Muslims hold prayer service to support Occupy protests

Scores of social and civic groups are backing the Occupy Wall Street protest movement around the world. At the site of the original Occupy demonstration in New York, a group of Muslims held Friday prayers in a show of support for the anti-corporate movement.

Muslims associated with the New York Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations and the local Islamic Leadership Council came to express their grievances and to speak of social justice.

“We, as Muslim New Yorkers, are here today because we are in solidarity and support of Occupy Wall Street,” said Linda Sarsour, director of the Arab-American Association.

Imam Aiyub Abdul Baki of the Islamic Leadership Council delivered a sermon on social justice based on the Last Sermon of the Prophet Muhammad. In a veiled reference to Wall Street bankers, the Imam mentioned the Prophet’s commandment against usury. He also noted U.S. constitutional protections of religious expression, alleging that Muslim-Americans do not fully enjoy that right.

“We are also suffering, suffering racism and discrimination. Islam-bashing is on the increase,” Baki said.

With this Friday prayer, Muslims join Jewish and Christian groups that have brought an element of spirituality to the diverse, if ill-defined Occupy Wall Street movement for social and economic justice.

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