Friday, October 17, 2014

Press Conference of the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan
New York, City Hall, NYC Oct. 14, 2014

A Call to Justice and Rejection of Violent Extremism
A Statement from the Majlis Ash-Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of
Metropolitan New York

Thirteen years ago during the immediate aftermath of the september 11th atrocities, the Majlis Ash-Shura, also known as the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York, wrote and distributed 10,000 brochures on the streets of our city. The brochures conveyed our message of condolences to all who lost loved ones in those horrid attacks. We denounced terrorism, which we identified as politically motivated violence against innocents.  Further, we urged the Western powers to seriously investigate those factors that were fomenting extremism amongst Muslims.
Today, our message remains essentially the same.  Throughout the planet,  there are people of different racial and ethnic groups, many religions or beliefs,  or lack thereof, and various political ideologies, who are committing terrorist acts.  Regretfully, extremist Muslims are to be found amongst them
No reasonable person blames all Christians or Christianity itself, or all Jews or Judaism itself, or all Hindus or Buddhists or their faiths, or atheists for that matter, for acts of terrorism committed by a distinct minority of people from those groups. Yet too often we find Muslims collectively burdened with guilt by association of faith, when individuals or groups who claim to be acting in the name of Islam, instead act outside of it’s  moral and ethical boundaries. Then the media or others , place the blame for atrocities on Islamic extremists or terrorists, when our faith is not extreme nor does it advocate terrorism.
Since the very night of September 11, 2001,  Muslim groups throughout America and the world have been denouncing the targeting of innocent, non-combatant civilians and others, by extremist Muslims. Yet all of us are constantly asked “Why don’t you say something?” To which we reply “We have, and we are, the question is why aren’t you aware of that?”
So today, we as leaders of Muslim congregations and houses of worship throughout New York City, say again for all to hear that we denounce acts of extremist violence no matter whom or what. Certainly there are violent extremists who are Muslims, but their acts of terrorism are not Islamic. They are un-Islamic.
In our society we hear from the lips of Islamophobes or those influenced by them, that the canonical law of Islam, Sharia law, is to blame for acts of terrorism committed by extremist Muslims. However the truth is that the sacred laws of our faith, forbid the very acts being committed by extremist Muslims, be they individuals or groups.
So as Muslim leaders in New York City, we stand in solidarity with the distinct majority of people throughout America and the world, including the viable scholars of our religion both here in America and abroad, in denouncing all acts of political violence committed by extremist individuals, groups, or governments, regardless of the color of their skin, the country of their origin, their religion or lack thereof, or their politics.
We do so because as Muslim leaders we stand for justice. We are ever mindful that there are injustices in the world that need to be righted. We feel the pain in our hearts, of Muslims oppressed anywhere in the world. Too many of those injustices are committed by Muslims against Muslims and others, and vice-versa. It matters not the identity of the perpetuators of injustice, nor its victims. Right is right and wrong is wrong is wrong, and oppression and injustice are wrong , no matter whom or what.  However we of the Majlis Ash-Shura do not believe that two wrongs make a right. We are here today to make it clear that struggling for justice is right, and violent extremism is wrong.
             Today, we are announcing our implementation of a Four-Point-Citywide response, to appeals from anywhere in the world, calling Muslims to acts of terrorism:
1.     Beginning this week, on our web-site and in social media, we are posting our principled opposition against terrorism, with evidences from the primary sources of our faith - our holy book the Qur’an, and the Sunna, or Prophetic tradition of the Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, to whom the Qur’an was revealed, peace be upon him.
2.     We continue to declare that we stand for both public safety and the civil, constitutional and human rights of all Americans, including Muslims. We continue to stand ready to partner reasonably with those whose commitment is to both of these essential elements of American society.
3.      This Friday Oct 17th, simultaneous sermons will be delivered at mosques throughout the city upholding the principle of justice, yet denouncing extremist acts and tactics that exceed the boundaries of Islamic sacred law.
4.     This November, we will once again sponsor our citywide mosque open-house events, as we have done for the past four years; where-in Muslim houses of worship will open their doors for visits and activities, with our neighbors of other faiths.
Lastly, we call upon the governments of the world to stop using state-sponsored violence as a tool of oppression and repression of the masses of people seeking freedom, justice, and equality. We call for the elimination of poverty, which is itself a weapon of mass destruction *, as well as all economic, political, and social injustice, which leaves persons vulnerable to calls to extremism, as the only viable solution to the very real problems of society.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Wednesday, April 16, 2014 . Yesterday,  Police Commissioner William Bratton announced the disbanding of the  NYPD Special Surveillance Unit, that targeted the Muslim community for years under the leadership of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. The Majlis Ash-Shura of Metropolitan New York congratulates all Muslims in New York City and beyond, and our many allies, who "dared to struggle, dared to win" against such an injustice. 

To all who spoke out, marched, rallied, wrote, litigated and engaged in every possible act of legal resistance, know that Allah has blessed your efforts. You were determined to stand for our communal and individual civil, constitutional and human rights. You refused to be intimidated and compromise for the sake of expediency. You were criticized and rebuffed by the former mayor and police commissioner and boycotted their photo ops. You did not defend nor apologize for their actions. Instead, you supported the leadership of the Majlis Ash-Shura as we all stood together on the front lines of struggle.  

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) commanded us to change evil with our hands when we see it. If we can't do that he said, then speak out against it. If we can't do that, then hate and resist it in your hearts he continued, but that is the weakest of faith. Brothers and sisters, know that you have demonstrated your strong faith and must continue to do so.

Two years before 9-11 , officers of an NYPD special unit unjustly killed an innocent Muslim African immigrant named Amadou Diallo. Eventually after much public opposition, struggle and legal action, the unit was disbanded but the need for police reform continues to this day. Likewise, the disbanding of the NYPD Demographics Unit is a beginning not an end. We must remain both vigilant and diligent in protecting our rights and those of all people.

Mayor DeBlasio has set the tone for an atmosphere in which meaningful changes can occur in NYPD policies and procedures. Our prayer is that his vision will be our vision , and that  Police Commissioner Bratton will be true to his word and lead the NYPD towards a 21st century model of policing, that ensures public safety while safeguarding the constitutional, civil, and human rights of all citizens.
May Allah bless our Muslim leaders with the courage to stand for what is right and just, oneness of purpose, unity of ranks, and the wisdom to act in effective strategic ways,  that will secure meaningful victories for our community, and all of humanity.

NEW YORK, N.Y. 10019

(212) 203-5098

Sunday, July 28, 2013



Even though I find it curious that the shortcomings you attribute to "most Black-American Imams" can only be attributed to us in your view , I state nonetheless that if you are a sincere Muslim and believe what you say, then pray for those of us whom you cite. Perhaps we'll meet your standards one day.

If you are an enemy of Islam trying to sow the seeds of fitna (and I say that because your letter in form and content reminds me of those sent during the COINTELPRO era, including your use of a return address of another masjid -auuthu bil-laah), then may Allah humiliate and expose you.

Oh btw, next time use spell check !

Sunday, July 14, 2013


After the Indictment of Trayvon  the Dead Victim
And the Acquital of George Zimmerman, the Killer

By Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid

As long as white folk continue to deny the ongoing existence of racism
And its impact on themselves, black folk, all people of color, and
American life
Racism will never be eradicated in America.

As long as “good White folk” remain in denial as to their own implicit race bias
And the enduring legacy of white supremacy on American policies and institutions,
Injustice will remain ascendant in the land.

As long as white folk, when confronted by the apparent ugly truths
of racial injustice
Are afraid to speak or act  with equity , but choose to uphold double standards
And keep the flames of injustice burning, the soul of the nation decays.

“If you Black, get back.
If you’re White, you’re alright.
If you’re Brown, stick around.
If you’re yellow, it’s mellow.”

As long as black folk are afraid to be uncompromising
In the face of injustice,  but insist on trying to get along
With those who don’t want to get along with them

Yo bro’ - Smile if you must but resist
and stop laughing to keep from crying

Yo sis’ - our fratricide is no excuse for their genocide

It AIN’T Post-racial!  Not yet.

As long as courts continue to generate the same results
Time after time after time,

Trayvons and Cliffords and Amadou, Amadou, Amadou
Sean and Anthony, RaMarley, Hilton, and Mohammadou, Mohammadou, Mohammadou

Will be duplicated and replicated,
Lives stolen by devils with guns, in uniform and out

No justice, just-us
No justice, just –us
Never justice, just -us

As long as  inquiring minds must ask

“Why are White boys rarely killed by Black police officers
and never killed by Black vigilantes?

“Why are Black police officers killed by not-so-friendly fire from
White police officers, but never the reverse?”

Something wrong, something wrong

There must be a solution beyond shouts and shots,
Shouts and shots,

There is a solution. It’s called Truth and Courage.

But who will stand up, to themselves?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013



first row, beginning from right to left: plaintiff Asad Dandia (white shirt with black tie), Majlis Executive Committee member Imam Siraj Wahhaj (representing Masjid At-Taqwa as a plaintiff), me (Imam Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid) , Amir of The Majlis, plaintiff Imam Hamid Hassan Raza, of Masjidul-Ansar, attorney Hina Shamsi of The ACLU, attorney Ramzi Kassem of City University of NY CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility) , Dalia Shams, also of  CLEAR
2nd row, right to left , Majlis secretary, Imam Abdul-Azeem Khan of Masjid Omar bin Abdul-Aziz, Imam Charles Aziz Bilal of Masjid Alhamdulillah, Imam Ayub Abdul-Baki of The Tauhid Center for Islamic Development, Attorney Art Eisenberg of the ACLU (far left)


President, The Islamic Leadership Council Of Metropolitan N.Y.
9 Sha'baan 1434 A.H./June 18, 2013 A.H.

Good morning, peace be unto you all, and As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum. The Majlis Ash-Shura  of Metropolitan NY is a network of some 46 Muslim congregations and organizations representing thousands of Muslim men, women, youth, and children. We are here in representation of  that significant Muslim constituency , to stand with the members of this hard-working legal team. We do so in expression of a common belief of all Muslims in this city and beyond, and people of other faiths as well. We believe that all faith communities, including our own, have a right to exist without stigma, and without having undue suspicion cast upon us, because of our religion.
In the years since 9-11, the NYPD under the command leadership of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, has covertly altered the status of Muslim houses of worship , from what the Police Department once called “sensitive locations”, to what they now identify as “locations of concern”.
Since that tragic day 12 years ago this coming September, our civil society has wrestled with the task of establishing a balance between public safety on one hand, and on the other, the human right to equal treatment and protection under the law for all people, including Muslims.
Many people in New York City have been misled into thinking that violation of the rights of the minority, are necessary for the safety and security of the majority. It is not. As both citizens and neighbors, we Muslims seek , as the Prophet Jeremiah exhorted, “the safety and security of the city”. This is our concern for  our neighbors, and ourselves.
But when Muslim New Yorkers are led to believe that we cannot trust all  police officers to be loyal to their oath of duty to safeguard all people equally; when we instead witness some officers enforcing a discriminatory policy of surveillance , resulting from suspicion based upon religious affiliation alone, it undermines our ability to partner with law enforcement, and that renders all New Yorkers less safe, not more safe.
50 years ago too many elected and law enforcement officials in our country, believed and maintained that unjust discriminatory policies profiling citizens because of their race or ethnicity, were not unconstitutional. Eventually they were proven wrong. and our country is better because of that.
Today in our city and country, there are those who believe , and after today will continue to maintain, that profiling because of religion, or at least our religion, and it’s resulting suspicion-less surveillance of Muslim men, women, and youth ,where we worship, study in universities, or socialize, is not unconstitutional .
They are unapologetic in their defense of their unjust policies. They might even scour the Muslim community, until they find some unaware soul whom they consider to be “opinion makers”, who will stand with them in defense of discrimination against our community. Allah willing, one day they too will be proven wrong. and the city and the country will benefit.
Discrimination against Muslims is unconstitutional , and we refuse to be scapegoated because of the thoughts or actions of an unbalanced few, who claim the same religion as we do.
We too are unapologetic. But we are unapologetically Muslim, and unapologetically American. As Americans, Muslims are entitled to equal protection under the law, and freedom from discrimination, just as all citizens are regardless of their religion, or lack thereof.
Equal protection and freedom are not just for Christians and Jews, and their places of worship. They are for everyone. It is is not just churches and synagogues, but also mosques and temples that are sacred locations , equally entitled to protocols of respect and regard .
As for ourselves as Muslims, we will continue to pray to the God of Justice. We look forward to our day in court, and on that day, may justice prevail.