After the debacle late last year regarding the Muslim liquor stores in the SF Bay Area, the following flyer has been published as a collaborative effort between Zaytuna, Masjid Waritheen, East Bay and SF masjids and others to address the issue of Muslim stores owners in Oakland and surrounding areas. The flyer is being distributed in English and Arabic.
In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
“Muslim” Owned Liquor Stores: Not in Our Name
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, said “Truly Allah has cursed khamr (alcohol) and the one who produces it, the one for whom it is produced, the one who drinks it, the one who serves it, the one who carries it, the one for whom it is carried, the one who sells it, the one who earns from the sale of it, the one who buys it, and the one for whom it is bought.” (al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud)
One of the most unfortunate problems facing Muslims today is the fact that in some of the nation’s poorest neighborhoods, the majority of liquor store owners are Muslim. This has done immense damage to the image of Islam and Muslims, especially since these are the very communities that have historically been most receptive to the message of Islam.
The human cost is even greater. Alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of death in this country (over 85,000 deaths per year); it is a major factor in domestic and teen violence; and it is often the first drug for those whose lives are eventually destroyed by drugs. Many of these liquor stores are nexuses for other forms of destructive vices in the community such as drug peddling, pornography, gambling, and fencing (the buying and selling of stolen goods). Rarely found in more “affluent” neighborhoods, these stores, with their easy access to liquor, exacerbate the poverty, despair, immorality, and oppression that has lead to the destruction of legions of young lives in poor residential communities.
In Oakland, the animosity generated towards Muslims involved in this cursed trade recently lead to vigilante activity. While we do not condone such actions, this was a wake-up call for many concerned Muslims.
Now is the time to let the community know that Islam does not condone this filthy trade. Now is the time for us to join those who have been struggling for years to stop this exploitative business. Now is the time for action. We declare and affirm unequivocally that the religion of Islam categorically prohibits any Muslim from engaging in the sale of alcohol, without exception or compromise. We call on all Bay Area Muslims to join us in an effort to end this scourge that is destroying some of our most underprivileged neighborhoods. Our campaign begins with:
• Friday, January 20, 2006 – A Jumu’ah of Consciousness: We call on all Bay Area Masjids to address the issue of alcohol, its strong prohibition in Islam, and its social destructiveness.
• Saturday, January 28, 2006 – Taking It To the Streets: A march that mobilizes the community to send a strong message that we are outraged by the destructive, immoral and haram actions of our coreligionists, and that we join allies from other groups in their struggle to rid our communities of this exploitative institution. Flyers advertising the march will be distributed at the previous Jumu‘ah, Insha Allah.
• In the long term, we will be networking with community activists to help develop alternativemodels of economic development, dialoguing with liquor store owners to urge them to embrace these alternatives, appealing for changes in local and state policies and regulations in regard to liquor stores in poorer communities, assisting in community education and empowerment initiatives, and initiating other measures that are needed to affect a long-term and lasting redress of this issue.
To be effective we need your support, and the support of your Masjid and community. We may not be able to end all alcohol trading in our poorer communities. However, we can make a big difference, and we can declare to all that will listen that any trading in this cursed poison that does go on does not occur in our name, nor does it have our endorsement.
We invite you to join us.
Coalition of Concerned Bay Area Muslims
For more info or to add you endorsement, contact: 510-868-8318
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