Kifah Shah
Kifah Shah

Kifah Shah is MPower Change’s Digital Campaign Manager. She grew up in Southern California and has been organizing since she was 15. She has worked for the Asian Law Caucus, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, Unite HERE! Local 11, and UC Berkeley’s Multicultural Community Center. Kifah also worked abroad in Europe at the Migration Policy Group on issues related in migration, as well as in Pakistan at the Aman Foundation/USAID on issues of health, education, and economic empowerment. She is currently a TED Resident and on the Board of Trustees for MSA West. Kifah holds a Masters in Public Administration (Economic Policy) from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies from U.C. Berkeley.

Victory! At the U.S. Army War College

This week, the U.S. Army War College indefinitely postponed Islamophobe Raymond Ibrahim’s speaking engagement at their 50th Annual Lecture Series.

We commend its decision to postpone the event, and caution against any future events with the speaker, as Ibrahim has been known to use his platform to defame Muslims in the U.S. and abroad.

Ibrahim’s rhetoric—characterizing Muslims as inherently angry, hostile, and prone to terrorism against “the West”—normalizes and justifies violence against Muslims, which is already a problem for the military.

In a time of rising white nationalism, Islamophobia, and violence, hosting Ibrahim to speak would not only have endorsed, but fostered anti-Muslim hate within the military. The invitation was all the more concerning due to the military’s continuing internal problem with white supremacists within its ranks.

Organizing Director for MPower Change, Ishraq Ali, notes:

“Hateful rhetoric like Mr. Ibrahim’s has inspired violence against Muslim communities, both in the U.S. and abroad. Every day, we are reminded of the wretched impacts of bigotry and Islamophobia. Just this week, as the U.S. Army War College rescinds Ibrahim’s invitation, the killer of 3 Chapel Hill Muslim youth was convicted, while overseas, the killer of the New Zealand mosque shootings plead not guilty to his crimes.”

Though the invitation to speak has been rescinded indefinitely, this incident speaks volumes with regards to the rampant bigotry normalized in the Trump Era.

Ramon Mejia, Field Organizer with About Face: Veterans Against the War, said:
“In the Trump era, there is no denying that  more blatant islamophobia and bigotry fuel growing violence against our communities. While I’m glad the invitation was rescinded, it’s utterly unacceptable that a tax-payer funded, government institution would invite an unabashed Islamophobe […] in the first place.”

MPower Change’s petition was a collaborative effort with CAIR-PA and About Face: Veteranss Against the War.

Other veteran military organizations like Common Defense and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation lent their support to our efforts.

For additional coverage, see the piece in the Daily Kos.

Christchurch Shooting

Two actions you can immediately take to stand in solidarity with the Christchurch, New Zealand Muslim community:
  1. Donate here to the families who have lost loved ones
  2. Follow the #MyMosque hashtag and post a photo of you at your mosque to stand in solidarity with the Christchurch Muslim community.
MPower Change’s statement on the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand

إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
From God we came and to Him is our return.

We are heartbroken. We are in mourning with our Muslim family in New Zealand. We are doing our best, as individuals in grief, to hold each other close.

But we’re also holding on to one clear truth that we will not allow to be muddled:

This deadly violence is the inevitable conclusion of unchecked white supremacy and Islamophobia.

To the elected officials who actively promote bigotry or stay silent as our communities are attacked; to the media who treat the proponents of hatred as mere talking heads; to the social media companies who either promote or make excuses for white supremacists and Islamophobes:

Your words today are not enough.

We demand action, offered in solidarity, to root out the hateful ideology that led to this massacre.

For our martyred Muslim family in New Zealand, we look to our scripture for solace: And do not reckon those who are killed in the path of Allāh as dead: rather they are alive and provided for with their Lord. -Āl ’Imrān

For the rest of our Muslim family in the U.S. and around the world: you are loved. You are worthy. You are cherished. We may be shaken, but we will not be deterred. We will hold, and protect each other, through our mourning.

We remain, today and every day, #UnapologeticallyMuslim.

– The MPower Change team

#IStandWithIlhan: Victory!

Together, we successfully thwarted an attack that attempted to single out and smear Rep. Ilhan Omar—and made sure House leadership condemns all forms of bigotry.

Here’s how we won and what we did in under 36 hours:

  1. We sent out a call alert to MPower Change members;
  2. Drafted a letter of support for Rep. Ilhan Omar signed by over 600+ organizational leaders, activists, and organizers;
  3. Delivered the letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in person;
  4. Held a press conference in front of the U.S. capitol in Washington, D.C.

A broad coalition of Jewish, Muslim and progressive grassroots organizations welcome the revised resolution introduced by House Democratic leadership that condemns all forms of bigotry. The language of the resolution was originally intended to rebuke Representative Ilhan Omar and essentially shut down efforts to advocate for Palestinian human rights. But following immense pressure from coalition partners the language was broadened and no longer singled out Rep. Omar for her valid criticism. Coalition partners generated a flood of phone calls, emails, held a press conference and delivered a letter calling on the Democratic leadership to condemn real bigotry and drop the politically-motivated and bad-faith attacks on Rep. Omar.

Read the full press release here —>

#MyMuslimVote at ISNA

#MyMuslimVote at ISNA

The MPower Change team was in Houston, TX on Labor Day weekend for ISNA’s 55th Annual Convention!

We were all about getting out #MyMuslimVote. We did voter registration daily, and signed up many new partners to take the efforts to their own cities! 

 

If you stopped by our table, or took a walk around the bazaar, you would have seen hundreds of people wearing #MyMuslimVote buttons!

Our Executive Director Linda Sarsour reminded everyone about why this year is so important for Muslims. She also highlighted how now – more than ever – we need to stand on the side of the oppressed and stand for justice.

Our Organizing Director Ishraq Ali relayed the importance of building relational power with people in our mosques in order to effectively get out the Muslim Vote.

 

Our Organizing Manager Kifah Shah was everywhere during the convention – from our table, to the bazaar, to the sessions – reminding people to check their voter registration status, and signing up folks to bring #MyMuslimVote to their schools and centers.

StopCVE in LA

On January 13, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the City of Los Angeles (Mayor’s Office of Public Safety) was set to receive funding under its Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiative. The City of Los Angeles would receive $400,000 for a program involving “Training and Engagement,” as well as $425,000 for “Managing Interventions.” According to DHS, the stated purpose of the CVE program was to “develop and expand efforts at the community level to counter violent extremist recruitment and radicalization to violence.”

​The #StopCVE coalition in Los Angeles—representing local non-profit, civil society, advocacy, and digital advocacy groups, alongside Muslim leadership from across LA—has been organizing opposition to CVE since April 2016. Though presented under a guise of public safety and community-based programming, CVE efforts in LA have been implemented with selective community engagement and buy-in. This “community engagement” continued despite unanimous opposition from civil rights groups and the majority of Muslim communities across five counties in Southern California.

Soon, the LA City Council will move to discuss disbursing federal funding amounting to , which targets Muslim communities in the city through activities conducted under the auspices of CVE.

Iftar in the Streets

Join us! Host or attend an #IftarInTheStreets event in your city:

The past few years have been challenging. With three iterations of the Muslim Ban, a sharp rise in hate crimes, attacks aboard airlines, and constant anti-Muslim rhetoric from elected officials and the media—it feels like there’s a perpetual target on our communities. However, it’s also been a year filled with moments of Muslims in the U.S. standing up for justice.

2019 is a critical year—and yet another moment for us to stand proudly & unapologetically as Muslims celebrating our faith and our values.

This Ramadan, we’re using the tradition of the communal breaking of the fast to build solidarity with our (Muslim and ally) communities, and to adhere to the Prophetic tradition of acting and speaking out for justice. Join us by holding public Iftar events—#IftarInTheStreets.

This year we’re asking you to host your event on Malcolm X’s Birthday, Sunday May 19, 2019. Malcolm X is an inspiration and role model for many, in his pursuit of fighting for justice over his lifetime.

Check out our Iftar in the Streets Event in NYC last year:

New Yorkers Hold Ramadan Protest Iftar in Front of Trump Tower

Last Thursday, we brought together New Yorkers of various faiths and backgrounds to break bread and build solidarity in a public iftar dinner, held outside of Trump Tower #IftarInTheStreets – Thank you to Eid Films for shooting and producing this beautiful short film for us.

Posted by MPower Change on Monday, June 5, 2017