All too often Muslim African Americans have been taught to de-emphasize race. This is done primarily to avoid being seen as nationalistic or racist thus going against the very teachings of Al Islam itself. However, to de-emphasize race is to also de-emphasize the conditions directed onto a community borne from the most powerful racism (in America this is called white supremacy) such as police brutality, employment discrimination, and an unjust and very biased legal system that often mistreats the poor and downtrodden just to name a few.
Yet there is a tendency to forget the many verses of Qur’an that admonish mankind for harboring racism in the first place. We must remember that as Satan became the first racist in history by refusing to bow to man merely because man was created from the mud of the earth and he was created from smokeless fire, that Allah punished him for that and condemned him to the Hellfire.
As Allah condemns racism, He also gives those victims of racism the permission to fight it. Yet one cannot fight it, if they are either unwilling or are taught to fear confronting it. When Satan expressed his racist hatred of man and swore to be man’s eternal enemy, Allah gave man tools to fight him.
The first tool He provided was the ability to recognize Satans’ tactics through our intellect, and other senses. Once this is used, we are then to formulate strategies designed to prevent the racist agents of Satan from enacting their way of racism. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that anyone who has a mustard seed of pride in his heart would never enter the Paradise, and that pride was to have a disdain for the truth and a contempt for a people. Satan exhibited this toward Adam (peace be upon him) and all of mankind. The philosophy of racism itself is to exhibit this. In America this is called white supremacy only because those who have the most power to enact their racism on others who are powerless members of a minority happen to be classified as white. In Saudi Arabia it might be called Saudi supremacy, in China Chinese supremacy and so on. Yet Allah did not ignore Satans’ racism, but punished him for it. For this reason, and others that will be discussed in part two we should be able to remove the tendency to de-emphasize race among the Muslim African American if he or she is to overcome and rise above internalizing the harsh effects of racism.
Many Muslims who come from overseas have shown their disinterest in directly dealing this issue. This can be experienced by their lack of involvement in areas of helping the homeless, the drug addicted or routine ex convict that found Al Islam in prison and now needs a support group to maintain his faith upon release. This can also be seen by the large annual conventions that can attract thousands of Muslims adopting themes such as having a beautiful Ramadan or loving one’s neighbor, but refuse to seriously deal with oppression and social injustices throughout the world that are often borne from racism. When I say “seriously deal with” I mean to identify the problems, adopt a plan of isolating them, formulating a strategy to correct them, monitor its progress, and hold individuals accountable for its strategic implementation.
In this series “Facts on Sunni Muslims – Confronting Racism in the Hearts of Some Muslims” God willing we can attempt to do that.