A group of Islamic leaders is urging Muslim business owners to stop selling alcohol, tobacco and drug paraphernalia, which are prohibited in the Quran because they contribute to the destruction of humanity.
The United Muslim Coalition for Chester Citizens Against Violence and Crime mailed out a letter detailing the request to 16 Muslim-owned businesses last month.
The coalition wants the businesses to stop selling such products because they run counter to Islam and also contribute to the drug and violence problem plaguing Chester. The coalition claims the business owners are ignoring passages in the Quran that call for Muslims to protect others from harm.
“They’re preying on the addictions that plague our community,” Imam Haneef Mahdi said. “We’re trying to eradicate from the root those things that are hurting our community.”
Imam Farid W. Rasool said many people buy blunts from these stores strictly to lace the wraps with marijuana, cocaine or embalming fluid. The latter is known as “wet” on the streets.
Rasool said many of Chester’s youth engaged in drugs and violence identify with the Muslim faith. Coalition leaders said they are tired of seeing these youth — and others who don’t identify with Islam — dying on the streets.
“We have a right to request that you stop contributing to the death of your community,” Keith Muhammad said. “We are asking as a community for you to stop. That should be respected. Certainly, out of the law of Islam, you should be moved.”
Coalition leaders said they are just one cog in a broader effort to improve Chester. They said they simply are asking their fellow Muslims to adhere to their faith and stop taking actions detrimental to the community.
If the business owners do not cease selling forbidden products, the coalition said it will ask the public to stop supporting those businesses.
Coalition leaders do not view their efforts merely as another anti-violence group taking action.
They said they want to influence the morality of the community and are calling on Muslim business owners to cease living a contradictory lifestyle.
“We live by example,” Muhammad said. “That is what we’re trying to get them to do.”
In their letter, the coalition also asked Muslim business owners to cease selling pork and any other products also forbidden in the Quran.
The Muslim leaders spent two weeks visiting each of the establishments, because none of them responded to their letter or attended their meeting, they said.
Mahdi said many of the business owners expressed concerns about profits. Some store operators are immigrants more focused on prospering in America than following their religion, he said.
“The concern was normally the monetary loss that would be taken if they removed these products from their stores,” Mahdi said. “There are certainly other things they could be selling that would make their businesses profitable.”
Coalition leaders noted at least 25 Muslim-owned businesses are making profits by selling wholesome products. There is no need to sell forbidden products, they said.
“We are enjoined to have love in our hearts to every human being,” Nusrat J. Rashid said. “Why on earth would you want another human being to be subject to these dangers?”