As-salamu alaykum, peace be upon you all, friends, comrades.
Today I stand here in solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attack in Quebec. I stand here with the victims of Trump’s ban, and with all the victims of Trump’s America. I stand here in solidarity with all those who live their lives in fear, in terror, here, in America, and elsewhere. I stand in solidarity with the Muslims of the Middle East, of Palestine, of Iraq, of Syria, of Afghanistan, of all those other countries bombed by the US, invaded, destabilized, all of those victims of the imperialist force that is the US.
I stand here with them because the terror all the white allies have started feeling now, all the terror they feel at the madman who sits in the White House, this is not a new terror to us.
We, as Muslims, have lived with this terror for a long time now.
We, we have been targeted repeatedly by the imperialist force that is the US, and we have grown accustomed to living our lives in fear, living our lives as the representation of everything America hates.
And here, to all the allies who stand with us in solidarity now, I am here also to charge you all. I am here to tell you this, this is the fault of all those who tolerated the invasion of our nations, the fault of those who justified the bombings and the drones that targeted our cities and our villages, the fault of all of those who rallied behind imperialist propaganda, who were fed the lies that the Americans were coming to liberate Muslim women, that the Americans were coming to bring democracy to our nations. I am here to tell you this is the fault of all those who cheered as the so-called New Atheists spoke of the so-called evils of Islam, of all those who believed the pinkwashing of the Israeli state, of all those who cried authoritarian and dictator at our governments, governments propped up the imperialist force that is the US, governments created when Britain and France and all the other imperialist nations carved up our countries.
I am here to charge all of you, all of you who let our people be called terrorists and who would stay silent when we were painted with a single paint brush as monsters. I am here to charge all of you who gave platforms to the Sam Harris’s and Steve Bannons and the Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s of the world, all of you who let those who would preach hate preach it, all of you who let yourselves be used as tools by an imperialist force. I am here to charge all of you who claimed Muslims cannot be feminists, who claimed Muslims cannot be queer activists, I am here to charge all of you who looked at me askew when I said I was Muslim and Communist and told me, me who has practiced my faith and worked for communism for as long as any of you, told me that I could only be one or the other. I am here to charge all of you white queer folk who spoke over Muslim queers, all of you white women who spoke over Muslim feminists, who told them to take off their hijabs, who dared tell these women they were oppressed when these Muslim feminists did more for any of their sisters than any white folk ever could. I am here to charge all of you who watched those movies where we were all terrorists and militants and cheered when my people were killed. I am here to charge all of you who joked and laughed when people called us bombers, who turned away when we were targeted, who let the Chapel Hills and the hate crimes committed against us be buried in the back pages of the news, who didn’t believe us, who cried lone wolf when we got targeted again, and again, and again. I am here to charge all of you who demanded I give a different name when you heard mine, because you refused to pronounce it, because it wasn’t Western enough for you, the name used by my people for generations wasn’t easy enough to pronounce for you, wasn’t white enough for you.
I am here to charge all of you who would raise your fists at Trump’s oppression but would cheer on as Obama’s drones murdered my people, who hurrah’d when Hillary pushed for military interventions in Iraq, in Syria, in Libya. I am here to charge all of you who let imperialism and neoliberalism and capitalism do its murderous work in areas of the world you would rather forget.
I am here to tell you that this, this is a collective sin, and a sin we all have to face up to.
This is a collective sin and now is our moment to atone.
This is our moment to build a movement.
Because if not now, then when?
Here I stand to tell you, this is our moment in history. This is our collective challenge. This is the crisis of our generation. If generations past had the Great War, had Stalingrad and Normandy, had Vietnam, had revolutions across the globe, we have this, we have Trump’s America.
If you have ever claimed that you would not have stood silent when the Nazis dragged the Jews away, I invite you to join us. If you have ever believed that you would have stood up to oppression, to injustice, to tyranny, I invite you to join us. Now is the time to agitate, now is the time to organize. I’m asking you, don’t just come to rallies. Join clubs, join groups, join parties, join unions. Organize, strike, let your discontent be heard. Join an organization, any organization, and fight for justice. Find a cause, find your courage to stand up. This is the time to be ready to open your doors to any refugees, the doors of your houses to any refugees, anyone fleeing from the oppression of the imperial force that is the US. I am not only speaking of Muslim refugees, I am speaking of queer folk, of trans folk, of women, of Sikhs and Mexicans and Communists and Anarchists, all those people who will be targeted by this tyrannical state. Now is the time to work to your limits – if not now, then when? It will be tiring, it will be exhausting, but I promise you, put your all into this fight now, put your all in this turning moment of history. The time to rest will come, it will come, but only if we put our all right now. Now is not the time to rest, and if we don’t do the work right now then the moment to rest will never come.
This is not the time to stay on the defensive. This is not the time to try and simply hold onto any gains that have been made. This is the time to be aggressive, this is the time to not only defend what rights we have gained but demand more, demand them all, demand we be treated with the respect and the dignity that has been denied us so long.
I – we – don’t need allies who will tweet words of support and tell us how love will overcome and show us pity, and shake their heads when our people are murdered. We don’t need pity, we don’t empty words. We need – I need comrades, comrades who will stand with me and build real movements, who will fight with me for the rights of Muslims, for the rights of women, for the rights of the working class, for the rights of queer folk and trans folk, who will fight for the rights of the Black people being murdered daily by the police of these governments of North America, who will fight for the rights of the indigenous folk whose lands were stolen and whose voices were silenced. I need comrades who will fight for the rights of all, so today, I stand here to invite you, fight with me. Fight with me against the decades of oppression, against the decades of marginalization, the decades of idleness and looking the other way, because another world is possible!