beingblackandmuslim

Sharing this for folks: #blackmuslimramadan is currently trending on Twitter. Black Muslims are sharing pictures of their iftars, stories about their traditions related to black Muslim identity during Ramadan, calls to action within the black Muslim community and the ummah at large. This HT seeks to explore and make visible what it means to observe Ramadan as black Muslims. Get in on the action and share widely! #beingblackandmuslim #ramadan

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Happy Black History Month!

According to ISNA’s 2011 American Mosque Report, African American mosques, particularly those affiliated with the Imam WD Muhammad community, tend to be more “women-friendly” than immigrant-origin mosques. The highest average of female attendees at Friday prayers occurs in African American mosques: 23% of attendees during Friday prayers are women, compared with 16% in immigrant-origin mosques. African American mosques are less likely than immigrant-origin mosques to segregate women and men using partitions (39%) and mosques from Imam Muhammad’s community are the least likely to use partitions (10%).

Featured: Masjid Taqwa in Chicago, Masjid Muhammad Muhammad in DC, Lighthouse Mosque in Oakland CA

#DropTheAWord Twitter Campaign

This is the A-word we are talking about, the Arabic term abid (s. slave), abeed (pl. slaves), abda (female slave). As stated early in this blog post, MuslimARC largely developed in response to the virulence and pervasiveness of anti-Black racism in social media. Drop the A-word as a campaign is not limited to Arabs, but to all Muslims who have used racial slurs. Dawud Walid wrote an article  titled Intra-Muslim Racism: Confronting Ethnic Slurs and Racism Among American Muslims  where where he explains:

 It is not uncommon for Arabs from the Levant to refer to Blacks as abeed (slaves). In the South Asian community, Blacks or people with darker skin are sometimes referred to negatively as kallu (Black person). In the Somali community, it is also not uncommon to hear other Blacks being called jareer (nappy head) and adoon (slave). And even among some Nigerians and Ghanaians, there is widespread usage of the word akata (wild animal) to describe descendants of their former enslaved tribesmen who are Americans.

While some may see such calls as divisive, we are standing up for and with those who have been wounded by racial slurs.   Several studies show that interpersonal racism has a cumulative effect, resulting in negative emotional and physical health outcomes for the victims. We are calling each one of you to play a role educating your friends, family, and co-workers. Regardless of where you come from or your background, the use of racism slurs is hurtful.  And this needs to stop. In the Holy Qur'an, Allah Subhana wa ta'ala says:

Sahih International: O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent - then it is those who are the wrongdoers.

This verse reveals that even if you think it is cute to use the n-word and you don’t mean it offensively, it is something that Allah Subhan wa ta'ala considers  wrong. Even if you don’t think the subject of your offensive nickname is not offended, you have offended someone else. Someone like me,  felt the full brunt of the violence behind those words.  

One can be actively racist, passively racist, actively anti-racist, but you can’t be passively anti-racist. I spent months calling out people on twitter for using the word abeed. Many questioned our methods. And this work, itself angered me, frustrated me, and made me wonder was it worth it. I still believe that there is a place for calling out foul behavior. This study shows that regardless of the resistance or hostility people expressed when confronted on the their stereotypes,  they are less likely to express prejudiced views afterwards.  But I don’t think it should be the job of the victims of prejudice to call out the perpetrators. You need to check your own people and do it out of love for them because it is cutting away from their humanity.

There are many methods that we can take to confront racism and stop our Muslim community centers, Islamic schools, camps, and outreach programs from becoming toxic, ethnically and racially polarized spaces. We still have to explore the best methods and see which ones would be the most effective. Regardless, we have to stick to the Qur’anic injunction of  enjoining the good and forbidding wrong. It is time for our community to say this is unacceptable and incompatible with the spirit of Islam.  We’re calling on our co-religionists to take a stand against the use of anti-Black slurs (and all racial slurs), whether in English or in other languages including those of their fore bearers. Wednesday February 26, tweet your thoughts on ways we can #DropTheAWord. We know better, we must do better, and it is up to each of you to do your part.

Help Make A #BlackHistoryMonth Khutbah Go National!

MuslimARC needs your help with our newest initiative: contacting every imam in the country to ask them to speak about Black Muslim history and anti-Black racism in the ummah next Friday, February 21st.

That will be the day, 49 years ago, that Malcolm X was assassinated in New York City.

The letter - posted on our website and available in PDF and through Google Drive - provides a list of specific topics, links to articles detailing examples of racism in the ummah, and a general overview of why this initiative is important.

You can email the letter directly from our website, post links to it on social media, and/or print it out and take it with you to jumuah today. We are trying to reach every community in the country, so if you reach out to a specific masjid or individuals, please let us know!

The letter is available here: http://www.muslimarc.org/imams/.

-NI

muslimarc.org
#BeingBlackAndMuslim trends tomorrow!

HASHTAG CONVERSATIONS

What is a hashtag conversation?

A hashtag conversation is where people on Twitter tweet using a specific hashtag, resulting in the collection of numerous viewpoints and ideas under that hashtag. To contribute to a hashtag conversation, tweet your thoughts and add #[topic] to each tweet so others can see it.

What are our topics?

  1. #BeingBlackAndMuslim: tweets from black Muslims about their experiences.
  2. #UmmahAntiBlackness: tweets regarding the ways Muslims experience, perpetuate, and reinforce anti-black attitudes, beliefs, norms, and prejudices.
  3. #DroptheAWord: tweets raising awareness regarding the harmful usage of “ab**d” to describe black individuals and advocating for this usage to cease.

When are the suggested times for each hashtag conversation?

A hashtag conversation doesn’t always have a set beginning or end – hashtags that are popular can be used later to quickly link back to an idea when there is new information regarding that topic. To make sure that our hashtags end up being popular enough for more people to see it and join in, we are suggesting times to begin each hashtag conversation:

Just remember: Wednesdays at 1 pm EST all of Black History Month.
February 12th: #beingblackandmuslim
February 19th: #ummahantiblackness
February 26th: #droptheAword

Why these topics? Is there anything I should read before one of these HT convos?

If you’re unfamiliar with racism, problems in the Muslim community, the Arabic language, or issues surrounding an intersection of these topics, you might be a little confused as to these particular topics. Feel free to read up on the following:

  1. Ihhsan Tahrir’s “Black + Muslim + Woman
  2. Sabria S. Jawhar’s “Achievement has no color
  3. Dawud Walid’s “Responses to My Calling Out the Term ‘Abeed‘” and his first article: “Fellow human beings are not abeed” (text republished on our site since the original article at the Arab American News site is not always accessible).

Generally, you may want to read the following for a broad look at frameworks regarding racism and anti-blackness as opposed to racism against other ‘minority’ groups:

  1. Kali Tal’s “Why there’s no such thing as ‘Reverse Racism‘”
  2. Janani’s “What’s Wrong With the Term ‘Person of Color’… or at least how it’s used

Sharing this for folks: #blackmuslimramadan shirts are on sale at teespring.

I love the description:

“Contrary to popular media narratives, black Muslims in the U.S are a significant portion of the American Muslim community. The earliest Muslims in the U.S were African slaves, and the contributions of this community to American culture and politics is huge. #blackmuslimramadan is a digital celebration of this legacy in words and pictures. Look for us on twitter”

http://teespring.com/blackmuslimramadan

#beingblackandmuslim #ramadan #blackmuslims

youtube

Youtube’s Kez Iah discusses being Black and Muslim in America in a vlog

dailymotion

The Stream: Faith & Race in Muslim America

Alternate link: http://castroller.com/podcasts/AlJazeera/3957444. -NI

youtube

MuslimARC’s NI livetweeted the entire event. Did you miss it? Watch the whole lecture here. With Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, Shaykh Omar Suleiman, and Imam Khalid Griggs. They discussed the Qur'an and race, important Black figures in Islamic history, and Malcolm X. -NI