I am being quiet.
I am being quiet on Mamanushka. Quiet on my social media. Quiet while sipping my morning coffee and quiet while on my evening walks.
I am being quiet in these places so I can be less quiet in other places.
I am being less quiet with my friends, I am being less quiet with my children’s school, I am being less quiet with my pledges and less quiet with my donations.
I am also watching. Watching people I know, communities I am part of, companies I support and public figures I follow grapple with how to, finally, speak out against oppressions which aren’t on the other side of the world.
It’s easy to be on the ‘right side of history’ when that side is trendy. When not saying anything will negatively impact your bottom line, your influence, your collaborations and cohesions. There’s a need to express the right thing, even if you aren’t doing the right thing and haven’t we all seen a lot of that?
Conversely, the fear of appearing performative can stop us from showing up at all, but it is this very fear which gives us the internal check we need to make sure that we are doing more than we are showing. That our intentions are clear. That we can look inside ourselves and to our most immediate connections and acknowledge that no matter how much we’ve done before, there is still so much more to be done.
As a non-Black Muslim mother, I don’t need to be convinced that Black Lives Matter. They do. I don’t need halaqas explaining that some prophets were Black or which blessed companions of our most beloved messenger were Black. I don’t need to be reminded that our esteemed matriarch Hajar was Black nor that her honoured son was biracial.
These facts are important and these stories should be told all the time. They are critical to our history and not talked about enough.
But I don’t need them in order to understand the fundamental truth that my faith requires me to stand for justice and against brutality of any kind. Requires me to learn the best and most effective ways of doing this. Requires me to teach my children that an Islam which is not for the oppressed, and that does not liberate from oppression, is no Islam at all.
I am being quiet but I am getting louder. Join me.
Use These Templates To Write Your Children’s School About Racial Justice
It can feel unimportant at times like these. A letter. What can a letter do? And it’s true, writing a letter doesn’t infuse us with the deep vibrations of solidarity and purpose the way a demonstration does. It doesn’t feel the way a protest feels. It’s not ‘big’ and it can even be a little lonely.
But as the first step in calling for real, actionable change within our immediate spheres of influence, there is no better way than to start with a letter. It’s important to put it in writing so there is an official record you are always able to refer back to and also gather support around.
If you are the parent of school-going children, then remember that for year after year, school is where they spend the majority of their waking hours. Not with us. Not in extracurriculars. But in school itself, so if you focus in on affecting change within your school, it can have the largest functional impact for your neighbourhood.
Use one of these letter templates below to write your headteacher, principal or trustees and ask them how they will be addressing, identifying and implementing antiracist policies now and in the near future. I’ve separated these letter templates by countries as each is tailored to their specific national context.
If you live in the USA, and have not heard from your school about antiracism or Black Lives Matter, then know this is completely unacceptable and say so by using this letter:
Antiracism Letter for Schools in America Google Doc
Antiracism Letter for Schools in America Direct Download
If you live in the UK, know that anti-black racism is not confined to America. The tragic death of schoolgirl Shukri Abdi and countless studies and reports continue to highlight schools across the as key sites for racist policies and actions. Ask your school what they are doing about it by using this letter:
Antiracism Letter for Schools in the UK Google Doc
Antiracism Letter for Schools in the UK Direct Download
If you live in Pakistan, then you know that racism and colourism is embedded in almost every aspect of life and does real harm to our children. Ask your school about how they are approaching these issues by using this letter:
Antiracism Letter for Schools In Pakistan Google Doc
Antiracism Letter for Schools In Pakistan Direct Download
If you live in Australia, one in three school children are victims of racial discrimination. Query your school on how they intend to address this and further antiracism policies by using this letter (courtesy of Dr. Sofia Ahmed):
Antiracism Letter for Schools in Australia Google Doc
Antiracism Letter for Schools in Australia Direct Download
Don’t see a letter template for your country? Please write one and share it with us and we will add it to this list.
Teach Common Social Justice Terms To Your Kids With This Free Printable
Say it and explain it. Raising thoughtful, inclusive, antiracist children is the ultimate act of resistance and hope. Understanding terms, their definitions and how they work in the world is key to fostering critical thinking and positive action. Use these definitions to further investigate not only our own response to current events but also to identify examples of social justice from our own Muslim tradition.
We’ve created this free printable based on kid-friendly definitions from The Luminary Wordbank so you can have easy access to common social justice terms. Print it out, hang it up, share it with others.
Colour This Reminder And Pledge To Speak Out For Justice
Our Lord commands us to “Be mindful of God and speak out for justice”. Colour in this reminder yourself and with your children. Discuss what it means to “speak out” and use this time to put the terms from the printable into a Divine context. Remind them that when we speak out for justice, we are following the way of our beloved Prophet Muhammad and all the prophets and messengers before him.
Add your names to the bottom of your colouring page. Let everyone say out loud the affirmation. Place it somewhere you can see it everyday. Experience together, the strength and baraka that comes from pledging yourself to sacred actions.
Bonus: Share Your Own Efforts And Inspire Others
Our last post discussed 5 Steps You Can Take Toward Being An Antiracist Muslim Right Now and, in case you missed it the first time around, go and read it now as those actions, which include what to read, who to support and where to donate are still crucial to our collective struggle for a more just and equitable world.