As members of the Bay Area Muslim community and the larger ummah, we are deeply concerned about the serious and false legal charges leveled against Tanzeen Doha and Lamar Caldwell – the ‘Trayvon 2.’ We recognize that the legal system continues to discriminate on the basis of skin color, and note the connection between the specific targeting of two dark, bearded Muslim men and the broader criminalization of Islam following the ‘War on Terror.’
We draw necessary parallels between the Trayvon 2’s legal battle – the stakes of which include incarceration and deportation – and the young Trayvon Martin’s own fight for his life. We recognize the continuity between the persecution of the Trayvon 2 and the arbitrary detention of Muslims in Guantanamo Bay Prison. We also make connections between the initial arrest of the Trayvon 2, and the routine criminalization of Black bodies in the streets of our cities.
The Trayvon 2 are valuable community members upon which many others have depended and continue to rely. Tanzeen, a father of three young children, has counseled troubled youth and families for nearly ten years and taught college-level academic courses throughout the Bay Area. Similarly, Lamar is a well-known and active member of Oakland’s Muslim community. Despite his diagnosis with stage II cancer, he continues to participate in community events, grow his local business, and support Muslims who are new to the Dīn. Incarceration would not only worsen Lamar’s serious medical condition but also leave a deep void in the Bay Area Muslim community.
We commend these brothers for participating in a social protest following the acquittal of George Zimmerman – the perpetrator of murder against an innocent Black child – with the understanding that Islam encourages believers to struggle against injustice in a righteous manner. With this principle in mind, we fully support the Trayvon 2 and condemn the blatantly racist and Islamophobic institutions that targeted them.
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful,
Abdul Raoof Nasir
Chaplain, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)
Abdel Malik Ali
Amir and Community Activist, Oakland, California
Imam Zaid Shakir
Lighthouse Masjid, Oakland, California
The Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (Muslim ARC)
Imam Faheem Shuaibe
Masjid’ul Waritheen, Oakland, California