Thursday, August 21, 2008

looking for participants in survey for islamic research

Survey Document for Potential Participants:

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 Thank you, and Jazakullah Khairun for your help.

Ma Salams,
Hanifa Najjiyya

Screening Procedure

1. Name______________________________________

2. Address____________________________________

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
research study?

Please write yes'or no._____________________

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

sufi breakdancing

I recently discovered the blog Fire of Ashk which posted a clip of some Naqshbandi followers of Shaykh Nazim doing dhikr in a circle, where one excited brother starts to breakdance:

See also:
planet grenada and islam and hip-hop

imam zaid: is obama a used car dealer?

From Lantern Torch:

Once again I managed to beat Imam Zaid Shakir to the punch with my article about Obama’s love affair with the AIPAC, but that is probably only because he took the time to ponder over it and write something much more elqouent and powerful. His article is certainly worth a read.

help a muslimah win a scholarhsip

Umm Zakiyya has entered a contest to get a $5,000.00 scholarship. The video that gets the most views wins the contest and the scholarship. Everyone can help simply watching and sharing the video:

Contest ends August 31, 2008.

the tension between black americans and somalis

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.

black iraquis hoping for obama win

Racism in Iraq??? Against blacks? Is the Middle East ready for the type of social introspection that has happened here in the West?

(via Stereohyped)

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…