Sunday, December 28, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Slavery in Islam: Fatwa by Sheikh Hatem Mohammad Al-Haj Aly and Az-Zanji: Muslim Ibn Khalid The Faqih of Mecca & Imam Ash-Shafi’i
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Morning Edition, December 3, 2008 · The election of Barack Obama to the U.S. presidency was celebrated with special fervor by Iraqis of African descent in the southern port city of Basra.
Although they have lived in Iraq for more than 1,000 years, the black Basrawis say they are still discriminated against because of the color of their skin, and they see Obama as a role model. Long relegated to menial jobs or work as musicians and dancers, some of them have recently formed a group to advance their civil rights.
NPR: Full Story
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Having just come off attending the 2nd Annual MANA Conference here in Philadelphia, it came as a pleasant surprise that the Manrilla Blog has been put in the running for Best Design in the 2008 Brass Crescent Awards, a joint project of altmuslim.com. The awards are meant to honor blogs that represent the best in Muslim blogging, with yours truly up for, “…[a] blog that has the most aesthetically pleasing site design, appealing to the eye, evoking Islamic themes, and/or facilitating debate and discussion.” My thanks to those who felt this blog worthy of nomination. Feel free to cast your vote here.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
If you want to see what some progressive African-American Muslims have to say about Obama you should definitely check out Imam Zaid Shakir's response to a well-meaning brother along with the blog entry/story African-American Muslim leaders denounce al Qaeda's slur toward Obama
Friday, November 28, 2008
By Imam Zaid on 28 October 2008
Go forth romantic warrior,
to slay the beast of self.
Go forth into the field of life,
and relish in the wealth.
Go forth romantic warrior,
transcend the chains of time.
Go forth beyond this world of strife,
to learn of life sublime.
Go forth romantic warrior,
no more shall your heart bleed.
Go forth to find your love so rife,
intention is your deed.
The Road Home
If the road endures for one more bend,
or twist, before we reach the end.
If our hope endures for one more day,
then surely we will find our way.
If we can fly where only eagles dare,
our hearts will find Him waiting there.
if our weary feet can onward trod,
our journey’s end will be to God.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
From a Singular Voice:
It Finally Happened; Al Qaida Hijacks Malcolm X
Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid and New York Imams Do the Right Thing. UPDATE: Johari Abdul-Malik joins in
Malcolm’s Troubled Legacy in the Age of Obama, My University Lecture Notes
Malcolm’s Troubled Legacy Part II
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Ayman al-Zawahiri said Obama was the "direct opposite of honorable black Americans" like Malcolm X.
The imams called the recorded comments from al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri "an insult" from people who have "historically been disconnected from the African-American community generally and Muslim African-Americans in particular."
"We find it insulting when anyone speaks for our community instead of giving us the dignity and the honor of speaking for ourselves," they said in a statement read during a news conference at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial, Educational and Cultural Center.
The al Qaeda statement, an 11-minute, 23-second audio message in Arabic with subtitles in English, appeared on the Internet on Wednesday. Its authenticity has not been confirmed.
The message said Obama represents the "direct opposite of honorable black Americans" like Malcolm X. Video Watch al Qaeda official criticize Obama »
The speaker also said Obama, former and current Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice and "your likes" fit Malcolm X's description of "house slaves."
On Friday, Imam Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid, recalling Malcolm X's legacy, said that he "stood for human rights and the principle of self defense ... international law. He would have rejected, and we who are Muslim African-Americans leaders reject, acts of political extremism."
Here are Al-Zahawiri's comments in context:
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I wish I knew French so I could read the Saphir interview...
Guénon has found a new fan in France: Kémi Séba, a somewhat notorious African-nationalist activist, who recently converted to Islam and is being referred to by some as "France's Malcolm X." His following, however, seems considerably smaller than that of America's Malcolm X.
Séba read Guénon in a French jail in early 2008, while serving the most recent of a series of short sentences for inciting racial hatred. In an August 2008 interview with Saphir News, a French Muslim on-line newspaper, he referred to several of Guénon's works, and said that although Guénon was not the only reason for his conversion to Islam, it was Guénon who had shown him that Islam was more than the religion of the Arabs.
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Pop star Michael Jackson has converted to Islam at a ceremony in Los Angeles attended by Yousef Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, sources say.
Jackson, whose once-amazing career has been eclipsed in recent years by reports of bizarre behavior, as well as legal and financial troubles, is said to have changed his name to Mikaeel and taken the shahada -- or made a declaration of belief -- as part of his conversion to Islam, Al-Arabiya said Friday.
The religious ceremony reportedly took place at the Hollywood Hills home of Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro, who composed music for Jackson's iconic "Thriller" album.
Jackson's lawyer said the singer has agreed to testify in person next week at a $7 million breach-of-contract lawsuit brought against him in London's High Court by the king of Bahrain's son, Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa.
The sheikh is suing Jackson for allegedly backing out of a business venture that was to produce an album, including songs the royal wrote for and planned to record with Jackson, as well as an autobiography and a stage play.
However, Jackson contends he never signed an official agreement and insists the payments he received from the sheik were "gifts," claiming the royal's case is based on "mistake, misrepresentation and undue influence."
michael jackson: off the wall
britney spears may convert to islam
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
24 June 2008
New Haven, Connecticut - For many African American Muslims, the fallout from the horrendous crime of September 11, 2001 was not entirely new. The US government's response was a bit of déjà vu for those, like me, who were Civil Rights activists in college during the 1960s and 70s. The only difference is that now we face a higher level of intensity.
Our phones were wiretapped in the sixties and seventies and now our email is also being scrutinised. Our activist organisations were spied on then and now our places of worship are also under surveillance. Four decades ago, paid government agents and informants sought to entrap us and now a whole new generation of such people are hard at work.
Given this reality, many African American Muslim leaders in the post-9/11 world have taken on three varied approaches to this renewed, intensified interest by the US government.
The first approach is what I call the "bring it on" strategy. This refers to the methodology of the African American Muslim leaders who have had extensive histories of advocating for social justice. Therefore, the kind of injustices spurred by post-9/11 fear-mongering has only led them to intensify the struggle on behalf of Muslims and others whose human rights have been violated.
One good example is Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation, who uses non-violent tactics and interfaith alliances forged in the Civil Rights era to advocate on behalf of the rights of Muslims and others in the 21st century. An example is MAS's recent Human Rights Campaign in Egypt that has used interfaith protests at Egyptian embassies and consulates as a way to advocate for greater political freedom in that country.
The second approach is what I call the "if you only knew" approach. African American Muslim leaders who fall into this category tend to work the intellectual boundary between Muslims and the broader American community. Using logic and scholarly Islamic and secular research, such people attempt to speak to the American (and world) community in ways that encourage thoughtful cross-culture discussions. Rather than a "clash of civilisations" model, the focus is on issues of mutual concern between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
Intisar Rabb, graduate associate at the Princeton University Program in Law and Public Affairs (where she is finishing a PhD after having graduated from Yale Law School with a JD) is a young, developing example of this approach. Her involvement in last year's "Women, Islam and the West" Symposium at the international dialogue-building Aspen Institute is one example of this approach.
The third approach is what I call the "do for self" approach. This is a strategy wherein certain African American Muslim leaders focus on dealing with internal issues that negatively impact the African American Muslim community. The underlying idea is that African American Muslims cannot be full contributors to the larger Muslim community or broader world until they tackle some of the social, cultural, economic and political issues that affect its community.
A good example of this is Imam Siraj Wahhaj's leadership in helping to found and then lead the Muslim Alliance of North America, an organisation that targets the needs of urban communities with projects such as its "Healthy Marriage Initiative".
The challenge for African American Muslims who choose any one of these three approaches is to do so with justice while remaining undaunted by the seemingly relentless daily fear-mongering against Islam in the name of patriotism and national security. As the Qur'an states so eloquently and succinctly:
O ye who believe! stand out firmly for God, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear God. For God is well-acquainted with all that ye do. (Qur'an 5:8)
* Jimmy E. Jones is associate professor and chair of World Religions at Manhattanville College and president of Masjid Al-Islam in New Haven, Connecticut. This article is part of a series on African American Muslims written for the Common Ground News Service. It can be accessed at www.commongroundnews.org.
Source: Common Ground News Service (CGNews), 24 June 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
The Best of Dr. Marvin X: Muslim Leader Imam Warithdin Muhammad Makes Transition
My Islamic Perspective: Remembering Imam W. D. Mohammed (UPDATED)
The American Muslim: Remembering Imam W. D. Muhammad by Abdul Malik Mujahid
Chicago Tribune: Thousands gather in Villa Park for funeral of Imam W. Deen Mohammed by Margaret Ramirez and Noreen Ahmed-Ullah
Detroit Free Press: Hamtramck-born Islamic imam who led thousands dies
- Zahed Amanullah. "The Imam Cares" (alt.muslim)
- Seeker's Digest: "Passing of Imam WD Mohammed - The Death of a Great Leader of Islam in the West"
- Islamicate: "Warith Dean Mohammed is Dead"
- SaqibSaab at Muslim Matters: "Thoughts After Attending The Janazah of Imam W. D. Mohammed"
- Rickshaw Diaries: "RIP: Imam W. Deen Muhammad"
- Koonj: "Imam Warith Deen Muhammad: a leader among leaders"
- Just Another Angry Black Muslim Woman? "Death of a Pioneer: Warith Deen Muhammad October 30, 1933-Sept.9, 2008"
- SunniSister: Imam Warith Deen
- ThirdResurrection: w.d. mohammed dies
- Tariq Nelson: "W Deen Mohammed 1933-2008"
- Akram's Razor: "Imam W.D. Mohammed has left us"
- Azhar Usman: "An Apology: Heartfelt reflections on the passing of a legendary Blackamerican Muslim leader"
- Dynamite Soul: "A word about Imam Warith Deen Mohammad"
- Imam Zaid Shakir: "Imam Warith Deen Muhammad (1933-2008)"
- Sisterdoc: "Peace and Blessings Imam W.D. Mohammed-R.I.P."
Rest of the Blogosphere:
- Mata H at Blogher: "The death of Imam W. Deen Mohammed and 'A Summit on Religious Faith, Torture, and Our National Soul'"
- David Waters: "W.D. Mohammed's Spiritual Maturity"
- Marc Lamont Hill: "R.I.P. Warith Deen Muhammad"
- John Esposito: "W.D. Mohammed: A Witness for True Islam"
- Michelle Gallardo. "Prayer services for Imam W. D. Mohammed" (a Chicago TV station)
- Margaret Ramirez and Noreen Ahmed-Ullah. "Thousands gather in Villa Park for funeral of Imam W. Deen Mohammed" (Chicago Tribune)
- Margaret Ramirez, Manya A. Brachear and Ron Grossman.
- "Muslim America's rebellious son" (The Chicago Tribune)
- Sophia Tarteen: "Former Nation of Islam leader W.D. Mohammed dies" (Associated Press)
- Niraj Warikoo: "Muslim leader Warith Deen Mohammed dies" (FREEP)
- Patricia Sullivan: "W.D. Mohammed; Changed Muslim Movement in U.S." (Washington Post)
- Time Online: "Imam W. D. Mohammed: influential US Sunni Muslim leader"
- Malise Ruthven: "Imam who succeeded his father as leader of the Nation of Islam" (The Guardian)
- A guest book dedicated to the memory of Imam W.D. Mohammed
- An audio recording of the Muslim Journal's press conference
- "This Far by Faith: Warith Deen Muhammad" , an episode of a PBS series on great religious leaders dedicated to WDM
- Taylor Branch: "The Anointed Son: The story behind W.D. Mohammed's momentous break with his father and his alliance with Malcolm X." (Beliefnet)
- A bio of WDM at an Atlanta mosque.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
12 hours ago
CHICAGO (AP) — A nephew says Imam W.D. Mohammed, the son of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad, has died.
Sultan Muhammad says his uncle died Tuesday. He didn't immediately give further details but says the family will issue a statement.
W.D. Mohammed moved thousands of blacks into mainstream Islam after breaking with the group his father founded. He went by both Warith Deen Mohammed and Wallace Muhammad.
The Cook County Medical Examiner confirmed receiving the body of a 74-year-old Wallace Mohammed.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Assalamu Alaikum my Sisters in Islam,
My name is Hanifa Najjiyya. I am a Graduate student working on my Communication Masters at Eastern Michigan University. The purpose of this email is to invite your participation into my research agenda. My research topic has to do with the Spiritual Transitioning of African American Muslim Women in the 1960's and 1970's. If you fit this description and would like to participate in my research, please respond to this email. I am looking for 7-20 women who would like to share their stories from whence they came to `how's it going for you now' perspective. Based on the responses, I will, inshallah, contact all that fit the criteria for the study. Inshallah, please fill out the screening procedure on this page and return to:email@example.com. Thank you, and Jazakullah Khairun for your help.
3. Email Address____________________________
4. Age ________________
5. When (year) did you embrace Islam?____________________________
6. Where (city,state),did you embrace Islam?
7. Were you socially active within your community
(college,university,neighborhood) prior to transitioning towards
Please write yes or no.__________________
8. Did your transitioning (embracing Islam) change your social
voice in any way within your community?
Please write yes or no. ____________________
9. Would you be willing to share your perspective within the
Please write yes'or no._____________________
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
From Tariq Nelson:
Ebony magazine recently had an article (not online) about the tensions between Somalis and black Americans in Columbus, Ohio. Charles and Jamerican Muslimah (part one and part two) have both commented on the situation since they live in Columbus, OH and Minneapolis (respectively) which are home to the two largest populations of Somalis in the US.
I have a few comments of my own below:
My personal experience with Somalis has been positive from the time the first group of refugees came to the US. (This isn’t to dismiss the experiences of others) I have met a ton of very good Somalis that are very caring. I can’t remember having said “salaam” to one and not having it returned. However, I am not naive enough to think that this is the case with all Somalis. Had most Somalis been like the ones I’ve met, it would be a very peaceful place, and Allah knows best.
I find this Ebony story to be a case study of the change in direction and perception of Islam and Muslims in America. Traditionally, Islam was seen as something that was fully a part of the black American (BA) community and even an expression of being “conscious” or a “deep thinker”. There were several positive portrayals of Muslims in pop culture in the early 1990s that reflected the image of a “Muslim” in the black community. There are many BAs with names like Jamal and Rasheed and refraining from pork was seen as something “conscious” and authentically “black”.
Nowadays, Islam and Muslims (even in the BA community) are associated with being foreign or alien - and this is not all the media’s fault. In many places outside the Northeast like the Twin Cities, Columbus, Houston, and Dallas, to be Muslim is to be Somali, Pakistani or Arab (depending on the dominating ethnic group of the city) and to be Somali, Pakistani or Arab is to be Muslim. In other words, when one says “Arab” or “Somali”, they mean “Muslim” and when they say “Muslim”, they mean “Arab” or “Somali”. So when a non-Muslim spends years in the Twin Cities and every Muslim they have met has been Somali, why should we get angry when they associate Muslim with being Somali when that person has seen nothing different? This is why they will ask an American Muslim upon seeing them (especially a woman) if they need a translator or speak very slowly assuming they don’t speak English very well. They just don’t associate Islam with being American and don’t mean anything by it. There is no need to have a chip on our shoulders about being mistaken for foreign (I have been mistaken for Somali myself even by other Somalis who walk up to me speaking the Somali language) when they dominate the “Islam” in a particular city.
For this reason, a black, white, Latino and other converts living in places like that are increasingly seen as somehow enthralled with another culture - essentially no different than a Samari enthusiast for example. With that in mind, Islam is certainly not seen as an option since (in their minds) becoming Muslim means adopting a new culture. It is like saying “becoming Chinese” or “becoming Russian”. I knew that things were changing a few years ago when I met a BA teenager in Memphis that thought that Islam was a place and Muslims were an ethnic group. Islam/Muslim has essentially become a race that is a catch all for Desi, Arab or Somali. So to become Muslim in the Twin Cities is to essentially “become Somali”. I just wonder if Islam in the US is forever to be alien now.
Finally, the greatest tragedy of this BA vs Somali issue is that because of the positive image of Islam in the early 1990s, many BAs were prepared to embrace their African brothers and sisters (the Somalis) and probably feel a rejected. Had most BAs been treated like I was, there would be a very different story today.
Racism in Iraq??? Against blacks? Is the Middle East ready for the type of social introspection that has happened here in the West?
Abdul Hussein Abdul Razzaq laughs wearily when asked if racism is a problem in Iraq. As a black Iraqi, Razzaq says, he faces job and social discrimination and has little chance of getting a political appointment or being elected if he ran for public office.
That’s why Razzaq, a longtime journalist from the southern city of Basra, is hoping that Barack Obama becomes the United States’ next president. Not only will it be better for Americans, he says, it will help blacks the world over. “It will prove that Americans are recognizing that black people are just as capable as white people. It will be a historic accomplishment for black people all over the world if Barack Obama wins,” Razzaq said.
Racism isn’t new in Iraq. Blacks were brought here as slaves from Africa more than 1,000 years ago to work for wealthy landowners in Basra, where most of Iraq’s black population still lives.
After 1,000 years, did Iraq ever apologize for slavery? Then some want to point the finger at the US’s late apology?
Today, one of the insults sometimes hurled at black people is “Abd,” which means servant or slave in Arabic, said Razzaq, who has founded a political organization called the Free Iraqis Movement to press for equal rights for black people.
Its goal includes amending Iraq’s constitution to ban discrimination against blacks, who Razzaq says number about 2 million here, and getting blacks elected to the national parliament.
Man, sounds like Jim Crow. Wonder how that project is going?
He admits the effort so far has been frustrating.
Another problem, according to Razzaq, is that many of Iraq’s most powerful people still think of blacks as servants. Some tribal sheiks still keep blacks as slaves, he says.
That speaks for itself…
Friday, June 20, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
"From a small, self-published book entitled Something Else, jazz legend Yusef Lateef published an engaging book back in 1973. Yusef, who is known as a master multi-instrumentalist, is also a gifted writer, producing everything from short plays, essays, and poetry [as in this installment]. I have been putting segments of the book up on line. Here's the newest addition for your reading pleasure: http://www.manrilla.net/blog
For more of Something Else, just visit the Blog and see the links under "Reads" on the right-hand side.
Dr. Hip Slick: On Hipness
Ode To Pieter Bruegel
Spiritual Aspects of Creating Music
The Constitution of Aesthetics, The Declaration of Genius and The Aesthetic Address
Tariq Nelson has a recent post Lifting the Veil on ‘Black’ Islam which is a commentary on Lifting The Veil On Black Islam In The 215 by Jeff Deeny over at the Phawker blog. Both pieces are about the Black Muslim community in Philadelphia, especially in the wake of the Germantown Masjid's decision to not bury a Muslim who was implicated in the death of a police officer.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
I've been curious about the League of the Black Stone for a while now (since before I started to blog) so it is good to finally get an update. But I'm a bit skeptical about how their agenda can survive unless it has an organization to push it forward.
the forbidden dialogues
Saturday, May 10, 2008
The leadership of the Germantown Masjid has refused to conduct funeral services for Howard Cain, the bank robber who killed Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski with a Chinese-made semi-automatic rifle.
"No, we will not bury him at Germantown Masjid," said Tariq El Shabazz, managing director of the mosque. "We don't want one slight scintilla hinting that we condone his behavior."
On Sunday evening, a friend of Cain's family asked if Cain's burial could take place at the mosque on Germantown Avenue near Logan Street, El Shabazz said.
El Shabazz declined to conduct the service after researching Islamic law and meeting with Saadiq Abdul Jabbar, chief executive of the mosque; Imam Talib Abdullah, and others.
To be honest, my gut instinct is to disagree with the Masjid's decision, at least as far as conducting the service. A Muslim is a Muslim is a Muslim. And a Muslim has a right ot be prayed over. If the masjid wants to make a statement about Cain's behavior I think they should find other ways to do it.
For more information or other perspectives check out:
Philly.com: Mosques: We will not bury this Muslim
Tariq Nelson: Philly Masjids: “We will not bury this Muslim”
Sunni Sister: A Crying Shame
A quick scan of the Muslim blogosphere, particularly the Blackamerican blogs, renders a mixture of angst, indignation, soul searching and a mixed bag of other emotions. To put it simply, [Black]American Muslims are having an existential crisis. From lack of authority to lack of learning, Modernity circles the camp, constantly threatening, constantly throwing confusion into the mix. This blog has tried to be a voice of reason, a voice of the alternative amidst this crisis. But after even a periphery scan amongst fellow bloggers it would seem we’ve gathered enough data to come to the conclusion that what has been put forth is not bearing fruit for Muslims today. So the question that begs an answer is what are we, as [Black]American Muslims going to do about this deficit? I for one say it’s time for a little less pixelation and a bit more connectivity of the face-to-face variety. In other words, as Hall & Oates put it, “One on one, I want to play that game to night…” (For the entire article "Islam 201 - The Future of this blog, the future of this Muslim" at The Manrilla blog)
The following is an article about the Sudanese bassist and composer, Ahmed Abdul-Malik, that was originally published in Down Beat Magazine, July 4th, 1963. The article was written by Bill Coss. Beyond an excellent insight into the workings of a master musician, Abdul-Malik ties the thread between knowing the Creator and knowing one’s world. Given Modernity’s fractured vision on the relation of things, Abdul-Malik’s words are erudite and moving. He was also a stellar musician of world-class calibre. Hat tip to Doug Benson for the resource. May Allah have mercy on his soul.
In some degree, all music is about something. But what it is about, its contents, differs widely and generally determines its essential worth.
For composer Ahmed Abdul-Malik the content encompasses all the sciences. particularly the sociological, ethnic, and theological. The easiest thing to say would be that Abdul-Malik is different from most jazz musicians, and both his brief biography and the development of his thought immediately show that difference, while at the same time serving as a primer for youngsters who might aspire to be what Abdul-Malik considers the complete musician.
All his conscious development has come from religious convictions. “People think I am too far out with religion,’ he said. “But it is so necessary to know the Creator, to know the rules of being - what it means - to know the commandments, to know you are commanded to use your intellect and will… That allows you to advance in all subjects. How else can you know about life? And music is life. (read whole article at The Manrilla blog)
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
"I'm a 23 year old Muslim Black American. I'm an undergrad at a Mid-Western university. I'd like to be a professor someday. I'm a Muslim black feminist and I love exploring how race, gender, religion, and also class intersect to influence our lives."
This film features two Muslims from Baltimore that have spent the last 30 years in and out of prison. This sad film gives a lot of insight to the institutionalized mentality many (Muslim and non-Muslim alike) suffer from upon entering the penal system at a young age. The things these men see and go through at a young age are difficult for those who are blessed to have grown up in stable and loving families to put their minds around.
The trailer and film synopsis are below (thanks to Abdul Qaadir for sending this)
A man was sentenced to two years in jail for driving his wife to suicide by calling her "black." This was in India, where, as previously reported, fair skin is highly deisired, and where being called dark is "worse than physical torture," according to the court. In the case, Syed Fathima was so distressed after two months of marriage to Farook Batcha (two months of constant fighting, and of him calling her too dark) that she put an end to the marriage — and her life — by pouring kerosene over her head and setting herself on fire. Just a note to the people who don't think it's a big deal when fashion designers refuse to use black models: It's all related, and it's global. [The Times Of India]
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
1. The "Hanafis" are yet another piece in the history of Blackamerican Muslims outside of the Nation of Islam.
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabaar entered into Islam (at least in part) through contact with Abdul Khaalis and the Hanafis.
3. Like Malcolm X, Abdul Khaalis was a prominent former member of the Nation of Islam, who was became a critic, and suffered greatly at their hands, although in his case, he was left alive while members of the Nation killed his five children, and his infant grandson. (see also Black Mafia) On a much more negative note, there was some indication that Abdul Khaalis was mentally disturbed even before this incident while the tragedy with his family probably pushed him over the edge.
4. Those injured in the siege included the, then councilman, yet-to-be-infamous-mayor of DC, Marion Barry.
5. On another negative note, this time in terms of how Islam is portrayed in popular culture, I thought it was rather bizarre and out of proportion how some descriptions of the thousand plus year old Hanafi school would toss in a casual mention of the siege is if it were something typical or representative of the teachings of Abu Hanifah. (e.g. GlobalSecurity.org's article on Hanafi Islam)
6. The siege was apparently resolved mainly through the efforts of certain ambassadors from Muslim countries who were able to remind the hostage-takers of the merciful and compassionate side of Islam.
The Hanafi siege certainly wasn't the highest point in Blackamerican Muslim history, but it does provide some food for thought and reflection.
how kareem abdul-jabbar embraced islam
radical african-american muslims
This is the kind of balance that I am speaking of. NEVER condone the insanity of the indiscriminate blowing up and killing people in the name of Islam, while acknowledging that the plight of the Gazans is bad. You can do both. Condemnation of terror does not equal support of oppression. Keep repeating that until it is understood
The text of the speech is below:
Mr. Speaker, today I voted in favor of House Resolution 951 to condemn rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel and the death and fear those attacks have caused. These rocket attacks must be condemned, and they must be stopped. I’ve been to Sderot, and I have seen how these rocket attacks cause fear and suffering among the people there, where it is extremely difficult to carry on anything approaching a normal life. The residents of Sderot and now Ashkelon face a daily barrage of rockets, and that is intolerable. Terrorists are bombing citizens, not soldiers. There is nothing in Islam to justify hurting innocent civilians. Bombers cannot use religion to justify what they’re doing, and I condemn it.
But this resolution is not enough. If we want to be morally consistent, we must condemn rocket attacks on Israel and also condemn the humanitarian crisis in Gaza too. The 1.4 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip exist in a state of dreadful isolation, quite literally cut off from the world. Basic supplies and necessities are at a minimum. Ninety percent of the industry has closed down. Unemployment is rampant, and poverty and disease are endemic. Only a few weeks ago, the people of Gaza broke through walls to buy groceries in Egypt. I regret the resolution we voted on today did not devote adequate attention, in my view, to the plight of the people of Gaza.
To suggest that this is the Gazans’ just desserts for voting the wrong way in the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006 does nothing to improve the quality or alleviate the human suffering on either side of the border. We in Congress need to show compassion for the people of Gaza, Sderot, and Ashkelon and the tremendous human suffering they are undergoing. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he does not want the humanitarian crisis in Gaza to continue, and the Bush administration should do all it can to help him meet that commitment.
This resolution criticizes one of the leading advocates for stability and peace in the region: Egypt. The Egyptian Government has made it clear that it is doing all it can to close off smuggling. What’s needed is a greater degree of cooperation with Egypt. This resolution does nothing to advance that cooperation. We need to engage Egypt, not pass resolutions that publicly offend or diminish our relations with them. Absent strong evidence that Egypt is complicit in allowing weapons smuggling to occur, I am not in favor of Egypt bashing.
I understand Egypt is doing what it can to control the border despite restrictions on its security forces imposed by Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. If Egypt had direct contact or diplomatic channels with all parties involved in the conflict, the United States should prevail upon Egypt to help effect a prisoner exchange, stop the rocket attacks on Israeli citizens, and improve the humanitarian conditions for citizens of Gaza.
It’s a fortunate coincidence that the Secretary of State is in the region right now, and I am supportive of her taking an active role in resolving this conflict. Beyond resolutions and expressions of sympathy, we need real actions from the Bush administration to solidify and advance the commitments of leaders in the Middle East to a lasting peace through the two-state solution envisioned well before Annapolis. I ask my colleagues here in the House to join me in urging the Secretary of State to highlight the humanitarian needs of ordinary citizens of Gaza alongside the fear and death among ordinary Israelis as she seeks to mediate the situation so tragic for all involved.
Finally, as a Member of Congress, I am concerned about the resolution’s references to Iran. Now, I agree that Iran is playing a negative role in the region, but we have seen what the Bush administration has done with past congressional resolutions. I want to repeat that there is nothing in the resolution that should be construed as a justification for military action. I remain opposed to military action against Iran. We need to start a bilateral dialogue. That has been and will continue to be my position. The most effective way to stop Iran’s harmful activities is to engage them directly.
Mr. Speaker, though I wholeheartedly condemn the rocket attacks on Israel, I urge my colleagues to consider the suffering of all of the people, including the people of Sderot, Ashkelon, and Gaza.”
Saturday, March 08, 2008
This article analyzes African American Muslims’ experiences of discrimination as they share a common religious community, or ummah, with immigrant Muslims in the United States. Both African Americans and immigrants make up a substantial part of what I refer to as the American ummah. Ideally a symbol of religious unity and solidarity, the ummah in America is marked by ethnic and racial divides. While both African Americans and immigrants contribute to these divides, this article shows how immigrant Muslims enjoy a level of privilege and power over African American Muslims. I demonstrate this through a conversation between three Muslim women: one African American, another Pakistani American, and the third Eritrean American. In this heated discussion, the African American Muslim woman articulates her experiences of racism and discrimination in the American ummah. The way in which the two immigrant women respond only reinforces her sense of exclusion and isolation in contexts in which immigrant Muslims dominate. Her struggles to define and articulate her experiences as black, female, and Muslim position her voice within the broader tradition of black feminist thought and resistance.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
1. THE MUSLIM MAROONS AND THE BUCRA MASSA IN JAMAICA
2. Islam and Slavery through the Ages: Slave Sultans and Slave Mujahids
3. The Ummah Slowly Bled: A Select Bibliography of Enslaved African Muslims in the Americas and the Caribbean
4. The Jihad of 1831–1832: The Misunderstood Baptist Rebellion in Jamaica
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Arabs like to imagine that their countries are comparatively free from racism. But it exists, nonetheless. Nesrine Malik is a Sudanese-born writer and commentator who lives in London and works in the financial sector.
The word 'abd - Arabic for "slave" - was often used in our household when I was a child. In fact, it was so common that I had no awareness of its negative connotations until well into my teenage years. My father's family, a proud northern Sudanese clan, used it to refer to anyone who had darker skin than themselves - from southern Sudanese house servants to migrants from Darfur. Sometimes there was a clear intent to demean, but at other times it was used almost affectionately - for example, when addressing a particularly dark-skinned or thick-lipped child.
This was a kind of racism that no one ever challenged or addressed, and it was, through a child's eyes, very straightforward: on a scale of colour, lighter was good, darker was bad. The word 'abd, although strictly meaning "slave" or "servant", became synonymous with negritude. Even my Islamic heritage reinforced this with quotes from the Prophet Muhammad such as "You should listen to and obey your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian [ie black] slave whose head looks like a raisin" (Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 89, Number 256).
When we moved to post-colonial East Africa in the 1980s, 'abd was seamlessly transferred to the locals with whom we interacted only in their capacity as domestic staff or grounds-keepers at international schools. While I myself was "black" of North African descent, my family believed its Arab roots were somehow genetically dominant, giving us smaller features and a marginally lighter skin tone - thus deeming ourselves to be an entirely a different race from the "pure" Africans.
Our next move was to Saudi Arabia, where the Arab ethnicity with which I identified so strongly was suddenly cast into doubt: now it was my turn to be the "slave". My belief that I was an Arab, racially superior to non-Arab Africans, became laughable in the heartland of Arabia - a place where "Arabness" was not only determined by skin colour but by whether you could uninterruptedly trace your lineage back to the founding father of your clan. In fact, ancestry is so important in Saudi Arabia that courts have the power to annul a marriage if gaps are later discovered in a person's lineage, opening up the possibility of blood line pollution.
Beneath the unforgiving scrutiny of such standards, my proud North African Arabic identity crumbled. Somehow, however, it still made some sense and fell into place in a racial spectrum where, at least, I was not on the bottom rung. I could scarcely complain, since among Saudi women themselves there was a brutal selection process where lighter-skinned women were preferred as wives, who in turn were trumped by the blonde blue-eyed babes from Lebanon who dominated satellite TV and the second-wife market.
Eventually, back in Sudan, I was introduced to another logic that negated all that had gone before. In some inverse double bluff, a new word was added to our lexicon: halabi, a pejorative term for Sudanese who are much lighter-skinned than the rest. Halabi actually means a person from Halab (Aleppo) in northern Syria but for some curious reason it was applied to the descendants of Egyptians or Arabian Bedouins who had settled in Sudan.
Apparently, the halabis were just as contemptible as "slaves" and the categorisation of individuals as such seemed even more arbitrary. A marriage suitor would be dismissed if he came from a tribe of slaves, regardless of the colour of his skin, but would equally be frowned upon if he were of Levantine or Egyptian origin. The former was due to his race (irrespective of its physical manifestations) and the latter to his dubious ancestry. There seemed to be such a limited optimal colour/race/culture combination, all underscored by some vague definition of honour (which, naturally, everybody else lacked) and rooted in an even more intangible notion of "origin" (asl), the dubiousness of which implied a lack of breeding. Never mind bemoaning the lack of a common Arab identity, there seemed to be categorisations ad infinitum and constantly moving goalposts. The prejudices cannot even be explained away as reflecting different cultural perceptions of beauty. Throughout Sudan, halabi girls are universally regarded more attractive than their darker counterparts; it is the whiff of a questionable origin - a visceral suspicion of difference - that condemns them, somehow, as less than honourable.
All this plays out against a backdrop of political and media messaging within the Arab world asserting that the Muslim Arab man, in human terms, is far superior to the occidental man. Bilal ibn Rabah, a black disciple of the Prophet Muhammad and first muezzin (caller to prayer) of Islam, is often held up by religious clerics as a symbol of the inclusiveness of Islam, while much is made of the perceived plight of African-Americans in the US.
Egyptian and Syrian soap operas set in colonial times paint the western colonisers as one-dimensional pillagers while western media and films are accused of depicting Arabs in a poor light. Historically, the lack of a modern institutionalised slavery system in the Arab world in addition to the absence of laws enshrining racial segregation (like those that existed in the US until the 20th century) enhances this sense of superiority in comparison to what is perceived to be the "modern" occident.
This sentiment in turn precipitates its own racial stereotype: that of a white man who is fundamentally racist ... polite and patronising ... but ultimately arrogant and fastidious in his belief that all other races are inferior.
Even if that were the case, it is a welcome relief to know where one stands.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Do not call each other by demeaning nicknames: How foul is a name connoting vileness… Al-Qur’an 49:11
Words in this regard are part of the forces that engender a healthy human consciousness in us. Furthermore, individual words do not stand alone, in terms of the reality they define. They are part of a system of meaning that informs a conceptual worldview. In affirming the acceptability or even the desirability of freely using the term “nigger” we are not endorsing a single term, we are endorsing a verbal culture that collectively works to dehumanize our youth. For example, popularizing the term “nigga’” has been accompanied by the enhanced acceptability and widespread usage of bi_, ho’ (whore), dog, motherf__, sh__ and a host of other terms that historically were associated with vulgar language. Collectively, they are part of an integrated culture characterized by nihilism, hedonism, self-hatred, and an increasingly alienated disconnection from mainstream society.
God declares in the Qur’an, You are the best people raised up to benefit humanity. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong and believe in God. (3:110) Enjoining right and forbidding wrong are part of the mission of the Muslims. Doing so requires a well-established standard of right and wrong. Part of the effort to undermine religion lies in the undermining of revealed or widely accepted moral standards. In the ensuing confusion, many things long held to be blameworthy and in many instances almost universally condemned become acceptable. Illegitimate children, foul language, uncouth and slothful comportment, open displays of sexual affection (both heterosexual and homosexual) and sloppy dressing have all become acceptable or even encouraged behavior, as we move ever further down a slippery slope in what amounts to a moral race to the bottom.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Imam Johari Abdul-Malik is the Director of Outreach at the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center and former Muslim Chaplain at Howard University (HU) and was the first Muslim officially installed as a chaplain in higher education at HU and is the Head of the National Association of Muslim Chaplains in Higher Education. The imam also, serves as the chair of government relations for the Muslim Alliance in North America. He is the director of community outreach for the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center and President of the Muslim Society of Washington, Inc.
From an Episcopal choir boy-who visited the deep southern Pentecostal holiness church during his summer vacations as youth-until at confirmation the teachings of the Ten Commandments exposed the inherent contradiction of western Christianity-In high school he searched for spirituality-Taoism, Asian Spirituality.
In his native Brooklyn community his mother kept the family busy with community activism. In College he became a Black activist, musician, transcendental mediation and vegetarian. In Graduate school, Allah showed him the light of Islam. He served as the President of MSA at Howard University and later that University’s and the nations first officially recognized Muslim Chaplain in higher education.
Known nationally for his fundraising efforts for masjids, schools and relief and support organizations. Brother Johari is a founding member of the Muslim Advocacy Commission of Washington, D.C. Imam Johari and along with Rev. Graylan Hagler started the Ramadan Feed-the-Needy Program in Washington, DC feeding over 100 hundred homeless women of all faiths nightly during the holy month of fasting.
Lectures on a variety of subjects that motivate the Muslim community and the community at large to better themselves and their world.
Regular khatib (preacher) for the jumah sermon/prayer and halaqah/study circle presenter on Friday evenings at the Howard University (musallah) prayer room.
African-American born (mother from Northern Louisiana and father from Barbados, West Indies) and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Educated at Howard Universitywith a BS Chemistry and a MS Genetics and Human Genetics. Completed Clinical Post Graduate Training Program in Bioethics at Georgetown University Kennedy Center for Ethics. Completed PhD course work in Bioethics/Genetics (Degree Pending).
Firstly Abdur Rahman Muhammad over at A Singular Voice wrote the The “I’m Just a Muslim” Muslim, Pt 1 Then, Margari Aziza Hill at Just Another Black Muslim Woman? asks the question: Am I just a Muslim? And finally, Tariq Nelson chimed in with: More on "Just a Muslim"
In a lot of ways, the whole reason why I wanted to start this Third Resurrection blog was to create a forum where African-American Muslims weren't "just Muslims" and could speak with a distinctive voice. I'm glad that other folks out there seem to be having similar concerns. In fact, its made me wonder if there is even a need for a special clearing house like Third Resurrection since the conversation seems to be occuring in multiple places anyway.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Our brother El Hajj Malik El Shabazz was assassinated 43 years ago today. For me, this brother was not only a symbol of Black manhood, but of Black Fatherhood. His speeches about what it meant to be a man and father had such a profound effect upon me that upon embracing Islam, when searching for a family name I chose the name “Malik” (later Abdul-Malik) because of the profound impact of this man. I moved to “join” the Muslims because I recognizd that our people needed not only a personal religion (of personal values and morals) but that we also needed a system and way of life that would provide for a systematic collective salvation.
One night (while I was still in college) I was walking on 14th street in Washington, DC - clearly having the signature of Malcolm on me, but I could not see it. Two men were standing on the corner drinking wine and upon seeing me coming, they put their bags behind their backs. When
“Yes,” I responded
“Muhammad is the Prophet right?”
“You don’t drink alcohol do you?
“You don’t eat pork do you?”
He then turned to his friend and said, “He’s Muslim!”
He then asked me, “You believe in respecting our women?”
“You don’t smoke?”
He then said, “See, THAT’S what I’m talking about…Muslim!
They could see the signature of Malcolm on me even though - at that time - I didn’t know much about the particulars of Islam. However, I had been listening to Malcolm’s lectures. Malcolm said, “A husband means you take care of your wife. But everyone can’t take care of a woman. Anyone can make a baby. But a father takes care of that baby.”
I learned from Malcolm in a profound and persuasive way. My spiritual father is El Hajj Malik Shabazz
Many years later while serving as Muslim Chaplain at Howard. One of the daughters of Malcolm (Malikah) was a student at Howard. She called me and told me that a man was stalking her and that this man said in a message that he is “after her” and that he can “see her where ever she is”.
So I told her we have something working on two levels: One is at the human level and the other at the level of Shaytan (Satan). First part is that the Prophet advised us to read three suras to avoid the Shaytan. The second is that if you see him following you, then go into a lighted area and call me and I will call for some men to intervene. I then told her that because of our love for your father, I know that many men would be willing to die because of what your fahter has done for us…
I wanted to share these short reflections on Malcolm as well as this video of Imam Zaid and others visiting Malcolms grave with a group of other Muslims
Muslim running for Congress wants to combat ignorance about his faith
Associated Press - February 15, 2008 6:04 AM ET
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Democratic Congressional candidate Andre Carson could become the second Muslim elected to Congress and a role model for a faith community seeking to make its mark in national politics.
Carson is the Democratic nominee in a March 11th special election to succeed his late grandmother, Julia Carson, representing Indiana's 7th District.
If Carson wins, he would join Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison as the only Muslims elected to Congress.
The 33-year-old Carson says he doesn't believe his religious identity hurts him politically.
Carson says his faith doesn't drive his stands on issues, other than instilling the values that have shaped his life and led him to public service.
He converted to Islam more than a decade ago and attends prayers at a predominantly African-American Sunni mosque in Indianapolis.
Third Resurrection and Keith Ellison
By Ken Kusmer
February 16, 2008
NDIANAPOLIS -- A convert to Islam stands an election victory away from becoming the second Muslim elected to Congress and a role model for a faith community seeking to make its mark in national politics.
Political newcomer Andre Carson is the Democratic nominee in a March 11 special election to succeed his late grandmother, Julia Carson, representing Indiana's 7th District. She died in December of lung cancer, and her grandson is seeking to fill out the rest of her sixth term, which expires at year's end.
If Andre Carson wins the Democratic-leaning Indianapolis district over a freshman Republican lawmaker and a longshot Libertarian candidate, he would join Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, as the only Muslims elected to Congress.
Mr. Carson, 33, said he doesn't believe his religious identity hurts him politically even while American Muslims struggle to gain acceptance. Polling last summer by the Pew Research Center and Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found 29 percent of Americans held unfavorable views of Muslim Americans, a higher percentage than shortly after September 11, 2001.
"I think it's more of an advantage," Mr. Carson said. "It's a platform to address ignorance. It's a platform to really show that this campaign is about inclusion of all races and religions."
However, Mr. Carson said his faith doesn't drive his stands on issues, other than instilling the values that have shaped his life and led him to public service. He said his decision-making is based on his constituents' needs.
"For me, the religion piece, it informs me. You need to respect people" regardless of their race, religion or gender, said Mr. Carson, who is black. "That is the foundation I go by."
Mr. Carson's grandmother raised him in a Baptist church and enrolled him at an inner-city Catholic school, where he entertained the idea of becoming a priest. As he grew older, he became interested in Islam, reading the poetry of the Sufi mystic Rumi and "The Autobiography of Malcolm X."
He converted to Islam more than a decade ago and began attending prayers at Nur-Allah Islamic Center, a predominantly African-American Sunni mosque.
"For me, what appealed to me about Islam was the universal aspect of Islam," he said. "All faiths teach universality. But with Islam, I saw it regularly in the [mosques], the praying, the different races."
After Julia Carson died Dec. 15, Louis Farrakhan delivered a eulogy at her funeral, leading some local political bloggers to question Andre Carson's ties to the controversial Nation of Islam leader.
He said the ties barely exist: His mosque is not affiliated with the Nation of Islam. He said he approves of some of the group's work, including fighting drug use in Indianapolis.
Unlike many U.S. Muslims, Mr. Carson said his faith rarely has become an issue for others in his civic life or law enforcement career that included a stint with an anti-terrorism unit of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
Mr. Carson and Mr. Ellison spoke by telephone recently, and the Minnesota congressman who took office 13 months ago said he advised Mr. Carson to emphasize broad concerns such as the economy, the war in Iraq and global warming.
"These things don't have any particular religion or color or race," Mr. Ellison said.
Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, said both men built their political base by gaining the confidence of Democratic leaders, not by running on their religion.
However, he said they need to demonstrate their faith to Muslim youth and show that civic engagement among Muslims is healthy.
"It counters any sense of isolation or alienation," Mr. Al-Marayati said.
Corey Saylor, legislative director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Mr. Ellison's 2006 election marked a breakthrough for U.S. Muslims seeking national office.
"Post-9/11, there was a sense in the community that it would be hard for a Muslim to get elected," Mr. Saylor said.
He predicted immigrant Muslims will join black Americans like Mr. Ellison and Mr. Carson on the national political scene. Sons and daughters of Muslims who arrived in the United States from Asia and Africa are energized politically and working on campaigns, he said.
"We see people starting to build up the civic resume that will get them elected to public office," Mr. Saylor said. "Give them five or 10 years."
Even if Mr. Carson wins the special election next month and serves the remainder of his grandmother's term, he almost immediately will face a challenge to hold the seat. The May 6 Democratic primary for the seat's next full term has attracted several candidates.