Rising tensions in Gaza and how it effects our community in the US

Rising tensions in Gaza and how it effects our community in the US

Delivered by Mufti Didmar Faja at the Annual gathering of at the 15th Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner Banquet, organized by AZ Muslim Advisery Board on October 21, 2023.

Dear Honorables. This gathering stands as evidence of the enduring commitment of Muslims in Arizona to collaborate and support the invaluable work carried out by our police chiefs, officers, and elected officials in our sun-scorched state.

At times, our Muslim clerics and community members have faced discrimination, threats, and insults from various individuals and even radical organizations. In my experience, our police departments have consistently come to the aid of Muslim citizens, displaying the utmost professionalism while doing so. I extend our deep appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to our dedicated police officers and chiefs who have consistently stood by us.

It’s important to acknowledge that there have been instances when our community has expressed concern over the actions of certain officers. Nevertheless, we must avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Our commitment to cooperation with our police departments remains unwavering to ensure the maintenance of peace and security in our broader society.

Presently, our clerics and the wider Muslim community are deeply troubled and often angered by the plight of innocent citizens in Gaza, Palestine. We stand firmly for their rights and unreservedly condemn the actions of the Israeli government, which have resulted in the loss of innocent lives, including numerous children, and the destruction of essential institutions such as mosques, schools, churches, and hospitals. The deprivation of basic necessities like food, water, electricity, and fuel from innocent Gazans is deemed war crimes by the United Nations.

The actions, or lack thereof, by several politicians, including the U.S. Ambassador to the UN and President Biden, regarding the ceasefire during this humanitarian crisis, has led to profound disappointment and anger among our clerics and Muslim communities in America. It seems that a significant portion of U.S. media exhibits double standards when it comes to Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims, which could potentially contribute to the demonization and extremism against Muslims in the United States.

This, in turn, can lead to the radicalization of certain individuals who may resort to violence against Muslim citizens in the U.S., as exemplified by the tragic murder of 6-year-old Odey Al Fayoume and the repeated stabbings of his mother. These incidents represent dehumanization and hatred directed towards Muslims living in the United States.

As Muslim clerics, we emphasize that the Palestinian cause is a Muslim cause. We share our faith with the majority of Palestinians and have our third holiest and sacred mosque, Masjid Al-Aqsa, located in Jerusalem.

We implore you to comprehend our frustration and actively support us in addressing any potential threats or crimes our Muslim community may encounter. We request an increased police presence at our centers and urge our police chiefs to ensure that our officers receive appropriate training as the situation appears to be escalating.