Our prayers go out to all of the victims of the most recent acts of violence in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas against Black Americans and law enforcement. These senseless acts continue to devastate our families, our communities and leaves our country on end of a new-civil war.  Justice must be done in America for those whose lives were taken.  Killing police officers is not the way forward.

Imam Johari Abdul-Malik said, “As I understand Islam, if you take the life of one person, it would be as if you had killed a whole people.  Yet, revenge is not a model for the prophet Muhammad, Jesus or Moses…(peace be upon them), we must commit justice.  The scriptures state in the Quran, ‘Do justice even if it is against your own self.”

There remain three elements at the core this crisis; (1) an atmosphere of intolerance and bigotry along with law enforcement officers exhibiting racial biases, (2) emotionally unstable and potentially violent individuals having (3) nearly unlimited access to fire power and ammunition.

Theses serious challenges we continue to face us as a nation until we develop an active citizenry with enough power to make real and lasting change.  

In response to this climate of crisis, last night Imam Johari Abdul-Malik stood shoulder to shoulder with local faith and community leaders at an interfaith town hall meeting on police brutality against Black-Americans at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C.   The pastor, Reverend Graylan Hagler, indicted the local judicial system for its failure to convict police officers involved in the use of deadly force against countless innocent Black-Americans. Just as federal troops protected peaceful demonstrators during the Civil Rights Movement, we are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to take over all racially polarizing investigations of police brutality across the nation due to a widespread perception in injustice by local prosecutors.

After meetings with White House and top administration officials, a portion of the demands made by Dar al-Hijrah and other partners were met last week by the DOJ when they announced a requirement for “implicit bias training” for more than 23,000 agents employed by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and U.S. Marshall’s Service, as well as the approximately 5,800 attorneys working in the 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country. We demand that all law enforcement agencies at the state and local levels implement the same “implicit bias” training program, and we are requesting a meeting with Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring

In continuing Dar Al-Hijrah’s long-standing work to keep our communities safe, we are developing an interfaith action plan at both the local and federal level, challenging congregations across racial, socio-economic lines to come together around violence prevention. In response to the uptick in gun violence, Dar al- Hijrah Islamic Center along with Westmoreland United Church of Christ have begun meeting with congregations to take a stand on gun violence prevention in our congregations and hate-fueled violence throughout our nation.

Eternal Vigilance is the guardian of liberty.  We look forward to working with partners on a variety of violence-prevention initiatives and welcome your participation. If you would like to get involved, please contact our Deputy Director of Government Affairs, Colin Christopher at [email protected] or text 202-345-5233

Dar Al-Hijrah is a VOICE (Virginians Organize for Interfaith Community Engagement) congregation and member of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, IFCMW.org