First off, I am not quite sure how the Orlando massacre has made a u-turn to Muslims. Yes, I know Muslims are the new flavor of the month and some of our elected officials have bent over so far backwards for the Muslim community that it is embarrassingly pandering. No doubt there is hatred by some against Muslims and there has always been a hatred toward the LGBT community, BUT are not we overlooking the most blatant hate (sometimes in subtle ways) toward black people and black communities (not just white, but other ethnic groups as well as other black people too). Now I am not taking anything away or undermining the hatred towards LGBT and Muslims folks, not at all. But are not we forgetting a group of people who for ages has faced racism in one form or another for decades and which today still exists, even though the supreme court and others feel that “racism isn’t really an issue anymore.”
I mean look at the disrespect that President Obama has had to endure his entire term, not just from voters, but the media and other politicians (remember Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s finger in the fact of the President). How about the white men who brought guns to an event where President Obama was speaking or Donald Trump’s birther bullshit or assholes like Sarah Palin saying “he does not love America like we do”.
All over the country, including so-called liberal NYC, there is hatred toward black people.
Or what about black communities that have been allowed to fall into chaos all across the country while elected officials and leaders (many even black themselves) turn the other way. We allowed a major city, Detroit, to fall into ruins. Look at Camden, NJ & Ferguson, MO. And look at the catastrophe that is happening in Flint, MI and look how long it went on before the media picked the story up (thanks to Rachel Maddow). Look at all the voter suppression taking place across the country that affects mostly black people. Look at the mass incarceration of so many non-violent black men whose lives were ruined and sequentially the communities. Looks at NYCHA housing, which is really coming to the forefront now.
Look at how for so long rappers, MTV & Russel Simmons portrayed black people in music and videos, especially black females who became so disrespectfully known as “hoe’s”, “bitches” and “gold-diggers”. I am sure many white men who never lived among black people thought that this is how black females really are instead of the beautiful and strong women that many are. Females were used basically as prop, a thing, a booty, a sex object, not a human being.
Mayor deBlasio and Public Advocate Letitia James came out to Jamaica not too long after the San Bernardino shooting to speak to a group of Muslims about hate. Neither one of these leaders EVER came out to Jamaica to speak to the black community about all the shootings and killing, the poor quality of life, especially in parts of South Jamaica, the lack of proper services, the dumping of poisonous waste facilities like Royal Waste in a residential area and directly across from Detective Keith Williams Park or the dumping of countless homeless shelters in this community. Both have been MIA on these issues and our public advocate is black, yet took the time to come out to speak to a group of Muslims, while NEVER doing that with the black community. APPALLING.
So if we are going to talk about hate and be TRUTHFUL & REAL, let us not forget a group of people who have been hated since day one in this country, black people, which sadly continues to this very day and which is just part of the status quo. UNACCEPTABLE.
From Queens Tribune:
Muslims, LGBT Are Allies Against Hate
BY ALI NAJMI
The recent attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando was a horrific act of violence leading to the largest loss of life from a mass shooting in American history. The images of family members mourning and not knowing the whereabouts of their children—whether they were dead or alive—has affected all of us and will stay with us longer than we like. The hatred shown that day by Mr. Omar Mateen, however, will not divide our community. The coalitions of diverse community members that work together in Queens, and have existed long before this tragedy, boldly defy his message of hate and will continue to do so.
Mr. Mateen was clearly a mentally unstable man. His ex-wife’s descriptions of his anger, physical violence towards her and his own steroid abuse point to a man with many troubles. New reports have come out indicating Mr. Mateen may have been gay himself and struggling with his own identity. He frequently attended the same gay club where this tragedy took place and was subscribed to an online gay dating service. Yet the fact that he was a Muslim and pledged allegiance to ISIS before this tragedy has lead to conclusions that Islam as a religion is to blame. However, that is not the Islam I know, or the Islam that my mother taught me. Nor is it the Islam that millions of Muslims in the United States recognize.
A large gathering of local Muslim leaders and neighbors stood side by side with LGBT leaders this past Sunday in Jackson Heights to show solidarity with the LGBT community in this time. Local, national and international Muslim leaders and clergy have denounced Mr. Mateen’s actions unequivocally.
The most troubling part of Mr. Mateen’s horrific acts is that he specifically targeted a gay nightclub. The LGBT community and its leadership have been the most prominent and vocal voices against Islamophobia and anti-Muslim attacks. Councilman Danny Dromm’s leadership is one of the best examples of this. As an openly gay Councilman, he continues to hold a sign that states, “I am Muslim too.” He first held that sign in 2010 to protest the increased anti-Muslim vitriol being spewed by U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island) and others at that time.
As a straight man, I hold a pride flag and march in pride parades to reciprocate this solidarity and because I believe the fight against homophobia, transphobia and Islamophobia are linked. The solution is to build a culture where people of conscious, regardless of religion or sexual orientation, respect each other and work together for a greater good and to suppress hatred in all its forms. We have been doing that and will continue to do so. Mr. Mateen and others like him will never be able to stop us.
Ali Najmi is an attorney based in Kew Gardens and co-founder of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York.