“The organized racist far right in this country clearly sees the same thing that those of us on the ground see: A nationwide movement that is growing, linking activists across oppressed nationality groups through the creation of real community ties.”
In an In These Times essay last week, Muhammad Sankari describes how young Black and Arab activists are increasingly working together and building a multiracial movement for racial justice. Using the recent events in Ferguson, Mo., as a springboard, Sankari says that many activists are making the connections between racist violence like the killing of Mike Brown and the ongoing violence connected with the occupation of Palestine. Sankari, an organizer at the Chicago-based Arab American Action Network, highlights the work of a range of groups including the St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle, the U.S. Palestinian Community Network and the St. Louis Palestinian Solidarity Committee.
Of course, this type of organizing has not gone unnoticed organized movements of bigotry. In a recent article on Fox News, Kyle Shideler from the Center for Security Policy (CSP) admitted to listening in on a conference call hosted by the group Muslims for Ferguson. He singled out Sankari as one of the voices on the call to draw comparisons between Black and Arab struggle. Shideler responded to the call in typical CSP fashion: He claimed that solidarity efforts on the ground in Ferguson are evidence of an impending takeover of the U.S. by the Muslim Brotherhood. The claim is a standard talking point directly from CSP’s founder, Frank Gaffney, and does little more than unveil a sense of desperation by many within the organized Islamophobia movement.
Sankari says these targeted attacks reveal a losing strategy among some on the far-Right to divide communities:
“[This solidarity] has led to an increasing backlash against the Black and Arab/Muslim communities by the organized racist right wing. In a response to a recent conference call hosted by the group “Muslims for Ferguson,” a loosely organized group of American Muslims supporting campaigns in Ferguson to seek justice for Brown, Fox News published an article claiming that it was an example of Muslims infiltrating and attempting to co-opt a movement of Black struggle in the United States.
“The article is standard fare for Fox, but it is of particular note because it exposes the connections between organized anti-Muslim and anti-Black forces. Quoted extensively in the Fox News article is Kyle Shideler of the Center for Security Policy, an organization led by Frank Gaffney, a man who has driven anti-Muslim hysteria by claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood is organizing a Muslim takeover of the United States.
“The article demonstrates the current strategy of some on the far right to attempt to pit oppressed nationality groups in this country against each other. The strategy includes efforts from the futile to the ridiculous, such as artificially creating a Black presence in anti-immigrant formations to hosting a website that brings “conservative activism to the hip hop generation.”
“The organized racist far right in this country clearly sees the same thing that those of us on the ground see: A nationwide movement that is growing, linking activists across oppressed nationality groups through the creation of real community ties. Articles like the Fox piece reveal that the Right is desperate.
“Though the Ferguson Grand Jury tragically decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson last night, activists from various backgrounds are taking advantage of this moment to build a real movement for racial justice, in this country and abroad. And if the cross-racial solidarity developing on the ground in Ferguson is any indication, oppressed communities will one day reach justice together.”
Read the full essay at In These Times.