Join ISNA: Prevent Gun Violence in Your Community

This morning, just a month after the tragic mass shooting in Newtown and on the birthday of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., ISNA National Director Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed joined other religious leaders to demand that political leaders respond to the gun violence crisis in our country.  At the event, more than 40 religious leaders representing millions of Americans released a letter to President Obama, Vice President Biden, and members of Congress, calling on them to:

*        Require every person who buys a gun to pass a criminal background check
*        Remove high capacity weapons and ammunition magazines from our streets
*        Make gun trafficking a federal crime

As faith teaches us that human life is sacred and must be protected, faith leaders have a unique role in speaking out about gun violence prevention. They know firsthand the pain and suffering caused by illegal firearms because they are the ones who are called upon to comfort the family and friends who have loved ones who have been murdered with guns.  In the immediate wake of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) asked Muslims all over the country to give Friday sermons or lectures on gun violence earlier this month.  If you gave or heard such a sermon, please let us know by clicking here.

Dr. Syeed quoted from the Holy Qur’an (81:8-9), in which we are told that on the Day of Judgement, a child will ask for what reason she was killed, holding the perpetrators responsible. “On the Day of Judgement,” Dr. Syeed said, “the children who were killed in Newtown will ask the same question. They will ask why regulators did not put laws in place to protect them. They will ask why some in their community did not call on demand laws against gun violence. We must all take action to stop this injustice.”

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is a member of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence as well as the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV).  ISNA has continually spoken out after each major tragic shooting in the past year, and it is time to stop the epidemic of gun violence once and for all.  ISNA supports and reaffirms the constitutional right of all citizens to bear arms, and calls for sensible federal policies to ensure that guns stay out of the hands of those who pose a risk to society.

Specifically, we join Faiths United and the CSGV in calling on Congress and the President to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals and those with serious mental illness by closing gaps in the background check system, including requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales.  Currently, 40% of gun sales occur without a criminal background check, and 74% of  members of the National Rifle Association agree that criminal background checks should be required for every gun purchase.  We also ask that federal policies enhance law enforcement’s ability to combat the flow of illegal guns into our communities and enforce existing gun laws.

Rachel Laser of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism reminded everyone of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as we celebrate his 84th birthday today. Shortly before his death as a result of gun violence, Dr. King spoke about other horrific shootings at that time.   “By our readiness to allow arms to be purchased at will and fired at whim, by allowing our movie and television screens to teach our children that the hero is one who masters the art of shooting and the technique of killing, by allowing all these developments, we have created an atmosphere in which violence and hatred have become popular pastimes.”

TAKE ACTION:

Make your own voice heard!  On Monday, February 4, join others around the nation by calling President Obama and your members of Congress to demand a plan to end gun violence:

  • Call the White House: 202-456-1111
  • Look up your Senators
  • Look up your Representative
  • Tell them we need 1) background checks on all gun sales to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, 2) a ban on assault weapons, and 3) restrictions on high magazine clips.

Give a khutba on healing after a tragedy and on gun violence prevention.

Write an op-ed for your local newspaper, sharing why, as a Muslim, you think gun violence prevention is important in your community.