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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Muslim organizations in New York take stand against silence on Gaza

Despite the escalating death toll in Gaza, only a fraction of elected officials have called for a ceasefire.

The holy month of Ramadan has begun, a time of reflection, prayer, and community for Muslims around the world. However, for many Muslims in New York, this Ramadan carries a heavy weight as they witness the ongoing tragedy unfolding in Gaza. In light of this, Muslim organizations in New York are taking a stand against the silence of elected officials regarding the war on Gaza.

Silence from Elected Officials

The Majlis Ash-Shura – Islamic Leadership Council of New York, along with other Muslim organizations, expressed disappointment in the silence of local and national political leaders. Despite the escalating death toll in Gaza, only a fraction of elected officials have called for a ceasefire. This silence has led Muslim organizations to call for a boycott of politicians who have not spoken out against the violence.

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Call for Action

Majlis Ash-Shura has issued a statement advising mosques to adopt a strict no-entry policy for politicians and political campaigning during Ramadan, Eid celebrations, and Friday prayers. They argue that the presence of politicians or political discourse in sacred spaces would disturb congregants already distressed by global injustices.

Toll of the Conflict

The Gaza health ministry reports a devastating toll from the conflict, with thousands dead, wounded, and missing, the majority being women and children. The situation has been exacerbated by Israeli forces preventing Muslim worshippers from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Jerusalem, further inflaming tensions.

Political Response

Despite calls for action, many elected officials remain silent. New York City Mayor Eric Adams has not called for a ceasefire, prompting criticism from the Muslim community. Council member Shahana Hanif has called for a boycott of events hosted by Mayor Adams during Ramadan, demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Community Response

Noura Farouq, a Palestinian activist in New York, condemns the idea of working with those who contribute to the suffering in Gaza. She emphasizes the importance of holding mosques and their leadership accountable, as Islam implores Muslims to do.

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In New Jersey, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair) has released a guide for mosques, highlighting their right to only welcome public officials who support a Gaza ceasefire during Ramadan. Cair’s communication manager, Dina Sayedahmed, emphasizes that public officials must earn the support of the Muslim community by addressing the ongoing tragedy in Gaza.