“Indeed, God commands justice, doing good to others, as well as courtesy to close relatives. He forbids indecency, wickedness, and aggression. He instructs you so perhaps you will be mindful.” (16:90 )            “For every day on which the sun rises, there is a (reward from God) for the one who establishes justice among people.” (al-Bukhari)            “And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way, so that [with your lives] you may bear witness to the truth before all humankind. . .” (2:143)            “Dispensers of justice will be seated on pulpits of light beside God.” (Muslim)            “Do not spread corruption in the land after it has been set in order. And call upon Him with hope and fear. Indeed, Allah’s mercy is always close to the good-doers.” (7:56)           “Even an ant in its hole and fish (in the depth of water) invoke blessings on someone who teaches people goodness.” (al-Tirmidhi)            “O believers! Remain conscious of God, and be with those who are truthful in word and deed.” (9:119)           “God does not judge you according to your bodies and appearances, but He looks into your hearts and observes your deeds.” (Muslim)            “The parable of those who spend their possessions for the sake of God is that of a grain out of which grow seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains: for God grants manifold increase unto whom He wills; and God is infinite, all-knowing.” (2:261)           “Charity does not diminish wealth.” (Riyadh al-Salihin)            “Let there be a group among you who call ˹others˺ to goodness, encourage what is good, and forbid what is evil-it is they who will be successful.” (3:104)           “Avoid cruelty and injustice...and guard yourselves against miserliness, for this has ruined nations who lived before you.” (Riyadh al-Salihin)            “Do not forget to show kindness to each other. Surely God observes your actions.” (2:237)           “(Allah) has revealed to me that you should adopt humility so that no one oppresses another.” (Riyadh al-Salihin)            “It is We who sent down this Reminder (al-Quran) and it is We who shall preserve it.” (15:9)           “The best among you are those who learn the Quran and teach it (to others).” (al-Bukhari)            “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.” (2:152)           “There are two blessings that many people lose -- health and free time for doing good.” (al-Bukhari)            “Say: 'O My servants who have transgressed against your own souls, do not despair of God's mercy, for God forgives all sins. It is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.'“(39:53)           “Happy is the man who avoids dissension, but how fine is the man who is afflicted and shows endurance.” (Abu Dawud)            “And you love wealth with immense love.” (89:20)           “Being rich does not mean having a great amount of property, but (it) is being content (with what one has).” (al-Bukhari)            “Every soul is held in pledge for its deeds.” (74:38)           “Make things easy and convenient and don't make them harsh and difficult. Give cheer and glad tidings and do not create hatred.” (al-Bukhari & Muslim)           

People Of Faith Must Work For Justice | Opinion

“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Micah 6:8

“O you who believe, be just, witnesses for G-d, even if it be against yourselves or parents and nearest kin. One may be right or poor, but G-d is the patron of both.”

The Women: 135

Justice is a concept central to our faith traditions and is found in our nation’s DNA. Our forbearers carved the phrase “Equal Justice Under Law” onto the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court and the Pledge of Allegiance ends with the words “and justice for all.”

Courthouses around the nation are adorned with Lady Justice, a blindfolded figure, balancing the scales to symbolize the impartial, equitable and proportional administration of justice.

Generations of Americans still use the phrase “justice is blind” as a reference to that ideal. But let us hope Lady Justice (and we as a community) are not blind to a criminal legal system that can be unjust and that she does not shield her eyes from the harmful effects of the racial disparities that we find throughout that system.

In its Feb. 7 editorial, the Free Press highlighted the effort by a group of Washtenaw County residents to document patterns of racial disparities in charging and sentencing decisions using data from their county court’s website. The data revealed by the group, Citizens for Racial Equity in Washtenaw (CREW), details disparities that many have experienced but had never been documented in a way that the public could see and understand. It reveals a pattern of racial disparities that has plagued us nationally and, importantly, it raises questions that deserve answers.

The good news is that CREW’s efforts have helped to transform the conversation in Washtenaw County from “we don’t know for certain there are racial disparities” to “we know there are racial disparities now what do we do about them?”

Systemic racial bias is part of our common heritage. Its influence is felt everywhere from the individual level to institutional policies such that the only way we can overcome its pernicious influence is by confronting it when and where we find it.

As religious leaders in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, we believe in the power of people to do good and to seek justice. We wholeheartedly support the Free Press’ call for each county to engage the community in a study of all pieces of each county’s criminal justice in order to identify and address racial disparities in such areas as arrests, charging, and sentencing.

While undertaking a transparent data-driven effort may shed light on uncomfortable truths for all to see, it is exactly the reset we need now to restore our faith in the nation’s promise of equal justice under law.

Signed by:

  • Rabbi Alana Alpert, Detroit Jews for Justice
  • Rev. Dr. Steve Bland, Jr., President, Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity
  • Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi, Islamic House of Wisdom
  • Imam Mustapha Elturk, Islamic Organization of North America
  • Bishop Donald Kreiss, Southeast Michigan Synod, ELCA
  • Rabbi Daniel Schwartz, President, Michigan Board of Rabbis
  • Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow, Metropolitan Community Church Detroit
  • Fr. Norman P. Thomas, Sacred Heart & St. Elizabeth Churches Detroit
  • Imam Dawud Walid, Council on American-Islamic Relations — Michigan

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