A Message to Our Community
Commentary from 33 People in 13 Countries:
A Time to Listen -
A Time to Learn and Unlearn -
A Time for Action -
Liberation Committee
plus Connections & Ruhaniat Pets
A time to listen. The oppression of people based on a sense of superiority and entitlement occurs worldwide. In this issue we present views on these complex problems from 33 writers* who provide perspective from 13 countries. This newsletter is huge - perhaps I have taken it too far. Yet, we need new understanding so that we can transform ourselves and our societies. It's not a short story.

A time to learn and unlearn. Several writers help us recognize our inherent prejudices and unconscious participation in systemic racism. Writers suggest readings and processes for unlearning racism, harmful behaviors and beliefs. They encourage us to talk about these issues and to keep the dialogue alive in our communities. In February, SRI formed a Liberation Committee and we include the mission statement for how they will serve our community.

A time for action. We hear from people who are on the front lines of protests. We learn about the work that is being done in service to the ideals of love, harmony and beauty from artists, musicians, dancers, teachers, healers, service workers, community builders, organizers, and paradigm shifters. We include resources for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and how to be an ally for these causes. The pandemic complicates this rally for change and is a dangerous "seen and unseen" foil to our activities. There are articles from health care workers who help to sharpen our awareness about health and the Covid-19 virus.

I hope that you will keep returning to this issue until you have read all of the stories. May we be deepened by the wisdom and honesty of our contributors. May their stories inspire us to be agents of change. The time has come.

Please join our Ruhaniat Family Zoom Gathering on Saturday, June 27th @ 11:00 am Pacific, UTC -7. The topic is Racial Justice & Spiritual Liberty and will be facilitated by members of our "Next Gen". time zone converter

Toward the One,
Khalifa Basira Beardsworth, Secretariat & Editor

* The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed by the writers belong solely to the authors, and not necessarily to SRI.
for those who are facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic
Ruhaniat Mureeds Pandemic Relief Fund
A Message to Our Community
The Sufi Ruhaniat International family is committed to living with a keen moral and ethical compass, as we passionately add our voices to the many voices for justice, equality and transformation in our country and in our more with translations into Russian, Spanish and German
A Time to Listen
Omar M'Sai, New York City, USA

Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

It is with great humility and deep gratitude that I want to say thank you all for showing up in whatever way that you chose to make your stand against the systemic and consistent abuse of our un-armed brothers and sisters at the hands of these police officers.

This is nothing new, and has been going on throughout my lifetime in one manner or another.

It filled my heart with joy to realize that people from all over the world were beginning to see what black people in this country have had the burden of seeing and knowing for a long more

Read 3 Stories from Omar
...As I recounted to Mike what had happened to me, how I had a gun held to my head, been forced to lie face first on the asphalt, etc., Mike looked at me and stated, without hesitation, "Wow, I am sorry to hear what happened to you, but at least I am glad that they are watching the neighborhood" more
Sadaya Zimmerle, Oakland, California, USA
...A calamity of consciousness has hit humankind as surely as the corona virus, but this is something we can do more about. What a brilliant opportunity! But we must stay awake and we must be willing to do the work. We are beckoned to engage in the body of the Bodhisattva. Poignantly we remember it is not enough to arrive ourselves, we need to go back for everyone... read more
Maleka Mau, Los Angeles, California, USA
...We need to strive to do better, to recognize our failures and shortcomings and listen to what other people who feel marginalized in our community feel and what they have to say. I would encourage each person in this community to take a deep look within to see how they can be better, learn, grow and show up for others... read more
Zenzi Hobongwana Graham, Bristol, United Kingdom
While the USA and UK seem to be two very different countries, our histories are intertwined and have given way to parallels in the present realities both are experiencing. I feel this to be especially true when we consider the origins and reasons for the centuries long systemic racism and particularly anti-Black racism present in both countries ... read more
Shahida Tania Villarreal and Jemal David Coral Ramirez, Catambuco, Colombia
...This story has already been told in many ways, it is up to us as people of this time, to tell the story as it is, to collect the broken pieces and recover the complete image of our humanity, for the benefit of those of who have left, for those who are, and for the generations that will come to heal the more
Pablo Iturralde, Quito, Ecuador ~ SRI Board of Trustees
For many, the hardest thing about being a foreigner is having to explain, is having to answer to the eternal, the endless question, where are you from? Where are you from? Where are you from? D’où viens tu?? Where is she from? Da dove vieni? Woher kommst du? De dónde eres tú? But more difficult is to be foreigner in your country. To have darker skin is to be be born foreign, To have darker skin is to be more
"10,000 Joys & 10,000 Sorrows" graphic art by Wasia Georgianna Reid, Afton, Virginia
Maria Lalla Cy Aché, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Two of the countries most afflicted by the corona virus pandemic, and where the infection and the mortality rates are disproportionately higher between black people, the United States and Brazil, have been stages to a wave of protests, in the last few days... read more
Sheikha Rahmana Dziubany, Golzow, Germany
...Racism comes in many forms and faces. Sometimes it is easy to recognize in its stupidity and brutality, sometimes it is hidden and manipulative and asking for high awareness, self-criticism and unlearning of old habits or views. It has a variety of clothing and behaves like a chameleon, adapting to its environment to more
Nur Jahan Roxana Campos, Santiago, Chile
...This movement impregnated life with airs of change; the urgent need to live with dignity was a widespread cry in the streets and squares. At some point, we Chileans had to wake up and we did so hand in hand with the young high school students who lit the flame of more
Arjuna Benzion Weiss, Bondi, NSW, Australia
...Some of my findings from my research that proved valuable was that racism could be re-framed as cross-cultural conflict. There is no scientific basis, either biologically or sociologically, to explain the different human ‘races’. They are actually different cultural groups. Genetically we are all part of the same human race! However, the term has a legal status as part of anti-racism laws... read more
A Time to Learn and Unlearn
The Liberation Committee
A new SRI committee formed in February 2020 with this mission:

The Liberation Committee aims to facilitate the education of the Sufi Ruhaniat International leadership and community regarding societal and cultural conditioning that hinders our spiritual liberty. We recognize that the process of freeing ourselves from societal boxes is part of the intensive and personal work that we, as spiritual seekers, have chosen. We strive to equip our community with emergent language and frameworks regarding identity (gender, ability, race and beyond) so that we may collectively recognize, welcome and celebrate all community members in their fullness and truth. We are also committed to promoting respect for and solidarity with cultures whose practices we love and benefit from, but that we are not native to. We seek to rise above “the distinctions and differences which divide”, not by bypassing them but by doing the work necessary to recalibrate our current system of privilege and inequity, recognizing and honoring the reality of injustices perpetrated against particular communities for generations.

For more information, please contact Gayatri Kira Kull, SRI Board of Trustees
Nikolajs Abdullah Belikoff-Strads, Portland, Oregon, USA
Six principles of naturopathic medicine bear a great relevance to the ongoing pandemic of racial injustice. These pillars of naturopathy are the guiding lens through which I practice and I feel moved to highlight their application for these times ... read more
Sheikha Zelice Habiba Peixoto, Palmeiras, Brazil
...Thoughts and prejudices are still very rooted, whether in social relations, in issues of identities and genders, or in the collective neglect of people with disabilities. This leads us to review our notions of normal and pathological, of right and wrong, in the quest to value differences, in a shared world... read more
Khabir Christian Mayer-Glauninger, Rodgau, Germany
...We all belong to a fringe group somewhere, at some point. Only acceptance of the fact that we are humans among humans could change this. And I'm not saying that I want to be like you. We need to be different, the world is colorful and diverse. We don't have to be "the same", we have to be equal and be proud of what and who we are... read more
Tara Beatty, Portland, Oregon, and New York City, USA
...Once, when it was particularly bad, I said out loud to myself "I can't breathe" and then stopped. I was struck. These are powerful words. They are the same words used by my patients as they struggle with respiratory illness. They are the same words spoken by Eric Garner in 2014 when he was killed by a police officer. They are the same words spoken by George Floyd last month as he was killed by a police officer... read more
Hameed Nigel Pizzini, Auckland, New Zealand
...As a dance leader, I grapple with concerns about cultural appropriation when offering sacred mantras and dances that are not of my own Christian/European background. More so, when Māori dances are the topic. Māori have had so much "taken" from them, including their language... read more
Khabira Candace Holt, Nelson, British Columbia, Canada
...We can take courage to examine whether we are carry taught ways of categorizing others which are demeaning; we can ask whether we may have a sense of superiority just from growing up with certain societal attitudes. Do we hold stereotypes or have a habitual reaction to people we perceive as different?.. read more
In solidarity: Aziz Asmar paints a mural of George Floyd on a bombed building in Idlib, Syria
Lindsey Azalee Molineaux, Sacramento, California, USA
...I have seen police officers walking around public school campuses in full gear. Let me also remind you that I am currently an elementary school teacher. This means these locked and loaded police officers are walking around schools for children 5-12 years of age. What kind of message does this send to our children?... read more
Sheikh Bodhi Be, Haiku, Hawaii
...For a long time, I felt deep shame as a person with white skin, though I don't consider myself a "white person". What I found was that shame didn't serve me or anyone else and was a draining and energy depleting experience. I then discovered the power and importance of more
Murshida Darvesha MacDonald, Silver City, New Mexico, USA
...If one understands the universe is a cooperative, co-created affair, then how can one not, well…. cooperate?! The deeper one goes into this understanding, the more one cannot help but see more and more clearly into one’s own behavior, attitudes, ideas, concepts, emotions, prejudices and greediness... read more
Anne Zahira Noor Gill, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Racism is a reality here in Ireland. In a few years we have moved from being a homogeneous society to being a multi-ethnic one. Three areas where this is apparent are: the segregation of the Travelling Community; the existence of direct provision for asylum seekers; a widespread distrust of ethnic differences... read more
Sheikh Gayan Gregory Long, Boulder, Colorado, USA
...Consider listening and learning more today. Speak, if you feel the quickening, of how you are motivated, stuck, hurting, overwhelmed, effective. Join me in using your gifts, talents, and privilege to feel, heal, become more usefully educated and informed today. Engage in important and challenging conversations (including with me) to become more effectively more
A Time for Action
Sitara Ariel Bushnell and Gayatri Kira Kull, New York City, USA
From the Streets of New York...We march because we have to, because too many black lives have been lost and if survived, have lived unjustly under the tyranny of white supremacy for far too more
Murshid Abraham Sussman, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, SRI Board of Trustees
...Tuning our hearts to all life is the evolutionary call humanity needs to hear in these times of change. White folks need to hear the cry of "I can’t breathe" from our black brothers and sisters, and respond with caring more
Luccia Jalila Malika Rogers, Silver City, New Mexico, USA
...Being an ally in this context means being a person intentionally committed to assisting people who are not, "like them", to work for their equal rights, their equal treatment under the law, and ending their oppression. No social justice advance occurred or occurs without more
Marty Amin Kraft, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
...I believe we are prone to error in thinking that there are nouns or goals which, when achieved, we can rest. Instead, existence of life is a constant and changeable flow. There are no real rests. We only get tired and wish there were. Rest is also part of the flow. When rest is done well, it is as dynamic and healing as the more
Fazl Frank Olivier, Oakland, California, USA
Working to end the 400-year plague of racism in the USA, Fazl Frank Olivier takes on the demon within...

Black Lives Matter Demonstration Banners by
Clare Sage Daims, San Francisco, California, USA
Jilani Prescott, Halifax, United Kingdom, SRI Board of Trustees
...How can we as the SRI be proactive in making ourselves an open and welcoming community, making connections and broadening who we are? It isn't going to happen by itself! It's no longer enough just to proclaim our Oneness while ignoring the painful truths of unconscious bias, inequality and more
Jorge Arjun Calero, Cajibio-Cauca, Colombia
...Engagement starts inside each one of us. We must get to witness the oppression that dwells in ourselves. Adam said “I have oppressed myself by lack of awareness". The spiritual path requires action, action requires awareness, awareness requires presence, presence requires more
Sheikha ZubinNur Westrik, Arnhem, Netherlands
...So, as we are active, and as we speak out, we have to make sure we nourish our hearts and souls so we won't burn out before this CHANGE is done...insh'Allah, we are in for the long haul this time. And we need stamina to do this work for there are generations of wrath, pain, misuse, degradation, segregation, murder and egotism that need addressing... read more
Maitreya Jon Stevens, Sarasota, Florida, USA
With activism, what are we activating in other people? God. If God isn't activated in us, how can we help activate God in others? With each breath we take bayat, place our minds on God's infinite wisdom. Whatever your part is, do it with great love. Then God will be there. I love you all! more
Evan Mu'id Bushnell, Portland, Oregon, USA
...May this song be a salve and a reminder of the love we are, as we delve into the decay and death of the ignorant ways in which we have been more

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Racial Justice & Spiritual Liberty
Saturday, June 27
11:00 am Pacific, USA = UTC-7
Recording: Wisdom Talks
Pir Shabda Kahn and Mirabai Starr
June 21, 2020

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April 20, 2020
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May 22-24, 2020
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Hakim Saul'uddin and Shafayats ~ June 22-24, 2020
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