Frasat Ahmad, Missionary USA
No innocent human being should have to die the way George Floyd did. It was cold-blooded murder.
But is George’s death an isolated incident, one in which an officer of the law went rogue and violated the code of ethics he swore to uphold? Or is George the latest casualty in a long line of brutal killings?
“You promised you wouldn’t kill me!” Natasha McKenna (February 2015)
“I can’t breathe!” – Freddy Gray (April 2015)
“I don’t wanna die young!” – Christian Taylor (August 2015)
“I can’t breathe!” – Eric Garner (July 2014)
“I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting!” – Michael Brown (August 2014)
“Please don’t let me die!” – Kimani Gray (Match 2013)
“Why did you shoot me?!” – Kendrec McDade (March 2012)
“What are you following me for?” – Trayvon Martin (February 2012)
“Officers, why do you have your guns out?!” – Kenneth Chamberlain (November 2011)
“You shot me! You shot me!” – Oscar Grant (January 2009)
These human beings, in all likelihood, would still be alive today if the colour of their skin was fairer, if they had not committed the “crime” of being black in a country that spurns them.
And some Americans have had enough. Citizens are spilling into the streets to protest an establishment inherently plagued by systemic racism, one that tears apart the fabric of our society by murdering innocent lives in the name of justice.
Yet, we are stuck in a vicious cycle, one where systemic discrimination causes protests. These protests are then hijacked by petty criminals and escalate into riots and looting, which further perpetuates systemic discrimination against black Americans. We must break this cycle, regardless of the inherent desire to voice our anger in the streets, regardless of the vengeance we so desperately desire. Our Khalifa has instructed us to do so.
On protesting, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah be his Helper, has taught:
“[Often], protesters vandalise or damage possessions and properties belonging either to the state or to private citizens … Even where protests or strikes are conducted peacefully, without recourse to criminal damage or violence, it still can have a very negative effect.
“This is because even peaceful protests often result in a loss of millions to the economy of the nation. Under no circumstances can such behaviour be considered to be an example of loyalty to the nation.” (Address at the Military Headquarters in Koblenz, Germany, 20 May 2012)
We cannot burn down our own homes in protest to make them hear our voices. We will only be left with char and ash. Our Khalifa has instructed us to outlet our anger and seek retribution in an entirely different manner altogether. We must let our voices be heard, not in the streets through protest, but at the ballot box. We must exercise our right to vote and cast out those elected officials who espouse policies that inflame hatred. Our right to vote is what will see an establishment that supports systemic racism burn to the ground.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah be His Helper, validates this, stating:
“If a person or group wishes to change the government, then they should do so by following the proper democratic process.”
“They should make themselves heard by voting at the ballot box … This is the true Islam.” (Ibid)
The activist, Michael Render addressed protesters and advised:
“Now is the time to plot, plan, strategise, organise and mobilise. It is time to beat up prosecutors you don’t like at the voting booth. It is time to hold mayoral offices accountable, chiefs and deputy chiefs.” (CNN, Killer Mike urges Atlanta protesters ‘not to burn your own house down’ in emotional plea)
3 November is just around the corner. In mere months, the 2020 United States elections will be held. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives, 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate and the office of president of the United States will be contested.
No amount of protest, looting or street violence will bring George Floyd back. But exercising our right to vote and changing the faces of power can ensure that another innocent life will not be robbed from us.
Don’t let George Floyd die in vain. Vote!
Let us also remember these words of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa:
“It is the duty of members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to pray for both sides to desist from excesses and cruelties. Those who can help to create a peaceful environment within their spheres of influence should make efforts towards doing so. May Allah the Almighty save the world from a state of anarchy and may disorder and strife rapidly transform into a state of peace.” (Friday Sermon, 9 January 2015)