Thursday, October 27, 2011

'Occupy Wall Street' Wins Muslim Support


NEW YORK – Joining the ranks of fellow Americans in protesting economic inequality, US Muslim groups have thrown their weight behind the 'Occupy Wall Street' protest movement against social injustice in the United States. We as Muslim New Yorkers are here today because we are in solidarity and support of Occupy Wall Street," said Linda Sarsour, director of the Arab-American Association.

A number of Muslims associated with the New York Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the local Islamic Leadership Council have gathered earlier this week to support the protest movement against social justice and economic inequality in the US.

Thousands of Americans have been taking to the streets in recent weeks against economic policies and the power of US economic institutions.

Using social media websites, the protest movement has gained wide support across the United States.

"Occupy Wall Street" is seen as spurred by the revolutions that swept the Middle East, which resulted in toppling three regimes so far in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

The protests, that have been largely peaceful, began in New York on Sept 17 and have spread to Los Angeles, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Tampa, St. Louis and elsewhere.

The protests reflecting a growing American anger against financial policies that resulted in increasing US poverty rate.

The Census Bureau's annual report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage said last September 2011 that the national poverty rate climbed for a third consecutive year to 15.1 percent in 2010.

That marked a 0.8 percent increase from 2009, when there were 43.6 million Americans living in poverty.

The number of poor Americans in 2010 was the largest in the 52 years that the Census Bureau has been publishing poverty estimates, the report said, while the poverty rate was the highest since 1993.

Friday Prayers

In a sign of support, Muslims held their weekly prayers at Wall Street, where American protesters occupied the area.

Imam Aiyub Abdul Baki of the Islamic Leadership Council delivered a sermon on social justice.

"We are also suffering; suffering racism and discrimination,” the imam said.

Venting anger at the hated policies of Wall Street bankers, the imam pointed to Islam’s opposition for usury system.

He also complained of the growing bashing of US Muslims in recent years.

“Islam-bashing is on the increase," Abdul Baki said.

Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to an estimated Muslim minority of six to eight million.

A Gallup poll found last August 2011 that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.

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