JAMAICA, New York (January 18, 2021) – The Islamic Circle of North America joins our fellow citizens and the global family of human beings in commemorating the life and service to humanity of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Since 1983, the third Monday in January has been designated in the United States as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a Congress-approved federal holiday currently afforded to only one other individual American, the country’s first president George Washington. During two of the most socially turbulent decades of the 20th century, the 1950s and 1960s, Dr. King demonstrated a fierce determination and passionate commitment to dismantle the system of race-based discrimination imposed on Black people through legislation and enforced by all elements of civil society and White supremacist citizen vigilantes. Dr. King’s ultimate weapons were non-violent civil disobedience and his seemingly unshakable Christian convictions that the Creator is a God of Justice and Liberator of the Oppressed.
Dr. King was a brilliant simple-living individual who disavowed any person’s attempts to extract material gain that could have been derived from his upper-middle-class family status, sterling academic achievements, unsurpassed oratorical skills, and intense charismatic aura. At 26-years old, he was thrust into the role as the leader of one of the most impactful catalysts of the modern era Civil Rights Movement, the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott in 1955. Dr. King is credited with inspiring legions of trusting followers of all ages, socio-economic statuses, and academic achievement levels while motivating them to sacrifice even their lives for that cherished intangible idea called freedom. Former Representative John Lewis, former UN Ambassador, Congressman, and Atlanta mayor, Andrew Young, Rev. Jesse Jackson, countless others were energized to commit their lives to God and the wellbeing of others by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He once famously said, “There is nothing in all the world greater than freedom. It is worth paying for; it is worth losing a job for; it is worth going to jail for. I would rather be a free pauper than a rich slave. I would rather die in abject poverty with my convictions than live in inordinate riches with the lack of self-respect.” We commemorate the life of a man who willingly sacrificed his and his beloved family’s comforts, daily knowingly placed his life in harms’ way, subjected himself to public scorn, physical attacks, and ultimately assassination because of his conviction that the color of one’s skin could never determine the content of his character, and that no race or group of people are superior to others.
Service to humanity is an ideal that is embraced by the Islamic Circle of North America. We know that we honor and respect the legacy of Dr. King and all people who struggle for justice while not exceeding divinely set boundaries on human behavior.