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Though the invitation to speak has been rescinded indefinitely, this incident speaks volumes with regards to the rampant bigotry normalized in the Trump Era.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 While I’m glad the invitation was rescinded, it’s utterly unacceptable that a tax-payer funded, government institution would invite an unabashed Islamophobe […] in the first place.”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.

Believers Bail Out

Right now, there are over 2 million incarcerated people in the United States, predominantly Black and Latinx. Almost half a million of these people are being held on pretrial bond (bail); cash bail penalizes poverty and reproduces racism. In 2015, nationwide the median bail was $10,000, while the median pre-incarceration annual income of people incarcerated was $15,000. Black people are twice as likely to be held pretrial as white people and Muslims in pretrial detention face an increased risk of victimization, surveillance and denial of religious freedom in the prison system due to anti-Muslim racism (Islamophobia).

Believers Bail Out is a community-led effort to bail out Muslims in pretrial incarceration as a form of zakat. By paying bond, Believers Bail Out restores the presumption of innocence before trial and enables recipients to remain free while fighting their cases. It is in our capacity, and our duty as Muslims to be a part of ending this cycle that criminalizes poverty and is inherently racist in nature.

Advertisers: Stop Funding Islamophobia—DropPirro

Advertisers: Stop Funding Islamophobia—#DropPirro

It’s not surprising to see to all kinds of Islamophobia, bigotry, and hatred spread on Fox News. But even we were shocked by this one.

This past March, mere days before the Christchurch Mosque shootings, Jeanine Pirro used her Fox News show to attack Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for simply wearing a hijab, suggesting it’s “antithetical to the United States Constitution.”1

We’re quite sure we can’t rely on anyone at Fox News to do the right thing. But you know who might be forced to? The corporate sponsors of Pirro’s show, who don’t want to be caught publicly funding anti-Muslim hate speech.

Sign our open letter to Pirro’s corporate sponsors, including Squarespace, IHOP and Capital One:

“I’m asking you to #DropPirro and stop advertising on her show immediately.”

Congress: #RepealTheBan and support the NO BAN Act

A new bill—the NO BAN Act—soon to be introduced by Senator Chris Coons and Congresswoman Judy Chu, would not just repeal Trump’s Muslim, asylum, and refugees bans—it would limit the ability for this administration or any post-Trump administration to do something like it ever again.

We need to make sure it has maximum momentum before it’s even introduced in Congress—and send a strong message that our communities and allies will stand together and fight back in the face of hatred and bigotry.

Please sign this petition to make sure your representatives are on board.

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

Vote for our panels at Netroots Nation 2019!

MPower Change is involved in a few of the proposed panels for Netroots Nation 2019! We’re hoping to talk about our #MyMuslimVote and #RepealTheBan campaigns, and the growth of faith-based, progressive organizing. Through these panels, we’re also hoping to learn from and build power with attendees. Voting closes Monday, March 11th.

Click below to learn about each panel and to vote for us!

  1. How Muslims are Shaping their Political Destiny
  2. Moving Forward: Repeal the Muslim Ban
  3. Inside the Growth of the Religious Left: How diverse faith groups are building power for progressive change
  4. Taking on corporations, and winning!
  5. When organizers design technology

#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 —>

Venmo: Fix Your Filters

Venmo: Fix Your Filters

With the ever-rising tide of bigotry, Muslims—and those perceived to be Muslim—are faced with Islamophobia in school, in the workplace, and on the street.

Now, thanks to Venmo’s opaque policies, U.S. Muslims, Iranians, and others have to worry about being criminalized for something as simple as paying a friend back for a meal.

Venmo, a subsidiary of PayPal, Inc., has been flagging transactions containing the word “Persia” or “Persian.” Some users have also reported issues with terms associated with Islam. At the same time, Venmo is not flagging words associated with white nationalism and hate violence.

A payment platform shouldn’t be discriminating against users based on their perceived religion or ethnicity. Join us in calling on Venmo to come clean about their policies.