Marginalization of the Black Muslim community by the immigrant Muslims, is a part of virtually every problem facing Black American Muslims. If affects our condition more than many of us know, From the thousands of Muslim owned liquor stores that blanket the country from coast to coast in just about every Black neighborhood in the country. In the very neighborhoods that we give dawah in.
To people being discouraged from attending our masaajid, or supporting us, except to drop off old clothing. To our communities being shut out of inter-masjid fundraising during the month of Ramadan, To ignoring our long history, to oftentimes not even addressing our imams buy their titles but calling them ‘brother”. To using our people for fake photo ops to raise money, just like some Muslim organizations are capitalizing on Black History month as we speak to raise money,
We’ve seen immigrant organizations listen to our ideas and not help us, but take our ideas and fund it for themselves. To the thousands of reports about incidents of racism, marginalization, being treated unfairly, to not wanting to pray next to us, or not wanting to pray behind us in salat. We’ve seen immigrant Imams lose their jobs for trying to include Blacks, and immigrant Muslims expressing uneasiness at our presence in their masaajid..Ironically, that uneasiness is what led to the creation of the Darul Islam movement I have hundreds of reports about racism in my inboxes, and about poor black women who have been turned away from zakat which was available and due them, about Black Mulims being treated poorly, and in their words, “treated like animals”..
We’ve seen folks and have reports of people not wanting to return salaams, which is a basic right of any Muslim, and then turn around and give a hearty salaam to one of their own, or break their break their neck to smile at a non-Muslim. We’ve had predatory Shaykhs who have come here and made faulty and divisive rulings that separated people from their families, without even bothering to consult our Imams, who have more knowledge of our own people, as if we didn’t exist . We’ve witnessed all of that and more, Yet we shall endure to the last breath by Allah’s will. We and our parents didn’’t come into Islam to ever give up, Those of us who have been around, are used to marginalization, and the persistent machinations, and micro-oppression by some to undermine our humble efforts. However, it’s painful for many of us, especially the new Muslim who is not expecting it.
We’ve had to deal with silence of the scholars, who we trusterd, about racism in Muslim America. Or listened to denials and the Bilal story time and time again. We’ve endured and argued over the many faulty fatawa that scholars don’t even bother to correct or apologize for, after they realized that they were in error.. Still tthere are Mulims from all countries who come here and use the opportunity to fight racism and try to change the status quo, There is my friend Basim Elcarra, the head of CAIR in Sacramento , Imam Muhammad Abdul-Aziz from Tarabiyya Istitue in Sacremnto, Imam Deeb, imam Muhammad Adly, Dr. Metwali Amer and too many others to mention here who have stood not just with us, but for all Muslims, in addressing all injustice. Notwithstanding efforts by some notable islamic organizations to address racism in Muslim America. So the effort is there, but as a civilization of Muslims in America, we can, and must do better. And we will do better in sha Allah. May Allah forgive us our shortcomings.
After all this, I still have nothing but love in my heart for the Muslim. I can’t even control that. I love the people who say laa ilaaha illa Allah, no matter where they’re from, and that is that. However, none of us are perfect, and the believers are a single brotherhood. It is related in the hadith of Anas ibn Malik, that the Prophet SAWS said, “help your brother whether he is oppressed, ao the oppressor. They said, “O Messenger of God, we can help him when he is oppressed, but how can we help him when he is the oppressor?” The Prophet replied, “stop him from his oppression”. Racism in Muslim America is oppression, and I would be remiss in my duty if I didn’t bring this up now, during Black History Month, because racism in Muslim America is part of Black Muslim History, and the history of Islam in America. But it doesn’t have to be our future.
Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad
Sheikh Luqman Ahmad is an American Muslim thinker, a historian of Philadelphia Muslim history, and a veteran of almost 30 years as an Imam of a Masjid in the United States. He co-founded the Darul Ar’qam School in Sacramento and served on its first board.
While delivering a lecture to members of the Muslim community in Sacramento Ca, Imam Luqman, suggested the creation of an umbrella organization to foster Muslim unity and increase visibility of Muslims in the region. That led to the creation of COSVIO (Council of Sacramento Valley Islamic Organizations), Imam Luqman was elected its first president, and served the organization for many years.
Later, Shaykh Luqman served on the executive board of the North American Council of Imams (NAIF), and he stll supports their efforts on behalf of Imams in America.
He participated in the founding and inauguration of MANA (Muslim Alliance of North America). He remained active as a member and volunteer consultant to that organization until 2016.and he served for many years as a member of their National Shura.
am Luqman Ahmad has been a volunteer Imam in various state and federal corrections institutions in Pennsylvania and California including the infamous Folsim prison in California, and the notorious Grateford prisom in Philadelphia, that is now torn down.
of MANA (Muslim Alliance of North America) and an unofficial advisor to the leadership of that organization
at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam in Ohio. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can be support his work at Cashapp to: $abulaith2