Here’s Why Arab Americans Like Me Are Supporting Efforts to Defund the Police

Both Republicans and Democrats have been pushing increasingly exaggerated narratives to convince us that we are c.Rime is exploding, and calling on increased police funding and policing. This is common Republican rhetoric. Democratic mayors support it. Lori LightfootChicago and Eric AdamsSimilar messages have been repeated by Chicagoans. Even Stacey Abrams the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, who has enjoyed widespread support from progressives. announced ThursdayShe supports raising the pay of police officers.

In recent weeks, we’ve Also Been repeatedly toldBail reform has seen crime rise. But according to the American Civil Liberties Union, this is a “false narrative.”

Yes, homicides have increased since 2020. However, it is possible that the increase could be due to the expansion of Neoliberalism and the dislocations Caused by the pandemic rather than the “fall guy” of minimal bail reform. It is vital to reject this alarmist rhetoric. This obscures the racist classist, sexist and homophobic realities that police violence in the United States.nite States.

Even communities that we perceive to be one step away from the harms of police can still be affected.-perpetratedViolence can be targeted by it. We should speak out against it so-called “toughOncrime” approaches.

As an Arab American living in America, I have witnessed the chilling effects that surveillance has on my community. Three factors have inspired me and motivated me to join the movement. defund the police.

First — as organizations like Chicago’s Arab American Action Network and San Francisco’s Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), the Abolishing the War on TerrorMovement, the Arabs for Black Lives Collective,The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights is a prime example.Arab Americans have a responsibility of standing with Black(Including Black Arab). migrantAnd IndigenousSocial movements challenging oppressive police systems

Middle-These matters should be particularly addressed to Arab immigrant communities of class, since some of us have benefited greatly from anti-Blackness, Native land theft, and the exploitation working-class migrants Maybe not as directly, but maybe less than white people.Living on stolen Indigenous land is a way to do this.,Our families have been granted economic privileges in anti-Black systemic racism.

We must be challenging the privileges that we enjoy in relation to oppressive systems. Although the forms of violence that Arab and Black communities are subject to are different, solidarity is both our responsibility. It is also a way to recognize the responsibility of those on whose backs this country was built.It continues to operate.

Second, the racist structures that target Arab and Muslim migrant populations This includes airport profiling as well as government surveillance are part of the U.S.’s increasingly broad systems of policing and incarceration. We should work together with communities to eliminate policing.

The U.S. police systems are extensive and use many forms of containment, punishment, and surveillance. police useOf gang databasesAnd terrorist databases. Both rely on the practice of racial profiling. Civil rights groups claim that it is unconstitutional, as it violates privacy rights.

Furthermore, the “war on terror” normalizes the militarization of the police while the militaryAnd police are increasingly pushed to share strategies, technologies and trainingsTo intensify the suppression of social justice movements, and poor communities.

This is evident in military surplus Equipment and gear Going to police with armored vehicles or high-powered rifles. After the police-perpetratedFerguson, Missouri: Police in combat gear made communities appear like war zones after the shooting death of Michael Brown. Although there is no evidence to show that this reduces crime it raises serious concerns about what we want. Public safetywhat it might look like, and whether we are being conditioned to accept a militaristic and authoritarian future. (When Donald Trump renewed a program to replenish military surpluses that was reformed by The Barack Obama administration and joked about police not roughingPeople can be too optimisticThis is what it looks likeThis was a clear signal to police officers and endangered communities of colour.)

Communities have been expressing solidarity across the country. Besorgnization About how cops target Muslims, including Arab Americans, with Islamophobic rhetorical and physical actions. The well-knownNew YOrk PDepartment of OliceSpying campaign confirmed in 2011,This led to the N being a surveillance agency that systematically monitored Muslims and Arabs.ew YOrk City area — from “terrorism” investigations of mosques to attempts to infiltrate the board of directors at the Arab American Association of New York.

Recent examples include two Michigan lawsuits, oneOfficers who forced a Muslim woman’s hijab to be removed And another,Where officers were held ThreeNearly all Arab Muslim men ThreeDays without charges. The men had called police for help. They were caught on a police body cameraEra, the cops said, “the Muslims lie a lot” and tried to arrest them by fabricatingAccording to the lawsuit, information about them.

In May 2022, Chicago’s Arab American Action Network (AAAN) released a report demanding the abolition of “Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR).” They evidence how the Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something Say Something” campaign encourages police officers and “the entire population to report…seeing something that they find suspicious.” They found these reports focus on suspicions “about people who are or are assumed to be Arab, Muslim, or from the Middle East” for benign activities termed “suspicious” and “promote information sharing that can enable multiple law enforcement and intelligence agencies to conduct their own follow-up investigations.” Overall, the AAAN explains, they have the effect of repressing dissent and surveilling and criminalizing Arabs and Muslims while reinforcing white supremacy.

In this sense scholarsAnd activists working with Chicago’s working-class Arab immigrant communities have helped expand how we define policing and the communities we refer to as those targeted by policing.

Along similar lines, across the U.S., the “Countering Violent Extremism” program seeks to Enlist Muslim leaders to participate in spying on their communities, destroying trust, and dividing and submining them.

“The U.S. empire’s surveillance, counterterrorism and counterinsurgency have been imported from the global war into policing practices domestically and have always had an import/export approach to their carceral strategies, Doctoral candidate at University of Illinois Chicago Sangeetha Ravichandran. This creates a dangerous reality in communities of colorWho are they? You were subjected a violent, high-tech white supremacist policing culture that was in desperate need of abolition.

Many Arab Americans have a history of mistrust in the police. In 1993,After hundreds of Arab Americans were informed that their names had been included in files, hundreds of Arab Americans filed damage claims against Los Angeles and San Francisco police. After 9/11,FBIPolice and agents worked together to gather intelligence on Arab Americans.

The third reason? We should Support defunding the police It was made clear by the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy’s report on the Status of Racial Justice for Arab AmericansThe study found that police target Arab Americans, even though they are a common target.Although they may be targeted in different ways than Blacks and other communities of color and in different degrees, they are still direct targets. Not only is terrorism-related surveillance a problem, but so is the direct violence of the police.Instead of just The Department Homeland SSecurityThe FBI.

We discovered that some Arab Americans are confronted by police officers who cite their combat experience in the so-called Terrorism is a warTo justify the threat of Arab immigrants being deported. One research participant recalled a police officer making racist assumptions about the interviewee’s Muslim faith and said the cop intimidated him by referencing the War on terror. An officer saying, “I was crushing skulls in Iraq,” is intimidating to a Muslim and conveys more than a hint of violent intent.

Another interviewee asked the police to protect them from hate speech. Rather than defend him against slurs like “camel jockey,” the cop defended the perpetrator by saying, “You have to understand, he is a veteran.”

Radicalized veterans are an issue in the context of Arab American Life From The Afghanistan and IraqWar withSuperRacist views were charged Who Interact With Muslims and Arabs as police cannot be viewed as a “few bad apples.” The entire policing system promotes racismAnd Islamophobia.

These disturbing interactions result in a host of other problems A cop jokedly asked an Arab woman if she was hiding something under her hijab. — manyArab Americans have lost faith with the police.

In San Francisco, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center report, “Build the Block, Alternatives to Policing,” explains that day-to-day interactions with law enforcement among youth in schools coupled with the infiltration of organizations “necessitate a deeper understanding of surveillance, policing, sentencing and imprisonment… We need ways to respond to harm and fear that do not make us rely on law enforcement or on the criminalization of other communities.”

We must find ways to increase our internal capacity to defend, respond, and build power where it is most needed. We have laid the foundations for AROC to move forward in this direction with clarity, alignment with our principles and values.

Their report reminds of how Arab Americans were drawn In the U.S. systems for policing. One Arab family has a parent who was a Palestinian political prisoner. They had the FBI come to their Bay Area home and saw their son imprisoned under the same system that criminalizes young Black men. BRown men, their activist daughter and her friends live with the constant fear of surveillance.

As more Arab Americans lose trust with the police, Arab American social movement are expanding their solidarity to Black liberation movements. For decades, U.S. police departments’ collaboration with Israeli settler-colonial occupation forces has helped foster Arab AmericanResistance to policing (and particularly Palestinian diasporic) ignites Palestinian solidarity with Black struggle. Today, we need to break with the old ties that have been forged between Black liberation struggles and Arab liberation struggles. activist frameworks that reduce “ Arab and Muslim struggle” to Palestine and the war on terror on the one hand, and “Black struggle” to defunding the police on the other. The U.S. police violence affects the working class Arab migrants and refugees. It is important to recognize and resist the disproportionate effect of police violence on Black communities. At the same time, organizing from the standpoint that the struggle to free Palestine, abolish the war on terror, and abolish the police are conjoined, or more broadly, that policing is a foundational strategy of the U.S. nation-state to further its many agendas — from The prison-industrial complexTo settlercolonialism, the control of borders, and war — can go a long way in freeing more and more people.