Peace and Justice Foundation Suspends Advocacy Activities
Foundation Will Focus Efforts on Educational Initiatives
22 Muharram 1426
(March 3, 2005)
For the past decade The Peace And Justice Foundation has served the community as an Islamically-based human rights organization, with two primary components: advocacy and education. During this period, and with very little resource, we have weighed into cases and issues (on the advocacy front) as diverse and politically loaded as police brutality, political imprisonment, the repeal of secret evidence and other legislative reforms.
Our proudest achievement (and we mean proud in a spirit of thankful humility) has been the direct impact that we have had on individuals and families over the years – both Muslim and non-Muslim. Some of you reading this will no doubt recall some of the more notable cases we have been involved in (often leading the way on) in the Washington metro area, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Atlanta, Oklahoma, and the list goes on.
We are grateful to Allah (God) for the strength our Lord has given us (in mind and body) to engage this noble mission. Through this work we have learned the deeper meaning of an observation made by one the great sons of Afro-American struggle, Frederick Douglas, who said more than a century ago: “A man [or woman] is worked on by what he works on; he will carve out his circumstances, but his circumstances will carve him out as well.”
During the course of this noble journey we have grown in ways that we never could have imagined starting out; and for this we are truly grateful. For what good we have done, all praise belongs to Allah; only the mistakes have been ours.
That being said, please be advised that The Peace And Justice Foundation will suspend the direct action advocacy component of its work as of 22 Rabi 2, 1426 (May 31, 2005). Between now and then we will do our best to honor what we already have on our plate, but we will NOT accept any new cases.
The reasons for this decision, in brief, are two-fold: my 13 year old daughter and the mounting gravity of this work.
My daughter wrote me a beautiful letter recently; beautiful in its eloquence and respectful frankness. Essentially she complained about receiving so little of her father’s time and attention, and politely scolded me about being angry so much of the time. I really believe (I want to believe) that she meant serious. I don’t think I’m an angry person. Nevertheless, I had to really ponder her words and concede that at the heart of her argument lay a legitimate and well made complaint. My daughter (Halimah Janan Saalakhan) has a right over her father; a right that I have been neglecting lately.
The other reason has to do with resource, and the excellence that Al-Islam, properly understood, demands of us. The Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things; so whatever you do, do it well.” One of the most frustrating things for sincerely committed activists to deal with, is to have the knowledge, or a strong intuitive sense of what needs to be done on a particular case or issue, but not have the resources (material and/or human) to get the job done right.
The social and political crisis that America and much of the global community is in right now is not going to go away any time soon. As exemplified by a growing number of cases – i.e., the Paintball Case, the cases of Abdelhaleem Ashqar, Dr Sami Al-Arian, Lynne Stewart (and her co-defendants, Ahmed Abdel Sattar and Mohamed Yousry) , Ahmed Abu Ali, Dr Ali Tamimi; the assets seizures and unjustifiable closures of humanitarian relief organizations, etc. – the madness is deepening.
Given our track record of service to the community, and the tendency for persons in need to call us for assistance (or to refer others), we are compelled by existing circumstance to acknowledge our limitations. We will not play around (or ego trip) with other people’s lives.
While we are suspending our advocacy work, we are determined to maintain the education work that we have also become known for. The Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said: “When you see an evil action, you must change it with your hand; if you cannot do so, with your tongue; if you cannot do so, [detest it] with your heart, and that is the weakest degree of faith.”
With God’s help, we will continue to write, lecture, and speak out in other forums, on the major issues of the day. We will also make ourselves available to advise and consult when needed. I pray that Allah (swt) will purify our intentions; strengthen and preserve each and every one of us in all of our endeavors of good.
Yours in the struggle for peace thru justice,
El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan
Director of Operations
The Peace And Justice Foundation