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softbutchnaruto  asked:

hi! my character is a black man converting to islam. hes engaged to another (black) muslim girl, although this isnt the reason hes converting. he sees it as the right path. is there anything specific i should keep in mind w a black muslim convert?

Black Muslim Converts - Perspective on Black Americans

I think you are on the right track with this, pretty much. The majority of African-American Muslims I know - in my friend circle and in my family - are very practicing and wouldn’t want their daughter to marry someone unless he was definitely interested in converting. One thing I would keep in mind is that converting is not easy. It doesn’t end at the actual declaration of faith, of the initial moment of joy from the witnesses as they embrace their new brother or sister in faith and ask them if they want to change their name or if there is any other help they need.

It is a hard road. My mother’s family was very accepting, and on the whole, I’ve seen that African-American parents and family are very loving and understanding about Islam, particularly since a lot of them had it in their roots or have family members who have always given a good example to them. But there are those who sadly aren’t. Issues with family is something that any convert can face and something you should keep in mind - even on small things like repeatedly telling a family member you no longer eat pork or don’t feel comfortable with something that you used to do before you were Muslim.

Another issue converts face is learning about their faith and assimilating into it; particularly when you’re African-American and have to face racism and prejudice from other Muslims. This is a sad fact of life that has been brought into Islam - which always preaches equality and universal love - by culture and that learned distaste for particular skin colors and stereotypes associated with that particular race or ethnicity.

I’d definitely recommend trying to find someone who has experienced that as a beta reader to tell you more about the particular struggles an African-American convert in particular might face while trying to find their place in their community. To be clear: not everyone goes through this. I also don’t want this to be twisted into a, “See! Muslims are bad and racist!” We have racist people, like everyone else. This is not a problem of faith, but a problem of certain people bringing their own issues and misconceptions into their community of faith.

I am glad to mention that we have a lot of support and forming organizations to help converts and keep them feeling positive and supported through this new change in their life. A lot of converts might find African-American masjids and communities, as well, and be able to find more sustenance and understanding in the changes and issues they particularly face there.

I hope this helps and isn’t too confusing!

-Mod Kaye