AMV Press Conference on the Trayvon Martin Case
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

American Muslim Voice (AMV) sponsored a press conference Friday (July 19, 2013) to discuss the acquittal verdict in the Florida trial of George Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin to death. The press conference, held at the Muslim Community Association Santa Clara, was addressed by Pastor Jetheo (Jeff ) Moore, President of the San Jose/Silicon Valley National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Zahra Billoo, Executive Director of CAIR San Francisco Bay Area Chapter; Rev. Dr. Andrew Killie, President of Silicon Valley Inter-Religious Council; Delorme McKee-Stovall from Human Relations Office of Santa Clara County; Abdus Sattar Ghazali, Senior Advisor of The American Muslim Voice Foundation; Congressman Michael Honda’s Representative Lenine Umali; Rasheed Salaam, Deputy Director of Be A Champion Foundation and an African-American convert to Islam; Reshma Inamdar, Board Member of SEMAH Inc. and Samina Sundas, Founding Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice Foundation.
Samina Sundas, Founding Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice Foundation, was moderator of the press conference.

She said that the AMV stands in solidarity with “our African-American brothers, sisters and all people of conscience who mourn the senseless and untimely death of Trayvon Martin.” Samina said that the AMV welcomed the Justice Department's review of this case and hoped a swift decision will be made to bring federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

Pastor Jetheo (Jeff ) Moore, President of the San Jose/Silicon Valley National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said he has two boys and he fears that after ten years someone will look at them as a threat because of the color of their skin like Trayvon Martin.. Pastor Moore indicated that what was happening to the African-American community was also being felt by the Muslim as well as Latino communities.

Zehra Billoo, Executive Director of CAIR San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, said that her organization is happy the Department of Justice is reviewing the civil rights issues associated with the February 2012 killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. “We know that Trayvon Martin’s civil rights were violated.”

Rev. Dr Andrew Kille, President of Silicon Valley Inter-religious Council, said that the reaction of George Zimmerman’s acquittal has aroused responses from across the country which remind “us again of our history of hatred and discrimination, privilege and power, based on differences of race, religion and culture.” He said the issues raised by the Trayvon Martin case are complex and require to “crossover the deeply-inscribed barriers of prejudice and hostility and to discover together how to move forward as one people.”
Delorme McKee-Stovall of the Human Relations Office of Santa Clara County said she was the mother of an African-American and she never imagined that she would be dealing with racism when her son turned nine. “This weekend when the verdict came down (in George Zimmerman case) her heart broke. Now so many mothers are weeping for their boys.”

In a statement read by Lenine Umali, Congressman Michael Honda said he was extremely saddened to hear about the devastating killing of Trayvon Martin. While there are many unresolved questions, it is in the best interests of our country, and our commitment to all individuals in this nation regardless of skin color, that justice be served, he said, adding: “Mr. George Zimmerman still walks a free man, while a 17-year-old deceased and unarmed young man is under scrutiny, validating that the underpinnings of this case must be proactively investigated, evaluated, and determined.”

The congressman was of the view that while understanding the complicated nature of this violent act, all signs point to the fact that the tragedy was brutally affected by racial bias, since violent acts are disproportionately committed against communities of color, and it is outrageous that cases such as Trayvon’s go uninvestigated, overlooked, and ultimately ignored.

Syeda Reshma Inamdar, Executive Director and Co-Founder of SEMAH Inc., said as a domestic violence prevention organization, SEMAH is horrified at the egregious misapplication of law in Florida which allowed George Zimmerman to go free after killing the unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin but has sentenced Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville to 20 years in prison for defending herself.  

“Marissa Alexander, a black woman, has stated that she filed shots in the air to scare off her abusive husband. She fired in self-defense, harmed no one and yet she faces 20 years behind bars while George Zimmerman is fully acquitted.” She urged Florida Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature to redress this clear travesty of justice.

Abdus Sattar Ghazali, AMV Communications Director, said the AMV believes that George Zimmerman targeted Trayvon Martin because he was a black guy. Unfortunately, as Muslims we have received the same treatment since 9/11. The acquittal of Zimmerman is a miscarriage of justice.

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