(June 6, 2020 | LOS ANGELES, Calif.) — Thousands joined a rally organized by ICNA Council for Social Justice, California Chapter (ICNA CSJ-CA) in Los Angeles today, against racism and police brutality.
According to media reports and authorities, over 4,000 people joined the only rally today organized by a Muslim organization in California. These rallies called for justice and condemned police tactics following the deaths of George Floyd, who died May 25 at the hands of Minneapolis police, and Breonna Taylor, who was killed in March during a police raid of her apartment in Louisville.
Waqas Syed, Director of the California chapter of ICNA CSJ said that it is our sacred obligation as Muslims to stand up for justice and not remain silent in face of such blatant racism. “No Muslim can find a valid reason today, to not be on the right side of history” he added.
The large but peaceful rally was held in the afternoon on Wilshire Avenue near the Federal Building.
Khaaja Najmuddin, President of ICNA Southern California, said that the large crowds who rallied today behind a Muslim organization, show that we as a society, have come a long way, while the continued racism proves that we still have a long way to go.
The participants took the knee several times throughout protest and at one time lied face down, halting traffic, to symbolize the treatment of black victims by several police officers.
The Los Angeles Police Department blocked off several streets and freeway exits around the rally area to accommodate the protesters.
Saad Bholat, the lead organizer said that he was happy to see not just the peaceful nature of this rally but the willingness of such a huge crowd to follow the organizer’s guidelines requiring all to wear masks and avoid close contact per LA County COVID-19 precautions.
“KNOW JUSTICE, KNOW PEACE,” one of the marchers’ signs said. “To Be Silent Is To Be Complicit,” said another.
Noah Seifulah, ICNA Board Member and an Imam from Long Beach said that this is the defining moment for the American Muslim stance on social justice. He said history will be a witness to where we stood as a community when a marginal section of the society was engulfed in the struggle for equal rights.
“This overwhelming solidarity among the youth is motivating. I have never been inspired to rise and dedicate myself to this cause like today” said Suha Syed, a member of Young Muslims, ICNA’s youth division.
The rally had garnered publicity via social media and announcements on local radio and news outlets.
“We are thankful to not just the participants for following the organizer’s directives but also to the public for their patience and encouragement while traffic was halted several times during the protest.” added Syed.