Civil Rights

RI Muslim community holds vigil for Palestine

“There are children currently being slaughtered by the Israeli apartheid as we speak,” said Rasha Abousalem. “May Allah have mercy on all of them and may he grant us the strength to continue to be their voices…”
Photo for RI Muslim community holds vigil for Palestine

Published on May 18, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist

The Rhode Island Muslim community held a vigil after evening prayers on Tuesday to show solidarity with their Palestinian brothers and sisters and to “honor the lives taken in the latest atrocities committed by Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.”

See also: From Providence to Palestine a Rally for Sheikh Jarrah

The vigil was held in the parking lot of the Mashid al Kareem in Providence, the religious, communal, and social home for many Rhode Island Muslims. Sterk Zaza and Rasha Abousalem, who organized the event with Katherine Wilson and Aisha Manzoor, started the event by reading the names of just the 61 children known to have died during the recent violence.

“Please note and notice their last names,” said Zaza. “This isn’t just one person per family, these are families. This is not a conflict anymore. This is ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.”

After reading half the names on the list, a clearly emotional Zaza passed it on to Abousalem, an international humanitarian who mostly works with refugees, who finished reading of the names of “those who have been martyred in Palestine…

“There are children currently being slaughtered by the Israeli apartheid as we speak,” concluded Abousalem. “May Allah have mercy on all of them and may he grant us the strength to continue to be their voices…”

“These children had nothing. They did nothing to anybody,” said Mufti Ikram al-Huqq. “They were born, unfortunately, under an oppression, under tyranny, under an oppressive regime and they were taken away from us…

“The Israeli Army is one of the most technologically advanced armies in the world, one of the most powerful armies in the world, and yet it is also one of the most barbaric armies in the world. I have doubt to say it is one of the most depraved armies in the world. It has no humanity in it.”

Drawing parallels between the mass incarceration of Black people in the United States and the Israeli occupation of Palestine, Abdul-Latif Sackor, Imam of the Islamic Center of Rhode Island said, “The same police system that is here in America, that’s the same system that has been perpetrated in Palestine, and was perpetrated in South Africa. The time and place have changed but the cruel, barbaric system is still the same…”

“Forget Islam, forget Christianity, forget Judaism – put them all aside,” said Nimr Eid, a Muslim chaplain at Zumratal al-Janat mosque Ramallah. “Look at your conscience. Look at your own conscience…”

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