Praying for liberation, redemption, and freedom.
Two weeks ago, several IMAN staff members and 25 other community and faith leaders, artists, and activists embarked on IMAN’s inaugural Black Jerusalem journey, an initiative led in partnership with Bayan Islamic Graduate School and co-convened by Dr. Rami Nashashibi and Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, III of Trinity United Church of Christ. The initiative gathered leaders from across the Abrahamic faith traditions for a tour to explore the sacred geography of Jerusalem as experienced through the lens of African Palestinians and other Black communities from across the Diaspora.
During the last day of the trip, war broke out while the group was on its way to the airport. By the grace of God, our entire group made it safely back to their homes and families despite experiencing the anxiety and fear of witnessing rockets flying overhead.
However, ‘safe’ is not what we can claim for the beautiful families and individuals we left behind.
Since the trip embarked in September, the group witnessed firsthand the gruesome realities of police brutality, mass displacement and surveillance, and vast socio-economic disparities in areas that have long been universally acknowledged as holy lands – circumstances not unlike those encountered in places like Chicago, Atlanta, and marginalized and oppressed communities across the country.
As we reflect on the impact of Black Jerusalem, the historical and active pain within these lands remains fresh in our hearts. While the news of indiscriminate attacks and kidnappings of innocent civilians are deplorable, so, too, is the inhumane collective punishment of 2.2 million innocent people in Gaza — half of which are children — and the decades-long and ever-increasing displacement, harassment, and daily humiliation of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.
With the number of fatalities increasing by the hour, our pain and mourning deepens over the tragic collective loss of human life. Our prayers go out to all of those affected by this overwhelming tragedy–our families, friends and newfound companions in one of the most holy lands on earth–and for a future defined by liberation, redemption, and freedom for all.