In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
It is with heavy hearts that we write this statement, amidst an incomprehensible amount of violence, destruction, and loss of life. The Muslim Bar Association of Chicago (“MBA”) unequivocally condemns the killing of civilians, the taking of hostages, and the deprivation of basic needs and other inhumane treatment that has been happening in Gaza and Israel. We condemn both Hamas's deplorable attacks on innocent civilians in Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric, and Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza, killing of innocent civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim rhetoric. War crimes do not justify other war crimes, and we call for an end to the cycle of violence.
MBA is also deeply concerned about the disturbing rise in reports of anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian, and anti-Jewish racism here in the United States. As we were drafting this statement, on October 14, 2023, Wadea Al-Fayoume, a six-year-old child, was viciously murdered and his mother critically injured when they were stabbed numerous times by a man who yelled at them, “You Muslims must die!” This occurred right here in the Chicagoland area. The dehumanization of Palestinians and Muslims fuels the anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hatred and racism that led to this heinous act. We grieve with the family of Wadea and pray for the recovery of his mother, Hanaan Shahin, and we call on local, state, and national leaders to be responsible with their public statements.
MBA has also received numerous reports of students and employees who are experiencing discrimination, harassment, threats, and adverse employment and disciplinary actions for showing the most basic of empathy for Palestinian victims and Palestinian rights. We urge employers and academic institutions to foster an environment of inclusivity and respect for diverse perspectives. A genuine critique of Israel’s policies or actions does not equate to anti-Semitism, and a genuine critique of Hamas’s policies or actions does not equate to anti-Palestinian or anti-Muslim rhetoric. We caution that public statements that stand only on one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can create divisions and misunderstandings, and marginalize Palestinian, Muslim, and Jewish individuals in your communities.
We grieve with all people affected by the current violence in Israel and Palestine and pray for its swift end. Until then, it is incumbent on all Americans to find responsible ways to speak about these issues that are mindful of the humanity of all involved.
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for God, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, God is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just.” [Qur’an, 4:135]
For a list of anti-discrimination resources, please visit our website.