship with their local police forces. We encourage peaceful demonstrations within the boundaries of the law and stand against wanton and indiscriminate looting and destruction of public and private buildings.
Islam reaffirms in many ways the equality of all human beings. In our scripture, the Holy Qu’ran, God proclaims “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.” The Hadith, the sayings of our Prophet Muhammed, emphasizes this point. He is reported as saying: ‘Raise your head and look about, you are not better than any individual regardless whether he is of a red or black skin color. No one is better than the other except through piety.”
Systemic racism in America lies at the heart of the problem not only with policing in our country but with the wider economic disparity faced by the African Americans. The legitimate expression of anger we see in our streets through people of all colors coming out and protesting the death of George Floyd is a manifestation of the deep hurt and pain that racism has caused.
May the one who holds all life in his dominion grant peace and comfort to the family ofGeorge Floyd and all those who have lost their lives at the hand of police brutality. The Muslim community in Connecticut stands ready to work with our brothers and sisters in faith and with our elected representatives to ensure that our communities come to common understanding and healing and stand firm for justice for all people.
This statement was endorsed by the following mosques: Bridgeport Islamic Community Center,Islamic American Society of Connecticut/Masjid Mustafa (Waterbury), Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, and Farmington Valley American Muslim Center