DSA Muslim Caucus

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DSA Muslim Caucus was founded in 2020.

Beginnings

According to Yaseen Hashmi, a Master of Divinity candidate in his second year at Harvard Divinity School, writing in Progressive Policy Review, in spring 2020, after the conclusion of the Democratic primary race and COVID-19 dealt a one-two punch to the personal and political hopes of progressives around the country, many rightfully resigned themselves to just getting through each new day. A few Muslim students, however, had a seed in hand and the heart to plant it.

Inspired by the revolutionary legacy of Malcolm X, students Sirad Hassan, Samy Amkieh, and Abdelhamid Arbab put out a statement calling for a “dedicated group of Muslims within the Democratic Socialists of America,” meant to organize against the chokehold of corrupt and racist capitalist structures. Following the assertion that a truly faithful understanding of the Islamic tradition should motivate Muslims in America to strive for racial, economic, and environmental justice, this DSA Muslim Caucus would focus on issue-based advocacy within the Muslim community. Many heard the call—within months, the group became a Caucus, building toward formal recognition as a “Working Group” within the DSA at large.[1]

Sirad Hassan is a graduate student at Columbia University, Samy Amkieh is an undergraduate student at Brown University and former Bernie 2020 Campaign Staffer, and Abdelhamid Arbab is an undergraduate student at Princeton University.[2]

Mission

The DSA Muslim Solidarity Caucus arises out of a recognition that Muslim organizing has had a presence on this continent since enslaved peoples forcibly brought to the New World from Africa in the sixteenth century mobilized against their abductors to demand their freedom.

For us, the Muslim testimony of faith is not arcane theology, but a grounding principle that guides our praxis toward a more just and equitable world. We and our movement depend only on God, not on the nation-state nor on capitalist institutions. We simultaneously affirm that, as human actors, we have agency and are thus responsible for pursuing justice—with our hearts, tongues, and limbs—as stewards of this earth.

Though we are based in the United States, we recognize that the struggle for justice extends beyond its borders and that struggles across the globe are interconnected. As we commit to dismantling the structures of white supremacy and racial capitalism upon which our country was built, we also explicitly disavow American exceptionalism and extend our solidarity to comrades across the globe working toward dismantling analogous and parallel structures of oppression.

We affirm that no single movement can fully encapsulate all of the streams and colors of Muslims in this country. We do not claim to represent all Muslims, as that is neither feasible nor desirable. We do, however, aim to forge a space for Muslims of any and every background to join us in learning, discussing, and theorizing what a Muslim socialist politics and liberation praxis might look like. We welcome you regardless of your gender, class, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, disability status, faith, or any other marker of identity. We only ask that you come in good faith, with an open mind and a commitment to building a more just society.

As Muslim socialist organizers, we are committed to organizing our communities against the structures of capitalist exploitation, racism, and militarism; to creating a world where the needs of all people in all communities are met; and to making apparent to a new generation of Muslims how our Islamic tradition guides us on the path to justice—a goal we are instructed to pursue relentlessly, no matter what stands in our way (Quran 4:135).

US Foreign Policy forum

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Panellists Sirad Hassan, Samy Amkieh, Mohammed Shakibnia.

DSA Muslims Town Hall - ABOLISHING THE WAR ON TERROR

Join the DSA Muslims working group Monday 6/14 at 6pm ET/5pm CT/4pm MT/3pm PT to discuss how state surveillance has harmed our communities and our demands for its abolition. ✊

As the Biden administration marks over 100 days in office and continues harmful surveillance programs while considering new domestic terrorism and surveillance initiatives in the aftermath of the January 6th coup, we must understand how mass surveillance has come to be ubiquitous in our society. At this town hall, we’ll take a historical lens to understand why state apparatuses created mass surveillance programs, how those programs evolved in the aftermath of 9/11, and what the future of surveillance will look like.

Our ultimate aim is to harness the power of our communities to abolish the War on Terror, including mass surveillance. The second half of our town hall will be a community discussion on how state surveillance has harmed our communities and on the demands we want to raise against it.

Speakers:

"The Gig Economy: The Fight of the Working Class"

Join the DSA Muslims, DSA AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus, and Gig Workers Rising in a discussion which centers working class voices and expands the conversation surrounding tactics for union and labor organizing, particularly in the Gig Economy. We aim to get a stronger grasp of the unique challenges that the pandemic has brought to labor organizing as well as the opportunities it has presented in growing an internationalist workers movement.

Panelists: Moumita Ahmed, Ali Najmi, Nimo Omar, Cherri Murphy.

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Participants included Joshua Baldwin, Samy Amkieh, Julie Seager, Bianca Cunningham, Miles Cooper, Tamara Kamatovic, Ian Ardoouin-Fumat, Daniel Damma, Yaseen Hashmi, Abshir Omar, Hediah Matinrad, Tonje Ettesvoll, Esterphanie St. Juste, Hector, Natnael, Roberto Moreno, Dina Benayad-Cherif, Jay, [4]

"DSA, BDS, and Palestine Solidarity"

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DSA, BDS, and Palestine Solidarity: A Panel Discussion Saturday, February 6th, 2021.

Palestine is not only a humanitarian issue, nor is it only a Palestinian issue. Palestine is a political issue with serious consequences at stake for both Palestinians and average US residents. As socialists, we recognize the interconnectedness of our struggles under capitalism. In solidarity with Palestinian civil society’s nonviolent struggle for equality, human rights, and self-determination, DSA adopted a resolution at our national convention in 2017 in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. In 2019, DSA reaffirmed its commitment to the BDS movement by voting to establish a BDS and Palestine Solidarity national working group.

Join us on Saturday, 2/6 at 3pm ET/2pm CT/1pm MT/12pm PT for a discussion and Q&A with special guests, including Omar Barghouti, Marc Lamont Hill, Sumaya Awad, and Ajamu Amiri Dillahunt, to discuss the growing and vibrant global BDS Movement, Palestine solidarity, censorship, and how socialists can join the fight!

Moderated by Olivia Katbi Smith.

Co-sponsored by the BDS and Palestine Solidarity National Working Group, the National Political Education Committee, DSA Muslim Caucus, and the DSA AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus (AFROSOC).[5]

"Organizing, Solidarity, and Electoral Politics post-November 3rd"

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Organizing, Solidarity, and Electoral Politics post-November 3rd: Where Does Our Muslim Generation Fit In?

Event by DSA Muslims, DSA AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus and UC Berkeley Muslim Student Association (Cal MSA) Online with Facebook Live Thursday, October 29, 2020.

In the past few months, our Muslim generation has grappled with a crippling pandemic, an ongoing struggle for racial justice, economic fallout not seen since the Great Depression, and a politics unwilling to serve the needs of working-class Muslims all around the country.

During the discussion, we would first talk about the current moment we are facing, with crises in all directions and hope seemingly out of reach. The discussion would then pivot to our generation, the “youth,” who has the most at stake and is watching as our futures are thrown away!

Towards the end of the moderated discussion, we would discuss organizing Muslims and communities at the grassroots level, running for office, the forces of power and corruption standing in opposition, and the tangible ways for Muslim students to engage in organizing and electoral politics without sacrificing their values!

This will be followed by a Q&A period with submitted questions and live audience participation! The moderators will be Samy Amkieh and Sana Siddiq.

Our invited guests for this conversation will be Ismahan Abdullahi, Aya Saed, Fatima Iqbal-Zubair, and Olivia Katbi Smith.

References