Tag Archives: White

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?

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Arab Nationalism in the Masaajid

Assalaamu Alaykum,

I help out in a Masjid in my local area, they give me a spot to run new Muslim activities, mentoring etc, as well as store Dawah materials and I help them out in terms of admin tasks in the Masjid. It’s a pretty good relationship for everyone.

However several times in the past couple of years of helping out some brothers have asked for help or favours or leniency from those involved in the running of the Masjid, implying they are more deserving as Arabs.

Leading to them perhaps getting a little more terse a response than perhaps they are used to from myself.

Ahmad (22978) narrated from Abu Nadrah: Someone who heard the khutbah of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) on the second of the days of at-Tashreeq told me that he said: “O people, verily your Lord is One and your father is one. Verily there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a non-Arab over an Arab, or of a red man over a black man, or of a black man over a red man, except in terms of taqwa. Have I conveyed the message?” They said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) has conveyed the message.
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah (6/199).

We need to clear to the ignorant among us, that our Masaajid and Islamic centres are upon the Quran and Sunnah, even better to be upon the best of understanding of that, the Salafi Manhaj.

We can be pretty tolerant of others as well, but if they wish to have a place of worship for their arab nationalism I suggest the Masaajid is not the right place for them to push that ignorance upon the rest of us.

Now here is a fatwah from a person of knowledge, who has used his understanding of arabic as a language to push back against asabiyyah in the arab community.

https://islamqa.info/en/182686

Is the Arab Muslim better than the non-Arab Muslim?

A while ago I read a hadith from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him): It was narrated from ‘Utbah ibn ‘Abd that he said: A man said: O Messenger of Allah, curse the people of Yemen for they are tough fighters and great in number, and their fortresses are well fortified. He said: “No.” Then the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) cursed the non-Arabs, and the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “If they come to you, with their women and carrying their children on their shoulders (then show kindness to them), for they are of me and I am of them.” Narrated by Ahmad, and also by at-Tabaraani, except that he said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) cursed the non-Arabs, the Persians and Romans (Byzantines), and the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “If the people of Yemen pass by you, with their women and carrying their children on their shoulders (then show kindness to them), for they are of me and I am of them.” The isnaads of both reports are hasan, and Baqiyyah clearly stated that each narrator heard it from another.

My question is:

Why did the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) curse the non-Arabs, the Persians and Byzantines? Didn’t many of them become Muslim after the conquest of Syria and Iraq, and even as far as China? Is the hadith proven to be sound and of a high level of authenticity? Why did he not say, O Allah, curse the disbelievers, and leave it at that? Is the Arab Muslim considered to be better than the non-Arab Muslim? I am from Syria and am not fully Arab; does this mean that my Islam is less than the Islam of those who are fully Arab among you? Were there any of the Sahaabah who were not Arabs?

Praise be to Allah

Firstly:

We have explained previously that Islam does not pay attention to differences in colour, race or lineage. All people are descended from Adam, and Adam was created from dust. Rather according to Islam, superiority of some people over others is measured by faith and taqwa (piety, mindfulness of Allah), doing what Allah has enjoined and refraining from what Allah has forbidden.

At-Tirmidhi (3270) narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) addressed the people on the day of the conquest of Makkah and said: “O people, verily Allah has taken away from you the arrogance of Jaahiliyyah and its pride in forefathers. People are of two types: righteous and pious, who are dear to Allah, and doomed evildoers, who are insignificant before Allah. People are the descendants of Adam, and Allah created Adam from dust. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted’ [al-Hujuraat 49:13].”

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh at-Tirmidhi.

Ahmad (22978) narrated from Abu Nadrah: Someone who heard the khutbah of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) on the second of the days of at-Tashreeq told me that he said: “O people, verily your Lord is One and your father is one. Verily there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a non-Arab over an Arab, or of a red man over a black man, or of a black man over a red man, except in terms of taqwa. Have I conveyed the message?” They said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) has conveyed the message.

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah (6/199).

Al-Bukhaari (4898) and Muslim (2546) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: We were sitting with the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and Soorat al-Jumu‘ah was revealed to him: “And [He has sent the Prophet to] others of them who have not yet joined them” [al-Jumu‘ah 62:3]. I said: Who are they, O Messenger of Allah? He did not answer him until he had asked three times. Among us was Salmaan al-Faarisi and the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) put his hand on Salmaan and said: “If faith were at the Pleiades, some men from among these people [the Persians] would get it.”

Al-Bukhaari (5990) and Muslim (215) narrated that ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say, out loud and not secretly: “The family of Abu Fulaan (the Father of So and so) are not my friends. My friends are Allah and the righteous believers.”

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was speaking of a clan that was closely related to him, and pointed out that mere lineage did not make them his friends; rather his friends were Allah and the righteous believers of all backgrounds.

End quote from Iqtida’ as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem (144).

See also the answers to questions no. 12391 and 3793.

Secondly:

Imam Ahmad (17195) narrated: Haywah ibn Shurayh told us: Baqiyyah told us, Baheer ibn Sa‘d told me, from Khaalid ibn Ma‘daan, from ‘Utbah ibn ‘Abd that he said: A man said: O Messenger of Allah, curse the people of Yemen for they are tough fighters and great in number, and their fortresses are well fortified. He said: “No.” Then the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) cursed the non-Arabs, and the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “If they come to you, with their women and carrying their children on their shoulders (then show kindness to them), for they are of me and I am of them.”

The commentators on Musnad al-Imam Ahmad (ar-Risaalah edn., 29/194) said:

Its isnad is da‘eef (weak). Baqiyyah – who is the son of al-Waleed – is mudallis [i.e., he engaged in tadlees, which is when a narrator narrates a hadith that he did not hear directly from his shaykh, without mentioning the name of the third party from whom he did hear it, using wording that may or may not give the impression that he heard it directly], and narrated by saying ‘an (“from”, without clearly stating that he heard the hadith himself from another narrator). His hadith cannot be accepted unless it is clearly stated that each stage of the isnad that one narrator heard it directly from another.

It was also narrated by Ibn Abi ‘Aasim in al-Aahaad wa’l-Mathaani (2280); at-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer(17/304) and in ash-Shaamiyyeen (1139), via ‘Abd al-Wahhaab ibn Najdah al-Hooti; and by Ibn Abi ‘Aasim (2280) from Hishaam ibn ‘Ammaar, both of whom narrated it from Baqiyyah ibn al-Waleed with this isnaad. In ash-Shaamiyyeen it mentions Ismaa‘eel ibn ‘Ayyaash instead of Baqiyyah, and we think it most likely that this is an error on the part of the copyist. End quote.

Even if we assume that the hadith is saheeh (sound), it is to be understood as referring to those among them who are deserving of being cursed, namely the disbelievers, evildoers and their ilk. These people were only singled out for mention because in most cases they were disbelievers and were misguided, especially at that time.

Thirdly:

In the answer to question no. 115934, we noted that Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa‘ah are unanimously agreed that the Arabs are superior to others in terms of descent and lineage, and that regarding the Arabs as superior is in general terms, and does not apply at the individual level. So a non-Arab who is pious and righteous is better than an Arab who falls short in his duties to Allah, may He be exalted.

Therefore an Arab Muslim cannot be superior to a non-Arab Muslim just because he is an Arab. Rather superiority is based on taqwa (piety, mindfulness of Allah). So whoever is more mindful of Allah and obedient to Him is better than his counterpart, regardless of whether he is an Arab or a non-Arab.

So the fact that you are not fully Arab does not mean that you are less than one who is fully Arab in terms of virtue and status simply because of that. As is clear from what we have mentioned above, the real standard is faith and righteous deeds.

Fourthly:

There were some of the Sahaabah who were not Arabs, such as Salmaan and Miqsam, who were Persians, Bilaal al-Habashi (who was Ethiopian) , Zunayrah ar-Roomiyyah (who was Byzantine), Barakah al-Habashiyyah (who was Ethiopian) and others such as Suhaym the freed slave of Banu’l-Has-haas, Ya‘eesh the slave of Banu’l-Mugheerah, Khaalid ibn al-Hawaari, and Tamaam al-Habashi.

Al-Haakim (8194) narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “I saw (in a dream) many black sheep who were joined by many white sheep.” They said: How did you interpret it, O Messenger of Allah? He said: The non-Arabs will join you in your religion and your lineage.” They said: The non-Arabs, O Messenger of Allah? He said: “If faith were at the Pleiades, some men from among the non-Arabs would get it.”

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah (1018).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

The confirmation of that is seen in the many Persians, both free men and freed slaves, among the Taabi‘een and those who came after them, such as al-Hasan, Ibn Sireen, ‘Ikrimah the freed slave of Ibn ‘Abbaas, and others, and those who came after that of people who were prominent in faith, religious commitment and knowledge, until these prominent figures became better than most of the Arabs.

Similarly, among types of non-Arabs, such as the Ethiopians, Byzantines, Turks and others, there are people who excelled in faith and religious commitment, too many to be counted, which is something well known to the scholars, because true virtue is in following that with which Allah sent Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) of faith and knowledge, both inwardly and outwardly. So the more strongly a person adheres to it, the better he is, and virtue is only in terms of the praiseworthy qualities mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah, such as Islam, faith, righteousness, taqwa, knowledge, righteous deeds, ihsaan and so on.  There is no virtue in a person simply being an Arab or non-Arab, or being black or white, or being a city dweller or desert dweller.

End quote from Iqtidaa’ as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem (p. 145)

And Allah knows best.
Islam Q&A

Tim Wise – Pathology of White Privilege

This is it… this is the video that finally helped me ‘get it’ when it came to the subject of white privilege a few years ago.

I know Tim Wise has done other later talks in more recent years, continues to address issues of race and inequality from a white perspective but this for me is my favourite, most powerful speech of his I’ve listened to. Maybe as it affected me so much.

And yes… I know he is a non-Muslim, and will occasionally say things as a Muslims we will not agree with but on the subject of racial inequalities, white privilege and the massive problems built up into modern day societies around  these issues he speaks the truth and we should respect that.

Are White Muslims Racist?

basmillah

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, 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. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
Quran translation, Surah an-Nisa, 4:135

hamza-yusufAssalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

I know most of you reading this have listened to or at least heard of the recent terrible comments by Hamza Yusuf on the subject of race at the 2016 RIS conference and maybe you are shocked someone you’ve maybe loved or followed for years could speak these words, perpetrate these racially charged and yes racist myths.

Here is the clip in question for those who have missed it, yes it is that bad. Yes he really does say “It actually makes me a little sick to my stomach to see all these people rising up about… white privilege.” 

I am not so shocked myself though. I ‘grew up’ in terms of the deen as a new Muslim listening to many Hamza Yusuf talks, but over the years I’ve gone off him as my own views came closer to the authentic scholars of ahlus sunnah and drifted away from the traditionalist-ish approach he brings up, as well as when my views on world affairs clashed more and with his pro-western speeches.

You may differ, that’s fine but that is just me and my views of him and I don’t think this particular speech is way out there really, that he was only tired after a long flight as some have tried to suggest, it fits into the same themes he’s been pushing for the past 10 years at least.

Now I’ve been wanting to write an article about the racism of many white revert Muslims for a while now, so rather than devoting a whole article to trashing someone who has already been thoroughly rebuked by so many powerful voices in the Muslim community over the years as well as more recently I want instead to use this incident to ask another more general question about are his views somewhat typical of white Muslim attitudes…

ARE WHITE MUSLIMS RACIST?

Now those who know me personally or have just read my blog over the time it has been up will know I normally complain of discrimination towards reverts (or converts if you like) but in this particular case I want to ask the question are Hamza Yusuf’s comments more indicative of a wider problem among white reverts towards other Muslims, especially black Muslims but also other nationalities, races and cultures?

I would argue they are and as a white revert, involved in new Muslim support activities and Dawah one of my responsibilities to check that racism so it cannot just be dismissed as another bitter rant by an angry person of colour.

WHITE PRIVILEGE

Due to the inherent racism and still colonized minds of so many in the Muslim community, my voice as a white Muslims is heard whilst so many others who are perhaps far more qualified to speak on this topic are ignored and I would be ignoring my own duty as a Muslim if I did not speak out when I am given the opportunity.

You (true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma‘roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah.
Quran translation Surah Al ‘Imraan 3:110

This is one of the things I did take from a Hamza Yusuf talk years ago, when he was asked in a Q&A session about the way new Muslims are treated especially well by some parts of the Muslim community, and how it was a responsibility in such circumstances to speak out for the truth and treat that position as an amanah, a trust.

Saying that, it struck me back then and even more so now that that privileged position only really applies to white reverts, the experience of black reverts and other non-white reverts I’ve come to understand is somewhat different.

When some Arab or Asian Muslims is telling a new Muslim he or she is better than them as they’ve reverted, so are ‘like the sahabah’ this is usually addressed to white faces not brown or black ones.

I’ve never met a white revert who has not had this experience probably more than once in one form or another, and I’ve never met a black Muslim who has been treated in this manner… unless you count constantly being compared to and even called Bilal because Bilal is the only black Sahabah or Prophet they know about.

The treatment of white and black (and other ethnic minority) reverts is not the same in our community, that is a fact. If as a white, Arab or Asian Muslim reading this you are suffering from some sort of cognitive dissonance at this point and you are not willing to accept that self-evident and obvious truth then stop reading now because everything else from here on in is going to get even more uncomfortable for you.

I am not saying white reverts don’t suffer some discrimination, they do and dealing with it and the aftermath all the time is part of my job but it’s no-where near on the same levels as other ethnic groups are getting and I’ve known black brothers and sisters leave Islam over this crappy totally anti-Islamic treatment.

It’s not a small thing and nor should we brush it under the carpet because ‘it put people off accepting Islam’ if they are only going to leave later anyway once they experience the reality.

White reverts are treated sometimes as status symbols by the Muslim community, so when a Masjid wants pictures of reverts to put on a fundraising brochure to go to the gulf, who gets called upon to help out?

Who gets the invites (few as they are for reverts) for iftar and Eid with Muslim families or for sitting with visiting scholars from the Muslim lands? Who gets pushed forward as a speaker or even for training to become a scholar and then gets easily accepted as such?

Who then being advantaged in these small but meaningful ways, being known by the community then gets pushed forward for marriage when that time comes and someone has expressed an interest in their son or daughter marrying a revert?

Though white reverts do suffer some discrimination, we should recognize it’s mixed up with a large dollop of privilege as well so it is a duty for us to use that privilege to break down the barriers for those left to one side, to speak out for those who are often silenced or ignored in the masjid and wider Muslim community.

So there is racism towards most reverts, falling least of all upon the whites, but as a section of the Muslim community are we guilty of this most heinous of modern sins? Are many white reverts themselves racist?

roast-beef-dinnerROAST BEEF DINNERS

Get two or more white reverts together in the UK and most likely one will bring up their dislike of curry, or some other ethnic cuisine, or dislike of certain types of clothing and they’ll then have a good moan about how they wanted to become Muslim, not an Arab, Pakistani or a Malay, etc and why cannot they just wear normal English clothing, the worst of them will then explain their need / want to free-mix, listen to music, do Christmas and birthdays etc with their families.

I remember one meeting we had over 10 years ago for the New Muslim Project in Sheffield, where a Masjid was providing us venue and free food for new Muslims and their families and all some of the reverts could do was moan all the way through the meeting about how I bet it’s curry again, why can’t we have have a nice roast beef dinner instead and why do we always get expected to eat Asian / Arab food?

The level of ungratefulness was something ugly to behold, and I am not just saying that because I like curries, I also like roast beef dinners as well but if someone is putting on free food and help for you then don’t whinge and whine about what gets cooked.

There is so often a sense of cultural superiority about a lot of these conversations and meetings and it’s not just white reverts who the only ones guilty of this either.

dont-tell-me-what-they-say-about-meBigoted Asians will often share in their conversations with white reverts some of their own twisted views towards black people, and Arabs the same towards the Asians and blacks in the Muslim community. They attempt to draw you into their conspiratorial little world views as if you will come onto their side or you must already be there purely because of your skin tone, as if these others are ‘not quite the same as us,’ not really Muslim enough, almost other, a lesser being.

They must be used to having such talks with and around white Muslims they meet and know and not being challenged over it, because when it is challenged they are shocked and outraged to be called up over it or else try to claim they meant something else.

So readers, especially reverts but also others please start responding and challenging such attitudes and behaviors or be prepared to face the consequences of potentially sharing in those sins on the day of judgement.

On the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree (radiallahu anhu) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.”
Sahih Muslim

BIGOTRY IN MARRIAGE

I know a lot of black reverts get annoyed that it is only when it comes to marriage that bigotry is brought up in the Muslim community but it’s a topic I did want to bring up as an example, showing the racism of many white reverts and how far we have yet to come as it is an experience they know themselves.

I know as best as I can that it’s not the once in a lifetime issue of marriage which is the main problem, it’s the one hundred and one other little acts of racism and prejudice which cause more day to day problems for black Muslims in our community, the number of times the salam is neither initiated or responded to, the way people stick to their own or those they see like them or like who they would like to be, the way white culture is looked up-to and emulated by the culturally colonized Asians and Arabs especially those brought up in the west but black brothers very quickly get told they need to leave their culture at the door or else told they have jahiliyyah and a chip on the shoulder.

But you ask any white revert just about, and all of them will tell you they’ve struggled to get married, had rejections based on race, culture etc, but ask these same people whether their own children could marry a black revert… and all of a sudden all the racist stereotypes come out.

It’s not just the revert themselves either, sometimes their born Muslim spouse will have bigoted attitudes as well. Saying such a partner is unsuitable for their offspring, they are too strong a character, too lustful,  they are lazy, or have a chip on the shoulder, or else won’t be accepted in our community as if these reverts now they’ve made it and been accepted find it then acceptable to turn their back on others who are still to some degree held on the periphery of the Muslim community.

IT’S TIME TO END THIS

We know that racism whether in subtle or overt forms can be stopped, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Salam) did so, and provided the Prophet model on how it can be done but it requires action and speech from everyone to do so as a community and as individuals.

We need to really challenge the racist trash when you hear it and not let it go, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES FROM OUR MUSLIM BROTHERS AND SISTERS. We need to reach out in brotherhood, genuine brotherhood to those around us, and pull together as a community and that means listening and acting upon the concerns of others.

It also means slapping people down occasionally when they say something incredibly silly and / or racist. Stop making excuses just because fulan fulan is an imam, or your neighbour or your uncle, just stop it.

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, 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. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
Quran translation, Surah an-Nisa, 4:135

We need to listen to those voices who are telling us that things are not OK, just because it’s sometimes mostly alright for the white reverts like Hamza Yusuf or myself, that doesn’t mean everyone else is sharing the same experience or that we need to belittle their complaints as it doesn’t seem to fit in how we see ourselves and our lives.

Stop making excuses for racism, whether it is within or without the Muslim community. Just stop it, there is no justification. When you hear that Munkar stand firm against it.

We need to encourage the imams to speak up, to challenge this sort of thing just as they do so when the dhulm, oppression affects them or their own people whether here or around the world. Especially those of us who are listened to because of privileged position, use that privilege to put a stop to the conditions that brought it about in the first place if you know it is not really justified.

We say we are one Ummah, one nation but if one section of the Muslim community is being affected massively by a serious problem, but we don’t see it as our problem because it doesn’t hurt us then we’re not really a community are we?

An-Nu’man ibn Basheer reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.”
Sahih al-Bukhari 5665, Sahih Muslim 2586

Even if we don’t have these attitudes ourselves, if we the white Muslims turn our backs on others, their problems and experiences because they do not share our own background are we not then guilty of helping perpetrate a racist system?

 

 

 

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.

A REVERT EXPOSES BRITISH POLICE HARASSMENT THAT SOME NEW MUSLIMS FACE

“It’s always a good day when I don’t see Police, I really like those days when I don’t see a single police officer.”

Shaun O’Sullivan, revert to Islam

A revert brother (ok he does happen to be ginger) exposes some of the harassment that the Police can give to people when they become Muslim in the UK.

He gives excellent advice on how to deal with the Police in relation to your rights and how to stand up to Police tactics of bullying and oppression.

DATE-RAPE, WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT ‘WHITE BRITISH CULTURE?’

first date rape rise

“There’s been an increase in rape of young women in Britain on first dates.

Using white supremacist logic, we should take this as indication of something wrong with all white people and their culture right? Oh wait, that’s a stupid bigoted way of thinking – but this is how Muslims are treated constantly.”

~ Raza Nadim

 

INDEPENDENT – I’M A MIDDLE-AGED, WHITE SCOTTISH MAN WHO CONVERTED TO ISLAM WITHOUT EVER MEETING A MUSLIM. THIS IS HOW

“It’s important to remember the distinction between written Islamic teachings and culture in the real world. After 18 months, I went to my first mosque and met other Muslims properly for the first time.”

By Alan Rooney, writing in the Indpendent Newspaper

How does a middle-aged, white Scottish man living in the Scottish Highlands end up becoming a Muslim – especially when he hasn’t properly met a Muslim in his life?

For me, it all started when I heard the call to prayer from a local mosque while on a beach holiday in Turkey. It woke something up inside me, and inspired me to begin a spiritual quest.

Back home in Inverness, I went to the local bookshop, bought a Qur’an and started to read. While reading, I always asked God to guide me on the journey I had set out on.

A lot of praying. A lot of time on my knees.

The Qur’an really shook me. It’s quite a scary book to read because it tells you so much about yourself. Some things that I found out about myself I didn’t like. So I decided to make some changes.

I knew that I could stop reading the Qur’an and halt the process at any time, but I also knew that would mean giving up something really important.

And I knew what the end result of this process would be: I would be a Muslim.

So I kept on reading. I read it three times, looking for the catch. But there was no catch; I was quite comfortable with everything.

The difficult part in all of this was wondering who I would become. Would I become strange, dress differently, speak differently in the eyes of others?

What would my family, friends and workmates think of me?

Most importantly, what would I think about myself? Would I like who I became?

I would spent time conducting searches online, looking for the stories of people who had gone through this experience themselves. Nothing ever seemed to quite fit the bill – each person’s journey, of course, is unique. It is good to know, however, that others have gone down this same path as you. Put simply, I turned to these resources when I became afraid I’d be seen as an oddball.

Online resources are great to find out how to pray in Arabic, to listen to the Qur’an read out loud or perhaps to listen to some Islamic music. For me, music was a great way of picking up some of the phrases I wanted to start to use.

Key in all of this, though, is that I questioned absolutely everything – as is absolutely necessary in a religious conversion. You question yourself. You question what you hear, and what you read.

If something doesn’t feel right to you, then it’s a clear indication that it’s not for you. You have to listen carefully to your intuition and your heart.

Working through this process took me about 18 months. Some people take less time, some people more. And I was doing all this on my own, with no-one to help. I still hadn’t met any Muslims.

After those 18 months, however, I considered myself a Muslim. I was praying five times a day, fasting for Ramadan, and eating and drinking only what was considered acceptable according to the teachings of the Qu’ran.

It was only then I found out that there was actually a small mosque in my town. I popped along, knocked on the door and introduced myself.

They were surprised to see me and didn’t know quite what to do with me at first, except to give me the mosque door combination and to welcome me to their community. I was accepted from the very beginning, however, and am now a constant within the community.

I still had things to learn, of course.

What is Islam – and how do you divorce that religion from somebody’s culture? It’s important to point out that it’s Islam you have to accept, rather than any cultural specificities from out in the world. You always retain the freedom to define your own identity, so long as you stay true to the written tenets of the Qu’ran.

So I am now a white, middle-aged Scottish Muslim. And happy with it.