Samaa Kabbar, The Circle

Granted that it was more of a power walk than a run, I decided that I wanted to participate in the 2.23 mile run (I did 5km) for Ahmaud Arbery. He was a 25 year old Black male who went on a run on February 23rd, 2020, in a neighbourhood near Brunswick, Georgia, in accordance to his love for running. He was a high school athlete and was in college as a soon-to-be electrician. 

While on his run, (roughly 2.23 miles into his run) he was chased down by 3 white men in 2 pickup trucks with guns. They then proceeded to shoot him to death for no apparent reason. The men who committed the murder said that he resembled a person who was involved in recent break-ins. This of course was proven to be untrue by police. Despite the fact that the killing of Ahmaud was recorded on video by one of the three men, and despite the fact that the police had the video in possession, the men were not arrested. It took two entire months and tons of media outrage after the video was leaked for police to arrest the men. 

This weekend would have been Ahmaud’s 26th birthday and so in honour of him and in order to raise awareness for the grave injustice present in the American legal system, people all over the world have been wearing white t-shirts and going on runs of 2.23 miles in his memory. I decided to do it alongside my sister, while pinning signs that said “Justice 4 Ahmaud” on the front and back of my white hoodie, because something so simple as doing outdoor exercise can get a black man killed in the South, and it should not be that way. We take for granted the miniscule daily tasks that we all do, not realizing the danger it can pose to some people. As a Muslim community, we need to not only look out for our own, but also all of our brothers and sisters in humanity who deal with injustice on a daily basis. 

Being that it is the month of Ramadan, I felt as though participating in the #RunWithAhmaud campaign would be even more fruitful due to the fact that I was fasting and had not eaten or drinken anything for over sixteen hours. But despite that, I knew that I had a duty to do what I can to raise awareness. After I posted a video of my participation, and it was reposted by civil rights activist, Shaun King, I began getting messages of support. It meant that my goal was being reached, and I was raising awareness not only for the issue, but also for the fact that Muslims will always stand in solidarity with the oppressed, regardless of the consequences, and that we will always stand on the side of justice.  Even though there are many people out there who have given Muslims bad images, and who have misconstrued Islam’s teachings, there is no doubt that Islam is a proponent of social justice. In the Quran it says that “verily God commands justice, excellent conduct, and caring for one’s relatives, and He forbids all forms of immorality, evil and transgression. He admonishes you so that you may take heed” (Qur’an, 16:90). It is an essential characteristic of a believer to participate publicly in enjoining good and forbidding evil (Qur’an 3:110, 9:71). The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has said that “whoever witnesses something evil, let him change it with his hand, and if he is unable then with his tongue, and if he is unable, then with his heart, but that is the weakest form of faith”. Therefore, we are morally obligated as Muslims to stand against injustice. Doing so reflects our beliefs, and not doing so is also a reflection of us. We are not allowed to, nor should we want to, be bystanders. So follow God’s command and never be afraid . Surely, He is with us, and He is the Most Just.