18 Jun MEssage from Sadr Majlis
|My Dear Khuddam and Atfal,السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاتهRe: Instructions from Markaz regarding the current protests and racial tensions that are happening in the USA|
I have received instructions from Markaz regarding the current situation and whether we can partake in protests. The instructions are:
1. Ahmadi Khuddam can take part in protests, if they wish, but must do so in a personal capacity.
2. If they do take part in the protests then they should not take part in anything that is illegal or where violence or damage to personal or State property occurs. If peaceful protests show any sign of escalating, then they should remove themselves from the situation.
3. Given the current situation, not only is it morally wrong to take part in protests that lead to confrontation with authorities, it is also dangerous and could lead to Ahmadis taking part being arrested or injured. Furthermore, if Ahmadis are involved in such extreme protests, even in a personal capacity, it reflects on the Jamaat and on the blessed name of the Promised Messiah (as).
4. Both Umoor-e-Kharija and Khuddam administrations should seek to educate members that protests are of limited effect. There have been other occasions where marches or protests have taken place going back to the days of Martin Luther King but the problems remain systemic. They should be educated that to get rights will require planning and a longer term strategy, as the effects of protests are often short term and limited. The real way to affecting change requires a more astute way to pressure the authorities. For example, every member should be mobilized to use their civic and democratic rights, rather than staying at home on election days. They in turn, should encourage other citizens that if they want to affect change then they should take part in the democratic process, at all levels, as this is the means to bring change and vote in people who will further their rights and causes. Meet with state officials, national officials, consider ways in which, whilst remaining within the law, pressure can be placed so that the authorities are forced to act with justice.
5. If Khuddam want to hold some Khidmat-e-Khalq events in the name of justice for African Americans then this is permissible. One way could be that Khuddam identify the real, peaceful protests and go there and take lunches or snacks etc. for the protestors, or others, who are there for a good cause.
6. Instead of Black Lives Matter try to promote: Innocent Lives Matter or Supremacy of Justice.
7. There is no need for us to enter the debate regarding ‘taking a knee’, where people are kneeling down in front of the national flag or when the anthem is played. This is a political gesture which we do not need to either condone or condemn.
8. Our actions, as Ahmadi Muslims, regarding the term ‘Black Lives Matter’ will always be underpinned by Islam’s teachings. Thus, our statements and pronouncements are not motivated by politics but are always derived from the Holy Quran and the life and teachings of the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw). It is for this reason that better slogans, when confronting the issue are ‘Innocent Lives Matter’ and the ‘Supremacy of Justice’.
9. The term ‘Innocent Lives Matter’ is inspired by the Quranic teaching that the murder of even one innocent person is akin to killing the whole to mankind and the term ‘Supremacy of Justice’ is inspired by the Quran’s teachings that justice is paramount and the Farewell Sermon of the Holy Prophet (saw) in which he said that a white person is not superior to a black person or an Arab to a non-Arab. Hence, this term rejects and refutes the claim of those people who consider that the white race has ‘supremacy’. Rather, it is ‘justice’ that is supreme.
10. Though we may get some short-term popularity or credit by using the term ‘Black Lives Matter’ it will mean that we are following a slogan designed by others for political reasons and in the long term there will be no benefit to this.
11. For generations Black people or other minorities have sought to get their rights through marches and protests but it has not led to systemic changes. Thus, Ahmadis should recognise that true success will be achieved through following principles of Islamic teachings and not by following the latest political trends. Consequently, in accordance to Islam, our campaigns and efforts should be focused on ensuring that Black people and other minorities take part fully in all democratic processes and they focus on being represented in all levels of government, law enforcement and other sectors so that real change can occur.
12. Some people quote the fact that Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) conducted a rally for the people of Kashmir, however this was a prelude to the real efforts that were made through diligent efforts and submissions at a committee level, which was where substantive changes were made.
13. ‘Supreme Justice’, ‘Justice Supreme’ may also be used as part of the ‘Supremacy of Justice’ campaign on social media to raise awareness effectively.
Serving as Ṣadr Majlis Khuddāmul Aḥmadiyya
United States of America