What Muslim Americans need to understand is that the United States of America is a vast nation, culturally, climatically, historically, and economically. We a nation of nuanced diversity. Many Muslims, especially new Muslim (20 years or less) immigrants do not understand this. Colonized Muslims understand this but act like they don’t. This intellectual and perceptual handicap has become even more evident in the way we’ve handled this COVID-19 pandemic.
In these great United States, there are differences in expressions, language, dialect, politics, history, domestic culture, and as individuals, we have different types of relationships with our neighbors, our neighborhoods, our country, our politicians, our patriotism, and with people of other faiths. We have these interfaith initiatives and associations that seem to be built on the assumption that we know nothing about Christians or Christianity, when most Black Muslims and converts, come from Christianity. If immigrant Muslims really wanted to understand Christianity, they could better understand it, and understand Christians through their own brothers and sisters in faith, who were former Christians themselves, which would be the sunnah. And that’s a whole different story.
Multi-million dollar, National Islamic Organizations have perpetuated this narrative of the “American Muslim” as a single National Muslim body politick with one size fits-all rulings, sentiments and solutions for the entire group. Even within an American city, immigrant run masaajid and leaders will attempt to represent the entire local Muslim population and make decisions without due consultation of Black American Muslims and converts. Some Muslim leaders are starting to become aware of this and are taking a different approach while others have little regard for Black American Muslims and converts to begin with, and act as overlords to the indigenous population of Muslims who have been on this soil for generations.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is Changing Everything
Before the COVID-19 there was a dearth of leadership in Muslim America except for the corporate style leadership that came down from American Muslim, national political Islamic organizations and Hollywood style Imams that they approved of. Now that the majority of mosques in the country are closed due to fear of spreading the virus, Muslim leadership in the United States have been sucked into a black hole. Everything about the way we operate as Muslim Americans moving forward, is on the table.
In my opinion, Black American Muslim and convert civilization, and yes, we’re talking about a separate and distinct civilization cannot thrive or endure under multiple spheres of foreign and foreign based Islamic influence. It’s part of the reason that we have been stuck for the last 75 years. Now, there is no more reason to do so, not in any way. The only people who do not understand this are people who do not understand. And yes, Allah knows best- Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad.
Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad is a associate Imam and resident scholar at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam, housed in the first building built originally as a Mosque in the state of Ohio. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org