Philly Muslims caught up in Black Friday brawl. See video here. That’s that daawaah akhee. You know straight from a Dawud Adib lecture that Sunnah beard lookin good. Praise be to Allah for those government checks and Black Friday. FYI akhi, go visit Brother Naazim- your boxing skills are deficient. Merry Christmas. #LifeontheMinhaj
The Muslim Town Hall event at Masjid al- Jamia in Philadelphia attracted a lot of attention and a big crowd masha’Allah. The religious outreach coordinator for the Democratic National Committee was on hand, along with representatives of the campaigns of Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton with Clinton campaign chair Terry McAuliffe calling in.
A number of imams from throughout Philly were on hand and the event was broadcast live on 900 AM WURD by the Threshold Media Group and host Nafis Bouie. After the event we were entertained by Muslim comedian Preacher Moss. Also interested in the event was a character we could have done without and that is an investigator from an Islamophobic group who follows Muslim events nationwide. Alhamdudilah, I showed him the door before the event began and snapped a picture of him for the benefit of the community.
This is a new step in the political enfranchisement of American-Muslims as led by MAS Freedom, Imam Mahdi Bray the Muslim League of Voters of Philly and others. Yesterday this event was at a masjid; but in the years to come these events will be held in sports arenas as our community becomes more politically savvy. The eyes of the nation will be on Pennsylvania on Tuesday and North Carolina afterwards. In both states, MAS Freedom is organizing the Muslim vote. So, I encourage all Muslims to make your voices heard.
Allah is the best of planners and I went to a brother’s house to watch the Hopkins-Calzaghe fight after the event ( I know, I know Brits) and the brother gave me a mini-tour of Philly, which I greatly appreciated, before dropping me off at the Amtrak station. Unfortunately for me, the ticket counter was closed and all I had was cash and was told by a cop that I could not buy a ticket, so I jumped into a cab and headed to the Greyhound bus station.
Over the last several weeks I have had to go to Philly a number of times. As I have written a number of times before, Philly is a city that I love and have a lot of personal history with.
Last week while in Philly I had a chance to visit the MAS Youth Center. This is an excellent addition to the already vibrant Muslim community of the area. The center will go a long way to address some of the problems our youth are facing. It deserves the support from those of us who are interested in preserving Islam for the future generations in this country.
Muslims have a strong presence in Philly. As I’ve mentioned before, the “Muslim look” is both common and well-known here. No one mistakes the brother with a big beard and his pants above his ankles for a vagrant or a brother with ill-fitting clothing. People know what they are looking at. This is refreshing given the fact that we have many Muslims who themselves shy away from a “Muslim look” (albeit there is no agreement on what this look is). The clothing and beard are symbolic of the fact that Muslims are comfortable in their skin in Philly whether they be on the bus, working on the assembly line, or grabbing a bite at Halal Bilals.
With the advancements of Muslims in Philly there have been setbacks. Philly is a tough city with a tough culture. It is not a city of metrosexuals and girlish men (outside of a few pockets of yuppies mostly not from Philly); but rather it is a city of hard-working men who are often in your face. It is the city of Joe Frazier, Bernard Hopkins, and many other prizefighters in history, and home to sports fans who regularly boo their own teams. The city is diverse, vibrant, and home to some of the best architecture, parks and cultural institutions in America. But at the same time, it is home to some of the most depressed ghettos and mean streets in the world.
The enormous African-American Muslim population of the city is now in it’s third-generation. Its roots are in the mean streets of Philly, even while a large percentage of that community is no longer in poverty or in the ghettos. As the community has its roots in those areas mostly of North and West Philly. The problems that affect those communities affect the Muslim community. There is high crime in these areas thus we have a lot of Muslim criminals. The family has been destroyed and out of wedlock birth the norm thus we have Muslims marrying 20 and 30 times. Violence is a common language on the streets, thus disagreements between Muslims often are resolved in a language that all parties in Philly understand. This is the community as it as, as it exists. It is not the upper-class Muslim community that some writers have recently created out of their imagination while looking down their noses at the masses of Muslims. They lack any real cultural connection to the community, which cannot be purchased in credits from say, Howard University.
Walking the streets of Philly, even Germantown, where I am supposed to be hated, I get nothing but love from the Muslims. Muslims in Philly are quick with the greeting and don’t look around and see who is listening before they return yours. The good by far outweighs the bad. Yet, having said that, the bad is out there and it should not be ignored.