Muslims, especially Black Muslims, have been doing a lot to teach others about anti-racism, an idea deeply rooted in Islamic principles. If we think about it, racism has been in our ummah all along.
We know it was something the Prophet (pbuh) actively sought to eradicate and it remained a problem at his death, when just before, in his final sermon he said:
“O people, your Lord is One, and your father is one: all of you are from Adam, and Adam was from the ground. The noblest of you in Allah’s sight is the most godfearing: Arab has no merit over non-Arab other than godfearingness. Have I given the message?—O Allah, be my witness. —At this, they said yes.”
Racism, especially anti-Black racism, remains a constant issue for Muslims. With the murders of George Floyd, Ahmed Aubrey, Breonna Taylor and recent vigor in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, many non-Black people are finally taking note of the problem of anti-Blackness and systemic racism. Hopefully they are also hearing the message:
Now is not the time to ask your Black friends to educate you about racism.
Right now, our Black brothers and sisters are suffering terribly. On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic with people already stretched thin, the explosion of racial tensions is painful and exhausting for Black people.
Although some of us are ready to discuss race, to understand the roots and far reaching harms of racism, we should not turn to those who have directly suffered long and hard from the problems of racism.
Asking black people in the United States to discuss race is asking them to relive every moment of pain, fear and outrage they have experienced: the insult of a supervisor who objected to your going to China to report but was very open to sending you to Africa, or the distress of having your child picked up by the police while waiting for the bus because he ‘looked like someone.’
Day after day, year after year, one swallows the taste of bile over seemingly minor incidents that cannot be discussed lest one be regarded as rude. Then suddenly there is a need to talk, to know how one feels and have things explained? No can do.B.L. Wilson, The Washington Post
Black Muslims (and others) have already contributed exceptional talks, articles, workshops, books, art and more addressing, explaining and fighting racism, within Muslim communities and beyond.
Here is a round up of excellent resources teaching, promoting and supporting anti-racism, created by Muslims who have long been on the front-lines fighting racism.
Watch these videos, read these articles, and then continue to work on your on issues around race.
1. Muslim-made Anti-Racism Resources to Read:
There are dozens of books written by Muslim scholars which address issues of racism within and outside the ummah. And you should have a look at them. Here we have included some faster-to-absorb materials to get a solid foundation in anti-racism theory and issues.
Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC)
The leader in anti-racism education and activism among American Muslims, MuslimArc has created many exceptional and free resources.
A great resource for allyship, this toolkit is made for white Muslims seeking to participate in anti-racism work/discussions within Muslim communities and society in general.
A thorough list of English and Arabic terminology related to all things race-related.
Books and articles to really understand the depth of the issue.
50% of stories that happen in the Quran, take place in Africa.”Mustafa Briggs
Black Muslim Forum
Website dedicated to “Promoting Black dignity. Combatting Anti-Black Racism in Muslim Society.” Extensive resources, including the crucial: “Combatting colourism, a Brief Teaching Resource.”
2. Muslim-made Anti-Racism Resources to Watch
Imam Zaid Shakir
Interview With Imam Zaid Shakir: Muslims and The Race Issue | Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi
Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA)
Hamza Abdul Tawwab, Imam Johari Abdulmalik-Seale, AA Ndidi Okakpu, and others demonstrate the Prophet’s (pbuh) reactions to issues, such as systemic racism we are all currently facing. Webinar “Finding a Prophetic Voice in a Time of Crisis”
Imam Khalil Abdur Rasheed
Muslim Matters Podcast: “What’s the Matter with All Lives Matter?” written by Imam Khalil Abdur Rasheed
IlmFeed Podcast / EP 041 – “Black History in Islam, Before Malcolm X, African Prophets” Featuring Academic Mustafa Briggs
14th Annual MAS-ICNA Convention Siraj Wahhaj addresses the attendees, discussing“Black Lives Matter”
University of Leeds
University of Leeds panel discussion on: “Black Lives Matter: Bilal and the Formation of the Early Islamicate”
The Young and Muslim Podcast
The Young and Muslim Podcast Ep.46: “The Baraka Boys feat. Mustafa Briggs & Youssef Kromah”
To be continued ..