Excellent reply from our brother Hussain Thomas, an active Da’ee from London who regularly attends speakers corner on why the statement from Abu Ibraheem was so problematic to our black brothers and sisters, and why he is going to find it so hard to get over these words.
O you who believe, be persistently standing firm for Allah as witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just, for that is nearer to righteousness. Fear Allah, for verily, Allah is aware of what you do.
Quran translation, Surat Al-Ma’idah, 5:8
Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
A large number of people on social media, including myself have been critical on our respected brother Abu Ibraheem Hussnayn for his racism during his otherwise very admirable efforts to forbid the munkar during ‘Chaand Raat’ celebrations in Birmingham. This is a cultural celebration with no basis in Islam which takes place the night before Eid and often involves many blameworthy acts.
His words if you’ve not heard or seen them yet were,
‘Brothers, we’re not black; let’s stop talking like we’re black! Let’s talk in a decent way, with decent manners.’
Though this was one comment in a long night, we need to be clear about this, using black as synonymous with gangster-ism is extremely insulting, it’s degrading of a whole people and yes it’s racism and anyone saying it is racist to some degree and I am surprised people cannot see this clearly.
It also turns out this is not the first time he has done this, so it cannot be excused as just a slip, as some have tried to do on his behalf. More comments have been found and exposed from a talk he gave in the past entitled ‘Evil Effects of Music’ when he makes similar comments, “When they are out on the streets they are gangsters, they talk like Jamaicans, they walk like Jamaicans but the man was born in like heartlands hospital.”
WHY IS THIS RACIST – SURELY HE DIDN’T MEAN TO BE?
Using black, or Jamaican as shorthand for all the worst shortcomings of urban living is racist, it shows an individual is at best on a subconscious level taken on and then perpetrating these harmful stereotypes that these negatives are due to blackness or black culture.
Now no one is saying a person who does this is a Nazi, or National Front level racist, but it is a form of racism and the person who does this is a racist. Racism is not a binary, either you’re a good person or you’re Adolf Hitler, it’s instead a spectrum.
Racist is defined as: showing or feeling discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or believing that a particular race is superior to another.
Being racist therefore does not require active intent or feelings of superiority as some claim, many good people or those at least striving to be good as Muslims should be, will fall into it unintentionally from time to time.
Some reading this might also be uncomfortable and defensive upon hearing this label being used here in it’s correct and right place, as people you know and love or perhaps you yourself have made similar comments.
Asians and Arabs … Yes I am talking to you now or many of you at least, and yes, you the white reverts. Your discomfort is because you’ve probably heard racial slurs, negative stereotypes from people around you often as you grew up or attended madrasah or the masjid, or sat or ate with your friends and family. You most likely never challenged it, many of you thus normalised it, maybe yourself you internalised it and you don’t now want to feel you or those around you are evil or wrong.
That discomfort of yours’ should not stop us addressing the issue, we cannot excuse it but also should be clear that is not the same as saying you or these other people are irredeemably evil or might not be good in many other ways.
STANDING FIRM IN JUSTICE
O you who believe, be persistently standing firm in justice as witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. Follow not your desires, lest you not be just. If you distort your testimony or refuse to give it, then Allah is aware of what you do.
Quran translation, Surat An-Nisa 4:135
We also need to be fair, we cannot throw someone under the bus for what is in most cases probably unintentional bias, coming from decades of living among people who also have such biasses on a day to day basis.
Racism is from jahiliyyah and needs to be corrected in our hearts, speech and actions as Rasoolullah (Salallahu alayhi wa salam) said to Abu Dharr when he insulted Bilal (May Allah be pleased with them both) “You are a man in whom there is still some jahiliyyah.”
Abu Ibraheem is a brother who has helped hundreds through his Ruqya and thousands, including myself through his many beneficial lectures and talks on the evils and dangers of Sihr, the jinn as well as many other topics.
He’s a brilliant speaker, a da’ee, calling people to Islam and to the practice of Islam and I don’t doubt his intentions were good during these talks. But even if you don’t like his style or delivery, or content of his reminders most would at least say he does not mean to be racist or sees himself as such.
Another form of Jahiliyyah is use of profanity, cursing others, being unjust and people have been going way over the top when it comes to this matter and it’s reaching the levels of mob justice.
But even if they were saying evil things in response, it doesn’t justify the original comments and besides we hold our respected teachers, activists and imams to a higher standard than general laypeople but still we need to be fair also and not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
It certainly looks to me that he’s catching the flak for the whole Asian community right now which is unfair on him, and those around him but is the nature of the beast when it comes to public speaking and being a public figure.
RACISM IS JAHILIYYAH NOT KUFR OR NIFAQ
Though this is not kufr or nifaq, unless like some other sins it becomes justified or taken to extremes but this is still not a small issue, just a minor sin, a slip up or casual mistake as people have said who have tried to defend their brother, themselves or those they know, or their own culture when they’ve shown these traits.
Our black brothers and sisters are leaving the deen or leaving off practicing Islam partially over the way they are treated by Arabs and Asians (and yes white reverts) in the Masaajid and the wider Muslim community in the UK and too many of those crying foul now this has been brought to light were silent when it was not causing them issues personally before.
But we still have to be fair, and if someone falls into error on some matter it does not mean we cannot benefit from them elsewhere, even whilst we urge them to change their ways, this is especially true when their error be on a subconscious level, i.e unintentional.
Though this has been a very ugly episode, especially coming right after Ramadhan if we process and work through this problem correctly then Allah willing all of us, and I mean all, including those who have fallen into this mistake can when matters calm a little use this episode to move forward after a period of reflection.
To do that though requires bringing this problem into the light, so we can then check ourselves, check those around us and make sure racist attitudes are never again tolerated in our community no matter who is the perpetrator.
Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
“What we’re seeing on the streets of Birmingham and tower hamlets has not come out of the blue. It’s been building for generations. When we have drug dealers in our communities poisoning children the community turned a blind eye, some glorified them, others praised their mansions in Pakistan, the mosques happily accepted their money and prayed their funerals. When they acted out violence on the streets, we gave them respect and reverence, we looked up to them and we stayed silent. Then the younger generations saw them as their role models, we praised them fighting dogs, didn’t question where their money was coming from, the drugs, the fraud, the extortion. These criminals posed with local councillors, supported them and sometimes were from their extended families.
We were quick to take the moral high ground about atrocities around the world but remained silent on the thugs among our midst.
What we are seeing now is what we have been complicit in for years. Harsher sentencing and tougher policing won’t solve this. The solution must come from the communities where these people live and act unashamedly.”
~ Assed Baig
Though it is addressed to the Muslims in America, every single aspect of this khutbah could be addressed to the Muslims of the UK or any other western country.
He talks about the racism in wider society, and how as Muslims living in the west we will never help fix this problem until we first address the racism in our own community, and how the racism among Muslims is worse, YES WORSE than the wider society.
We need to fix ourselves up, start setting the example for the rest of society and not keep wallowing in cultural and islamic nostalgia, may Allah swt guide us, and to to the straight path, ameen.
Sure it’s not all as rosy as this all the time, but a beautiful video and well worth listening to, though maybe I’m biased as my grandparents were from this part of Ireland…
“How Ireland’s ancient sports are helping to integrate children in the country’s most ethnically diverse town.”
“When Thomas Mair murdered Joe Cox MP shouting Britain First the media refused to call it terrorism in spite of it fitting the the most clear cut definition of terrorism , “Violence to achieve a political goal” . The political party that he belonged to was not banned or designated a terror organization and its members were not jailed.
This is all political and we know what the agenda is, however from a policing and investigating point of view, it would be interesting to know whether Thomas Mair’s mother, father , sisters and brothers were ever under arrest. Or is that treatment also reserved for the relatives of Muslim perpetrators of murder?”
I am none too happy with the Police on this blog, there are some good ones I’ve met, and quite a few who were either lying or in denial about the dhulm / oppression their fellow officers do when in uniform, especially towards Muslims.
But sometimes we blame the Police unjustly for many social ills, often they are just ordinary people, trying to help the community in an imperfect way, with plenty of common sense but held down by a system which seems to lack all common sense and decency.
So try and have a little sympathy for the poor copper who is now going to have to pay the price for speaking a bit of truth to the parents of teenage delinquents in Salford.
BBC – Salford Police Officer’s Facebook Rant Investigated
A world-weary police officer who posted a tirade about “stoned youths” on a force Facebook page has landed himself in trouble.
The fed-up bobby laid into anti-social teenagers, parents, and community support officers in the message.
It appeared on the GMP Irlam and Cadishead page on 7 May, prompting a complaint from a teacher, according to the Manchester Evening News.
Greater Manchester Police’s Salford branch said it is investigating.
Ch Insp Glenn Jones said: “We have launched an internal investigation after we received a report of an inappropriate post on a GMP Facebook account.
“Officers and staff are expected to uphold the standards of behaviour in all of their duties including on social media.”
The post has since been deleted.
Police officer’s rant in full
“Good Morning everyone.
“An update on what’s occurred in the area over the past 24hrs or so. It would be very quiet if it wasn’t for one thing…or several “things”
“Kids/Yoofs/Yobs/Delinquents (cross out which one).
“There was a call to Heron Drive, Irlam to youths sitting or jumping on vehicles. The youths had gone home to mummy when officers arrived and no damage was found.
“There was a report of drunken youths on the fields at Sandy Lane, Irlam. Again, they had made off back to mummy, probably claiming that they had been doing their science project homework at a mates. How to get alcohol out of £3.60 dinner money.
“Please try and find out what your little Keanu or Beyonce are doing at night. If they’re drinking or smoking weed, there will be signs. If they are, they will no doubt be causing mither in the street.
“Youths were throwing stones at residents houses and residents themselves, from the railway viaduct over Roseway Avenue, Cadishead.
“And finally, there was a call to Tesco at Woodrow Way, Irlam. Security called to report one man and his dog at the Cashpoint machines.
“Many cashpoint areas have points where you can leave deposits for the bank. They did so…. Defecating at the cashpoint… Not the dog…. The man.We have a description (Of the man- not the deposit) and CCTV of the incident. The dog is entirely innocent… Wonder if it’s a shih-tzu?
“Only me in today as the PCSO’s don’t work on Sunday’s. They have the day off to play with their crayons and Lego.
“Take care and lock your kids up till school time on Monday.”
If it’s a missile that kills hundreds and it’s fired from a western tank or plane – it isn’t terrorism; even when women and children form the majority of those who are murdered.
If it’s a knife-wielding man acting on his own and he happens to be Muslim, by default it is terrorism.
If the same man isn’t Muslim, it isn’t terrorism and he is mentally unstable, even if he takes a gun and kills only certain people of a certain faith.
Such is the world that we live in.
Upon us is to repel evil with that which is better. To be proud of our Islam and not let the shayateen make us apologetic.
~ Abu Ibraheem Hussnayn
‘It is always stunning when a country that has brought violence and military force to numerous countries acts shocked and bewildered when someone brings a tiny fraction of that violence back to that country…
The issue here is not justification. The issue is causation. Every time one of these attacks occurs — from 9/11 on down — Western governments pretend that it was just some sort of unprovoked, utterly “senseless” act of violence caused by primitive, irrational, savage religious extremism inexplicably aimed at a country innocently minding its own business. They even invent fairy tales to feed to the population to explain why it happens: they hate us for our freedoms.’
-Glenn Greenwald following the attack on Canadian parliament 2014