Originally Published in Medium on January 15th, 2018
by Faris Hayee
Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister. He was the leader of the non-violent civil rights movement aimed to end segregation and discrimination.
It all started in March of 1955, when fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat to a white man as required by Jim Crow Laws at that time. Nine Months later civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to another white man which led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In early 1963, the Birmingham Campaign was organized by the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) to promote integration and Dr. King was in forefront of this effort.
Finally, in August 1963, Dr. King stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his remarkable speech. He said, “I have a Dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where the will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Those words led to the end of segregation, but Dr. King would not be able to live to tell the tale, as on April 4th, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. King was pronounced dead. James Earl Ray was found guilty for sniping Martin Luther King Jr.
I feel that the end of segregation and discrimination was a great achievement made possible by Dr. King. But I would also want to share that Islam has laid the principles of racial equality 1500 years ago. The Holy Qur’an teaches us to celebrate diversity. It states, “And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your tongues and colors” (30:23). The Holy Prophet Muhammad said, “All of you are equal.”
I hope we celebrate Martin Luther King’s Day of service by promising that we will always serve others indiscriminately.