Reclaiming a Legacy

Imam Johari Abdul-Malik remarked to a friend and myself that a beautiful thing about MANA is that it brought together all of the historical factions of the African-American Muslim community; under one roof there were Mainline Sunni Muslims, Salafis (even if there numbers were few), Sufis, descendants of the Dar al Islam Movement (both those followers of Imam Jamil al-Amim and the Muslims of America), people who began their journey into Sunni Islam in the Islamic Party, and you also had the two major historical factions in African-American Islam represented;  Imam Warith-deen Muhammad, the son of Elijah Muhammad and successor to his leadership and catalyst of the largest mass conversion to Sunni Islam in the history of the West as stated by Dr. Sherman Jackson, and Minister Akbar Muhammad who is the International Representative for Minister Louis Farrakhan. That spirit of continuity was brought to the forefront in a session that featured lectures by Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Imam Warith-deen Muhammad, Imam Talib Abdul-Rasheed, and Ishan Bagby.

Imam Siraj Wahhaj is a pioneer of Islam in the African-American community, and the at-large Muslim community, and this has led some Muslims to give him the title of the “Amir of Dawah in the West”.  As Imam of Masjid at-Taqwa in Brooklyn, a masjid that started with a handful of people and now is a large and vibrant masjid, Imam Siraj has become an intentionally known figure in the Muslim community.

When I lived in New York, I would take the subway sometimes for a hour or two depending on where I was just to hear him speak at jumma and wherever I am I keep some of his lectures on CD for inspiration and encouragement. The journey that began in the late 1970’s for Imam Siraj has grown to the point today where he is considered as one of the most, if not the most influential leaders in the American Muslim community and an inspiration to many.

During my period in the Salafi movement Imam Siraj was often denigrated and talked bad about because he was perceived as someone who lacked knowledge and had not received formal Islamic training. However, I never fell for that negative way of thinking, because I knew then and know now that being a leader as a Muslim is about more than just the memorization of some knowledge and having the ability to regurgitate it, being a leader is also about leading by example and knowing what message is right for your people after feeling their needs and then calling them to the truth in their own language. By that measurement of leadership Imam Siraj was and is a leader in every sense of the word.

Imam Siraj announced that it was his pleasure to introduce Imam Warith-Deen Muhammad, his original teacher and the leader of the movement that he originally came out of, and to give him an award on behalf of MANA and he told the story of him asking Imam Muhammad for permission to leave the movement and go into his own direction in the late 1970’s and getting the blessing he asked for.

Imam Warith-Deen Muhammad, now old and frail, came to the microphone is a spirit of brotherhood with all of those in attendance. Imam Muhammad, like Imam Siraj, has often come under heavy criticism in the past . Those critical of Imam Muhammad often cite a lack of classical knowledge,  his liberal views on many issues, and that to many people, he has failed to fully bring his community into the mainstream of the global Muslim community.

In the past at times I have often been critical of Imam Muhammad as well, but I think I fell into a trap and a way of thinking designed by those who do not have an understanding, of history, culture, and socio-political issues; because if we would have had this correct understanding then we would have been able to see that Imam Muhammad holds a place in the history of Muslims in America that is second to none in terms of his promotion of the deen and moving the community from the fringe to a factor. Many of those critical would not have known have known Islam without the benefit of his experience and it was Imam Muhammad who, long before anyone else, was pushing for Muslim acceptance into the American mainstream.

Many may see MANA as an organization set up as a rival to the work of Imam Muhammad, but I see it as just a product of the natural growth and the maturity in the African-American Muslim community, and Imam Muhammad told the crowd that he was proud to see the growth of Imam Siraj and that he “supported the work of MANA 100%”.

Imam Talib Abdul-Rasheed of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem expanded on this point. In a powerful speech Imam Talib explained that the example of Imam Muhammad was historical not only in American history but in the history of the Muslim ummah and that the loudest critics of Imam Muhammad lack the understanding of history and many are those internal “shaiateen” within the community who recite Quran in a beautiful and dress the part of the Muslim but have the actions of devils.

The point that Imam Muhammad had made before was expanded on by Imam Talib that African-American Muslims are a part of a historical mission to reconnect African-Americans to their Muslim roots. Many of the slaves who came to America came from Muslim backgrounds, some figures say that maybe even most slaves were Muslims, and then were forcibly converted to Christianity as a part of slave-indoctrination (a good example of this can be seen in the documentary Prince Among Slaves) , and both imams pointed to the historic nature of the existence of the African-American Muslim community.

Imam Talib phrased it as “African-Americans have been brought up as a part of a prophetic mission here in America.”  The Imam from Harlem went on to get a little closer to home for me as he began talking about non African-American Muslims and eventually came around to white Muslims.

The Imam stated that ” white Muslims don’t need to make dawah to us in our communities…they need to go and make dawah in their own communities and tell us how to do things… in order to fight white supremacy…they are in a unique position to do that.”

In saying this, he echoed the words of Malcolm X who said more than forty years ago that whites were not needed to be activists in the black community; but were needed to go and reform their own communities.

By and large I think this is true and most white Muslims would be better off following such advice (but few active white Muslims do share this understanding), but as a white Muslim, and in light of the rapidly changing racial landscape of America, I would like to further analyze this.

The reason that most white Muslims do not follow such advice is because most white Muslims who are serious about the deen become estranged from their own communities after becoming Muslims and are seen as something strange. Unlike African-American Muslims, they do not have a lot of people similar to them in the community, and they often gravitate to certain segments of the community. In my case I took shahadah around mostly (but not all) African-American brothers and those are the Muslims I have always been the closest to and havebeen able to identity with the most.

As Professor Tim Wise of Vanderbilt, an expert on race in America says, “whiteness is based on what you are not and not on what you are”. Today, if you are white in America, you no longer fit into the social fabric of white America because one thing you cannot be and be white in my mind is Muslim. Now, this does not mean that I, as an example, am no longer an American, I certainly am, or I am no longer of Irish lineage, that is scientific and irreversible.

There is also the issue that most white people coming to Islam are from the “guilty white liberal crowd”. That is not my crowd, and I despise the patronizing and phoniness of guilty white liberals, but the Muslim community is full of them. These Muslims take shahadah and immediately begin a full imitation of some group, Arabs, Pakistanis, African-Americans, etc, and are subservient and un-critical of these cultures while being fiercely critical of any white culture. Because these white Muslims appear as foolish to their fellow whites because they may be doing things such as speaking in a Pakistani accent when they grew-up in Cleveland or dressing like an Arab sheikh when they are from Philly, they tend to be looked at as eccentric by their fellow whites (and some want to be looked at that way). I think that some of these Muslims, but not all, embrace Islam to stop being white and think of Islam as some kind of revolutionary Black Panther Movement (which, alhamdudilah, it is not).

I think a new generation is coming along of whites who are more balanced, and I think that even more effective than white Muslims these days are second-generation Muslims who grew-up in white schools and in many cases are more comfortable with white Americans than they are with Desis or Arabs and that is also a part of the new race reality in America; many people did not grow up around their own race and more be more comfortable with others for that reason (and I am one of those people).

This is a challenge for white Muslims in the future, and it is something that I think we will improve on as many are already working to improve this in their own lives, myself included, but I don’t think anything will happen until white Muslims become more secure in who they are .

Dr. Ishan Bagby, who may be more responsible than anyone else for the creation of MANA, followed up tracing the historical timeline of the African-American Muslim community and used his journey from the Dar al Islam movement to where he his today.

Brother Ishan called on the people to do use this convention to build an agenda for change, the kind of change that many of the Muslims there intended to make in American society, when they accepted Islam in the first place, before their Islamic mission was offset by the dominance of imported Islamic understandings.

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42 thoughts on “Reclaiming a Legacy

  1. The imam stated that “white Muslims don’t need to make dawah to us in our communities…”

    Granted, but I doubt they ever did.
    How many white muslims are there, and how many come and try to dictate to the AA community what it needs. Not many, and to mention “whites” is really just a straw man argument to rile up old sensibilities of race or continue acceptable rhetoric amongst those unwilling to look deeper. If he wanted to be “real” on this issue, he could have mentioned immigrants, but with the need of MANA for immigrant support due to political clout, I doubt this would be touched on.

    ...they need to go and make dawah in their own communities and tell us how to do things…in order to fight white supremacy

    Ok, yet that is not calling to Islam, that is fighting white supremacy. Most whites are not going to listen to you if all you are telling them is that they are evil and have nothing to offer humanity. This, in addition to be distasteful and counterproductive, is indifferent to the methodology of the Prophet who, when calling people to Islam, would stress their good qualities openly and show disdain for their bad qualities ambiguously.

    All people need to learn of God’s oneness, when they do that all supremacies (white or black) wither away in lieu of God’s greatness. Yes some will hold on to their prejudices and racism, but at least they will be Muslims.

    …they need to go and make dawah in their own communities…

    First time this is done you will see White Muslims accused of racism and bigotry, yet this (forging alliances based on ethnicity) is acceptable for everyone else.
    In this way a sizable portion of Americans will continue to be marginalized and not hear of the truth of Islam.

  2. Umar Lee says:

    “Minister Akbar Muhammad who is the International Representative for Minister Louis Farrakhan”

    Why do you show happiness, and glee, and support for this evil kaafir, and their evil kaafir movement, who lead many people astray with their evil ideology? Are you not going to say how the so-called Nation of “islam” are really “Nation of kufr” and and the “Nation of shirk?” Are you scared to tell them the truth?

    Oh I see…. you say how dumb, and ignorant the whites are for being liberal, even when they revert to Islam (!!!), and the fact that you like to so-called “keep it real” and don’t like political correctness, but i guess when it comes to black mushrikeen kuffar who call themselves Muslim, and show dishoner to Allah (swt) and his rasool (saw) you don’t say jack, and are scared to keep it real.

  3. “WhiteMuslim:
    November 9th, 2007 at 5:45 am
    The imam stated that “white Muslims don’t need to make dawah to us in our communities…”

    Granted, but I doubt they ever did.
    How many white muslims are there, and how many come and try to dictate to the AA community what it needs. Not many, and to mention “whites” is really just a straw man argument to rile up old sensibilities of race or continue acceptable rhetoric amongst those unwilling to look deeper. If he wanted to be “real” on this issue, he could have mentioned immigrants, but with the need of MANA for immigrant support due to political clout, I doubt this would be touched on.

    …they need to go and make dawah in their own communities and tell us how to do things…in order to fight white supremacy

    Ok, yet that is not calling to Islam, that is fighting white supremacy. Most whites are not going to listen to you if all you are telling them is that they are evil and have nothing to offer humanity. This, in addition to be distasteful and counterproductive, is indifferent to the methodology of the Prophet who, when calling people to Islam, would stress their good qualities openly and show disdain for their bad qualities ambiguously.

    All people need to learn of God’s oneness, when they do that all supremacies (white or black) wither away in lieu of God’s greatness. Yes some will hold on to their prejudices and racism, but at least they will be Muslims.

    …they need to go and make dawah in their own communities…”

    First time this is done you will see White Muslims accused of racism and bigotry, yet this (forging alliances based on ethnicity) is acceptable for everyone else.
    In this way a sizable portion of Americans will continue to be marginalized and not hear of the truth of Islam.

    MashAllah, white Muslim (I’m not sure if you are a sister or brother) really is truly spot on with his analysis. He very intelligently, and articulately breaks down the absurdity, and ignorant, not to mention, un-Islamic ways that apparently “some” brothers in the AA community (I’m sure a minority) view things, and how brother Umar apparently seems to be “down” with this mode of thinking.

    Just curious, does this Imam Talib of Harlem that Umar quotes, also say that he as an AA Muslim should give dawah to, and correct the deviant, racist, un-Islamic beliefs to the kaafir mushrik “Nation of Kufr and Shirk” who call themselves “Muslims?”

    As salaamu alaikum

  4. See that’s what I was talking about in my last comment about ‘American Islam’! That right there! It includes Black disbelievers as Muslims and not as (at best) non-Muslim allies. The NOI doesn’t even deserve to be called the Nation of Islam, much less pray with us! It’s a different religion period. They may mean well, but they’re kuffar and we have to admit that! You two are right but that’s part of why I just realized 5 minutes ago that ‘American Islam’ isn’t going to work, even if everywhere else is just as bad like some say. It just isn’t. It’s gonna be diluted and watered-down and mixed with other stuff like Black nationalism. (BTW, Black Nationalism came from Muslims from Africa, so if anything it needs to be re-absorbed back into Islam, not dilute Islam. Just a little side note for context.) Our kids or our grandkids are going to leave Islam whether or not they mean to. There’s not getting out of that.

    White Muslim, you say “First time this is done you will see White Muslims accused of racism and bigotry, yet this (forging alliances based on ethnicity) is acceptable for everyone else.” In terms of being able to relate, it may just be easier for whites to give dawah to their own so it may turn out that way, but you are right in that it is by no means exclusive or obligatory. Where ethnic alliances for other races are concerned, though, that is actually in some contexts but not all. Calling a black kaffir a Muslim is a problem, it’s actually a statement of kufr from what I learned two days ago. But to merely have a common defense agreement with some may be needed, and I don’t of it being forbidden. I’m not trying to say Muslims should rely on non-Muslims for protection, because I heard that we can’t go that far and there was some good evidence quoted for it.
    Guys, it hit me like thunder and lightning just trying to think of a solution to one problem; American Islam is a joke just like all the others. So I’m gonna do some research, Insha-llah, and atleast see what countries aren’t oppressing Muslims since this one and so are the ‘muslim countries’. Salam aleikum, brothers and sisters.

  5. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    My own experience is that there is a particular set of white, middle-class Muslims who think they are Sufis who certainly don’t try to ape any imported Muslim culture; they think themselves superior to the immigrant Muslims and have contempt for those cultures (with the exception of Moroccan food!) and find fault with Muslims who follow the aspects of the Sunnah and Shari’ah that they can’t be bothered with (like the one who told me to swap my knife and fork around so I would be putting my food into my mouth with my left hand, as they do and as is the English custom). They are not all Murabitun although many of them are or were and I blame them for cultivating this attitude. I once spoke to one of these people about the possibility of studying in an Indian-run Darul-Uloom in England and he told me that these were attempts to recreate their own back-home environment and that I should avoid them. I don’t recognise the picture of all these guilt-ridden white liberals adopting an Arab or Pakistani culture; many white middle-class converts live in white middle-class neighbourhoods or certain small towns in the Chiltern hills (outside London) and dress just like others in those places.

  6. I don’t think we should be so quick to condemn Brother Umar for not mentioning how horrible the kufr Nation of Islam is at every opportunity. Obviously many of their beliefs are not in line with pure tawheed and racism goes against pure deen (and the dictates of any religion), but I respect Umar for his consideration of people as human beings first before judging based on sect-labels, and recognizing the good the NOI are trying to do and the progress they are trying to make. This doesn’t indicate that Umar turns a blind eye to the unacceptable doctrines of the NOI. It just means he sees them as fully human and won’t reject them out of hand.

    Not being a Muslim myself, and being against the view of kuffar as inhuman and unworthy of caring or respect from Muslims, I have always appreciated the time Umar takes to consider others as human beings first, and try to come to an informed understanding, especially regarding his refusal to hate Israel or all Zionists.

    Obviously there are those who are even more controversial than the NOI whom even Umar probably would not be so even-handed with (such as the Ahmadiyya, the Ismailis or the Baha’is, all of whom I am very sympathetic to.) But he deserves to be respected for not reducing things to the lowest common denominator and hating those he is told to hate.

  7. Al X said

    Where ethnic alliances for other races are concerned, though, that is actually in some contexts but not all.

    You missed the point.
    If white Muslims were to form a “White Muslim Alliance” they would be branded racists, bigots, in cahoots with the KKK, David Duke, Arian Nation, etc etc.

    I.e. all other groups of Muslims are allowed to congregate and affiliate according to solely their ethnicity, except for the grafted devil of the caucus, while strategic alliances are forged with the NOI, etc.

    We can have conferences on the “state of blackamericans”, latino days at mosques, Pakistan national day speeches at mosques and conferences, Palestinian everything BUT if you are white and do similar you are accused of racism and bolstering the current power structure.

    So how is it that white Muslims are supposed to become strong members of any community, fight white supremacy, and spread Islam in America?

    Survey Says: They’re not, they are to assimilate into all other communities or benefit from their whiteness and remain forever accused of working for the “man”.

  8. The Peace,Mercy,and Blessings of G_d be upon you!

    I am very excited about the conversation that Allah has placed between us so called “white” muslims, on Umar’s site, it is a conversation that will link us to our unique role in uniting the concious among humanity. The brief comment I would prefer to make at this time is to help lead us out of the psychological and social maze of, as Imam Mohammed states “a toxic word environment” pertaining to our identity. Imam Mohammed commented recently that we need to immedietly make moves to drop and educate the dropping of the term black and white which are manipulated spiritual terms that have been used to divide humanity by those who historicly and presently profit from that division. “black ” has represented those lost in the blackness of ignorance without guidance, light and human maturity who need to be lead and civilized by the “white” mind who by nature are here to carry that burden. There has been so much pain and destruction on both sides of this dichotomy of illusion.Neither side can survive living up to these definitions our human soul wont allow it. We need healing for our minds and human spirits and change in language and definitions is the medicine. Allah in Surahtul Rahman says that he teaches the Qur’an to the human intellect and then created human kind, Imam Mohammed back in the 70’s stated that “man means mind”, to get a new man out of the fabricated white or black mind is a mission of language. For Example even though the AA comunity was not yet ready, he chose to call themselves Bilalians (which there is an incredible documentary out by the same name) to identify with Bilals legecy of a man up from slavery who now has been positioned as one of the best of humanity and empowered to call all to the Most excellent mode of living and development. We need to anylize our journey as people who have experienced our side of the racial coin and use this methodology from the language of the Qur’an and the balanced internal Logic (Uswa) of our Prophet PBUH to help produce this new mind(man) and reclaim our human form which is what this deen is all about , “do not change the creation/form ALLAh has created”, “Die not except in a state of submission balance and Peace”. I am Thankfull for this venue of discussion and pray for every communities success, and as a student of Imam Mohammed encourage eveyone to get to know his mind, thinking, and method more. You can do this by going to a site that has monthly lectures of his posted, http://www.newafricaradio.com. His Language saved my life from wasted time wading in baby religious identities and language and I encourage everyone by the will of Allah the same opportunity to get a taste.
    I have one beef with you Umar, You stated Imam Muhammed was old and frail, I would beg to differ he has a wife younger than most of ours, business projects to dignify his community of a mogul stature, and a travel schedule that puts some music tours to shame. As-salaamu-alaikum.

  9. “I wasn’t very happy to see the NOI’s LARRY at the conference myself”
    Amen to that, brother! I thought it was a Muslim conference myself! Siraj Wahhaj ain’t my friend no mo’ after calling Elijah Muhammad honorable!

  10. What do we upholders of the “Qur’an and Sunnah” address the judge as at court when we get a traffic ticket? “Your Honor”. We must understand how Allah obligates himself to work through People and events to correct and evolve crimes against His human family and story, even if it seemingly goes against our sometimes manmade theological sensetivities and filters. He was simply passed the torch in the line of AA leaders to prepare the minds of the masses of AA to recieve the real truth to save them, the AA slave mind is unprecedented in history.He saved millions of lives from uselessness from that time period and into the future.HOW MUCH MORE HONORABLE OF JOB IS THERE. Towards the end of his life and probably much earlier he new he wasnt teaching Al Islam, He was doing his “Saviors” work (W.D. Fard) to “Break the rusty Locks”, The AA mind and sense of excellent human identity, potential, to think and do for themselves so they could participate at the world table.HE SAID HIS SON THE HONORABLE IMAM W.D. MOHAMMED WOULD TEACH THEM THE TRUE RELIGION, (google the malcolm x research site, and listen to Imam Mohammed in the 1950’s open up for malcolm and for 15-20 minutes break down Al-fatiha and what it means not only for the “blackman”(read my previous post) but for human kind). GROW UP MUSLIMS IN THE METHOD IN WHICH WE ANALYZE ALLAHS EVOLVING HUMAN STORY. Keep the main thing the main thing. IT HAS BEEN SAID THE EARTH WILL BE INHERITED BY THE LEARNERS, FOR THE LEARNED ARE LOST IN KNOWLEDGE THEY WERE TAUGHT TO USE IN A WORLD THAT NO LONGER EXISTS. http://www.newafricaradio.com.

  11. AlX
    Calling a kaffir a Muslim is not itself a statement of kaffir; the reverse is. The Qu’ran says when someone gives you a greeting, you must match and exceed it and are not to say that they are not a believer. Allahu alim.

  12. Salaam ‘Alaikum

    //Because these white Muslims appear as foolish to their fellow whites because they may be doing things such as speaking in a Pakistani accent when they grew-up in Cleveland or dressing like an Arab sheikh when they are from Philly, they tend to be looked at as eccentric by their fellow whites (and some want to be looked at that way).//

    Is it foolish or weird when AA brothers do the same thing? Or are we supposed to care what non-Muslims think of us? Is it any different than a White guy being a punk rocker or a hip hopper? Is it foolish and weird when we women wear jilbab, abaya, or SK, well, that’s okay b/c the Muslim woman is supposed to stand out…?

    //I think that some of these Muslims, but not all, embrace Islam to stop being white and think of Islam as some kind of revolutionary Black Panther Movement (which, alhamdulilah, it is not).//

    I think it is best to leave Allah to sort out their intentions unless they’ve tattooed it on their foreheads. And it’s insulting, unless you are going to cast doubt on the intentions of Latinos, Asians, and Blacks for converting to Islam as well. You may not like White people who had the cojones to grow up wealthy or suburban or who like tofu, but if they’re Muslim, they have a right on you as much as you do on them.

  13. @White Muslim

    What is your opinion on holding such a conference for White American Muslims? Do you think such a conference to address the situation of White Muslims in America would bode well with the White American Muslim community?

  14. Salaam Alaykum Ya Ayuhal Muslimoon.

    I think the issue here is that many brothers lack the understanding of the pure pristine theology of Al Islam. One thing is a deviant sufi who holds certain practices that are alien to Islam. Another is the NOI who call Master Farad Muhammad, Allah (wa nauzubillah min dhalik). Anyone who refers to these people as muslims has serious issues with his understanding of Islam. What’s next the Nations of The Gods and The Earths are also muslim. May Allah Guide the muslims…..Amin

  15. DRM, that must be why they didn’t invite him there.
    White Muslim, it would be a touchy subject for white Muslims to address their issues separately and I don’t have that solution, but I can also say white Muslims may not have to hold conferences, unless they start losing their jobs and getting arrested for their Islam, in which case they’d be like the non-white muslims anyway. Sad to say, but it’s true that when a white person becomes Muslim he or she gives up the ‘white’ identity in a political and cultural context, not a genetic context. In the white community, one can become a Buddhist and it’s cool. If one becomes a Muslim, he’s seen as a traitor.
    Parallel Sidewalk, calling a kafir a Muslim by an honest mistake is not a statement of kufr. Calling a kafir a Muslim intentionally is, though. It negates the verse in the Qur’an that says (paraphrasing) “They disbelieve who say that Allah is one of three.” Some other verses do call the Jews and Christians specifically kufar. So, if they have reevelation but they’re still kufar, then Rastafarians and 5 Percenters and the Nothing of Islam are also kafir organizations. Even if some sincere Muslims are among them until they learn better (not counting the Rastas, they’re not even confused with Islam), they’re kufar organizations and I have to go by what’s obvious. I really agree with DR M on this one, even though the NOI helped a lot of Black people clean up physically, that’s where they stopped being good for Black people or anyone else.

  16. As-Salaamu-Alaikum,

    Muslim Thought, I definetly think their should be conference to allow those in America of European descent who have survived and decided to transcend the “toxic word environment” of the “white” world and prepare to decode their history, and unique contribution to future with The Light of the language of the Qur’an and Uswa (guided. excellent and balanced internal logic) of Beloved Prophet Muhammed PBUH. It would only make sense for every ethnic community to analyze and put guided closure on their journey and story, so we can be baggage free to join together as one humanity and truly be Ummat’ul Wusta ( A justly balanced community) all should be welcome to listen and give comment, but if anyone is turned off by this then they should burn their daipers they have been given ijaaza to wear from their “sheikhs” @ their “madrasas” and put on grown up dress. Check out http://www.newafricaradio.com. 1 Love.

  17. How typical petty and pathetic. Instead of discussing the important issues that were brought up at the conference such as addressing the numerous challanges facing our ummah here in America, we hide from THAT challange, pick a straw man in the person of Akbar Muhammad, while totally ignoring the critical advice that he was trying to share, and engage in petty character asassination. Such cowards.

  18. “So how is it that white Muslims are supposed to become strong members of any community, fight white supremacy, and spread Islam in America?”

    Survey Says: They’re not, they are to assimilate into all other communities or benefit from their whiteness and remain forever accused of working for the “man”

    White Muslim, let’s look at this from another perspective. You as a member of your ethnic community have an understanding of the thought styles and paradigms that shape the thinking and world view of “white america.” As a muslim with an enlightened universal that you now possess as a result of your Islamic philosophy now shaping that outlook you have the opportunity to influence that world view and negotiate for a better behavior. Will you be attacked and be critisized for being “sand nigger lover”-sounds familiar? More than likely in some instances; but you and your fellow caucasian Muslims do have the unique opportunity to speak in the “language” of your people and make an extroidinary contribution. May Allah Bless your efforts and make them sucessful, Amin

  19. @ Muslim Thought

    I doubt that there is need for a conference for white muslims. Do we need support groups for brothers and sisters? Yes.

    A support group is good, because many times social and economic problems are different for many middle/upper class white muslims, and they need someone there to show them how to deal with these problems.

    An example:
    A college student comes home to tell his parents he wants to be Muslim. They say “Muslim? Like Who?”
    he says “Like Malcolm X!”
    reply: “This is preposterous! We arent paying your tuition anymore! get out of our house.”
    Now lets say instead he was told, before hand, to tell his parents he wants to be a muslim like Murad Hoffman, a former diplomat, and instantly islam doesnt seem so bad.

    Thing is, with such a skewed view of racial and political affiliation among the muslims, anything we do, even if a support group, will be suspect.

  20. Assalamu `alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    While I think there may be many positives in such a gathering, the negatives may outweight any positives.

    One negative is that there seem to a very explicit and overt attempt to waterdown Islam. The “let all get along” concept seems to dominate such conventions as these. I guess reaction that is being ever more present in the US is a direct result of the lack of insight and overemphasis of minhaj from the Salaf duat. It seem that the other end of the spectum is surfacing.

    It seems like Islam in America is becoming evermore Ikhwanized. Hassan Al-Banna (rahimahullah) said, “We agreed upon what we agree upon and excuse each other in what we differ.” This is the dawah that Imam Siraj, ISNA, ICNA, Zaytuna, and Almaghrib are ALL trying to promote.

    The absuridity has reached the level where as we stay quiet and keep our mouths shut even when groups like Farrakhan’s NOI are not even criticized. I guess some will say this is “hikmah.” Definitely, we much always practice hikmah in our dawah, and I am the first to say that. However, hikmah is defined as, “putting things in there proper place.”

    Let us stop this call to “the great good” or “pluralistic Islam” and get back to the good old-fashioned dawah as the Prophets and Messenger did. That is the Salafi dawah and it is still relevant. Even is some brother on one end were too harsh. And if the other end only got further drowned in their Ikhwaniyya.

  21. OK. We all know about the NOI’s beliefs. We have called them kafirs. Now what?

    If the goal is to just find a way for us to feel morally superior, then I guess our mission has been achieved. If, however, the goal is more lofty than that, and the idea is to move from mere fingerpointing towards actually trying to reach out to people who may not have formerly heard the message and build bridges that they might want to cross one of these days, then maybe we still have work to do.

    Hopefully, some of those people from the Nation of Islam will, one of these days, remember that there were Muslims who took the time to move beyond condemnation and reached out a hand to invite them to sit at the table. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we endorse their beliefs, but it probably goes a whole lot further towards encouraging them to sit down and partake of what we have to offer than just calling them kafirs and spewing vitriol until we are blue in the face.

    And just maybe some of them will be encouraged to explore Islam further because they’ve been treated with dignity and respect. I suspect that there aren’t many people who have converted to Islam after having been called a kafir as if it were a racial slur and then told that they are going to burn in hell for eternity. As that old saying goes, you tend to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    Maybe vinegar is all some of us have to offer, though. In which case, you have to wonder why anyone would want to follow our example.

  22. To White Muslim,

    There is an NAAWP, it was founded by David Duke, and there are many organizations set up for the benefit of white people, most notably the US government, the UN and almost every other major institution in the society. What you are saying is similar to what I would hear white racists always say ” why do you need black history month where is white history month?” Well, if you open up the books, every month of every year is white history month and in a similar way all of the organizations in the greater society for the most part are ran and controlled by whites.

    I would not be opposed on a conference for white Muslims, and in the future it may be needed, but we are such a small part of the community at this point in time, however I have written on the topic several times.

    Now, to Akbar Muhammad.

    First, I am not going to make takfir on anyone, and if you want to that is on you. I know the history of the NOI, and of course I reject the kufr in the believes in Fard Muhmmad and the teachings of Elijah, and do not think I was created be Dr. Yaqoob; but I think today it is better to see if we can all come to the table together and if these brothers are striving to come closer to the sunnah then we should be willing to offer a hand.

  23. Umar, you’re such a self-hating white man. You speak the rhetoric of a black nationalist. The US government and the UN do not exist for the benefit of “white people” and only an idiot would say that. They exist to perpetuate the international hegemony of the banking system. “White supremacy” has become a canard of the left, and one with no resemblance to reality.

    No one is proposing a white supremacist Islam (which would be insane), but apparently so-called Sunnis (like Siraj Wahhaj) will tolerate a black supremacist Islam. It is not white Muslims’ job to “fight white supremacy”, especially when those telling us to do seem to be closet black supremacists. Despite what you may delude yourself into believing, white supremacy is not that big of a problem in the world today, and it is certainly not big enough to make fighting it a top-priority .

  24. To everyone trying to claim parity between white and black people in society; sorry, not there. White people, even after we accepted Islam, are going to receive a different role in society than black people (or for that matter, Latinos or Asians). That just goes without saying. Believing otherwise is living in a fantasy world. I am not a self-hating White man, and I get tired of anyone who wants me to feel leftist White guilt pretty quickly; but if I use the space that’s been given to me by virtue of being white to do anything but speak out against White Supremacy (which is absolutely a problem), than I deserve to be reproved for it. I notice the extremists on all sides once again just start throwing around buzzwords; Umar’s a White Supreamcist when he doesn’t approve every crazy Jihadi’s rantings, or crticizes Somali society, but he’s a self-hating Black Supremacist when he points out that society is not racially integrated?

  25. Ok Umar,
    So on one hand we as white muslims are to reject white supremacy and work to fight it in our community (as if this is our sole mission in life) and at the same time we are to go and benefit from the system that supports that supremacy, even though as you have mentioned on many occasion, we will be rejected by those that run that system for our Islam.
    So we can’t become, or aren’t supposed to become, part of the larger islamic community, because…
    … we are white.
    and we can’t create organizations that cater to white muslims, because…
    … that equals white supremacy.
    so the only solution left is…
    … to benefit from the system that (admittedly) favors our race, and then live the rest of our lives being accused by the Muslims (both immigrant and AA) of racism, espionage, and support for white supremacy?

    ….what gives?

    We can’t be part of the larger white community because of Islam, we can be part of the glorious Islamic organization setup for the betterment of mankind, and we can’t organize groups to support white muslims.

    That leaves a growing demographic with a lot of options!

    This sounds like one of two things:
    – a disregard for the humanity of white people, which would seem to agree with the NOI
    – a disregard for the guidance of a significant segment of society

    ….or it could be both.

    This however onlly proves my point, that anytime any other race does something to benefit their people it is seen as “uplifting”. However when whites do this, it is seen as racist.
    This is quite contradictory:
    – it sounds like those liberals you always bad mouth.
    – and it encourages whites to remain members of an oppressive power structure that you also bad mouth.

    …so what gives?
    You can’t have it both ways…

  26. @ Dave,

    ….but if I use the space that’s been given to me by virtue of being white to do anything but speak out against White Supremacy (which is absolutely a problem), than I deserve to be reproved for it.

    Did I just understand that a white person MUST use their position in society to speak out against racism, otherwise that person should be reprimanded?

    Did I understand you correctly?

  27. “Umar’s a White Supreamcist when he doesn’t approve every crazy Jihadi’s rantings, or crticizes Somali society, but he’s a self-hating Black Supremacist when he points out that society is not racially integrated?”

    Dave,

    I don’t know about that, what I do know is that Umar, for reasons known only to him, refused to post my comment on the “Somalia Thread”. Perhaps there’s a little bit of “Animal Farm” going on here.

  28. White Muslim,
    No, I’m saying if white people buy into the advantage for their own gain as opposed to using it to make a more equal society, they deserve approbation for it.

    Saggal,
    I’ve seen Umar post comments that were wildly insulting, slanderous, or even threatening to him. He’s let people who hated him troll here before. Why not ask him directly? It may just be in spam or some such technical error.

    Ummali
    Thanks, s’what I’m here for :-P

  29. Umar Lee is presenting a series of ideas about what it means to be white and muslim, and they are at such odds with each other I don’t know how they stay on the same page.

    First of all,

    one thing you cannot be and be white in my mind is Muslim.

    which he believes to be true across the board.

    Second, about himself,

    African-American brothers … are the Muslims I have always been the closest to and have been able to identity with the most.

    Third, on his favorite punching bag, other white muslims,

    I despise the patronizing and phoniness of guilty white liberals, but the Muslim community is full of them. These Muslims take shahadah and immediately begin a full imitation of some group, Arabs, Pakistanis, African-Americans, etc, and are subservient and un-critical of these cultures while being fiercely critical of any white culture.

    I think that some of these Muslims, but not all, embrace Islam to stop being white and think of Islam as some kind of revolutionary Black Panther Movement (which, alhamdudilah, it is not).

    Several posters have picked up on the inherent contradictions in these three opinions, the biggest one being, what exactly is the difference between Umar Lee gravitating to the black community, and other brothers gravitating to the arab or the pakistani or the black community? I’d sincerely like Umar to answer that, since he is so vicious in his anger at these other brothers. From where I’m standing, there’s no difference at all, except perhaps that Umar had some prior connection to the black community before becoming muslim. If that is the case, these other brothers are simply guilty of being less further along in the process of acculturation or assimilation into a “foreign” milieu. These brothers never really become arab or pakistani any more than Umar becomes black – they simply become more comfortable in, more knowledgable of and more accepted by the community they have adopted. Alhamdulillah. Now, I would suggest that both people, Umar and the arabized or pakified brother, would be of most direct benefit to the society at large if they can use their position in between two ethnic communities to build bridges of understanding, rather than to simply retreat into these communities they have adopted. Middle class white America needs your sympathetic, compassionate dawah, Umar. Tease not the tofu. Look past the lattes.

    The most troublesome part of Umar’s racial construct is the idea that one cannot be white and muslim. If we uncritically accept this idea, then the pain and confusion that Umar and other commenters here feel is unavoidable – you’ve lost your community and so you must find another or be lost alone in the wilderness. But wait – who says you can’t be white and muslim? There are some on the far right who might say you can’t be muslim and American, but who here would agree to that? We are muslim Americans and proud of it, no? If you were born here and you grew up here then you are inalienably American no matter who you vote for or who you pray to. You can’t shake it off if you tried – not that some haven’t tried. Being white isn’t all that much different. It’s about how you look and how you speak. If you have a native accent and white skin, congratulations, you are in-group, and you can’t leave if you wanted to. It’s true that at one time, your religion mattered. Jews and Catholics were non-white. But that is not race today. Not too many people out there really care what god you pray to, and it won’t stop them from serving you well at a restaurant or giving you a job. Cabbies will pick you up. Cops will let you go. Unless! Unless you have decorated yourself with enough flagrantly Islamic symbols that they question you, such as a stereotypical muslim beard – long, untrimmed, with no mustache – or a big loud kufi. Then you might get some strange looks. Even then, as soon as you open your mouth and unaccented English emerges, *poof*, you’re back in. “Oh”, they think, “You’re actually just a white boy with a beard and a funny hat!” What Americans don’t like is foreigners, not eccentric white people. I say this as a white convert who has been wearing a full beard and a kufi every single day for very nearly fifteen years, and quite often with ethnic clothing. I have never once been treated badly by an anonymous white person in public because I’m muslim. Yes, I’ve been stared at; yes, I’ve been asked what my deal is exactly; but never once have I stopped receiving customary white privilege from my fellow white people. O my fellow white muslims! If you think we all automatically stop being white by virtue of practicing Islam, you are gravely mistaken. Your family may disown you, your friends might stop speaking to you, but to the white man on the street, you are still white. Now, you can be ashamed of that, you can be proud of that, you can protest against that, but that is how things are in America in 2007. And the fact is, that is good for dawah, as Abdul Alim and others have pointed out. The fact that the average white person is not automatically suspicious or hostile of you as they may be with a black, pakistani, or arab muslim means you have an extra advantage to introduce them to Islam, the religion of Allah, that is open to and perfect for all people, all races, for all time.

    [Disclaimer: All of the above may not apply to hijabi white women; I’m speaking to men here.]

    [Ya Umar, I’m trying this post again. I commend you for the great discussions you provoke on your site, and I hope I’ve managed to strike a more civil tone this time around.]

  30. Saggal,

    I am with Dave. I do not think Umar would not post something you wrote. Every other type of comment under the sun has been seen here. I doubt you would have written something so disturbing that he would choose to delete yours.

  31. Yusuf Smith is pointing out a distinct difference in White Muslim attitudes in UK.

    I think, Yusuf, the difference here is that Blacks did not pioneer the da’wa here in UK.
    More importantly, Britian’s Imperial past left a more informed yet elitist understanding of the difference between Islam and Muslims and the discrepancies between those two Nouns.

    Britian’s Muslims have been E types and Pickthall was Public School and Hakim Murad (aka Tim Winters) has an air of condescension and reservedness that I’m amazed that he sits as a Ba’lawi or attend a Jam’at without ‘cringing’. I say this as a person who has met and admires the man. But it illustrates perhaps the difference between the ‘White Muslim’ in US and in UK.

  32. This brother Umar confuses me. contradicts himself
    what about the oh so many black american muslims who now aquire strong arabic accents and only wear clothes from saudi arabia, and tell the sisters that they have to dress like the women in saudi as well. its just so ridiculous , it would be more useful to discuss why MANY middle eastern muslims are terribly racist against darker skinned muslims from any culture, especially black africans.

  33. I think its really great that we are engaging each other because complacency is most dangerous next to conlict, the beauty of islam is that it is truely universal if we employ it so, it should provide us with a larger more colourful and beautiful world where we are at home almost every where with every nationality, the white muslims are in an excellent position to bring their resources to islam to enrich this beautiful nation the more, merit in this religion is earned not inherited you can come into it yesterday and grow to become its leading light to be remembered, blessed and celerebrated by the entire muslim nation and go to the highest stage of aljanna so just remember to love islam and your islamic family no mater what colour or where they are from with all your heart. maasalam

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