This is from my friend A reflecting on the same Gaza solidarity rallies we've beeen discussing on here the past few weeks. She originally sent it as a comment on the post below, but it definately deserves its own post.
Two days ago I called "Takbir!" at a rally and the crowd responded enthusiastically. It was exhilarating. I spent my youth in a masjid feeling alienated because I couldn't make announcements after prayer, my male friends would enter the prayer hall and leave the masjid without saying hi because they didnt see me in the back, and I secretly dreamed about being able to lead the call to prayer.
Because of these rallies, I have been seen by my Muslim community and have been supported in leading chants. I, as a twenty something activist, only got up the courage to call Takbir after a woman in her teens did it first. I had supported her in taking the bullhorn, and she had supported me in taking visibly religious leadership at this rally.
And rather than accept the timidity instilled in me by my patriarchal upbringing, I got in several arguments with uncles over the right to express our political connections to Palestine in ways that were authentic to us; as Muslims, as queer people, as women, as youth, as people of color engaged in various anti-colonial struggles, and as men who embrace the leadership young women in the community.
Allahu Akbar holds no patriarchal resonance for me whatsoever. It is part of my journey to forge queer leftist radical mystical Islam as my spiritual path. Rather, it was the male leadership of the rally yelling "stop killing women now, stop killing children now" that made it clear that they see youth and women as passive victims in the struggle. They feed into the duplicity of the death tolls, which count any male adult in gaza as a militant, not a civilian. This includes the many male paramedics who have been targeted while trying to evacuate injured folks to hospitals.
My response to the leadership is this:
"Women, girls, boys, men
The struggle comes from within.
Our communities will fight back
We will not accept attack!"