On June 2nd, 2020, MALA posted a black square on all of the organization’s social media channels to honor Blackout Tuesday and demonstrate solidarity with Black communities in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. One of MALA’s community members took offense to this post and responded by posting a number of articles, tagging MALA and its leadership, attempting to delegitimize the experiences of Black communities in the U.S., and asserting that the Black Lives Matter movement was “a joke.” MALA’s deputy director reached out to this individual directly, requesting that he be mindful of the impact of his posts, and that he refrain from involving MALA’s leadership or constituents in his private views. This individual relented, continuing to post articles perpetrating racist and offensive perspectives; as a result, MALA’s board determined that the appropriate action was to block and remove this individual from all of MALA’s social media platforms.
Following removal from these platforms, this individual proceeded to contact and harass MALA’s Deputy Director via his own personal cell phone, continuing to agitate despite being asked to cease communication. This conversation escalated to a point where MALA’s Deputy Director shared an inappropriate image after prolonged provocation. MALA’s Deputy Director made a statement of acknowledgement via Facebook directly following the initial incident, however this individual continues to attempt to infiltrate MALA’s network, harassing constituents via email and even creating false social media accounts in an attempt to defame the organization, its partners, and its leadership.
MALA provides a platform where their voices and identities can be re-centered, allowing for the preservation of the richly diverse and vibrant communities that are now fused into the American experience. We identify as an ALAANA (African, Latino(a), Asian, Arab and Native American) organization, and also provide open, safe spaces for storytelling and leadership programs for LGBTQI Muslim American, both youth and adults. In this reason, we do not tolerate harassment or hateful rhetoric of any kind.
While this incident is regrettable, it is also not the responsibility of MALA’s board or leadership to police the private interactions of its staff members. Our leadership stands behind Mr. Omar, and ackowledges the honorable and selfless work he has done to mentor young leaders, build community, and marshall critical resources within the Muslim American communities since MALA’s founding. Moving forward, we ask that our community and partners be vigilant for other similar incidents of harassment and make us aware of any unsavory encounters with this individual. We remain committed to standing against hatred, and welcoming diverse perspectives into our community, however we will not tolerate perspectives which call into question the personhood or safety of other community members. We thank our community for their understanding and continued support.
Ahmed Zabi Rahat
Please direct any inquiries to info@MALAnational.org