Saturday, December 30, 2006

6th annual alim winter program

6th Annual
ALIM Winter Program

"The History & Development of Islamic Thought"

Dates: Friday, January 12th, 2007 through Monday January 15th, 2007

Location:
New York University (NYU)
Washington Square Park
New York, NY 10011

Instructors:
Dr. Ali Sulaiman Ali
Dr. Muneer Fareed
Dr. Abdul-Hakim Jackson
Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (Tentative)

Tuition: $125 Student, $150 Professional, $250 Couple (includes all meals, not lodging)

Registration: Click Here to Register Online!!

Refund policy: Cancellations requiring refunds will be according to the following policy. Full refunds will be awarded until 12/31/06, or if your application has not been accepted. After 12/31/06, 50% of the tuition paid will be refunded. After 1/5/07 no refunds will be awarded.

Babysitting: TBD

Lodging: ALIM is currently working out a discounted rate for all participants of the ALIM Winter Program.

Applications:
Not complete until payment and essay are complete. First come, first admitted based upon acceptance of application.

Contact:
winter@alimprogram.com
Haaris Ahmad (734) 652-0345

unity through sacred knowledge convention

AL-RISALA Center For Islamic Knowledge

UNITY THROUGH SACRED KNOWLEDGE CONVENTION

THE TIME IS HERE!

The effort to begin to unite the Muslim Ummah
on the basis of Islamic Sacred Knowledge!



DATE: Saturday, January 20TH
TIME: promptly 12pm-7pm
LOCATION: Morehouse College
King Chapel Auditorium 830 Westview Dr. Atlanta, Ga 30314

Featuring the following guest speakers:
Sheikh Harun Faye (Senegal
Sheikh Muhammad Ninowy (Syria)
Sheikh Dawoud Bojang (CICG)
Muhammad Abdul-Haqq (Sankoree)
Imam Nadim Ali (LPC)
Ustadh Jamal Ud-Deen Hysaw
Sister Huma Faruqi
Brother Mansoor Sabree
Ustadha Zaynab Ansari
and more!


Also featuring Islamic Poetry and Quran Recitation!

Tickets: $10 adult
$5 student/child
Vending $25

Proceeds go to the new building fund for Al-Risala Institute

Purchase Now!

You may also mail a check or money order directly to

Al-Risala
1288 Lucile Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30310

Al-Risala Center for Islamic Knowledge Homepage

Monday, December 18, 2006

duse muhammad ali

From time to time, I've looked online for good info on Duse Muhammad Ali but it wasn't until recently that I found an article worth linking to: Early American Islam: “Duse Muhammad Ali” and the “Universal Islamic Society” from Hood's Islamic Law etc. blog. For those who do not know, Duse Muhammad Ali was an early Pan-African Muslim (Egyptian/ Sudanese background) who influenced and inspired Marcus Garvey. Personally, I think Duse Muhammad is interesting because he stands out as an influential Muslim of African-descent in the West during the period after slavery but before the Moorish Science movement.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Flickr Show of Timbuktu Exhibit

Salaam alaikum

Oh, I've been very neglectful. I haven't posted here in so long but here is something fun.

Here is a flickr show of the
Legacy of Timbuktu: Wonders of the Written Word
exhibit at the International Museum of Muslim Cultures.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

the israel lobby and u.s. foreign policy

While we are on the subject of candid descriptions of what is going on in Israel, it seems appropriate to mention the controversial paper The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. The basic premise of the paper is that pro-Israel lobby has been rather effective in influencing U.S. policies in the Middle East, even to the detriment of American security interests. In a lot of ways, the contents of the paper aren't particularly radical or new. What is different this time around is the academic credentials of the authors (Mearsheimer is a tenured political science professor at the University of Chicago. Walt is academic dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University)

Wikipedia: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
Democracy Now!: Study Alleging Dominant Influence of Israeli Lobby Sparks Heated Fallout

jimmy carter and the a-word

Jimmy Carter's new book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid certainly doesn't make Carter the first person to suggest that there are similarities between Israel's policies towards Palestinians and the old South African regime's racial seperation policies. (Even Desmond Tutu, another Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has made such comparisons as far back as the 1980's.) But Carter's latest book does make him the most prominent American statesman to use this sort of language. Perhaps it will help the US electorate to move a little closer to the rest of the world when it comes to viewing the situation in the Middle East?

Another question which comes to mind is: What happens when we consider the implied comparison from the other direction? In other words, are "we" as Muslims able to on other anti-colonial and anti-racist struggles in the world with the same energy and vigor that our communities apply to the situation in Palestine? What if the victims have no association with Islam? What about when the oppressors are identified as "Muslim"?

Food for thought.

ZNet: Peace Not Apartheid
NPR: Jimmy Carter on Conflict in the Middle East
Counterpunch: Jimmy Carter and the A-word
The American Muslim: Jimmy Carter on Apartheid in Palestine
Haaretz: Notes on Carter's 'apartheid' analogy
Wikipedia: Allegations of Israeli Apartheid

"to the shores of tripoli..."

For a little bit of a follow-up on this Dennis Prager article, check out "to the shores of tripoli..." on Planet Grenada.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

"i'm not sure about the universe"

A saying, often attributed to Albert Einstein goes: "Only, two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity... and I'm not sure about the universe."

Here is an example from Dennis Prager: America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on

Basically, recently elected Muslim Congressman (takbir!) Keith Ellison announced that he would take his oath of office on a Quran instead of a Bible. And Dennis Prager, who apparently is advocating for America as a homogeneous Bible-based culture, seems to have a problem with it. In every other sentence of his tirade Prager alternates between displaying deep misunderstanding of Islam, the US Constitution, freedom of religion, American history and the nature of extremism.

For some non-stupid reponses to Prager's rant check out:
Taylor Marsh: That Uppity Democratic Muslim!
The Carpetbagger Report: It’s not a change of Biblical proportions
Professor Bainbridge's Journal: Dennis Prager goes off the Rails re Keith Ellison

Thursday, November 30, 2006

should muslims in north america be more involved in the issue of darfur?

blatantly swiped from the Ihsan blog: Should Muslims in North America Be More Involved in the Issue of Dar Fur? originally posted by Ayman H Fadel.

My perception is that we are not taking the issue of the suffering of Muslims in Dar Fur in Sudan seriously enough. I have a number of theories, but I'm more looking for feedback on this issue:

1. Are there significant efforts North American Muslims are making to improve the situation there?
2. We are not making significant efforts because:
  1. Fur (the primary ethnic group suffering in the area) are not well-represented among North American Muslims.
  2. A general discounting of Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. Muslim U.S. citizens should be more concerned about preventing harm the U.S. government is causing before preventing foreign governments from doing harm.
  4. North American Muslims doubt that there is a true humanitarian crisis and suspect there is a plot to weaken the country of Sudan.
  5. There is genuine concern, but really there is no good solution given the demographic, geographical and political circumstances. Therefore there is limited action.
  6. We are concerned, but we are having difficulty cooperating with other North American organizations involved in this issue.

My own guess is that there is a combination of most of these factors in our underinvolvement. I personally believe that the best option is a strengthening of the African Union's involvement rather than the United Nations. In fact, an Associated Press report dated November 16, 2006 reports on moves towards such measures. But I am not an expert in this, and the primary United States-based advocacy organizations such as SaveDarfur have, to my understanding, called for a United Nations peacekeeping mission because the African Union is not able to undertake such a large mission.

Islamic Society of North America Statement of May 2, 2006
http://www.isna.net/index.php?id=35&backPID=1&tt_news=707

Links from Islamic Relief
http://irw.org/pdfs/Darfur.pdf
http://www.irw.org/news/pressreleases/20041012

Other Resources
University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog
http://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/faculty/2006/11/us_involvement_.html
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Podcast "Voices on Genocide Prevention"
http://blogs.ushmm.org/index.php/COC2/ (this link is not working as of the time of writing, but I've subscribed to this podcast through iTunes for almost a year.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

on covering islam and muslims

Here is a talk on Google Video by Dr. Sherman Abdul-Hakim Jackson On Covering Islam and Muslims. which wrestles with the issue of who gets to speak authoritatively for Islam and the Muslim community. Other bloggers have mentioned this before but I found out about this from Hood over at the Islamic Law etc. blog in the entry I Don’t Know is on third…. The authority crisis revisited.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Blacks Still Vulnerable In American Society

While this post does not relate to Islam per se, it does speak on the status of Blacks in the American social context and how far Blacks still have to go in order to achieve equality. And while authors like McWhorters would perhaps argue this is a case of Blacks wanting whites to like them, I would have to disagree. Michael Richards actions were inexcusable. Anyway, read the post here.

an old but timely boondocks strip from 2003

Caesar and Huey are hanging out by a tree and Huey says out loud:
Moderate, Reasonable Leftists argue that even though we may not support the war, what's happened has happened and there's no point in dwelling in the past. [pause] All of those people, mind you, are still mad at OJ

RIP: Rasul Madyun

Rasul Madyun, assistant Imam at Masjid Muhammad and a great young community activist passed away on Monday, November 20, 2006. He was 30. His funeral will be at Masjid Muhammad in Washington, DC on Wednesday, Insha Allah.

Needless to say, his death comes as a shock.

Rasul was a good man and a fine example of a Muslim inolved in the betterment of American society and working with youth. I will Insha Allah be writing about him and sharing some of my reflections since that time at my blog in a couple of days

May Allah have mercy upon him

UPDATE: Rasul Hasan Madyun: 1976-2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

arab racism against black africans

From The Nigerian Village Square: Arab racism against Black Africans

Who are Muslims in America?

After following a recent series on NPR about Muslims in America, I found myself wondering what new definition of a Muslim in America would become. The overarching theme of the series was the tenuous link between Islam and September 11th. As American interest in Islam peaked after 9/11, I found myself thinking, "Is this an insult or a compliment? Are they curious about Islam because they think the terrorists represent Islam, or are they interested because they don't?"

The profile for the "American Muslim" thus became one of a middle eastern or south asian person. Blackamerican Muslims had long been established in America, but somehow that Islam was, and perhaps still is, viewed as "different." The Black Muslim has different values, different perspectives on gender, culture, and resistance, and holds different political views than the typical bomb-setting nationalist arab.

Nevertheless, the interest in American Muslims did turn to converts. How could anyone willingly turn to Islam, one might ask. But the question was not directed towards the Blackamerican Muslim; he, afterall, seems right at home with Islam. For the white male or white female, Islam is as alien as shintiism, or so it would seem.

It, therefore, did not surprise me when I found the NPR series to include no significant reference to Blackamerican Muslims. Despite being the majority, despite a significant history that traces back further than Columbus, and despite significant contributions in both the social and scholastic arenas, the interest in the Blackamerican Muslim has faded.

Who are they? Where are they? If Islam is the fastest growing religion in America, then the majority of those new Muslims will be Blackamerican, and if Americans are concerned about Islam's growing presence in this country, is it not about time they directed some attention towards the people they so earnestly try to ignore?

Ask any Blackamerican if he has a Muslim in his family. Many will answer yes. Some might even be able to tell you a little about Islam. It has become an inseparable part of Black America, just as Blackamericans have become inseparable from Islam in America.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

say hello to kameelah

Blogger is acting up so some glitches have turned up when I tried to add Kameelah as a contributor for Third Resurrection. But in the meantime, you can check out her blog, Kameelahwrites. She is currently writing from Johannesburg and in her profile she writes:
born and raised in east palo alto, CA, i am a dash of eclectic smarts, a pinch of unapologetic sarcasm and a sprinkle of grace all wrapped up quite nicely in a 5 foot 1 hijabi package. raised on gil-scott heron and nasheeds. i am a beautiful shade of brown, certified black person (ask me how to get your certificate!), green-tea drinker, rad. vegan, political organizer, community researcher, artist, teacher, writer, renewed marxist and professional smarty pants.

Friday, November 10, 2006

ancient black astronauts and extraterrestrial jihads

Recently over at Hawgblawg, Ted Swedenburg has written a couple of entries on "Islamo-futurism". In Fun^Da^Mental's "786 All Is War": "Sufi surfing on boards of steel" Ted goes over the surreal and futuristic lyrics of Aki Nawaz. And in More on Islamic sci-fi/futurism he gives a heads up on Yusuf Nuruddin's recent article in Socialism and Democracy called "Ancient Black Astronauts and Extraterrestrial Jihads: Islamic Science Fiction as Urban Mythology". (Hopefully the article or a discussion of its contents will eventually be available online).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The "New Passing"

Hot discussion going on over at my blog over the merits of black converts playing up their non-black heritage in the Muslim world and/or marrying non-blacks in order to lighten up their families and (hopefully) allowing their children to "pass" into non-blackness to avoid racism

Link: The New 'Passing'

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

keith ellison won!

November 8, 2006 10:24 a.m. EST

Nidhi Sharma - All Headline News Staff Writer
Minneapolis, MN (AHN) - Democrat Keith Ellison has been elected as the nation's first Muslim member of Congress on Tuesday after winning the Minneapolis-area district.

Ellison, who is also Minnesota's first nonwhite representative in Washington, admitted to having mixed feelings about being the first Muslim congressman.

"I wasn't trying to make any kind of political statement about my identity or anything when I ran," he said.

"I think the most important thing about this race is we tried to pull people together on things we all share, things that are important to everyone. We all need peace, and this Iraq policy is dangerous to our country," said Ellison, who is in favor of troop withdrawal from Iraq.

"I don't believe in abandonment of Iraq, I just don't think that we're going to have a military solution," he said.

However, Ellison, who is black, says his main aim is to help others understand that Muslims have much to contribute to America.

He also added that Muslims should know they are "welcome to the table of American politics."

The AP reports that Ellison will focus on promoting peace, setting up universal health care and fighting for middle class economic justice by increasing the minimum wage and addressing college affordability.

The Detroit, Michigan born leader also boasted about uniting labor, minority communities and peace activists during his election campaign.

"We were able to bring in Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists," he said. "We brought in everybody."

previous stories on third resurrection:
the lessons of keith ellison
keith ellison plays defense
ellison: the best hope
keith ellison and the nation
will minnesota send the first muslim to congress?

Friday, November 03, 2006

borat and ali g

A non-rhetorical question from Planet Grenada:

What is the difference between a white person in blackface and Sascha Baron Cohen, the English/Jewish comedian behind the characters of Borat and Ali G who presumably come from Muslim cultural backgrounds? (Borat is from Kazakhstan). I have a gut reaction but I'm really not trying to be rhetorical. That's an actual question. Does Sascha Cohen cross the line which seperates edgy and conscious cultural representation from a minstrel show?

Monday, October 23, 2006

slavery, genocide and the politics of outrage: understanding the new "racial olympics"

I've linked to articles from Hishaam D. Aidi in the past. Now, in the article Slavery, Genocide and the Politics of Outrage: Understanding the New “Racial Olympics”, Hishaam D. Aidi explores the intersections between Black Nationalism, Zionism, Black Orientalism, Afro-Arab unity, 9/11 and the current crisis in Darfur.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bilal Muslim Mission

The Bilal Muslim Mission is an organization founded with the goal of spreading Islam (particularly as understood by Ahlul-bayt) to Africans and people of African descent. When it was founded in Tanzania in 1964, there were almost no African Shia Muslims. Due to the hard work of renown scholar, Allamah Sayyid Akhtar Rizvi and others who followed his guidance, the community has grown tremendously and spread to numerous other countries.

In 1993, the Bilal Muslim Mission of America was founded to continue this mission of tabligh in the Americas. Starting in Orlando, Florida, it has now spread to Trinidad and Guyana.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

hasan shakur

I don't know if Hasan Shakur could credibly be called a political prisoner in the same sense as some of the people I've discussed in the Planet Grenada entry: black cats who became muslim. But he was a Muslim, and he passed away and the least I could do is give him some small acknowledgement.

Hasan Shakur was executed on August 31, 2006. He was pronounced dead at 6:18 pm. The day before his execution he wrote a letter to the people that had supported him. The following is an excerpt of that letter:

To many of you, I am different things you know? I may be a righteous brotha, a militant man, a brotha, a father, a friend, a husband, an asshole; all of that. However, I know one thing, I am ME. I stayed ME and in the event of my demise, I will remain ME. My love for the people and what I do is unrelenting. I will ALWAYS be that. I love you. I love what you have done for me and I love the fact that people believed into my cause and believed in me, and you know what? I love you and I believe in you. I believe you will continue to push the work I have done....

Fight for Freedom - Hasan Shakur
Uprising: Hasan Shakur Faces Execution
APoC:Article on Hasan Shakur by Chucky Mamou

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Why Blackamericans must change their attitude

The NYT has an article that talks about the divide between blacks and Latinos in the deep South. This is a microcosm of a larger and growing problem that more and more blacks are having as they are replaced in the workforce by the cheaper labor pool represented by the Latinos.

One again, let me make it clear that I am not anti-Latino, but we have to look at the ramifications of bringing in millions of new low-skilled Laborers is having on those who are currently citizens. Even the black elite is not making an issue of this.

Blacks here, who had settled into a familiar, if sometimes uneasy, relationship with whites, are now outnumbered by Hispanics. The two groups, who often live and work side by side, compete fiercely for working-class jobs and government resources. By several measures, blacks are already losing ground.

The jobless rate for black men in Georgia is nearly triple that of Hispanic men, labor statistics show. More blacks than Hispanics fail to meet minimum standards in Atkinson County public schools. And many blacks express anguish at being supplanted by immigrants who know little of their history and sometimes treat them with disdain as they fill factory jobs, buy property, open small businesses and scale the economic ladder.

[...]

Some Hispanics say African-Americans treat them with hostility and disparage them with slurs, even though blacks know the sting of racism all too well. They say many blacks are jealous of their progress and resent the fact that whites, who dominate the business sector, look increasingly to Hispanics to fill work forces. Blacks say employers favor immigrants because they work for less money.

Not able to find jobs in the legitimate workforce and feeling resentful, blacks then turn to crime:

The killing of six Mexican farm workers in a robbery last year in Tifton, about 30 miles away — and the arrest of four black men in the case — has heightened the friction. Nothing so violent has occurred here, but some Hispanics say black criminals focus on immigrants in this town, too.

This then leads to even more tensions and resentment on the other side.

Speaking of blacks, Benito Gonz├ílez, 51, a Mexican who has worked alongside them at a poultry plant, said: “They don’t like to work, and they’re always in jail. If there’s hard work to be done, the blacks, they leave and they don’t come back. That’s why the bosses prefer Mexicans and why there are so many Mexicans working in the factories here.” [More…]
This is the catch. I have seen this first hand. Many blacks do not want to work hard. The reason I am stressing this is because it DOES affect us as Blackamerican Muslims (no matter what some protest) and we must instill a new work ethic into our children. We must stress delayed gratification, ambition, education, hard work other traits that lead to success.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Byron Crawford of XXXL & Harris Publications attacks Muslims during Ramadan!! They must be stopped!!

http://xxlmag.com/online/?p=5114
Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006
Lupe Fiasco, jihadist
An exploration of Islamic themes in Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor.
Posted In: Columnists, Bol's Saturday Night Workout by Byron Crawford

Not that it matters much anymore, with Lupe Fiasco seemingly destined to fade into obscurity and end up the answer to some future mid-oughts trivia question about “skateboard rap,” but for a while there it was interesting to think about: If Lupe Fiasco had become a mega-star on the order of, say, a Kanye West, America would’ve found itself in the odd position of having an avowed devout Muslim pop star while simultaneously enmeshed in a war with Islamic fascism. Which would’ve been pretty weird, if you think about it. I can hardly think of an historic precedent for such a scenario. Not to attempt to draw any parallels (because I’m sure there aren’t any), but as far as I know, there weren’t any big jazz records made Nazis during World War II. And, as amusing as it would have been, I’m pretty sure there was never any Viet Cong equivalent of the Eagles during the final stages of Vietnam.

Indeed, there haven’t been very many Muslim pop stars one way or the other. American Idol’s own Paula Abdul is ostensibly an Arab of some sort, but I doubt she gets down on her knees for anything other than to blow that Puerto Rican guy she was allegedly involved with. Cat Stevens hit it big in the ’70s with songs like “Baby, It’s a Wild World” and the now-ironic “Peace Train,” but I don’t think he got serious about Islam until after his career had jumped the shark.

To be sure, plenty of rappers have professed an allegiance to “Calypso” Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam as well as its even more bizarre prison gang-oriented offshoot the Five Percenters. But it’s not like anyone other than the ADL considers them a real religion of any significance, and that’s because they’re always looking for someone to beef with as a matter of political strategy.

From what I understand, based on my reading of his lackluster Food and Liquor as well a lot of the press leading up to its release, Lupe Fiasco considers himself an adherent of the Cat Stevens school of Islam more so than the Rakim school, to put it in terms of washed up musicians. If he disagrees, he’s certainly free to talk management into allowing him to unleash another torrent of ad hominems on yours truly like he did a few weeks ago.

For a guy who hardly ever curses, let alone drops the dreaded n-bomb, I think people were surprised to see him go off like that. But that’s the thing about Islam: It’s a self-proclaimed religion of peace that just so happens to have a 1400 year history of violence. They don’t particularly set out to do anything other than submit themselves to the will of Allah, but that usually ends up involving wiring some poor child with explosives and sending him forth into a crowd of infidels.

Does Lupe Fiasco consider himself the equivalent of a suicide bomber sent to rid the rap world of a few infidels (metaphorically speaking at least)? When you think about it, his album does seem filled with that kind of rhetoric. He speaks of the images of champagne and bling bling so often projected in hip-hop the same way that Islamic fascists speak of American culture in general and, in particular, the “MTV culture” that they view as such a threat to Muslim youth.
And his claim that he once hated hip-hop because of the way women were treated (presumably before he became a gat-toting crack slinger?) seems ripe for further inspection beyond declaring his views “refreshing.” Muslims, after all, aren’t exactly known for being progressive when it comes to that sort of thing. Does he find that the depiction of women in rap lyrics is especially harsh vis a vis other genres of music or is the thought of a woman in revealing attire alone enough to set him off?

Ironically, the myriad issues raised by Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor are a lot more interesting than the actual music contained therein. In that sense, I suppose it’s too bad he doesn’t seem poised to have much of a viable career as a recording artist. That said, I’m sure I’ll find something else to write about.
****
Send them an email or give them a call and let them know how you feel.
Contacts:
Publisher Dennis S. PageExecutive Publisher Jonathan Rheingold
Editor-in-Chief Elliott Wilson
Editorial and Advertising Offices1115 Broadway , New York, NY 10010(212) 807-7100 fax: (212) 620-7787e-mail : xxl@harris-pub.com

Friday, September 29, 2006

Muslim "racial profiling"

Mistaken for being part of the "Muslim race", a Spanish professor was briefly thrown off a plane for fear that he was a terrorist. This goes to show why profiling will not work:

A Spanish university professor with a long beard and dark complexion said Thursday he was briefly forced off an airliner during a layover on the Spanish island of Mallorca by passengers who feared he was an
Islamic terrorist.

Pablo Gutierrez Vega told The Associated Press that he was humiliated when three German passengers on an Air Berlin flight approached him during a layover in Palma de Mallorca on Aug. 30 en route from Seville, Spain, to Dortmund, Germany, and asked to search his carry-on luggage.

The men told him that other passengers were frightened by his
appearance, said Gutierrez Vega, a 35-year-old law professor at the University of Seville.

"They treated me like an Islamic terrorist because of my appearance,"
Gutierrez Vega said, according to an account posted Thursday on the Web site of the newspaper El Pais.

After realizing the men were not undercover police officers, Gutierrez Vega refused to hand over his luggage. The pilot then approached the group and led the professor to the runway so they could speak in private.

"The pilot said the passengers believed I was a Muslim," Gutierrez Vega
told the AP [More...]

Thursday, September 21, 2006

the lessons of keith ellison

By working on this blog I've managed to find out about many good examples of Blackamerican Muslims who are involved in politics, activism and community service. I'm not sure if this is a growing trend but I have the impression that more and more Blackamerican Muslims are working in the mainstream and living out their values (based both on Islam and what Sherman Jackson calls "Black Religion") in the public sphere. In some ways, this process is parallel to the "third resurrection" which gives this blog its title.

A recent piece by Shahed Amanullah (editor-in-chief of alt.muslim) on the candidacy of Keith Ellison (an African-American Muslim running for the Minnesota seat in the U.S. Congress) gives a rather clear snapshot of the above trend. Amanullah ends his article by saying:

Muslims are understandably proud of Ellison's achievement, but while we celebrate, we must take another sobering look at reality. We have no more political power than we did the day before the primary, which is to say we have very little. Before we congratulate ourselves too much, we need to realize that Ellison deserves most of the credit. He worked very hard for many years to get where he is, all the while being unknown to most Muslims outside the Twin Cities. To be sure, Muslims helped in the way that any political supporters do, with donations, canvassing, and so forth. But as individuals, we helped no more so than Ellison's non-Muslim constituents did, and as a group, far less so. The more we tout him as "the Muslim congressman" or "our candidate", the more we inhibit Keith's ability to do his job effectively. And having a member of Congress - one who just happens to be Muslim - that contributes positively is the best possible outcome. As Muslims, we need to get out of Keith's way and let him do his job, and he can make our community proud in return.

(see entire article)

lessons on dissent, free press, inclusion, respect

Common Dreams: Malcolm X: Lessons on Dissent, Free Press, Inclusion, Respect by Hannah Allam looks back to Malcolm's much quoted "Letter from Mecca" and argues that its message is still relevant for today.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

keith ellison plays defense

Keith Ellison is a Democrat running for an open House seat in a heavily Democratic district. But what once looked like a cakewalk has turned into a bruising campaign in which many facts are disputed but a central one is not: If he wins, he will be the first Muslim elected to Congress.

See story at Washington Post: Muslim Candidate Plays Defense

"it's much worse"

rashad byrdsong: 9/11... five years later

Monday, September 11, 2006

Rashad Byrdsong, 57, executive director of the Community Empowerment Association, an East End community organization committed to social change in city neighborhoods, is an African-American Muslim. Here's his story, as told to Post-Gazette reporter Moustafa Ayad:

I felt a numbness. I remember watching it on the television in my office. Was this war? Or was this some isolated event? Where was the next attack going to be? We as Muslims had similar feelings. No matter, Muslims or Christians, as human beings, we still have the same feelings. I was shocked.

Islam is a peaceful religion. All I see is a very peaceful and engaging religion that is a deeply personal relationship between me and Allah.

Why should I have to defend my religion?

Unfortunately there always has to be a fear factor. It's a way to mobilize a social concept and social thought into an unfavorable environment that keeps people fragmented.

It is all happening out of hysteria. Instead of perpetuating the fear, we need to address that fear.

African-Americans have an understanding of the history of racism and segregation that challenges minorities in this country. Black folks had been detained for 400 years after all. Immigrants were shocked with the backlash. Immigrant Muslims have certain types of expectations coming to this country and the reaction after 9/11 was a culture shock.

Islam has been indicted. These things happen in cycles. It's our turn. Everybody has had a turn. Yesterday, it was the communists, maybe tomorrow it's the poor Appalachians, but in the history of this country there has always been an enemy and right now it's Islam and Muslims.

To indict a whole people, a whole religion, based on the actions of a very small extremist group is counterproductive. The whole religion of Islam and Muslims are not responsible for the actions of an extremist sub-sect.

When you talk about terrorism it's not just a specific ethnic and religious group. Anyone who fits that particular profile must be a terrorist and that in turn becomes the profile of the religion. That is where the hysteria leads us. It's not terrorism that is holding people hostage -- it's fear.
source

Sunday, September 03, 2006

'Muslim': The New Race

At some point in history, Jews became an ethnicity as well as a religion. Now, it seems that some are also trying to make 'Muslim' into an ethnicity as well. Even those that are not Muslim are put into the 'Muslim' racial category.

This article should demonstrate why 'profiling' will not work. Especially in light of the fact that if this guy and this guy shaved their beards, and called themselves "Johnny" and "Mike", they would pass right through the profiling.

Shows just how fluid race can potentially be here in America as well. A white woman or a Latina with hijab becomes Palestinian. A Palestinian woman without becomes a Latina. A white guy with a long beard instantly becomes an Arab. A Latin man can sometimes be mistaken for an Arab and vice versa. I suppose all Indians are Muslim too. I heard a skit in which a man was told by his Indian employee "...but I am Hindu" to which he responded "I don't care what kind of Muslim you are"

Muslims can fall into this too as I remember an Arab walked up to a biracial Muslim friend of mine and started speaking to him in Arabic assuming that he was Arab.

Be sure to look at the pictures of the different Muslims the war on terror heads into its sixth year, a new racial stereotype is emerging in America. Brown-skinned men with beards and women with head scarves are seen as "Muslims" -- regardless of their actual faith or nationality. Law enforcement measures, politicians, religious leaders and the media have contributed to stereotyping Muslims as a race -- echoing the painful history of another faith.

[...]

The Muslim caricature has ensnared Hindus, Mexicans and others across the country with violence, suspicion and slurs. And it has given new form to this country's age-old dance around racial identity.

With fair skin, green eyes and brown hair, Dailyah Patt is white. But when she puts on a head scarf, Patt has discovered, people see her as something altogether different. The Modesto-born convert to Islam has had people categorize her as Palestinian, and she's been told: "Go back to your own country."

So Patt removes the hijab, as the head scarf is commonly referred to, when she goes to job interviews or has to fly.

"I can pass as Christian," said Patt, 27, a Palo Alto resident, who was frustrated by repeated airport security interrogations until she stopped wearing a scarf.

She feels "oppressed" for feeling forced into shedding a required article of the faith.

[...]

Patt and Khalil's experiences show how race works, say scholars who
study the phenomenon: People often project their assumptions onto others based on physical characteristics, even ignoring their own experience.

[...]

"You can't define what a Muslim looks like," said Saifulloh Amath, 23, a San Jose resident who is Cham, an ethnic group native to Vietnam and Cambodia. His family has been Muslim as long as it can trace. But he is taken for a "devout Buddhist."

[...]

Racial stereotyping is also present within the Muslim community. Muslims were among the slaves imported from Africa at least as early as the 1600s. And African Americans later established mosques around the nation. Yet, African American Muslims have long complained that Arab Muslims don't treat them as full members of the faith.

"When you're an African American Muslim, you're dealing with two kinds of bigotry: the bigotry of white America and also with Arab bigotry," said Adisa Banjoko, 36, of Fremont.

Typecasting Muslims as a race

Thursday, August 31, 2006

ellison: the best hope

Minnesotans have the opportunity to send a real progressive visionary to Congress from the Fifth District. Keith Ellison, a two-term state representative from north Minneapolis, would also be the first person of color to represent Minnesota in Congress. The Fifth District primary will be a referendum on the war, single payer health care and whether the whitest large city in America, Minneapolis, can elect a Black Muslim to Congress. (see story here)

See also:
will minnesota send the first muslim to congress?
keith ellison and the nation

abdul-samad: a man under fire

bilde
Des Moines Register: Ako Abdul-Samad is in a fight against becoming a political outcast. And it's a fight the Des Moines school board member, human rights advocate and legislative candidate vows he'll win.
see story here

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

whitney, osama and kola boof

This isn't exactly what I wanted to create the blog for but...
According to scribe Kola Boof, the Sudanese poet and novelist whose new book "Diary of a Lost Girl" details the inner circle of Bin Laden as one of his girlfriends.

Boof says bin Laden obsessed on singer Whitney Houston. "He said he had a paramount desire for Houston and although he claimed music was evil, he spoke of someday spending vast amounts of money to go to America and try to arrange a meeting." Boof added he couldn't stop talking about Whitney.

Boof also alleged that Bin Laden thought about having Whitney's husband Bobby Brown “rubbed out.”

Boof also revealed Bin Laden to be a complete racist. He couldn’t tolerate black people, according to the Sudanese writer.

from chocolate

Also see:
Blacknews: An interview with Kola Boof
An unofficial Kola Boof site

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Beasts of No Nation

A book review of Beasts of No Nation.

Author: Uzodinma Iweala

Reviewer: Aaminah Hernandez

Beasts of No Nation is a small by powerful first novel by a new African voice that I hope we will hear more from. The novel is written from the perspective of a very young boy, Agu, who is forced into the rebel army during the war in his country. The country is unspecified, but it could be any. Agu's exact age is unspecified, but he is only recently enrolled in school, so a reasonable guess would be 5-9 years of age. The voice is unique and engaging. Each word of the fictional novel is non-fiction truth in the lives of many, and the writing pulls you in so that you forget this particular version is from the imagination of Iweala.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Can You Have An Argument Without Hating the Prophet?

This may should ridiculous but one of the challanges facing indigenous, Blackamerican Muslims is validating themselves. I'm writing this because of conversations I've had with other indigenous Muslims and how they are treated as second class citizens. In a recent post I wrote on the phenomenon of how some people view the Qur'an and it being revealed in Arabic. This lead to a dicussion that ultimately left me being charged as a racist and casting aspersions against the Prophet. So read for yourself. Here's the post, the first comment and my response.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Prince Among Slaves

By way of Writeous Sister

A Prince Among Slaves

from Islamica Magazine

An African prince falls from the heights of a sophisticated and educated society into the depths of slavery and ignorance in Mississippi. Abdul Rahman’s willpower to remain a faithful servant to God overcomes the obstacles of being a slave in antebellum America, and reminds the world of the long-forgotten first Muslims in North America.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

recently on grenada...

Recently on Grenada, I've had two entries on two very different African-American Muslim scholars: The first one is on Amina Wadud and her book Quran and Woman. The second is on Imam Zaid Shakir's recent piece Islam: Religion or Ideology?

the seven habbits of highly effective communities

2006 Rawdah
AUGUST 4, 5, and 6
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective
Communities:
How We Can Break the Vicious Cycle of Broken Communities,
Broken Families, and Broken People in Order to Unify and Strengthen Our Communities
The Text:
Risaalah lil-Amraad Shaafiyah Fiha Nasihah lil-Aghraad Kaafiyah
by
The Great West African Scholar, Statesman, and Nation Builder
Amiru’l-Mu’mineen Muhammad Bello ibn al-Mujaddid Shaykh Uthman ibn Fodiyo
(Allah Have Mercy On Him)

The Teachers:
Ustadh Adil Woods
Ustadha Latifa Ali
Imam Ibrahim Bilal
Ustadh Muhammad Abdul-Haqq
And Others…

The Venue:
The Philadelphia Masjid
4700 Wyalusing Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Find out more -> http://www.rawdah.org/

Friday, July 28, 2006

Race and Religion - An Interview with a Blackamerican Muslim

I was invited to be a part of a spiritual biography project earlier this year. An excerpt of that interview is now available for listening online. Check it out.

"Shades of Change"

Interesting article about how Americans are accepting interracial marriage more often

After years of battles over immigration, affirmative action, racial
profiling and other issues, it appears that the United States is becoming a genuine melting pot. An interracial tide has transformed friendships, dating, cohabitations, marriages and adoptions in just one generation.
If the wave continues, it could begin to erode racial stereotypes and categories, as well as the rationale behind affirmative action and other broad protections for minorities.

[...]

Minnesota has been a leader in such change for decades, dating back at
least as far as the mid-20th century with the surge in the adoption of Korean children. By the year 2000, no large U.S. city anywhere other than on the intensely multiracial Pacific Coast had a higher share of multiracial children than Minneapolis

[...]

“I’m seeing a lot more interracial couples,” said Guatemala native Javier del Cid, a 32-year-old Washington bartender who has worked in restaurants for 18 years. “They’re not scared anymore. You see a Hispanic guy with a black girl, you don’t say, ‘Oh, my God!’
Only people raised before it was accepted say that.”
He should know—he said he dates mostly black women. A raft of
research supports his observations.
For example:
• In 1992, 9 percent of 18—and 19-year-olds said they were
dating someone of a different race. Ten years later, the figure was 20 percent, according to a 2005 study by sociologists Grace Kao of the University of Pennsylvania and Kara Joyner of Cornell University.
• In 1992, 9 percent of 20—to 29-year-old Americans were living
with people of different races. A decade later, that figure was 16 percent, Kao and Joyner said.
• In 1985, when asked to describe confidants with whom they’d recently discussed an important concern, 9 percent of Americans named at
least one person of a different race. These days, it’s about 15 percent,
according to Lynn Smith-Lovin of Duke University and Miller McPherson of the University of Arizona at Tucson, co-authors of the American Sociological Review article.
• In 1980, 1.3 percent of marriages in the United States were interracial, according to the Census Bureau. By 2002, that had more than doubled, to 3 percent.
• Eight percent of adoptions were interracial in 1987. By 2000, the number was 17 percent, according to Census demographer Rose
Kreider.

Entire Article: Shades of Change felt across America

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Apostasy and How It Relates To American Muslims

I wrote a short piece on the new trend of Apostasy and how it may relate to our situation as indigenous, American Muslims. Read it here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"i saw the bullet cry, i heard the man fall"

I've included a number of references to Louis Reyes Rivera (aka the Janitor of History) before on Planet Grenada, but this is probably the most "Grenada-esque" (An Afro-Latino writer giving a "contributive note" to a Black and Muslim and human hero). It is a beautiful spoken word piece by Rivera on the assassination of Malcolm X which he performed on Def Poetry Jam. I also have to admit that Def Jam is where I first heard of Rivera... which is a shame since he has been around for a while.

see also:
louis reyes rivera
inside the river of poetry
filiberto ojeda rios

Monday, July 24, 2006

Disappearing Middle Class

The LA Times reports that the middle class is deteriorating at a faster rate here in the US which does not bode well:


A growing body of research shows Los Angeles to be a region of extreme
polarization, where rich and poor live in separate neighborhoods, surrounded by others like themselves.

Demographers at Wayne State University in Detroit recently found
Greater Los Angeles to be the most economically segregated region in the country. The study found only about 28% of its neighborhoods to be middle-class or mixedincome, compared with more than half of those in Nashville, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

More than two-thirds of L.A.-area residents live in neighborhoods that are solidly rich or poor, according to the analysis, which is based on 2000 census data. That share has been steadily growing for three decades, said one of the study’s authors, George Galster, a professor of urban affairs at Wayne State.

“The situation in L.A. is certainly at the extreme of American cities,”
Galster said, adding that every one of the 100 metropolitan regions he looked at has grown more economically segregated over the last 30 years.

The trend parallels a well-documented loss of middleincome jobs in the
United States over a generation. But the study found that middle-class
neighborhoods are disappearing at a much faster rate than the comparable jobs.

Researchers attributed the faster pace to a kind of self-sorting. In other
words, people are moving out of economically diverse neighborhoods to live in areas dominated by their own income group.
{...}
“I think that poses real challenges to any society, politically and socially,” Galster said. “The fact that our society is moving to a situation where we don’t rub shoulders on a daily basis means that, more and more, people’s impressions of others will not be formed by personal experience but by images in the media.”

The study defined neighborhoods by residential census tracts, and defined middle income as between 80% and 120% of the metropolitan area’s median.

Los Angeles’ spot on the list can be explained, in part, by two factors
that create bulges at each end of the economic spectrum: Large numbers of low-skilled immigrants earning low wages and a rarefied club of wealthy entertainment and business moguls.

Los Angeles County “has more billionaires than any other part of the
country. It’s also the capital of the working poor,” said Peter Dreier, chairman of the Urban and Environmental Policy Program at Occidental College.

That wasn’t always the case. A generation ago, the region was a model for the post-World War II, middle-class lifestyle. High-wage manufacturing jobs were abundant, particularly in the aerospace industry. When the industry collapsed in the early 1990s, many middle-class residents left the region. In the meantime, large numbers of immigrants arrived seeking work.
Other changes mirrored national trends, including the development of large, similarly priced housing tracts outside city cores.
{...}
Dreier and Galster said government intervention is needed to reverse the trend.
In metropolitan regions that are continuing to grow, such as Los Angeles, they advocated a requirement that developers build a mix of housing, including affordable units for low-income residents.

Known as “inclusionary” housing, that tool has been adopted by dozens of California cities. But in Los Angeles it has been successfully opposed by business groups that have argued it would discourage developers from building in the city at all.
{...}
For several years, Flaming has documented the loss of middle-class jobs in the region, as well as the rise of the lowpaying informal economy. Using 2004 data, Flaming found that 15% of households in the
county earned less than $15,000 a year, accounting for 2% of the area’s income.
At the same time, 7% of households earned more than $150,000, accounting for 27% of the county’s total income.

Households earning the median range, between $45,000 and $50,000, made up one of the smallest segments of the population, less than 5%. Flaming calls it the vanishing middle.


FYI, New York was right behind Los Angeles on this list

View Entire story here

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

black/muslim split?

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Dispute over mosque sheds light on black, Muslim split by Gregory Lewis is a follow-up on issue we've already referenced in: muslims and the black community

US becoming more diverse

This article states that the minority groups are now almost 1/3 of the population here in the US.

It also quotes the Washington Post's statistic that almost 50% of this country’s children under 5 years old are racial or ethnic minorities. The article states:


Future Americans may come to view the very concept of minority groups as a thing of the past. With intermarriage rates high, the American future may come to resemble well-known individuals of mixed racial heritage, like golfer Tiger Woods, actor Keanu Reeves or singer-songwriter Norah Jones. As Gregory Rodriguez, Irvine Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, writes: “What, when each generation is more racially and ethnically mixed than its predecessor, does race even mean any more?”
I'm not so optimistic. My own view is that the definition of 'white' will simply expand to incorporate mixed race individuals who are Latin/white or Asian/white mix but not those who have significant African blood.

The most common interracial coupling is Asian/white followed by Latin/white and the children of those unions for the most part will socially be ‘white’ (or at least NOT black) as time passes.

In other words, individuals such as Keanu Reeves and Norah Jones will simply be 'white', while individuals like Tiger Woods and Amerie Rogers will still be considered black (at least to an extent) in spite of the fact that all four are half Asian.

This will be more and more prevalent as the US moves from its current white/non-white dichotomy to a non-black/black dichotomy.

Monday, July 17, 2006

black israeli arabs

A little weird given current events, but still interesting
Hadassah Magazine: Black Israeli Arabs By Ruth Mason

Article in Islamic Horizons

as-salaam alaykum,

If any of your get a chance, pick up the July/August 2006 issue of Islamic Horizons and check out the article on page 26 "Living Islam" by Obaidullah Siddiqui about the International Muslim Brotherhood (no relation to the organization overseas) in Philadelphia, its history, its current programs and its current adminstrators Anwar Muhaimin and his brother Zaid Abdus-Salam.

islamica magazine

salaams! the new issue of islamic magazine is featuring Africa throughout the mag. It has articles on w. african, e. african, somali mcs and poets, and it has an article on the enslaved prince ibrahima abdur-rahman. check out the mag if you can.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

happy to have you aboard

Salaams to Tariq Nelson, the newest addition to Third Resurrection.

Stifling the Racists

In my experience, racism and group differences is one of the most taboo subjects to discuss in the masjid not only because we want to deny the existence of racism, but because many do not want to speak candidly for fear of being labeled a racist.

However, how many African American Muslims have been told by a close friend that is an immigrant or white or Latino "you should hear what they say about black people when you guys are not around!"?

On the other hand, some may have a legitimate critisizm that may be taken as racist when it is not. Does a fear of being candid cause us to ignore problems? I think so.

This article by Dennis Prager brought this situation to mind.


I was recently shown a videotape of people reacting to radio talk shows.
Organized by a firm that specializes in analyzing radio talk shows, the members of the listening panel were carefully chosen to represent all major listening groups within American society.
But I quickly noticed something odd—I saw no blacks among the selected listeners. I asked why. And the response was stunning.


Blacks had always been included, I was told, but no more. Not because the firm was not interested in black listeners—on the contrary, blacks are an important part of the radio audience. They were not invited to give their opinion about various radio shows because in its previous
experience, the company had discovered that almost no whites would publicly differ with the opinions of the blacks on the panel. Therefore, once a black listener spoke, whites stopped saying what they really thought, if what they thought differed from what a black had said.
I believed that this was the reason—not some racist animosity toward blacks—since such companies are paid to give accurate reports on audience reactions to radio programs, and clearly their results would
be skewed without input from black listeners.

But I still needed to test this thesis. Do most whites really not publicly say what they believe, if what they believe differs from what a black believes—even when the subject has absolutely nothing to do with race
(i.e., reactions to a radio talk show discussing other subjects)?

So I posed to this question to my radio audience, and, sure enough, whites from around the country called in to say that they are afraid
to differ with blacks lest they be labeled racist.

I could not imagine anything more detrimental toward abolishing racism and to enhancing black progress in America than such an attitude. But apparently it is the norm in American life to
so fear being called a racist that individuals as well as institutions react to blacks as they would to children—humoring them rather than taking them seriously.

I think that this goes on to a certain extent inside the masjid. If one is afraid to express an opinion, or something is automatically dismissed as a stereotype, then how can a problem be solved? Let's open up the discussion

Friday, July 07, 2006

african muslims in america

AMiA_img1

I've been recently discussing the Sunni-Shia split on my blog, and in the midst of trying to learn more about the subject I came across Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri, who apparently tries to bridge the gap between Sunni and Shia somehow. In any case... to make a long story short, I was looking at a website associated with him and found the online paper: African Muslims in America by Hajj D. A. Haroon (see here) and thought it would fit here at Third Resurrection. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

keith ellison and the nation

Keith Ellison, an African-American Muslim who is running for Minnesota's 5th Congressional district seat, wants voters to focus on the (U.S.) nation's future than the Nation (of Islam's) past.

the courts of somali opinion

It's hard for me to look at the U.S. response to the situation in Somalia and not think that this is a war on Islam. Why else would the US prefer the anarchy of the warlords to a unified Islamic regime (among a Muslim population)?

Alt.Muslim: The Courts of Somali Opinion

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

south florida black community objects to building new islamic center

The Islamic Center of Florida located in Pompano Beach, Fl recently faced some resistance when they tried to get permission to build a larger structer. The Islamically Center narrowly received permission to build but I almost wish that it hadn't. It would have been a serious wake-up call to encourage Muslims to take better care and greater interest in the communities where we live.
Commissioner Pat Larkins was one of the most outspoken critics of a new mosque. Larkins, who is black, said there is a perception in the neighborhood he represents that Muslims do not give back to the community.

"I am not opposed to constructing the facility," Larkins said. "I am opposed to the conduct of the Muslim business community in our neighborhood."

Larkins drew applause from those in attendance at Tuesday's City Hall meeting when he said there was no need for the mosque in a predominantly black neighborhood.

His comments raised furor among the Muslim community when he was quoted by The South Florida Sun-Sentinel as saying Muslims "don't contribute a nickel to any cause in terms of improving the community." He went on to say "most black folks see them as people that come in to rape the community and go away."

Larkins said he is opposed to the way some Muslim business owners operate and treat blacks.

"I think it's a shame when I see beer and wine sold by people who claim that they preach Islam at 4 o'clock in the morning in my community," Larkins said.

Sam Smith, who lives in the neighborhood where the mosque is supposed to be built, agrees with Larkins.

"The ones that own the stores, they're very disrespectful to our kids," Smith said. "…They think all the kids here are trying to steal."

But Areeb Naseer, a member of the Council of American Islamic Relations, objected to Larkins' comments, saying that the decision to allow a new mosque in the neighborhood should not be based on perceptions

(full story)

even more marvin x

Marvin X (who also goes by Maalik El Muhajir) is one interesting brother. He is coming out with a new book entitled Towards a Radical Spirituality but apparently some excerpts are already available over at Chickenbones: A Journal:
love and spirituality
ancestors and spirituality
sectarianism and spirituality
language and spirituality
nature and spirituality
prison and spirituality
death and spirituality

I feel a little odd about including him since he is kind of a poet and a free spirit and isn't totally into being "orthodox". But at the same time, especially if we allow for a certain amount of poetic license, he isn't particularly unorthodox either. Feel free to let me know what you think of his ideas. I especially like What If (There was no god but God)?

And here are some older Grenada links which also ultimately connect back to ChickenBones:
marvin x
more marvin x

interview with head of somalia's islamic courts organization

Saturday, June 24, 2006

what would a white mosque be like?

Umar Lee starts off his recent piece: The white masjids of the future by saying:
An African-American Muslim brother recently told me that Islam would be a true success in America when we have mostly white masjids in cities throughout America like we have predominantly African-American masjids in every sizeable American city (and several in many).

Then the African-American brother mentions what he thinks such masjids would be like ("in the suburbs with a golf course and akin to a megachurch") and Umar fleshes out his own conception with a lot more detail. My own experiences with white (i.e. Anglo-American) Muslims have been generally positive. I would just add two general observations or impressions to Umar's vision based on my own experiences.

Firstly, the white Muslims I've met are overwhelmingly Sufis (Naqshbandis and Shadhilis mostly) at least compared to Muslims in America as a whole. In fact, the only times I've been in a gathering with mostly white Muslims were Shadhili dhikr sessions. (This reminds me of a Chicano friend of mine who was nominally Catholic but was a "political Muslim" if you know what I mean. He once said to me "White people sure love Rumi".) So I would strongly expect that in the future "the white masjids" would probably be pretty Sufi-friendly. (Furthermore, if it weren't for groups like the Nation of Islam, Moorish Science, etc. it is very likely that the face of American Islam today would be overwhelmingly white Sufis)

The second feature is more of a question in my mind than a distinct impression. And I'm not sure if I totally understand the trajectories which a typical white American would take to Islam, but I wonder if there is a tendancy towards a kind of conservatism.

First, I should probably say that in general, I've found that it can be difficult to put Muslims into a small number of simple ideological camps. Muslims can be right/left on social justice issues, conservative/liberal on "family values" issues. Muslims will take different stances on foreign policy questions. On matters of religious practice, an individual can be strict or liberal. But a seperate question is whether you are traditional/orthodox, Salafi/Wahabi or something else. And it is possible to find Muslims which are examples of every possible combination of positions.

And I should note that just the fact that a white person would be willing to convert to an "Oriental" religion and join a community where they would be a small minority speaks to a certain amount of open-mindedness when it comes to racial/multicultural issues. And that might tend to be associated with being politically "liberal".

But apart from that, one thing which which makes me wonder if white Muslims have a conservative streak is the fact that a significant and vocal group of Western converts to Islam identify themselves as "Traditionalists". (While I admire some of their writings, I sometimes have to wonder about them because intellectually they share some influences with honest- to- goodness Fascist movements.)

Furthermore, there is the example of someone like Stephen Schwartz (Suleyman Ahmad Al-Kosovari) who is somewhat of a neo-con and even has his articles posted on the conservative Front Page Magazine website.

And in general, I've often wondered to what extent Muslims in America are taken in by the religious right's bait-and-switch of right-wing politics and religious values (Especially after an umbrella group of Muslim organizations endorsed George W. Bush in the 2000 Presidential election). African-American political wisdom encourages Blacks not to conflate the two, but I honestly don't know what the trend is among white Muslims.

So the white mosques of the future, will probably be full of Sufis, and could possibly lean to the right. what do you think?

Friday, June 23, 2006

miami and the seas of david

Check out: Miami and the Seas of David to read some commentary on the recent situation in Miami.

nammu muhammad?

Also, I should add that I got a few more hits searching for information on "Nammu Muhammad" than "Nammu Mohamed" so it is possible that the former is more accurate than the latter.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

vote nammu mohammed

From: African American Green Candidates to Watch in 2006
Nammu Mohamed, candidate for County Council in Richland County, South Carolina, is focusing his campaign on the needs of local families. "Families and children in Richland County need more than just words from the council, they need action," said Mr. Mohamed. "From jobs to education to juvenal justice, the county has let the people down long enough. It's time to elect a defender of children and families to the county council."

I honestly, don't know if Nammu is Muslim but given his last name, you kind of have to wonder.

And for past Planet Grenada articles on the connections between the Green Party and Muslims or Muslim causes, you might want to check out:
the spiritual left
khalil bendib
malik rahim
the green party supports divestment

A version of this post can also be found at Planet Grenada.

us muslim clerics seek a modern middle ground

NYTimes: U.S. Muslim Clerics Seek a Modern Middle Ground is a recent piece on Imam Zaid Shakir and Shakh Hamza Yusuf and how Zaytuna is participating in the Third Resurrection. (They don't actually use the term, but if you think about it, that's what is going on).

Sunday, June 18, 2006

sleeper cell - finally watching it

I had read about this series some time ago before it actually aired, but I haven't actually seen any of Sleeper Cell until now. (The series just came out on DVD and so I can watch the whole thing over a weekend) I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it yet. I've gotten through the first two DVDs and I'm taking a break before starting the finale.

Michael Ealy stars as an African-American Muslim FBI agent who is working undercover in a terrorist cell. I think the premise had a lot of promise, and the show is entertaining so far. It has its interesting bits. But to be honest, I'm not totally geeked about the series.

SPOILERS AHEAD
DON'T READ FURTHER IF YOU PLAN TO SEE THE SERIES

Simply by virtue of having to tell a story over a long period of time about a small central cast, the writers had to flesh out the Muslim characters and give them different backstories. So it's portrayal of Muslims almost couldn't help but be more humane and realistic than the typical stock terrorist villan which usually populates this type of story. The terrorist cell consists of: A Bosnian who saw his entire family being butchered by Serbs. An ex-skinhead from France who found Islam through his Morroccan wife. A young white American with liberal parents (clearly modelled on John Walker Lindh). The head of the cell is Saudi (Although for most of the series, his background is not specified, and during work hours he passes as a Sephardic Jew. This character is by far the most cartoonish).

In general, most of the Muslim characters are portrayed as deeply conflicted and contradictory in matters of religion. From the very first episode, we see the members of the cell hanging out in strip clubs, drinking. We find that they raise funds by dealing in heroin, child prostitution and pirated DVDs. The French Muslim is married but commits adultery with little restraint (At one point, he has sex with the mother of one of the other terror cell members).

We even see the "good" Muslim FBI agent order (and presumably drink) beer in a bar as a part of an assignment given to him by the terror cell. On top of that (and this takes us into a whole other level of issues) the "good" successful Black Muslim FBI agent also starts a sexual relationship with a white Catholic beautician (a "single" mother who later turns out to be married). We later meet one of his former girlfriends, an African-American women with a successful career in the State Department but we are never told explicitly why their relationship didn't work out.

Another level of contradiction appears when the members of the cell actually kill a genuine mujahid. In fact, pretty much all the pious (non-terrorist, non-drinking, non-fornicating) Muslim characters of any significance (a mainstream Yemeni scholar, a white American who fought to defend Muslims in Bosnia, a young Afghan boy who spent time in Guantanamo) end up dead by the end of whatever episode focuses on them. It makes it seem as if the "subliminal" message behind the series is: Compromise or die.

As I said in the beginning, this is definitely better than most Hollywood portrayals of Muslims (e.g. see Planet of the Arabs). And it is definitely a huge step to have a television series with an African-American Muslim lead character, and with actual Muslims involved both in front of and behind the camera. At the same time, there is definitely room for improvement.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Deconstructing the Coz

Salaam alaikum,

When you get a chance, please read my thoughts about Bill Cosby's crusade in the Black community.

While taking a break, I went into the kitchen to grab a bite to eat. I notice last Sunday's issue of the Atlanta Journal Constitution with a picture of Bill Cosby and the title "Cosby gives Black folks a 'whuppin'." At that moment, all my thoughts about the whole Cosby Crusade finally came together. When Bill Cosby decided to speak his mind about the plight of Black America, I felt conflicted. Part of me felt like it was about time that someone, a public figure (ie: celebrity), came out and said the things that we've all been thinking. But another part of me felt like he was airing out our dirty laundry, even though our dirty laundry is hanging on a clothesline for everyone to see. But this time I had it. What I thought was a tough love message to the African-American community is really a crusade to mock and denigrate poor Black people.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

the hidden black iraq

Enter the words "black," "city" and "fuel" into the search engine of the American psyche and you'll conjure up the image of a Chevron station in Detroit. But add a historical element into the equation and you come up with Basra, Iraq. [...]

There has been a black presence in Basra -- present-day Southern Iraq -- as early as the 7th century, when Abu Bakra, an Ethiopian soldier who had been manumitted by the prophet Muhammad himself, settled in the city. His descendants became prominent members of Basran society. A century later, the writer Jahiz of Basra wrote an impassioned defense of black Africans -- referred to in Arabic as the Zanj -- against accusations of inferiority which had begun to take root even then. [...]

Led by an Iraqi poet named Ali Ibn Muhammad, the Zanj uprising of 868 galvanized thousands of black slaves who laid siege to and eventually overran the city of Basra. In short order, black soldiers in the army of the ruling Abbasid emperors based in Baghdad began to desert and swelled the ranks of the rebellion. Similar to later rebellions that created liberated "maroon" communities throughout the new world, the 15-year conflict, known as "The Revolt of the Zanj," led to the establishment of an independent Zanj capital city, minting of currency and the decade-long control of Basra -- one of the most important trade ports in the Abbasid empire. At their zenith, the Zanj armies marched upon Baghdad and got within 70 miles of the city.

From Alternet: The Hidden Black Iraq (for the whole story)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

story of a black qatari

From the blog of Umar Lee:
A friend of mine recently almost came to blows at his job with a co-worker from Qatar. The Qatari man was upset and wanting to fight because my feind, who is Puerto Rican, told him that he is African. The Qatari man, who is dark-skinned and about the color of say Barry Bonds with kinky hair, was livid that anyone would suggest that his roots are not Arab and they are African and wanted to fight my friend whom he told " you are really a Mexican and you just want to be black that’s why you say you are Boricua."

For a black man to deny his roots are from Africa is no different than George Bush or Denny Hastert denying their roots are from Europe ( which they would never do). This speaks to the fact that many black people have a negative image of Africa and blackness in their mind and I will give a few examples.

In middle school I once sat in a classroom full of kids, and it was a mostly black class, and the teacher asked us all to give our roots to the class and say where our ancestors came from and all of the black kids, except one, said they were Native American. Now in America it is common for a lot of people, black and white, to lie about some Indian grandma no one has ever seen, but when you have a room full of black kids say they are not African there is a problem.

Warith-deen Muhammad used to say that Fard Muhammad, when he brought up the concept of the "Asiatic Black Man" or the "Afro-Asiatic Black Man" he was doing this because he knew black people had a bad image of Africa. Indeed when I was a kid I saw many fights between black kids over being called some kind of "African booty-scratcher" or something of the like.

My next encounter with this was when the Somali immigrants began arriving in America in the 1990's and I would talk to them and they would not only tell me they were not African and Somalia is not a part of Africa; but that they are not black. Of course this is rubbish; they may not be black in Africa but in the US they are right next to Leroy, Bubba and Skillet ( for those who get that).

Black Africans have been brought to the Arabian Peninsula for centuries as slaves and now they are free and most of them, in some places all of them; have become completely Arabized and they now can call the Arab culture there own since it is all they have ever known similar to the African-American; but their roots are still in Africa.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

will minnesota send the first muslim to congress?


From Alt.Muslim:
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A Muslim elected to Congress? Many Muslim Americans have tried in vain to attain this elusive office, their efforts stymied for various reasons including weak campaign skills, lack of political experience, and continuing suspicion of Muslim American loyalties. But one Muslim politician has done it the hard (i.e. right) way - by working his way up the political ladder and building a wide constituency of supporters in his district - not just those in the Muslim community. With his endorsement last week by the Minnesota DFL (affiliated with the Democratic Party), two-term state legislator Keith Ellison is well positioned to succeed retiring Congressman Martin Sabo in Minnesota's heavily Democratic Fifth District and make history as America's first Muslim member of Congress. Running on a progressive platform that some liken to the late Senator Paul Wellstone, Ellison doesn't emphasize his Muslim faith, but he doesn't shy away from it either. "It's good for people to see a reasonable, moderate face of Islam," said Ellison, who has worked with the local Muslim community to promote civic participation. But despite the advantages of party endorsement and a favorable electoral demographic (the Fifth District is one of the most liberal districts in the US), Ellison still faces some obstacles in his road to Washington, DC. A few Democratic candidates who lost out on the DFL endorsement will run against Ellison in September's primary, and his Muslim faith coupled with his past participation in the Million Man March (along with, uh, a million other people) is already drawing attacks on right-wing websites. Ellison, however, remains unfazed while he hits the campaign trail. "I just started studying [Islam] and found it interesting," said Ellison of his conversion many years ago. "I lead my life in a way to not make religion a big deal."

Monday, May 29, 2006

Islamic Symbolism in Hip-Hop

Who remembers the Last Poets? Notice the writing on the wing of the first angel. (Click it for a larger view).

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ayan Hirsi Ali and Black Orientalism

Insha'Allah,

I will expand on this idea a little further but for now, here is a post from my blog about the whole Hirsi Ali (or Hirsi Magan) controversy.

Be careful of the company you keep

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

the irony of being hassan al-turabi

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From Alt.Muslim: By Shahed Amanullah, May 3, 2006

One man's extremist is another man's progressive. And sometimes they can be both at the same time. Take Sudan's Hassan al-Turabi, for example. Long derided in the West as an "Islamist extremist" that, as speaker of Sudan's National Assembly, provided Osama bin Laden with a save haven in Sudan for five years (calling him a "hero" in the process), Turabi is probably best known for his involvement in imposing sharia law on Sudan, a move which exacerbated the 20-year north-south conflict that claimed thousands of lives and was only recently resolved. Turabi also convened a "congress" in the early 1990's of militant Islamic groups from around the world, hoping to foster cooperation in training and smooth over divisions among the ranks. Wielding both a Western and Islamic educational background, Turabi used his scholarly influence and membership in the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic Charter Front to orchestrate the 1985 execution of scholar Mahmoud Mohamed Taha for his unorthodox (read: liberal) Islamic beliefs. But, that was then and this is now, and as Turabi aproaches his mid-70's, he finds himself, at least partially, on the opposite side of the fence. Having fallen out of favor with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Turabi was jailed and exiled into the opposition, where he now calls for dialogue with the West, sides with the people of Darfur against the Sudanese government, and stresses that jihad should only be waged "in self-defense and not in aggression against others." And now, embracing ideological points that cost fellow scholar Taha his life, Turabi has now gone on record supporting a host of liberal legal reforms regarding women, including allowing Muslim women to marry Christian and Jewish men (citing the experiences of female Muslim Americans), making hijab optional, allowing the testimony of women to equal that of a man, and (just when you thought this debate was over) allowing "pious scholarly women" to lead mixed-gender prayers. "When there is a pious woman," explained Turabi, "she should lead the prayers and whoever is distracted by her beauty should be deemed sick." As expected, this failure of the traditional gender litmus test has resulted in former supporters of his scholarly aptitude in the religious establishment calling for his head. "Turabi should declare repentance," said a statement by the government-supported Muslim Scholars Committee, "or face the sharia hadd for heresy." Turabi has since stood by his statements in the face of criticism, earning respect from some quarters and condemnation from others. "What Turabi is doing is obvious intellectual confusion," complained Abdul Sabour Shahin, an Islamic studies professor at Cairo University. "We have to look at the context of this matter particularly from the framework of ijtihad when it comes to the general issues of women in Islam," responded Turabi to his critics. "The modern and contemporary Islamic discourse on women lags far behind the authentic Islamic rules and principles."