Tag Archives: Asian

Abdullah bin Hamid Ali – How Islamic is Critical Race Theory?

https://lamppostedu.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/how-Islamic_critical_race_theory.pdf

Critiquing ideologies is often mired by oversimplification. And, such critiques, likewise, result in the terms under scrutiny being stigmatized along with their advocates. This applies to ideological targets like Marxism, socialism, feminism, and critical race theory. Whenever one wants to make short work of another’s perspective, all one needs to do is scream, “Marxist”, “Feminist,” or “Critical Race Theorist.”

The problem with ad hominem aspersions is that these ideologies contain ideas, which conform with the values of their audiences. Had those ideas not been present, the ideologies would not be attractive. Take, for instance, the fact that feminism, especially in its earliest waves, promoted women’s agency, self-determination, suffrage, and the right to own and earn wealth. There’s no fundamental or valid reason to believe that Islam is opposed to such aims. So, it makes sense that many Muslim women, unwittingly, refer to themselves as feminists. One, however, must take care not to assume that such a label sufficiently summarizes the mission of the Prophet Muhammad in light of his embrace of the betterment and social well-being of women. Such characterizations are a danger, which could lead one to blasphemy.

One must, also, remain skeptical of the putatively inherent and universal applicability of such overarching ideologies since one can mistake the forest for the trees, considering that their epistemic foundations often clash with Islam’s moral vision and truths. Like other egalitarian ideologies, critical race theory has its own metaphorical wheat and chaff. And, there seems to be a growing interest in CRT among Muslims in activist circles. Many have adopted its assumptions unwittingly, completely oblivious to what guides the decisions of their so-called political “allies.”

For these reasons, I’ve decided to pen together a few words that will, hopefully, provide a
shimmer of guidance on this topic.  Critical race theory (CRT) is an analytical approach employed by certain activist scholars, such as CRT’s intellectual father, Derrick Bell, professor of law at New York University. CRT theorizing started during the mid 1970s. Its main goal is to transform the way race, racism, and power in Eurocentric cultures interact. CRT is concerned with creating an egalitarian sociopolitical, cultural, and economic order, while taking direct aim at white cultural imperialism and deconstructing its philosophical foundations. CRT builds on the efforts and insights of a number of minority civil rights activists; critical legal studies; radical feminism; and European philosophers, such as Antonia Gramsci and Jacques Derrida.1

According to scholars Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, CRT is founded upon the following six moral assumptions:
• Racism against “colored” people is endemic to Eurocentric societies (“colored” being a
synonym for “non-white i.e. non-European” peoples, rather than its original reference to
indigenous, Black and Native Americans).
• White over “colored” ascendancy serves important purposes, physic and material.
• Races are social constructions, not biological facts.
• Differential racialization, i.e. the calculated alternation of discriminatory policies between
one racial minority to another depending upon time and circumstance, happens “in
response to shifting needs in the labor market.”
• Intersectionality and anti-essentialism, which means that “each race has its own origins
and evolving history” and no individual member of a racial group can be presumed to be
the same as any other group member. Rather, one is always distinguished by a multiplicity
of factors that contribute to one’s identity such as sex, sexual orientation, political
affiliation, and social class. (These facets of one’s “identity” in today’s world determine
the degree of severity of one’s oppression on a continuum of “least” to “most
oppressed.”)
• The “unique voice of color” thesis which posits that every “group” due to their experience
with the white supremacist order has developed a unique stand point for explaining one’s
socio-political and economic status. That standpoint is considered superior to that of
whites, who are presumed to, generally, lack the capacity to see the privilege with which
they live.

2 CRT’s greatest utility, like certain other aspects of postmodern philosophy, is its ability to
deconstruct and identify “problems” and “social inequities.” Also, like other postmodern
philosophies, it is not good at re-constructing after it deconstructs. In other words, the fixes
offered to society’s problems are almost always superficial and fundamentally undermine the very project of CRT.
1 For more information, see Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, Critical Race Theory (New York: New York University Press, 2001, pp. 6-8).
2 Ibid.

The most glaring example of this is in CRT’s insistence upon redefining “racism.” The oldest
definitions of racism in English posit that any “race” can be guilty of racism and that it is
fundamentally the “belief” in one’s superiority to another on the mere basis of race or color. While one may agree that contemporary “race” is “largely” a social construct (biology does play a limited role), CRT’s definition conflicts with Islam in that after rejecting notions of race or colorbased behavioral determinism for “coloreds”, CRT’s proponents suggest and sometimes aver that to be white is to be “privileged” and “racist”, knowingly or unknowingly. In other words, while it is a goal of CRT to dismantle white supremacy and white privilege, it reinforces and solidifies it by claiming that the members of one “race” of people are motivated and guided by things the other races are not and cannot be. This solidifies the otherization of “whites” who cannot truly be white without the existence of their “colored” opposite(s) who in turn become permanent counterpart(s) also.

This is both racist and essentialist. It is racist because it reinforces biological race and behavioral determinism, two things that CRT alleges to disavow. It is essentialist because it lumps all “whites” together into a shared experience vis-à-vis “coloreds” such that there is no distinction between the English, Scottish, French, German, Russian, Slav, Irish, Italian, Swede, Jew, etc.3 They are all equally complicit in the oppression of “colored people.”

They all enjoy white privilege as a birthright. This is so even though the critical theorist claims to be opposed to essentialism. It seems that one is allowed to be an essentialist if it relates to allegations against “whites.” That’s not to mention the essentialism involved in considering the counterpart of “whites” to be a single unified collective as well.

A critical race theorist would never accept the notion that he/she is being racist against white people. That’s because the theorist has convinced him/herself that only whites can be racist due to the fact that only whites have power. That is to say that racism can only be racism if and when you have the power to oppress others. And, since only white people have this power according to the critical race theorist, only they can be racist. This means that even if I were to say, “White people are born with tails”; “The white man is the devil incarnate”; Or, “White people smell like dogs when they’re wet”, none of that is racist because I’m black. And, black people have absolutely no power to oppress others (sigh). The lack of sincerity to this principle is exposed every time blacks or others cry foul, demanding punishment for whites who accost them using racial epithets such as calling black female basketball players things, “Nappy headed hoes.”

* Keep in mind that many of those considered “white” were inducted into whiteness between 19th and 20th centuries.

“All” power is wielded by white people “absolutely.” If a colored person is ever in a position ofpower, he/she is wielding “borrowed” power, not inherent power. So, they can never bear full culpability for any crimes they commit. That’s because all might and power belong to the “white man.” Of course, this last sentence is meant to show how absurd and idolatrous this belief is to the Islamic teachings. The truth is that colored people all around the world have power, many of them significantly more than millions of white people. If the teachings of CRT are taken to their logical end, this would mean that not one dictator in the Arab world is responsible for the carnage they create every time they massacre their people. Nor are the Chinese, Burmese, or any other person, group, or government represented by a particular ethnic enclave.

This is not to say that the European political elite are not in fact culpable for great carnage, oppression, and savage treatment of others for many centuries. They are responsible for what they did and do. However, every soul is mortgaged for it earns. And, no bearer or burdens bears another’s burden.

In Islam, all human beings are the children of the same mother and father, Adam and Eve. Our only permanent and avowed enemy is Satan. And, Satan is not a man. We all are susceptible to the same forms of vice and shortcomings; Our impulses, appetites, and emotions make us malleable. And, our ignorance of objective fact and the moral path expose us to manipulation.

In other words, Islam assigns the same nature to every human being. And, it considers every individual to be redeemable regardless of race, color, sex, sin, religion, or political affiliation. Every person regardless of race can be guilty of racism, even if we acknowledge that a racist with power is more dangerous than one without that power.

All societies have a conception of race. And, that conception influences very much how one
differentiates between outsiders and insiders. As Muslims have embraced the legitimacy of their status as citizens of western countries, many have also taken on some of the baggage of racial polarization. Does Islam have something unique to offer societies plagued by ethnic bigotry?

If so, will Muslims employ that perspective to heal humanity? Or will they contribute to the
widening rift between racialized factions in society? When did this racialization process begin?

What parallels exist in the Islamic tradition? And, will Muslims redeem their faith before it is
permanently rendered into a race and drained of its transformative and conciliatory spirit?

Abu Ibraheem Hussnayn and Standing Firm for Justice

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,

Gingerbeardman

Nabil Abdul Rashid – Welcome to the Club Guys!

“Remember how I keep saying that if not for recent enhancement of unfair anti-terrorism laws: e.g. prevent and schedule 7, Asians would never see structural racism like we Afro-Caribs do?

This stop and search video that has gone viral is proof of it. Sucked he had that done to him, but hey!!! Some of us have grown up having that done to us every day about two or three times a day and it wasn’t done as gently or politely either.

Remember that for the last three or four decades WE have been complaining about the same thing and got told “if you didn’t commit so much crime they wouldn’t be stopping you” and ” well if you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to worry about”… welcome to the club guys.. welcome to the club. Racial profiling by racist institutions is not fun, even for ‘model minorities’.”

~ Nabil Abdul Rashid

Muslim Reverts Put-Up With a Lot of Casual Racism

blackburn

http://www.asianimage.co.uk/news/14805797._Many_Muslim_reverts_put_up_with_a_lot_of_casual_racism_leaving_us_feeling_displaced_and_isoloated_/

Written by Umbreen Ali, Writer and Columnist for Asianimage.co.uk

A Muslim revert says the community has a lot to learn about how to treat newcomers to Islam.

Ben Moore, now known as Abu Zayn, converted to Islam seven years ago and has spoken out against racism, accusations of being a spy and becoming an outcast because of people’s cultural norms.

Abu Zayn’s journey towards Islam and subsequent conversion induced an adverse reaction from the onset. “When I converted to Islam I was still living in Dorset. There are almost no Muslims there at all.

“Yet after becoming a Muslim, the local community called me a traitor.

“The EDL took pictures of me on their phone and printed it on leaflets and distributed them in the town centre labelling me a ‘terrorist’ and an ‘extremist’.

Ben, as he was known aged 23, took his shahada in Bournemouth in a Syrian mosque which hosted an ample Arab community.

“They were so accepting and warm and welcoming, the complete opposite to Blackburn.
“The Muslim community in Blackburn have shouted at me and told me I’m a spy.

“If a spy was going to be put in a mosque in Blackburn, no authority would use a white guy with a ginger beard!

“There is a divided community in Blackburn in which there is a lot of cultural mistrust between the community themselves.

“It’s the reverts who inadvertently get caught up in the mistrust.

“There’s a big sectarian divide in Blackburn, between the Deobandi’s and the Brelvi’s.

“The various communities in Blackburn stick to their own mosques. They’re the ones who hold firmly onto racial bias.”

Reverts feel ‘isolated’ and ‘displaced’

He said there were only a handful of reverts in Blackburn, but hostile sentiments from the local mosques had led to him and other reverts feeling ‘displaced’ and ‘isolated’.

“The reverts here are put off going to mosques and would rather pray at home.
A newcomer to Islam speaks out about being white and Muslim

“We’re too white to be Muslims in Blackburn.

“As a revert I am expected to conform to Asian culture.

“A so called ‘mufti’ told me that I am not allowed to take anything from my English culture as it’s not Muslim culture.

“However, according to this man, we are allowed to take anything from the Pakistani culture because it’s a Muslim country.

“Therefore, I am supposed to dress in shawlar kameez and not jeans otherwise I am imitating the kufar.

“Yet the irony is, the men in Blackburn who wear the jubba, the shalwar kameez or the turban are the most arrogant people I have met.”

Abu Zayn said much of the prejudice he had encountered has taken place within local mosques in Blackburn, leading him to question the significance of Asian culture over religious etiquette.

“Before Ramadan, a Hafiz offered to teach me some Quran. I’m passed basic level in reading but he just helped me out with my Tajweed.

“As we sat in the Masjid reciting, the Imam, who can’t speak English, came over and stared at me for about five minutes before talking to the Hafiz in Urdu.

“The Hafiz translated the message and told me that the Imam wanted to inform me that I was being disrespectful to the masjid because I wasn’t wearing a hat.

“I can’t help but think, you have a revert in the masjid who is sat willingly learning the Qur’an and instead of giving me salams and offering me support and asking if I want help like an Imam should, you chose to just pick on me about an item of clothing!

“It’s very petty and pathetic.

“Wearing a hat is not a wajib anyway or a sin if you do not, but of course I could not sit and debate with the Imam.

“On another occasion, an uncle reprimanded me for wearing socks in the mosque. He said that the carpet will start to smell if I wear my socks. Despite the fact that there was no sign saying ‘remove your socks’ and unsurprisingly, everyone else present in the mosque was wearing socks.

“It feels like he targeted me because he thinks I’m dirty.”

Don’t call me a ‘gora’ I don’t like it

He feels that Imams find it difficult to communicate with the younger generation and with reverts.

“I approached an Islamic school where you can do an Alim Course. I was categorically told I was not allowed to study there because I don’t speak Urdu.

“So I asked to take Urdu classes. I was given another lame excuse to prevent me from doing that.

“And I know for a fact that there are Arab students that study there.

“But I wasn’t allowed because I’m white and they equate that with me being a spy.”

“Darussalam is the only mosque in Blackburn that has been accepting.

“Other reverts attend Darussalam too.

“Other mosques in Blackburn don’t have a curriculum for reverts, so there is no access for learning.”

As well as facing discrimination from local mosques, Ben says that the casual racism he has experienced from the Asian youth in Blackburn leaves him feeling disillusioned.
“My Pakistani friends still call me ‘the gora.’

“I find that term so offensive. I ask them how they would feel if I called them ‘paki.’
“They have patent double standards.

“There’s a guy that work in a local takeaway. He has a long beard and wears clothes that people would associate with religious men.

“Yet when I say ‘salam alaikum brother’ he always responds with ‘alrite Dave.’
“He is blatantly taking the p***.”

Muslims are just as racist towards other Muslims

However, it is not just subliminal racism towards him that he found alarming, but also racism between the Asian communities.

“Pakistani’s in Blackburn are more racist towards Indians and vice versa than they are to white people.

HOPING TO BE HAPPY? BECOME HEALTHY

Written by Tanya Abbasi and originally posted to Islam21C

burger close up

One thing which seriously needs addressing in our communities, aside from our seemingly inherent inability to arrive in time for anything, is the attention we fail to pay to the second greatest gift bestowed upon us by our Creator, namely, our health. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Ask Allah for forgiveness and health, for after being granted certainty, one is given nothing better than health.”1 Yet statistics show that ethnic minorities, in particular South-east Asian men and women, have shockingly higher rates of angina, heart attacks and strokes than the overall general population. Diabetes is also a big issue, particularly amongst Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian and Black Caribbean people 2.

Our health is an amānah (trust) from our Lord, one which will be questioned about on the Day of Judgement. Yet we fail to appreciate the beauty of this blessing and constantly abuse the rights our bodies have over us. It is vital to remember that good health is not limited to our physical well-being, rather it should be viewed holistically, extending beyond the exoteric to encompass our emotional and spiritual health also.

Truly Islam, being a complete way of life, emphatically stresses the importance of this oft neglected blessing. Diet, nutrition and exercise combined with the remembrance of God and a sincere intention to fulfil our religious obligations is what makes a healthy lifestyle. Using the prophetic guidance to ensure we are fulfilling the rights of our bodies is sure to bring about both worldly and otherworldly success.

We are told by the Almighty: “O Believers! Eat of the good and pure things that We have provided you with and be grateful to Allah, if you truly worship Him3.” The importance of ensuring that we eat only what is lawful and pure cannot be stressed enough. Purity with regards to sustenance encompasses not only the halal stamp on our lamb chops but goes right back to the very source of our income, whether our earnings themselves are halal as well as how our food was prepared, whether we remembered Allah in its preparation or were busy committing sins, either with our limbs or our tongues. As with all aspects of life, Islam teaches us that moderation is key to a healthy diet: “And eat and drink, but waste not in extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not those who waste in extravagance.” 4

There is no doubt that exercise does wonders for the health – physical, mental and spiritual. Aerobic exercise fights heart disease and high blood pressure, and reduces the risk of diabetes, whilst weight training increases muscle strength and reduces fat, increases bone density, fights back pain and arthritis, and improves overall mental health. By natural extension, improving our physical and mental health can lead to spiritual well-being. A decrease in activity levels can make a person lazy and apathetic, which in turn makes us feel less inclined to perform our ritual acts of worship such as Salāh. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) would encourage physical activity and himself used to frequently walk, at a quick pace, race, wrestle, practise archery and horse-riding amongst other activities. During the Battle of the Trench, he himself partook in digging the huge trench which surrounded the city of Medīnah to keep out the enemies.

Thus we shouldn’t cheat our bodies, but must aim to take care of them as best we can. A healthy diet should include a balance of nutrients against calorie intake. Avoiding processed foods and instead opting for what is tayyib (pure) would be far more beneficial both for our health and our souls. Exercise should not be put off, even something as simple as walking to the shops instead of driving can make a difference if made a regular substitute. Walking strengthens the heart, increases bone density, builds endurance and most important of all is a sunnah of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). Thus we ought to all practise these things in line with the Islamic ethos of moderation and insha’Allah, happiness in our physical, emotional and spiritual will follow.

 

Notes: Tanya Abbasi writes on behalf of 1st Ethical Charitable Trust who empower Muslims to enrich communities through faith based campaigns. For more information, please visit http://www.1stethical.com

Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.[1] Tirmidhi, sahih
[2]  Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2006
[3] Q. 2:172
[4] Q. 7:31

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