Tuesday, March 18, 2008

anniversary of the 1977 dc "hanafi" muslim siege

These few days are the 31st anniversary of the DC "Hanafi" Muslim Siege (March 9-11, 1977) led by Hamaas Abdul Khaalis. I started a blog entry on this subject ages ago but never finished it before now. Basically the points I wanted to hit were:

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.

Grenada's past:
how kareem abdul-jabbar embraced islam
radical african-american muslims

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