Hakeem Muhammad Answers The Detractor Idris Palmer

 

 

In a lecture titled “Black & Noble: A Study of Important Black Figures in Islam” Imam Khalid Griggs gave  very important insights about the relationship of the larger Muslim community about Malcolm X. Imam Khalid Griggs informs the audience that Betty Shabazz told him that she and her family were treated as though they were lepers by large segments of the Muslim community. This is the analogy that Betty Shabazz herself evoked to describe how she experienced by large segments of the Muslim community. Imam Khalid Griggs states:

 

If truth be told, no matter how much we talk about loving Malcolm X, when the time when Malcolm was alive, the majority of Muslims in the country would not go anywhere near him. Even after he left the Nation of Islam, even after he was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom on February 21st, 1965, even in death the Muslims would not go anywhere near, for the most part, Malcolm X…

Why was Malcolm X laying up in a church, why was Malcolm X laying up in a funeral home it was because Muslims would not go anywhere near his body… that’s why this happened. His widow Betty Shabazz told me herself that it was shameful to her and so hurtful to her that when Malcolm X was assassinated that the Muslim community, for the most part, stayed away from her and her family like they were lepers… She said had it not been for white socialist and leftist that she and her family would have starved. This is from her mouth to my ear.”

 

The usage of the “leper analogy” to describe her treatment by the Muslim community should initiate serious concern because people who suffered leprosy disease in biblical, medieval, and even in certain contemporary societies are often shunned, persecuted, and indeed hated. Leprosy in the bible is associated with being subjected to a cursed.

In the article, “Leprosy is not Quite Yet a disease of the Past,” Susan Brink writes that “Leprosy is an ancient disease, a biblical curse, and even in the 21st century, a cultural shame so severe that in some countries, patients are sent to live in isolated colonies or tossed out of their own homes.”

I brought attention to the leper like treatment that Betty Shabazz says she and her husband endured by the Muslim community as part of a larger critique of how certain mentally colonized Immigrant Muslims misappropriate Malcolm X’s legacy whilst abandoning his politics.

A recent example of this is CAIR’s decision to issue a laudatory eulogy of John McCain, a man who supported policies oppressive towards Black people. Yet this very same CAIR also claims to honor Malcolm X. For my work in calling attention to the “leper like” treatment that Betty Shabazz herself says she and her family endured by members of the Muslim community, I have been subjected to a variety of criticism within the Muslim community. One of these critics is an individual named Idris Palmer.

                                                                                                                                            Answering Idris Palmer

 

 

A detractor of mine named Idris Plamer has labeled me a “fasiq” and a “boldface liar.” Idris Palmer attempted to refute me by quoting a New York Times article titled “Harlem Church Where Malcolm X was Eulogized Faces Its Final Day” by David W. Dunlap.

 

 

Who is this David Dunlap that Idris Palmer is promoting to the Muslim community as a reliable source of information about Malcolm X? David W. Dunlap worked for the New York Times as a journalist covering New York architecture and Gay & Lesbian issues. Dunlap’s interest in writing this article was because he covers New York architecture and the church where Malcolm X’s janazah was held was unfortunately torn down.

 

 

The bottom line is that Dunlap is not a historian and Dunlap acquires the historical details from both Alex Haley and Manning Marable’s book titled Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.

There are a variety of  logical problems with Idris Palmer’s attempted refutation of me. First, the Dunlap article only mentions that several churches were called by Betty Shabazz to host the funeral of Malcolm X. The New York Times article quotes Alex Haley as saying that several churches declined to host Malcolm X’s funeral.

Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21st and buried on Feb, 27th. 1965. None of what Idris Palmer has presented has ruled out the possibility that the “leper treatment” Betty Shabazz says she experienced by large segments of the Muslim community was a contributing factor in Malcolm X’s body lying in a funeral home and then later a Church.

Even more troubling is that this New York Times article promoted by Idris Palmer relies upon and indeed cites the prominent Black socialist intellectual Manning Marable’ book titled a Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.  This book which the New York Times article uses as the basis for its information also makes the slanderous claim that Malcolm X committed adultery and engaged in homosexual relationships, Audhu Billahi minash shaitanir rajeem.

Manning Marable’s tabloid-like book was thoroughly refuted by a publication by Jared Ball titled “A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X. If anyone should be labeled a “fasiq” it would be Manning Marable for his numerous slanderous accusations against Malcolm X. For whatever reason, Idris Palmer is promoting this Marable reliant New York Times article by Dunlap  as the basis for his information about Malcolm X’ janazah.

Idris Palmer while labeling me a “fasiq” sees no problem with promoting a New York Times article that relies upon Manning Marable a man who invented actual lies against Malcolm X. Surely, as someone who cautions Muslims against relying upon unverifiable news sources, Idris Palmer would exercise some due diligence before relying upon a New York Time article that relies upon Manning Marable as the basis for its information. One wonders if Idris Palmer followed the very same Qu’ranic ayaats he attempted to use to condemn me with :

“Oh, You who believe! If an unrighteous person brings you any news, investigate it fully, less you harm a people in ignorance and then you repent of what you did.” Al-Hujurat 49:6

What type of Black man views the New York Times as a reputable source about Malcolm X? When Malcolm X was alive, the New York Times vilified Malcolm X as an “irresponsible demagogue” and “embittered racist.” To this day, The New York Times has never issued a retraction for labeling Malcolm X an “embittered racist” and “irresponsible demagogue.” In light of this, Idris Palmer should answer the following questions to the Muslim community:

  • When Malcolm X was alive, the New York Times vilified Malcolm X as a “irresponsible demagogue” and “embittered racist.” The New York Times has never issued a retraction for labeling Malcolm X an “embittered racist” and “irresponsible demagogue.” Is the New York Times a righteous source of news for the Muslim community concerning Malcolm X?
  • David W. Dunlap’s information about Malcolm X’s Janazah does not present anything new. It relies upon Manning Marrable’s book titled Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. Did you bother to check your source to see where Dunlap acquired his information from? Should Muslims be promoting material that lends credibility to Manning Marable’s book Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention? Will you apologize to the Muslim community for promoting the New York Times’s Marable reliant article to the Muslim community as a reliable source of information?

Idris Palmer further writes that Hisham Jaabir searched for a church because “few NYC Masajid were large enough to accommodate the crowd.” Hisham Jaabir wrote a book titled I Buried MalcolmUnfortunately, the book is out of print and I do not have access to the book.

Yet,  the book’s description makes a statement that actually bolsters the credibility of what Betty Shabazz told Imam Khalid Griggs. The book’s description reads “By Heshaam Jaaber’s account, Muslim clergy was not exactly lining up to officiate at Malcolm X’s funeral in February 1965. Mosque leaders in the metropolitan area reportedly were warned, anonymously, not to perform rites for the onetime Nation of Islam spokesman.

 

Idris Palmer’s tweets conceded the fact that there were indeed few NYC masajids large enough to accommodate the crowd. If what Idris says is true, then it raises the larger question as to why wasn’t Malcolm X janazah held in one of the “few NYC Masajids” that was “large enough to accommodate the crowd.”

Some have attributed the hesitancy of the Muslim clergy to perform the janazah rites of Malcolm X to fear of NOI violence. Islamically speaking, this is not a valid excuse because Muslims are supposed to fear only Allah(swt). The fear Muslims had of the Nation of Islam is indeed shameful.

Most importantly, Idris Palmer has not ruled out “leprosy-like treatment,” Betty Shabazz said she and her husband faced by Muslim immigrants were not a factor in Malcolm X’s janazah being held at a Church.     Idris claims that “This Hakeem Muhammad is a boldfaced liar who is revising history by concocting a false scenario and attributing a fabricated statement to the late Betty Shabazz. When pressed for his evidence, he refuses to reply.”  Let’s break down the numerous logical fallacies in this statement.

First, a delay in a response is not a refusal to reply. I have  very time consuming legal work on behalf of African-American victims of police brutality and am not able to view social media on a constant basis. I actually did not even see Idris Palmer’s response to me until a couple of days after his response was made. Additionally, he claims that I “fabricated a statement to the late Betty Shabazz.” I never fabricated any statement or directly quoted Betty Shabazz. My original statement was “Betty Shabazz indicated that Arab/Asian Mosques were afraid to be associated with him.” This statement of mine is corroborated by Betty Shabazz indicating she and her family was treated largely like ” lepers”  by large segments of the Muslim community. 

Betty Shabazz saying she and her husband was treated like lepers by large segments of the Muslim community is actually stronger language than me merely saying “Betty Shabazz indicated that Arab/Asian Mosques were afraid to be associated with him.” And yes, as noted earlier,  in light of the historical record, lepers were indeed shunned, hated, and persecuted throughout numerous cultures.  So me bringing attention to the “leper like treatment” Betty Shabazz says she endured is not a fabrication at all nor does it make me a historical revisionist.

 

Idris Palmer’s Personal Claim

Idris Palmer made a variety of personal claims against me that are totally irrelevant in assessing the veracity of the claim I posited. For example, he says that he spoke to brothers in Chicago who told him that I have not been seen at any Eid or Jummah Prayer there.

Where in the Qu’ran or Sunnah justifies this level of fault-finding, suspicion, and backbiting required to call brothers in Chicago to prod about my attendance level at Jummah Prayer and Eid. Not that this is any of Idris Pamer’s business, but he is speaking from ignorance as I have not lived in Chicago since I have graduated high-school. I attended both undergraduate schooling and post-graduate schooling outside of the state of Illinois.   I still have “Chicago” listed as my home city on various social media outlets because the person I am today has largely been influenced by my upbringing in the Southside of Chicago. I also do research and writing concerning gang violence in Chicago. Idris Palmer should have done more to investigate the source material of David W. Dunlap’s New York Times piece instead of backbiting and slandering me.

A Message to the  Muslims

The “leper like” treatment that Dr.Betty Shabazz said she experienced by large segments of the Muslim community is shameful and one which we must work to rectify. The legacy that Malcolm X left behind when he was martyred is incredibly important. Malcolm X wanted to see the light of Islam reach Black communities in the most desolated urban inner-cities of America.  God-Willing, The Black Dawah Network is working on fulfilling this objective of calling our people to follow the Sunnah of the last messenger of Allah(swt), the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and to worship Allah(swt) as he ought to be worshipped.

On December 15th, 2019, God-willing, Black Dawah Network will be having an Islamic Outreach event in the city that gave birth to Malcolm X in Omaha, Nebraska. The Black Dawah Network will be on the “Curtis Block” of Omaha which is a stronghold for the Crips. We will be calling our people to Islam and distributing free copies of The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the Qur’an to Black youth who want to learn more about Islam.

Then on February 22, 2020, God-willing, Black Muslims will be galvanizing in Chicago, Omaha, Atlanta, Virginia, for an Islamic Outreach Event that will deliver the message of Islam to oppressed Black communities and distribute free copies of the Qur’an and Autobiography of Malcolm X to Black youth who want to learn more about Islam.

To support visit BlackDawahNetwork.com

Does CAIR truly care about Malcolm X’s Political Legacy?

 Recently, the Executive Director of Council on American Islamic Relations-California, Hussam Ayloush, accused me of being part of “racist attempts to create a rift between American Muslims.”

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It came in response to efforts of mine to call attention to the misappropriation of Malcolm X.  What is so revealing about this statement is that certain political stances of CAIR are a textbook example of mentally colonized Immigrant Muslims misappropriating Malcolm X and his legacy.

On one day, CAIR issues statements like this:

 

 

 

On other days, CAIR issues statements like this:

 

 

 

 

CAIR which claims to be “largest Muslim advocacy and civil rights organization” published a statement in honor of John McCain. CAIR’s National Executive Director Nihad Awad asserted “The American Muslim community joins all Americans in mourning the death of Sen. McCain, a man of principle who served our nation with honor and dignity for so many decades.”CAIR went on to make the false claim that they, “recall McCain’s rejection of bigotry.”  But John McCain supported bigoted policies throughout his political career against Black people.

 

1985: Voted To Allow U.S. Firms Continue Investing In South Africa: McCain voted to let U.S. firms continue investing in South Africa if their units comply with a code of worker rights. [HR 1460, Vote 110, 5/21/85, Failed 148–256, D 3–227; R 145–29; I 0–0]

1985: Voted Against Requiring Immediate Withdrawal Of U.S. Investment From South Africa: McCain voted against imposing a total ban on U.S. exports to South Africa. [HR 1460, Vote 128, 6/5/85, Failed 77–345, D 77–167; R 0–178; I 0–0]

1985: Voted Against Establishing A Commission To Study Apartheid In South Africa And To Recommend Sanctions: McCain voted against establishing a commission to study apartheid in South Africa and to recommend what sanctions the United States should impose on the government. [HR 1460, Vote 126, 6/5/85, Failed 108–310, D 6–235; R 102–75; I 0–0]

1985: Voted Against Imposing Sanctions Against South Africa: McCain voted against imposing sanctions immediately against South Africa. [HR 1460, Vote 130, 6/5/85, Passed 295–127, D 239–6; R 56–121; I 0–0]

1986: Voted Against Considering Imposing Economic Sanctions Against South Africa: McCain voted against providing for House floor consideration of the bill to impose economic sanctions against South Africa. [HR 4868, Vote 159, 6/18/86, Passed 286–127, D 238–4; R 48–123; I 0–0]

 

.John McCain voted on six different occasions against placing sanctions on Apartheid, South Africa. John McCain actively supported U.S firms and companies who were doing business with the racist apartheid regime of South Africa. McCain voted against civil rights legislation that would have benefited Black people. 

Since CAIR calls itself the “largest Muslim civil rights organization” one would think they would not falsely claim a politician who opposed civil rights for Black people actually “rejected bigotry.”

One would also think that a CAIR executive director who is allegedly concerned with racism in the Muslim community would be at the forefront speaking against his organization’s decision to issue a statement that sanitized John McCain’s history of complicity in war crimes against African people. The statement of CAIR is an affront to the political legacy of Malcolm X which strongly opposed sanitizing human rights crimes against Black people. 

contradictions

CAIR engages in lauding this racist oppressor of Black people as a “man of principle” because their focus is not in aligning with black people in the struggle against white supremacy but they seek to make Muslims more palatable to the white oppressive class.  CAIR is so focused towards doing this even if it means honoring someone who was a blatant oppressor of Black people. Yet, CAIR also claims to honor Malcolm X.

It should be obvious. You cannot honor both Malcolm X and John McCain. CAIR should choose one or the other. What the two men stood for are so diametrically opposed to one another.

It is these types of decisions by CAIR and other organizations like it that create rifts within the Muslim community.  The misappropriation of Malcolm X must come to an end.

Will CAIR’s California’s executive director, Hussam Ayloush,  address the rift caused in the Muslim community by CAIR’s blatant praise of a politician who oppressed Black people?   Does CAIR not concern itself with the fact that as the alleged “largest Muslim civil rights organizations” they risk sending the message to Black America that they support politicians who have oppressed Black people? Malcolm X’s political legacy was strongly opposed to white supremacy and all manifestations of white supremacy. 

Black Dawah Network and Combating the Misappropriation of Malcolm X 

bdn

In the last interview of Malcolm X life, Malcolm X expressed that it was a goal of his to ensure institutions would be built that would teach Islam within inner-city Black communities across America. Influenced by this, the Black Dawah Network  is an Islamic outreach organization that promotes Islamic values and virtues in desolate inner-city Black communities impacted by the legacy of Jim Crow, redlining, and other manifestations of institutional racism. Malcolm X himself came of age in such depressed urban areas.

Malcolm X once reflected that “All of us [Black men] who might have probed space, or cured cancer, or built industries were, instead, black victims of the white man’s social system.” Malcolm X stated that the religion of Islam saved him from becoming  “a dead criminal in a grave, or if still alive, a flint-hard, bitter, thirty-seven-year-old convict in some insane asylum.” Inspired by the work of Malcolm X in uplifting the Black community and following the Islamic mandates on dawah, our work will be empowering to the Black community with the message of Islam. 

God-Willing, on Feb, 22, 2020,  Black Muslims within the Black Dawah Network will be mobilizing throughout notorious housing projects and ghettos that the white power establishment in America has trapped Black people within and communicating the message of Islam.  The delegations shall speak to our people; informing them about ALLAH (SWT) and why ALLAH (SWT) is worthy of worship. About the divine revelation: The Noble Quran. And about the need and importance of following the ways and teachings of the last messenger of ALLAH (SWT), the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW). We will also be communicating how the values of Islam strongly condemns white supremacy and the oppression that Black communities face.

The Black Dawah Network will be providing free copies of the Qu’ran and The Autobiography of Malcolm X to Black youth so that they can see directly how ones life can be transformed by the message of Islam and they can also know the politics that Malcolm X truly stood for.

Support this day that God-willing has the potential to become a great first step in revitalizing the Islamic agenda of Malcolm X within inner-city Black communities and challenging the  rampant misappropriation of Malcolm X that is widespread throughout mentally colonized Muslim institutions of America.

 

 

About Me

I am Hakeem Muhammad. I use this blog to discuss social and political issues from my perspective as an African-American Muslim from the Southside of Chicago. I have done legal where I have assisted litigation to help secure halal food for African-American Muslim prisoners and hold police officers accountable for acts of brutality against African-American men. I am finishing up my last year of law school and getting ready to study for the bar exam.  Prior to law school, I taught courses on  critical race theory and philosophy at seminars at U.C Berkeley, Harvard University, and Michigan State.  I enjoy reading about Islamic intellectual history in West Africa.

 

Drill Rap and Frustrations of The Urban Black Poor

 

The Rise of Drill Rap 

 

Chicago Rapper Lil Marc Killed Days After Releasing Music Video Mocking Rival Gang

  Drill Rap, taken from the Chicago colloquial term to ‘Drill’, means to carry out a shooting against a rival gang. Drill Rap is used by rival African-American gangs such as the Black Disciples, Black Stones, and Gangster Disciples to issue lethal threats at one another and boast of their weapon arsenal. The storytelling prevalent in drill rap, hip-hop musical genre that emerged in Chicago’s impoverished Black communities on the South Side demonstrates how: structural racism continues to produce bleak opportunities for Black social, political, and economic advancement. 

Video imagery of drill artists often contains young Black men brandishing automatic weapons with lyrics that contain messages of rebelliousness, lawlessness and defiance of authority.  It is common to see drill artists diss deceased members of rival gangs, use military style weapons brandished casually in videos and for drill artists to be gunned down shortly after the release of diss songs. What distinguishes drill rap from the many other genres within hip-hop is that  drill rap is inherently militaristic and its artists often live the life they speak about.  

Systemic structural racism has resulted in the prevalence of the underground drug economy and gang violence in black Chicago which undergirds the phenomenon of drill rap. Drill rap in its essence embodies the frustration of urban poor Black men. Drill artists so often discuss through their lyrics their fear that they may not make it past 21; they may end up with a lengthy prison sentence, and the fact that they see no way out of a miserable life of violence. Drill rap articulates the frustrations of the urban black poor in Chicago and shatter illusions of a post-racial America in which structural racism no longer serves as a barrier to black, social, and political advancement. 

The Saga of Yummy 

Lil Mouse, the rapper from Englewood, Chicago, made a song in tribute to Robert Sandifer, a child soldier from Chiraq. Lil Mouse spits “Yummy was a hitter, push a nigga shit back. Gutta’ in my blood. Leavea nigga laying flat.” Think back to the period you were nine years old, at this age, many kids in America live carefree and jovial lives while contemplating the cool new gadgets they want from Santa for Christmas. For African-Americans in urban areas throughout America, the experience is totally different for such kids.

When Robert Sandifer was only nine, he had already been in and out of jail multiple times and was deeply involved in the South Chicago street life. He was active in committing a series of armed robberies and arsons as a member of the Black Disciplines (BD) in Chicago’s Roseland community.  As a kid in the streets of Chicago, the kid was trading drugs for profit, committing burglaries and breaking into houses. Sandifer hadn’t even reached his teenage years before he began carrying out murders for his local gangs.

Worse yet, he didn’t even live to reach his teenage years.  At 4’6”, he was armed with loaded guns and was not even remotely afraid to use them.  Receiving the nickname ‘Yummy’ due to his love for junk food, he lived his life as a drug dealer and caused terror in his community by breaking into houses and stealing cars. Before reaching five feet tall, he was already putting people six feet in the ground. He committed a recorded twenty-three felonies and five misdemeanors while carrying out his missions for his local gang.  The only picture available of him on the internet is a mug shot—a photo that showcases pain, anguish, and depression.

 Telling this tragic story, Lil Mouse spits “Ask you what you’ claiming if you ain’t 7-4 hit you in your face Cock it back and let it blow.”  On August 28th, 1994, Robert Sandifer tried to shoot a member of a rival gang. Stepping between two storefront churches on Chicago’s south side, he began firing at teenagers playing football with a semi-automatic pistol.  Instead of hitting his target, he hit a 14-year-old black girl named Shavon Dean. Robert was only 11 years old at the time he took Shavon’s life. After this brutal murder, the police went on a relentless manhunt for the killer.

Fearful that Robert Sandifer would reveal secret information about the Black Disciples, Sandifer was met by two brothers in the Black Disciples, Craig and Derrick Hardaway, who were age 16 and 14 respectively. They lured Robert Sandifer to a viaduct underpass where they carried out an execution with two bullets leading to Sandifer’s death at age 11. In response to the story of Sandifer’s tragic life, Times Magazine ran a headline, “So young to kill, so young to die.”

From an early age, Sandifer’s father was incarcerated, and his mother became addicted to drugs. As a result, Sandifer lived with his grandmother whose household consisted of over 19 kids.  Upon discovering that he was being neglected, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) sent Sandifer to live in a DCFS shelter from which Sandifer ran away, involving himself in gang life with the Black Disciples. The Sandifer saga became symbolic of the gang problem in Chicago as it showcased the lack of opportunities and breakdown of social safety networks.  Robert Sandifer was born on March 12, 1983, and died on September 1, 1994.

Yummy was abused from an early age; having over 40 scars and parts of his skin burnt from cigarettes butts.  He was eventually placed under the care of the state and the minute he escaped from his government-mandated foster home, he quickly took to the streets. Hardaway, who was convicted for Yummy’s murder at fourteen years old, had this to say from prison, “Yummy was the average black kid growing up in a drug infested community. There are millions of Yummys, it’s just that Robert Sandifer gained national attention. He was an impressionable kid who looked up to everyone that was in the streets. I knew him but he was a kid to me. I was a kid myself but I was older and involved in a lot more stuff.”

Indeed, there are millions of black children in urban areas throughout America, especially in the Southside of Chicago, who hang out on street corners, looking up to nobody but gang members and illegal paths in an attempt to help them cope and temporarily relieve themselves of the stress and pains that they face every-day under the American capitalistic society.  This is a reason why ‘loud a type of Marijuana’ is such a huge subject of Chief Keef rap videos.

Drug economy remains the only mechanism to get things that most whites inherit at birth. These things include food, clothing, and shelter.  Like Yummy, Hardaway is also a victim; a victim of a racist, capitalist society that created the conditions where an illegal economy is the only way to provide for loved ones and possess the basic necessities of life.

Yet, over a decade later yummy Chicago rapper, Lil Mouse emerged on the rap scene highlighting the same dilapidated conditions still prevalent in Englewood, Chicago. From the hardcore streets of Englewood, Lil Mouse spits “Glock 40, I’m thumpin man, I’m rolling with my hitters. I’ll send my hitters to go get you.” In Englewood, the law of the streets prevails and individuals are quick to use guns to settle beefs and feuds   

Renowned African-American psychologist, Dr. Amos N. Wilson, provided the following insights to understand the violence we witness in the Black community. He wrote, “Black on Black criminality and violence represent quests for power and outraged protests against a sense of powerlessness and insignificance.” Feeling powerless and insignificant, having minimal opportunity for socio-economic advancement, acts of violence among brainwashed black brothers in the streets often instills a false sense of power.    

Lil Mouse spits, “Posted on the nine with some savages. Everybody scared of us cause we be clapping shit. Keep some killers with me that aint lacking shit. Call my brother Grupy he shoot like the Mavericks bitch.Many black youths in Chicago grow up in abject poverty and see only two paths for their future: prison or death. Their mothers feel hopeless as they are unable to earn enough wages to provide for basic necessities such as electricity, rent, insurance, and food. Black youths in these communities endure subpar living conditions as seen through the decaying housing, substandard schools, drugs, and poverty. After examining these appalling social conditions, people often claim that the gangs that terrorize the community with violence are driven by some “innate” delinquency or aggression amongst black youth.

 In reality, Chicago street gangs are a product of social conditions created by institutional racism, police brutality, and white vigilantism. Blacks have been systematically disempowered and live in the most violent areas, not because we are “naturally” aggressive. Rather, this is a result of the economic conditions that have been imposed on us by malicious outside forces

Robert “Yummy” Sandifer was killed by his own gang at the tender age of 11 and the reality is that Yummy, alongside millions of unnamed inner-city black youths never had a fair shot in this country. Still, America deludes itself as the foremost purveyor of freedom in the world. White Liberals who adamantly believe that black people are making ‘steady progress’ in this country, often point to blacks in high places such as Colin Powell, Oprah Winfrey, and, of course, the President Barack Obama. White Republicans also, a cesspool filled with vicious racists, refuse to give credence to the notion that systematic racism severely restricts the social mobility of African-Americans. Both political parties believe that the discrimination, oppression, and disenfranchisement of African-Americans was just a misunderstanding rather than a core element that has ensured the growth of the U.S. capitalist, imperialist system. The reality is that Civil Rights legislation were never passed for altruistic reasons and the condition of black people in urban areas of America has not improved at all since the Civil rights legislation was passed – and this is no accident.

The Trick of Civil Rights Legislation 

As a legal scholar, Derick Bell has noted in Desegregation as a Cold War imperative, White people did not suddenly have a change of heart and decide to give black people rights. Rather, the American government acted in their own self-interest.  During the ‘Cold War,’ America and the Soviet Union battled with competing ideologies and both of them sought to establish an imperialistic grip on the world. The American government branded itself as the epitome of freedom and democracy, while casting the Soviet Union as a communist, totalitarianism regime that did not place value on human rights and freedoms. While it should be noted that the Kremlin, with Josef Stalin as president, engaged in purges to kill his enemies and saboteurs, U.S.A was not a saint either.  

When it seemed like U.S was winning the P.R war, the Soviet Union began to use video footages which showed African-Americans in the south with their flesh being ripped and eaten by vicious canines. At this revelation, America could no longer tell the world it was the epitome of human rights and freedom while subjugating its black population to open overt torture and suffering. If she did, she would appear to be a hypocritical liar. Thus, superficial changes had to be made in the power structure of America as regards the manner in which it carried out its oppression against black people. This was one factor that contributed to the passage of Civil Rights legislation.  

Another factor that contributed to the decline of overt institutional racism against blacks was the threat of violence from blacks. After the cold-blooded assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., blacks in urban areas throughout America were outraged.  The government referred to the actions of African-Americans after King’s death as ‘riots’ rather than what they really were: rebellion! Something had to be done in order for America to gain an edge in the ideological war against the Soviet Union (also known as Cold War). In order not to look absolutely ridiculous when she proclaimed herself as the leader of human rights and freedoms, the U.S government pushed for the Civil Rights legislation to be passed.

Civil Rights legislation did a much better job at pacifying African-Americans than it ever did at putting an end to racial inequality, discrimination, and racism. In every area of American society from housing to health-care to employment opportunities, black people still face discrimination to this day because Civil Rights legislation was never adamantly enforced. Take a look at the facts; Chicago is among the most segregated cities in America and while whites live lavishly on the Northside, impoverished Blacks have been suffering throughout Chicago for decades.

When Dr. Martin Luther King first came to Chicago, he arrived with the intent to protest housing segregation and the substandard housing of Chicago’s black population. In response, White residents threw rocks at him while others held signs in protest, one reading, “Roses are red. Violents are Black. King would look good with a Knife in his back.” They then led a cheer saying ‘Kill Him!, Kill Him. Over 40 years later, Southside Chicago neighborhoods are nicknamed (and for good reasons) ‘Terrortown’ and ‘Killaward’ in the streets; areas that are just as ‘substandard’, and worse off than its state when King took part in his first protest.  When a reporter asked Chief Keef how dangerous the Southside of Chicago was he simply responded with one word: “Chiraq.

Anti-black discrimination continues to be ubiquitous throughout American society, from housing, to employment, and education. While civil rights legislation merely removed the overt signs of racism, such as “No blacks allowed” signs, it did not mitigate the everyday practices of racism which manifests in different spheres of daily American life. These manifestations of discrimination can be found in blockbusting and redlining tactics of real estate agents in housing, the discriminatory predatory loans practices of banks, or courtrooms which continue to bequeath harsher sentences to black offenders. At large, the black population in America is segregated in ghettos in which the only viable source of employment is the drug economy. This population is systematically deprived quality education, healthcare etc. and the results of this are, constant breeding of lethal gang violence, neighborhoods filled with food deserts, terrible living conditions where many residents die from diseases that could have been prevented.

Racial discrimination is as pervasive as it was during the ‘60s; the only change being the way the current racism manifest itself. After years of solidifying anti-black discrimination in every facet of American society, discrimination has toughened to the extent that it continues without an overt legal mechanism to support it. Taking all these into account, it is clear that civil rights legislation protected white supremacy by putting an end to the overt manifestation as a recuperative mechanism. This was merely done to create an illusion of equality.

 The truth is that it is governmental actions from the neighborhood composition act, the denial of essential social services to Chicago’s Black community, the intentional placement of Black communities near toxic waste dumps,  the Chicago police department ‘s wholesale torture of Black communities, and the multiple massacres white people have perpetrated on Chicago’s Black communities that has created desperate social conditions whereby gang-involved Black youth are forced to compete over the control of a fleeting drug economy.  In American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass, sociologist Douglass S. Massey notes that due to practices such as redlining, racial steering, and blockbusting that developed in the Post-Jim Crow era, “the level of Black-White segregation has hardly changed. 

In Racism Realism, Derrick Bell famously stated that “[t]he adverse psychological effects of nonexistent opportunity are worse than the economic and social loss.”   The themes of drill rap, whereby young Black artists make known their bleak life prospects  reveal that continued impact of structural racism on black socio-economic mobility. The genesis of the neighborhood and communal conditions that gave rise to drill rap as a genre were birthed by systemic institutional racism which civil rights legislation failed to adequately address. The  themes highlighted in Drill Rap particularly that of invincibility and bravado function as a survival mechanism to exist in a world of bleak opportunities in which black-street organizations have been forced to compete over crumbs in a criminalized market.

 

 

How Islamic is Dr.Abdullah Ali’s Black Conservatism? (Part two)

 

(Editorial note:  In this article, I highlight a major factual error in Dr.Abdullah Ali’s piece on critical race theory that unequivocally demonstrates that he has not studied the subject. I explain why this demonstrates lack of adab towards Black intellectuals and I assess whether Dr.Abdullah Ali’s Black conservative ideology can be considered Islamic. I further discuss why Dr.Abdullah Ali’s Black conservatism would be a hindrance upon dawah in Black communities if adopted by other Black Muslims.)

A Major Factual Blunder in Dr. Abdullah Ali’s Piece on Critical Race Theory 

On June, 13, 2019, Dr. Abdullah Ali published an article on the LampPost Education Initiative titled “How Islamic is Critical Race Theory?” The article is replete with factual inaccuracies. For the sake of being brief, I will focus on one obvious factual inaccuracy.

Dr. Abdullah Ali writes that critical race theory “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”  

Dr. Abdullah Ali’s article only contains one citation to a book titled Critical Race Theory: An Introduction by Richard Degaldo and Jean Stefanic.  On page 77 of the very book he cites, it reads:  “Another aspect of the construction of whiteness is the way certain groups have moved into or out of that race. For example, early in our history Irish, Jews, and Italians were considered nonwhite–that is, on a par with African-Americans. Over time, they earned the prerogatives and social standing of whites by a process that included joining labor unions, swearing fealty to the Democratic Party, and acquiring wealth, sometimes by illegal or underground means. Whiteness, it turns out, is not only valuable; it is shifting and malleable.” 

Therefore, it is not that critical race theory essentializes whites by lumping them all together as whites in a shared experiences vis-a-vis “coloreds.” Rather, critical race theory takes into account how ethnic groups such as Jews, Irish, Germans, English etc. through their various experiences in America sought to unify around a concept of whiteness.

 Academic works such as Whiteness as Property by Cherl Harris and How the Irish Became White by Ignatiev have been thoroughly utilized by critical race theorists to explain how European immigrants to America sought to unify around the ideology of whiteness in order to reap social benefits and subjugate Black people.  

It is clear that Dr. Abdullah Ali did not bother to read the entire introductory book before endeavoring to critique critical race theory. If Dr. Abdullah Ali did read the entire book he cited then he would not make this factual inaccuracy. At most, Dr. Abdullah Ali briefly skimmed the only book he cited in the article and sought to construct a critique of critical race theory on that basis. 

Imagine, if an atheist sought to critique Islam and only skimmed an introductory section about Islam in an encyclopedia. Imagine, he only happened to read about four pillars of Islam concerning belief Allah(swt) and Muhammad(saw) as the final messenger,prayer,fasting, and hajj. Yet, due to intellectual laziness he just skimmed and skipped over the section dealing with zakat. Then imagine that he published a pseudo-academic article saying Islam is bad because it does not support giving money to the poor. This methodology is similar to Dr.Abdullah Ali’s intellectual laziness in his critique of critical race theory.  In no way, shape, or form am I seeking to draw a comparison between critical race theory and Islam.

Critical race theory is a legal field that studies institutional racism.  Islam, the way of life prescribed by Allah(swt). I only utilize this example to highlight the intellectual laziness present in Dr. Abdullah Ali’s pseudo critique of critical race theory. 

Dr. Abdullah Ali’s Lack of Adab Towards Black Community

 In light of this glaring factual inaccuracies in Dr.Abdullah Ali’s piece on critical race theory, Dr. Abdullah Ali should recant his piece. He should acknowledge it contains this factual inaccuracy and apologize for spreading misinformation to the Muslim community. When Ibn Tammiya(ra)  went to refute the Greek Logicians and Al-Ghazal(ra) went to discuss the incoherence of the philosophers, they actually had to study Greek philosophy.  Dr.Abdullah Ali’s has not bothered to study critical race theory prior to his critique.

 On a recent Facebook post, Dr. Abdullah Ali’s writes: 

“Be very clear that Malcolm, Martin, Dubois, Booker T, Douglas, Delaney, Woodson, and so many other black intellectuals and activists did not preach the doctrine of perpetual victimhood. To claim otherwise is to distort their legacy. They also did not use CRT for empowerment.”

In terms of evaluating rather critical race theory is useful to Muslims this statement by Dr.Abdullah Ali is non-sequitur. The aforementioned Black intellectuals did not use critical race theory because they did not live in an era in which racism shifted from de’jure to defacto. Critical race theory was developed by African-American legal scholars in a post-jim crow era to specifically analyze how structural racism shifted from de’jure to defacto.

It is unclear what point Dr.Abdullah Ali is seeking to make by saying the aforementioned black intellectuals did not use critical race theory.

Contemporary critical race theory has been strongly influenced by Malcolm X and W.E.B Dubois. 

Critical race theory was pioneered by a former civil rights attorney Derrick Bell. He was part of the legal team to end segregation. Bell later became a professor and noted how even after Brown vs. Board of Education that schools continued to be segregated. Bell began writing about the continuation of defacto structural racism.

Abdullah Ali has demonstrated incredibly poor adab towards black intellectuals by seeking to refute an academic field dedicated to studying defacto structural racism without even bothering to read it.  

Dr. Abdullah Ali has stated that that police in America are not systemically racist. What adab does this show to the Black victims of Jon Burge torture rings, families of Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and the multiple black victims of stop and frisk? 

Dr. Abdullah Ali has stated that irresponsible behavior from Black people and not slavery/institutional racism is the major cause of Black-white wealth disparity.

What adab does that display towards impoverished Black communities?  There are a litany of negative stereotypes and pathologies one must hold which are in violation of Islamic adab in order to make such positions.

Dr.Abdullah Ali like his boss at  Zaytuna, Zaycoona College named Hamza Yusuf have made statements that demonstrate a wholesale lack of adab towards oppressed Black communities. Hamza Yusuf can pontificate about complex European philosophical views such as Kant’s categorical imperative, Nietzsche’s will to power, and Aristotelian ethics but thinks “black on black crime” is a valid response to police brutality.

Unfortunately, like in the movie Django Unchained where Samuel Jackson plays the House slave and Leonardo DiCaprio plays the slave master, Dr.Abdullah Ali comes out and makes the same talking points as Hamza Yusuf on police brutality and defends Hamza Yusuf’s decision to join forces with the anti-Black Trump Administration.

An Islamic Critique of Black Conservatism and the Dawah of Malcolm X 

Dr. Abdullah Ali subscribes to a reactionary brand of Black conservatism in which acknowledgment of the prevalence of  structural racism and its negative impact on Black socio-economic mobility is misinterpreted as “a doctrine of perpetual victimhood.” 

 Based upon Dr.Abdullah Ali’s reactionary embrace of Black conservatism he absurdly goes on to deny that structural racism plays the most significant factor in the Black-White wealth gap. Dr.Abdullah attributes “irresponsible behavior” as the primary cause of Black-white wealth gap.(A claim I refuted in a previous article

 Reactionary Black conservatives advocate that Black people should “pull themselves up by the bootstraps” and “take self-responsibility” to improve their lives without government handouts. 

Yet, the persistent denial by Black conservatives that defacto structural racism continues to exist with tangible impacts on the quality of life of Black people would actually preclude Black people from taking full self responsibility for improving their lives. 

As an illustration of this, a brainwashed Black brothers in the hood can stop drinking forties, stop partaking in gang violence, refrain from pre-marital sexual intercourse, stop utilizing drugs, and undergo all necessary moral changes that black conservatives(as well as myself) advocate for.

Yet, such aforementioned moral transformation in inner-city Black communities alone cannot stop redlining, blockbusting, environmental racism, predatory lending, and other manifestations of de facto structural racism detrimentally impacting the quality of life in Black communities. 

The Black Conservatism of Dr.Abdullah Ali cannot inculcate in Black people “self responsibility” because it denies the reality of systemic structural racism.

Henceforth, it denies the responsibility of Black folks to eradicate and organize against defacto racism. The Prophet Muhammad(saw) taught:

 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.” (40 Hadith Nawawi 34) 

Critical race theory is an academic field that allows us to see how racism shifted from de’jure to defacto. It exposes the illusion of a post-racial society. Ideally speaking, Black Muslims should be the leaders in this endeavor in exposing the evil of de facto systemic racism. We should be working to change it. We should be speaking out against it. At minimum, we definitely should be hating it in our hearts.

Dr.Abdullah Ali does not even hate the systemic defacto structural racism facing Black communities in his heart because he does not acknowledge that it exists.

The reactionary Black conservatism of Dr.Abdullah Ali shares no relationship with the political philosophy nor the dawah of Malcolm X.

In Malcolm X’s autobiography, he would often go out in the streets speaking to drug addicts, prostitutes, pimps, gang members and seek to recruit them in the Nation of Islam.

As Black people in the urban ghettos abhorred the racial discrimination they faced by White America, Malcolm X  would articulate how adherence to Islamic ethics and morals would assist them in a meaningful struggle against white supremacy.

Pursuant to the political philosophy of Malcolm X, the Black Muslim tradition is simultaneously able to accept the existence of a reciprocal impact of white supremacy upon the environment of Black Folks and also the necessity of Black communities to undergo moral transformations via Islam to confront white supremacy.

Unlike the reactionary Black conservatism of Dr. Abdullah Ali, the Black Muslim tradition has never denied the reality of structural racism nor told Black folks that by acknowledging its impact upon their environment that they are engaging in “perpetual victimhood” and whining.

Professor Shareef Muhammad, director of the Black Dawah Network, has stated:  

Unless the Deen is made politically relevant to the people you are inviting it will not take or fail to develop as an effective force for social change. This was the reason for Elijah Muhammad’s success[in influencing inner city black communities]. Not the aqeeda of the NOI but its unflinching attack on white supremacy and the social ills that afflict its victims.

Dr. Abdullah Ali’s reactionary embrace of Black Conservatism with its denial of systemic defacto racism precludes him from teaching the Islamic sciences that pertain to the application of the Qur’an and the life of the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) in ways that meet the social, political, cultural, and economic realities of Black people. 

Dr. Heather Laird: Critically Dissecting a White Muslim Woman’s Defense of Hamza Yusuf!

 

 

In a recent article, titled “It’s time for Muslim Americans to condemn Hamza Yusuf,” Dr. Maha Hilal called for Muslims to boycott conferences and events where Hamza Yusuf is scheduled to speak. [1] Such a call is long overdue. Black Muslims have been “making it plain” concerning Hamza Yusuf’s  wholesale disrespect of the Black community for a long time.

 Let us rewind. In 2016, Hamza Yusuf told a Muslim audience that the problem facing the Black community was not institutional racism but the breakdown of the Black family.   In his inability to recognize causality between institutional racism and the Black family, Hamza Yusuf directly insulted the legacy of Abu Bakr, an enslaved Black Muslim scholar who was kidnapped from Africa, forever  forcibly separated from his family, and whose slave narrative literally laments about the fact that Islam may not be in his family in future generations due to the oppressiveness of slavery.   Hamza Yusuf disrespected insulted Omar ibn Said, an enslaved African Muslim who could not maintain a family on the slave plantation because he and his children could be sold off to another slave plantation on a whim by the slave master. 

Hamza Yusuf directly disrespected Malcolm X, whose father was kidnapped by the Ku Klux Klan, tied on a railroad track, leaving the train to mutilate his body and decapitate Malcolm X’s beloved father.  This action left Malcolm X’s beloved mother Louise Little so mentally distraught that the last time Malcolm X visited his mother in a mental hospital, Louise Little was unable to recognize her own son. Unbeknownst to Hamza Yusuf, the breakdown of the Black family has historically been a product of institutional racism. 

In a later interview, Hamza Yusuf gave the non-sequitur response of “black on black crime” when asked about police brutality. In doing this, Hamza Yusuf disrespected the memory of Black Muslim slave rebels who were massacred by Police chief, Gonclaves Martins in the Bahia slave rebellions. Hamza Yusuf directly insulted the memory of Ronald Stoke and William X Rogers, Black Muslims who in an act of police brutality, were killed by Los Angeles Police officers, leaving Malcolm X completely distraught. Hamza Yusuf directed insulted the memory Amadou Dialla, a Black Muslim whom the New York Police Department shot at over 41 times. Black Muslim women such as Safiya Bukhari joined the Black Panther Party for Self Defense to combat police brutality.

Despite the fact that president Donald Trump endorsed stop and frisk against Black men, called Black countries shitholes, and advocated capital punishment for the innocent Central Park 5(whom DNA evidence exonerated), Hamza Yusuf called Trump a “servant of God.” Hamza Yusuf spoke of Donald Trump, despite his anti-black policies and serial adultery, as though he is somehow a man of taqwa or God-consciousness As an icing on the cake of Hamza Yusuf’s abominable anti-black track-record, Hamza Yusuf has now decided to join forces with the former director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo to serve forces with the Trump administration as a human rights adviser. For the sake of being brief, I will not recount the CIA’s long history of destabilizing black governments, its carrying out of assassinations of Black freedom fighters, or its  COINTELPRO program which sought to inhibit black liberation. 

Nonetheless, Black Muslims, including myself, rightfully spoke against Hamza Yusuf’s track record of white supremacy. As such criticisms were taking place,  Hamza Yusuf had an ardent defender in the Muslim community come to his defense. Her name is Dr. Heather Laird. She is the president of the Center for Muslim Mental Health and Islamic Psychology. In this article, I will respond to her criticisms. 

      

Wow! How can a Black Muslim critique of Hamza Yusuf’s racism be equated with “colonization” of Hamza Yusuf? It appears as though Dr. Heather Laird is trying to make Hamza Yusuf out to be some sort of “anti-colonial figure” up against a boogey-man black Muslim somehow trying to colonize him through a critique of his racism.    

 I am a Black Muslim.  I am critiquing political propositions advocated by Hamza Yusuf for upholding white supremacy. I am not reducing Hamza Yusuf to his skin color. I am speaking against political proclamations of Hamza Yusuf’s that reinforce negative stereotypes against Black people and which would maintain Black people in a state of subjugation.

Instead of acknowledging the racism of Hamza Yusuf, Dr. Heather Laird somehow insinuates that I am seeking to colonize him. Dr. Heather Laird does not know what colonization is and is simply throwing out terms without any regard for their meaning. In doing so, she downplays and minimizes the actual violence of colonization. 

Colonization is not Black people speaking against racism. Rather, colonization is the violence process by which a person’s land is usurped, their resources are siphoned, and their labor is exploited. Dr. Heather Laird’s sloppy usage of the term “colonization” in this manner underscores how destructive and violent colonization actually was. 

European settler-colonialism in the Americas resulted in the wholesale destruction and extinction of entire Native-American languages. European Zionist colonization of Palestinians violently removed entire people from their historic land and create an apartheid state. African tribes who were forcibly taken to the European settler colony of America had their languages and religions violently stripped from them. 

In How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Walter Rodney accurately pinpoints how European colonization significantly reduced the quality of life in Africa and sets the precedent for starvation and other economic ills facing African countries today. Thus, the legacy of European colonization is that it fostered an asymmetrical relationship in wealth between Africa and Europe and destroyed cultures and languages. 

Dr. Heather Laird argues that I am exercising racism against Hamza Yusuf because I am a born brown Muslim and Hamza Yusuf is a white convert who is not  “willing to do exactly what you as a born Muslim want him to do.” To be clear, I’m not trying to micromanage Hamza Yusuf ‘s life nor do I seek to dictate every part of his daily routine.  I want Hamza Yusuf to stop being complicit in the oppression of Black people. I want Hamza Yusuf to not obfuscate police brutality against Black people. I do not want Hamza Yusuf to provide a token Muslim face to an anti-Black regime. This is consistent with the Islamic injunction forbidding oppression. Dr. Heather Laird is conflating a critique of white racism as somehow perpetuating racism. This fundamentally demonstrates that she neither understands racism nor colonization.

Strangely, Dr. Heather Laird is insisting that I am exercising racism against Hamza Yusuf yet she herself refuses to acknowledge Hamza Yusuf’s racism against Black people.  She insists that Hamza Yusuf remarks were taken out of context. Perhaps,Dr.Heather Laird can provide us with a proper context in which responding with black on black crime to police brutality should be viewed as anything other than reinforcing white supremacy. Lastly, Dr. Laird makes a particularly egregious statement: 

 

 

Dr. Heather Laird descended to vulgarity to imply my criticisms of Hamza Yusuf’s complicity in white supremacy is just “masturbat[ion] on social media.” As a Black Muslim, it is important for dawah purposes to restore Islam image within broader Black America. The Black Community must know Muslims are invested in confronting white supremacy and standing up on behalf of Black people. Dr. Laird decision to equate a Black Muslim male’s critique of white racism with an act of sexual self-stimulation for the purposes of ejaculation reinforces a litany of white supremacist tropes against Black men.  Dr. Heather Laird decision to reduce my critiques of Hamza Yusuf to just “masturbation”  inherently rely upon stereotypical tropes of black men as being the hypersexual brute.

Dr. Darrius Hills, a scholar of Black males studies, writes that white supremacy has reduced black men to the “mythic black phallus, implicating and reinscribing a racial legacy that frames black men as both hypersexual and perpetual rapists.”      In Dr. Heather Laird mind, my critiques of white racism cannot possibly be based in a desire to intellectually challenge white supremacist ideology. Rather, it is just a form “masturbation’ something which is rooted in sexual gratification.  White racism deserves to be critiqued when promulgated by Muslim public figures.


 

[1] I largely agree with the general call to boycott Hamza Yusuf. One of the many reasons the author, sister Dr. Maha Hilal,  cites for why the committee Hamza Yusuf is joining is problematic is that an individual on it opposed enshrining abortion as an international right. I do not agree that abortion should be enshrined as an international right. Nor do I believe that this is a valid criticism of the committee. As to the rest of the article, I am largely in full agreement. 

 

Why the Black Conservatism of Abdullah bin Hamid Ali Has No Place In The Black Muslim Tradition!

Within the broader African-American community, Black Muslims were once renowned and respected for uplifting their communities. African-Americans took a leadership role in the struggle against white supremacy. The term “uncle tom, Black Muslim” would have been seen as an oxymoron in the days of Malcolm X. It was the ability of Black Muslims to make Islam speak to the most oppressed Black communities that accounts for Islam’s rapid influence and growth in Black America. Unfortunately, there are elements in the Muslim community today who are seeking to impugn this legacy.

Zaytuna College is the first accredited Muslim undergraduate college in the United States. It was collectively founded by Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir, and Hatem Bazian.  In 2016, Hamza Yusuf blatantly disrespected African-American Muslims by denying systemic racism in America’s police forces. He declared that the breakdown of the Black family and not institutional racism was the true problem facing the Black community.

In a very pertinent question, brother Bilal Abdullah, of the Being Black And Muslim in America Podcast, asked”With this type of thinking, what is Zaytuna institute going to produce? They are not going to produce revolutionary minds who transform their communities with Islam. They are going to produce passive Muslims who are making excuses for this system. They not going to stand against injustices facing the people, especially Black people. ”

Indeed, it would appear that Hamza Yusuf has hired a Black professor who shares with him his egregious denial of the structural racism facing Black America. Abdullah bin Hamid Ali is a Professor at Zaytuna College. According to his biography, he teaches Islamic law and the prophetic tradition at Zaytuna college.  Here are some blatant examples of Abdullah bin Hamid serving as a Black face for White Supremacy.

Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali argues that police brutality impacts White Americans just as much as it does Black Americans. He ignores data from Stanford Open Policing Project and the ACLU’s study on Stop and Frisk. He also ignores  a  study indicating that police brutality is detrimentally impacting the mental health of Black people.  These studies provide  unequivocal evidence that police brutality disproportionately falls on Black Americans.

Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali argues that there is no evidence that discrimination in hiring is a government policy and that “violators usually get prosecuted” because “EO[equal opportunity] laws exist to fight against this.”  Of course, this is blatant ignorance of how structural racism operates in America society. This likely explains Abdullah Ali’s sophomoric effort to critique critical race theory.

Racial discrimination in hiring is a pervasive reality. African Americans with “Black sounding” names are less likely to be called back for job interviews  than those with “white sounding” names even when the qualifications are identical.    Another study found that White men with criminal records were  viewed more positively by hiring managers than Black men without a criminal record .

The fact that there may not be governmental actors mandating such racial discrimination by law does not take away from its negative impact on Black social-economic mobility.

Ali provides no proof for his claim that violators of equal protections usually get prosecuted. Indeed,many African-Americans who are victims of racial discrimination in hiring have neither the time nor resources to sue their former employers under equal protection laws. This is one of the reasons of why racism can persist despite formal equality under the law.

In addition to denying the role of structural racism in driven Black mass-incarceration and denying the role of racism in voter suppression, Abdullah Hamid Ali makes an additional egregious claim. He asserts that poor Black spending habits are a more significant factor in the black-white income gap than the history of slavery and institutional racism.    Ali writes “Wealth disparities: we all know the history leading to “some” of this. But, much of what we witness can be attributed to irresponsible behavior and not taking advantage of education.”

Of course, the claim for which Abdullah Ali presents no evidence to support is easily debunked by studies in the area from Black Labor, White Wealth: The Search for Power and Economic Justice by Claud Anderson, and  How White Folks Got So Rich by the Reclamation Project.

A study on this very topic titled What Is Behind the Persistence of the Racial Wealth Gap? by economist Dionissi Aliprantis concluded that “The current racial wealth gap is the consequence of many decades of racial inequality that imposed barriers to wealth accumulation either through explicit prohibition during slavery or unequal treatment after emancipation. Examples of postemancipation barriers include legally mandated segregation in schools and housing, discrimination in the labor market, and redlining, which reduced access to capital in black neighborhoods.”

Abdullah Ali believes that much of the wealth disparity between Blacks and Whites can be attributed to poor education and irresponsible behavior on behalf of Black people. Abdullah Ali does not provide any evidence that Black people engage in higher levels of irresponsible behavior than do white people.  Whites have greater wealth than do Blacks. As a result, whites have a greater shield when it comes to being protected from  irresponsible financial behavior.

It is the irresponsible behavior on the part of whites in the form of slavery, jim crow, redlining, and segregation that has resulted in Black poverty.  Ali also fails to consider that Black people who live in poverty due to historical segregation do not have access to equitable education as whites.  Furthermore, the acquisition of education by Black people does not solve wealth disparities. A study noted that whites who are high-school dropouts have more wealth than Black college graduates.  Another study also noted whites are more wealthier than Black people at every education level.  Black women in particular obtain college degrees at record levels but it has not  translated to an end in racial wealth disparities.

 None of the opinions of Abdullah Ali on the Black white wealth gap nor police brutality are supported by any studies or data. It’s just  right-wing talking points. Abdullah Ali’s political commentary are the uneducated ramblings of a man who watches more Ben Sharpio and Jordan Peterson lectures than Malcolm X, Safiya Bukhari, Imam Jamil Al Amin, Selou Odinga, and Dhoruba Bin Wahad.

Abdullah Ali’s political commentary are a blatant disrespect to the struggle of Black people against white supremacy. Black Muslims need to be influenced by the Islam of Malcolm X and Safiya Bukhari as we struggle against the defacto structural racism still impacting our communities.

Abdullah Ali’s political beliefs will only keep Black folks trapped in “Toby Muhammad” style  interpretation of Islam in which Islam is reduced to rituals without playing an active role in confronting the appalling political conditions facing Black America.  This goes for anyone. It does not matter how much classical Arabic texts one has translated or how much Al-Ghazali texts one has studied, any man that believes “irresponsible behavior” on behalf of Black people  and not “slavery” is the more significant factor in the black/white wealth disparity cannot teach Islam to Black people in an empowering way to confront their political realities.

 

Why the Black Conservatism of Abdullah bin Hamid Ali Has No Place In The Black Muslim Tradition!

Within the broader African-American community, Black Muslims were once renowned and respected for uplifting their communities. African-Americans took a leadership role in the struggle against white supremacy. The term “uncle tom, Black Muslim” would have been seen as an oxymoron in the days of Malcolm X. It was the ability of Black Muslims to make Islam speak to the most oppressed Black communities that accounts for Islam’s rapid influence and growth in Black America. Unfortunately, there are elements in the Muslim community today who are seeking to impugn this legacy.

Zaytuna College is the first accredited Muslim undergraduate college in the United States. It was collectively founded by Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir, and Hatem Bazian.  In 2016, Hamza Yusuf blatantly disrespected African-American Muslims by denying systemic racism in America’s police forces. He declared that the breakdown of the Black family and not institutional racism was the true problem facing the Black community.

In a very pertinent question, brother Bilal Abdullah, of the Being Black And Muslim in America Podcast, asked”With this type of thinking, what is Zaytuna institute going to produce? They are not going to produce revolutionary minds who transform their communities with Islam. They are going to produce passive Muslims who are making excuses for this system. They not going to stand against injustices facing the people, especially black people. ”

Indeed, it would appear that Hamza Yusuf has hired a Black professor who shares with him his egregious denial of the structural racism facing Black America. Abdullah bin Hamid Ali is a Professor at Zaytuna College. According to his biography, he teaches Islamic law and the prophetic tradition at Zaytuna college.  Here are some blatant examples of Abdullah bin Hamid serving as a Black face for White Supremacy.

Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali argues that police brutality impacts White Americans just as much as it does Black Americans. He ignores data from Stanford Open Policing Project and the ACLU’s study on Stop and Frisk. He also ignores  a  study indicating that police brutality is detrimentally impacting the mental health of Black people.  These studies provide  unequivocal evidence that police brutality disproportionately falls on Black Americans.

Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali argues that there is no evidence that discrimination in hiring is a government policy and that “violators usually get prosecuted” because “EO[equal opportunity] laws exist to fight against this.”  Of course, this is  blatant ignorance of how structural racism operates in America society. This likely explains Abdullah Ali’s sophomoric effort to critique critical race theory.

Racial discrimination in hiring is a pervasive reality. African Americans with “black sounding” names are less likely to be called back for job interviews  than those with “white sounding” names even when the qualifications are identical.    Another study found that White men with criminal records were  viewed more positively by hiring managers than Black men without a criminal record .

The fact that there may not be governmental actors mandating such racial discrimination by law does not take away from its negative impact on black social-economic mobility.

Ali provides no proof for his claim that violators of equal protections usually get prosecuted. Indeed,many African-Americans who are victims of racial discrimination in hiring have neither the time nor resources to sue their former employers under equal protection laws. This is one of the reasons of why racism can persist despite formal equality under the law.

In addition to denying the role of structural racism in driven black mass-incarceration and denying the role of racism in voter suppression, Abdullah Hamid Ali makes an additional egregious claim. He asserts that poor black spending habits are a more significant factor in the black-white income gap than the history of slavery and institutional racism.    Ali writes “Wealth disparities: we all know the history leading to “some” of this. But, much of what we witness can be attributed to irresponsible behavior and not taking advantage of education.”

Of course, the claim for which Abdullah Ali presents no evidence to support is easily debunked by studies on the area from Black Labor, White Wealth: The Search for Power and Economic Justice by Claud Anderson, and  How White Folks Got So Rich by the Reclamation Project.

A study on this very topic titled What Is Behind the Persistence of the Racial Wealth Gap? by economist Dionissi Aliprantis concluded that “The current racial wealth gap is the consequence of many decades of racial inequality that imposed barriers to wealth accumulation either through explicit prohibition during slavery or unequal treatment after emancipation. Examples of postemancipation barriers include legally mandated segregation in schools and housing, discrimination in the labor market, and redlining, which reduced access to capital in black neighborhoods.”

Abdullah Ali believes that much of the wealth disparity between Blacks and Whites can be attributed to poor education and irresponsible behavior on behalf of Black people. Abdullah Ali does not provide any evidence that Black people engage in higher levels of irresponsible behavior than do white people.  Whites have greater wealth than do blacks. As a result, whites have a greater shield when it comes to being protected from  irresponsible financial behavior.

It is the irresponsible behavior on the part of whites in the form of slavery, jim crow, redlining, and segregation that has resulted in black poverty.  Ali also fails to consider that Black people who live in poverty due to historical segregation do not have access to equitable education as whites.  Furthermore, the acquisition of education by black people does not solve wealth disparities. A study noted that whites who are high-school dropouts have more wealth than Black college graduates.  Another study also noted whites are more wealthier than Black people at every education level.  Black women in particular obtain college degrees at record levels but it has not  translated to an end in racial wealth disparities.

 None of the opinions of Abdullah Ali on the black white wealth gap nor police brutality are supported by any studies or data. It’s just  right-wing talking points. Abdullah Ali’s political commentary are the uneducated ramblings of a man who watches more Ben Sharpio and Jordan Peterson lectures than Malcolm X, Safiya Bukhari, Imam Jamil Al Amin, Selou Odinga, and Dhoruba Bin Wahad.

Abdullah Ali’s political commentary are a blatant disrespect to the struggle of Black people against white supremacy. Black Muslims need to be influenced by the Islam of Malcolm X and Safiya Bukhari as we struggle against the defacto structural racism still impacting our communities.

Abdullah Ali’s political beliefs will only keep Black folks trapped in “Toby Muhammad” style  interpretation of Islam in which Islam is reduced to rituals without playing an active role in confronting the appalling political conditions facing Black America.  This goes for anyone. It does not matter how much classical Arabic texts one has translated or how much Al-Ghazali texts one has studied, any man that believes “irresponsible behavior” on behalf of black people  and not “slavery” is the more significant factor in the black/white wealth disparity cannot teach Islam to Black people in an empowering way to confront their political realities.

 

The Danger of Delegitimizing Black Political Thought to Muslims: Why Muslims need Critical Race Theory!

“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.” Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5665, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2586

There are Muslims in Black neighborhoods impacted by the legacy of Jim Crow, black codes, blockbusting, redlining, and a litany of other racially discriminatory policies. They include Muslims such as Rafiq, a former gang leader of Chicago, from the neighborhood of Altgeld Garden, a segregated community that racist city planners intentionally placed toxic waste dumps and garbage incinerators, who stated, “If it hadn’t been for Islam, man, I’d probably be dead.” It includes Jon, from a black neighborhood in Minnesota that was subjected to racially restrictive covenants and exclusionary zoning policies, who once stated “I lost my oldest brother to gang violence when I was six years old, I have five older brother all of them have been shot, and been to prison. I’ve been shot. I have been to jail. Learning about Islam has given me a purpose. Learning about the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and the companions of the prophet, pbuh, these were soldiers who were all about uplifting the community.”

Moreover, it includes perhaps the most famous of African-American Muslims, Malcolm X. Who upon noticing his former gang hideout spot on his way to lecture to Harvard Law school, thought to himself “I had sunk to the very bottom of the American white man’s society when–soon now, in prison– I found Allah and the religion of Islam and it completely transformed  my life.”

These Muslims are just as part of the Muslim Ummah as Palestinians children forced into brutal interrogation rooms by Zionists settlers and Uyghur Muslims in China.  For such Muslims, critical race theorists from Derrick Bell to Dr. Tommy Curry have provided indispensable political insights into understanding the shift of racism from de’jure to de facto and the failure of liberal legal theory to provide adequate redress to structural racism. When it comes to understanding school desegregation, Derrick Bell’s analysis in Serving Two Masters and Dr Tommy Curry’s applications of critical race theory to understand police brutality has been instrumental to Muslims in communities impacted by Jim Crow.

In as much as Muslims who reside in communities impacted by Jim Crow are part of the Ummah. Instead of reacting to this part of the Ummah’s oppression with sleeplessness and fever due to blockbusting, predatory lending, and redlining, several popular Muslim public speakers have taken it upon themselves to render un-Islamic critical race theory and to speak and write about critical race theory as though it its usage by Muslims represents some threat to the faith.

As of recently, U.K based Muslim speaker Abdullah Andalusi stated that there is no need for critical race theory in Islamic discussions. Though, the initial critique of Abdullah Andalusi and Daniel Haqiqajtou was that critical race theory was Liberal, with Andalusi saying it part one of his reviews that “Derrick Bell himself admits he isn’t against liberal ideology per se, only some modern liberal projects that he sees hasn’t properly attained the objectives of complete equality they promised.” After lamenting the liberalism of Derrick Bell in part one of his critique, in part two, Abdullah Andalusi declares Bell and critical race theorists to be part of a neo-Marxist movement.  In this article, we respond to Abdullah Andalusi’s latest critique of critical race theory.

The Evaluative Framework  In Determining The Usefulness of Critical Race Theory to Muslims

 It is essential to note that African-American Muslims are both racial and religious minorities. According to the 2010 U.S census, African-Americans constitute 12% of the total American population. Within the African-American community itself, the majority of the population is Christian, with only a minority being Muslim.

In local struggles against manifestations of institutional racism, it is inevitable that African-American Muslims take from, are influenced by, and incorporate from concepts that may have been pioneered by African-American political thinkers who are not Muslim. Derrick Bell  writes that “Critical race theory is a body of legal scholarship, a majority of whose authors are both essentially people of color and ideologically committed to the struggle against racism, particularly as institutionalized and by law.” Critical race theory was not coined by Derrick Bell but is the name given to a vast field of legal scholarship that began to analyze post-jim crow oppression of African-Americans. The vast body of legal scholarship offers important political insights to Black people. Abdullah Andalusi declaring this body of knowledge to be unislamic because it has egalitarian sentiments or Derrick Bell said X that contradicts Islam downplays the ability of Black Muslims to incorporate and draw from this knowledge in ways that do not contravene Islam.

Therefore, Muslim anti-critical race theorists pointing out certain beliefs that Derrick Bell holds that run contrary to Islam is not saying much anything as to whether Muslims can accept critical race theory. Bell was not Muslim, it’s inevitable he may have a statement or two that doesn’t comport with Islamic teachings. Still, African-Americans including African-Americans Muslims, he offers indispensable insights on issues such as school segregation and the operation of racism in American society.

Thus, the crux of this debate cannot be whether every critical race theorist is a Muslim, whose every theory is rooted in Islam but he larger question is whether African-American Muslims can incorporate critical race theory in ways, which do not contradict foundational Islamic beliefs, to both understand racism, and combat it, and the answer is a resounding yes as critical race theory does not require one to compromise any Islamic belief.

 How Abdullah Andalusi misses Critical Race Theory’s Critique of Marxism

 Abdullah Andalusi outlines the basic premises of critical race theory, such as 1) racism is central to American society. 2) The disproportionate wealth gap between Afro-Americans and Euro-Americans is indicative of race-based domination, and 3) the U.S government’s decision to repeal racial segregation being rooted in need to improve its image in the context of the cold war and not because the government was generally interested in improving African-American plight. Abdullah Andalusi has not demonstrated how any of these foundational principles of critical race theory contravene any Islamic tenant.  Abdullah Andalusi has not even attempted to falsify any of these key concepts of critical race theory as false through deploying any Islamic knowledge.

Abdullah Andalusi himself admits that “CRT may not explicitly contain ideas that contradict foundational Islamic beliefs,like belief in One God, it is fundamentally based upon premises intractably connected to Neo-Marxism….”   Just what are these links to Neo-Marxism? Abdullah Andalusi says Bell’s work is rooted in egalitarianism.

How Abdullah Andalusi Makes The Same Argument Against Critical Race Theory as Marxists Whilst Claiming Critical Race Theory is Marxist.

Contemporary Marxists themselves do not see critical race theory as being part of a neo-Marxist movement. Quite the opposite. In the article, Critical Race Theory: A Marxist Critique, Marxist writer  Mike Cole writes that  critical race theory leads to the “homogenization of all white people” because “we should not lose sight of the life chances of millions of working-class white people who, along with racialized groups, are part of the 99 %, not the 1%.”

Abdullah Andalusi makes this exact argument against critical race theory in his lecture, The Middle Way: How Muslims should navigate Western society polarized between Right and Left Wing, where Abdullah Andalui proclaims “Not every white American is rich and powerful. Many of them are hillbillies and rednecks. These people are poor and looked down upon; they are called poor white trash.”  Both Marxist thinker Mike Cole and Abdullah Andalusi make the same argument that critical race theory homogenizes white people as being rich whereas most whites are working class.

What both Abdullah Andalusi misses in his marxist-like critique of critical race theory is the ways in which structural racism aids poor whites at the expense of upper class blacks.

As to the Abdullah Andalusi argument of critical race theorist being part of a neo-Marxist movement, he merely intentionally ignores or, more likely, is deliberately ignorant of the ways that critical race theory has been deployed to render Marxism as an ideology insufficient to redress structural racism.  The fact that Abdullah Andalusi inaccurately  perceives critical race theory as being part of a “neo-Marxist movement” impugns his ability to critique it accurately.

In Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation, John Eligon and Robert Gebeloff note that “Black families making $100,000 or more are more likely to live in poorer neighborhoods than even white households making less than $25,000. This is particularly true in areas with a long history of residential segregation.”

A study from the Equality of Opportunity Project found that upper class Black folks face inequities in access to the health care system. Additionally, due to the history of racial segregation in housing and the deliberate placing of African-American neighborhoods in undesirable areas by white city planners, race and not class status was the largest factor in determining factor in exposure to  P.M 2.5, a damaging health particle created when fossil fuels are burned. The Environmental Protection Agency notes, “Black Americans are subjected to higher levels of air pollution than white Americans regardless of their wealth.”

Moreover, upper class Black people are subjected to racial profiling by police officers of lower income, including incidents where black folks of higher incomes have been arrested going into their own homes, and a wealthy African-American NBA player went into an expensive jewelry store and was subsequently harassed by police who thought he didn’t belong there.  Therefore, the critique that critical race theory has of Marxism, which Abdullah Andalusi misses, are how the white proletariat and white upper class perpetuate the oppression of black people.

Abdullah Andalusi’s accurately notes that W.E.B Dubois was influenced by Marxism but omits to mention W.E.B Dubois’ famous essay, titled Marxism and the Negro Problem, where Dubois indicated that Marxism failed to conceptualize how the white proletariat and white capitalist class equally exploited the Negro. In other words, Marxist emphasis on analyzing oppression through the lens of class and economics obfuscates how structural racism helps the white poor at the expense of even the black of upper economic classes. Andalusi replicates this error of Marxists by mentioning how there are poor white people in America in his critique of critical race theory.

Frank Wilderson, a prominent critic of Marxism within Black political thought, indicates that Marx’s concept of workers is inapplicable to Black people, writing: “Work is a white category. … The point is we were never meant to be workers…” In other words, the fact that Black people were brought to America as slaves as a source of unpaid labor. The fact that structural racism has compelled large segments of Black communities in inner cities into the position of the sub-proletariat, which Marx believes had no role to play in the “communist revolution” and was in fact a “threat to the revolution.”

This why many critical race theorists have seen Marxist ideology as unable to provide adequate to understand and redress to institutional racism.

Applying Abdullah Andalusi’s Association Fallacy 

What Abdullah Andalusi  makes  is an association fallacy whereby he concludes that elements of Marxist influence on critical race theory make the theory part of a  neo-Marxist movement.  Influential Muslim brotherhood thinker, Sayyid Qutb called for the creation of a vanguard that modeled themselves after the pious companions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him that would implement Islam in the world, which on the surface level may seem similar to the Marxist Leninist call to establish a class conscious vanguard party composed of the working class. Of course, one can also see traces of Leninist influence in the way Hizb Tahrir’s Taqi al-Din al-Nabhan set up the organizational structures.

Interestingly enough committing the same association fallacy of Abdullah Andalusi, was Hamza Yusuf, who in a lecture titled “Framing Islam Into Marxist Thought”  referred to Qutb and Ali Shariati as both being  “repackaged Marxists” to the displeasure of many Muslims.

Of course, one may note that Ali Shariati wrote an entire book titled Marxism and Other Western Fallacies: An Islamic Critique and Sayyid Qutb viewed the proliferation of Socialist thought among Muslims as being indicative of jahiliya. Yet the association/influence fallacy deployed by Hamza Yusuf allows him to refer to Qutb and Shariati  as “repackaged Marxist” based upon perceived elements of Marxist influences in their works is also continuously committed by Abdullah Andalusi in his efforts to label  the black political thinkers in critical Race theory as being part of a neo Marxist movement.

Simply put, Abdullah Andalusi hasn’t done sufficient analysis to prove that critical race theory is a neo-marxist movement. Here is a challenge for him. Let’s take a specific analytical piece within critical race theory titled Serving Two Masters: Integration Ideals and Client Interests in School Desegregation Litigation by Derrick Bell.   In this article, Bell discusses the failure of school desegregation efforts. This article is considered a foundational work within critical race theory that brought attention to systemic school segregation against African-Americans.  What Marxist,  neo-Marxist, or Post-modern tools does Bell deploy to come to his legal analysis and how will the faith of an African-American Muslim be contravened by adopting Bell’s application of critical race theory to understand school desegregation? Lastly, how is neo-Marxism promoted through this work?

How Abdullah Andalusi misreads critical Race theory

The very fact that Abdullah Andalusi inaccurately perceptive critical race theory as being part of a “neo-Marxist movement” impugns his ability to comment on it legitimately. Abdulah Andalusi writes:

 

If “Whites” have more wealth than African-Americans do, CRT explains this as “domination.’. However, wealth disparity alone does not necessarily mean the domination of one group by the other. When the Muhajireen (emigrants) came with the Prophet (ﷺ) to Yathrib to start the Islamic polity, Al-Madinah (the City – a normative title if ever there was one), the Muslims of Madinah (the Ansar, helpers) had vastly more wealth than the emigrants, and this remained mostly the case. The Islamic concern was not to equalize wealth, but to ensure that the emigrants had their basic needs and requirements met…”

 

Critical race theory’s claims are reversal causal of what Abdullah Andalusi claims. critical race theorists look at manifestations of structural racism against black people from slavery, sharecropping, predatory lending, real estate discrimination, the disproportionate placing of loan sharks in black communities, racist banking practices and other forms of racially based oppression and from that concludes that whites having more wealth than Blacks are rooted in this larger  racial domination.

Additionally, critical race theory looks at ways in which the system of white supremacy grants even poor whites better-living arrangements than even upper-class blacks. Perhaps, most demonstrated by how the ability of racial segregation to confine even upper class Black Americans in neighborhoods wherein they are subjected to devastating health toxins on a much higher level than either poor whites.  Both critical race theories analyze how structural racism influences Blacks of the higher classes and the specifics as mentioned earlier as to how critical race theorists arrived at their conclusion that the white-Black wealth gap is a form of domination renders the rest of Abdullah Andalusi’s argument null and void.

Black-Americans have such minimal wealth that at current trends even two whole centuries from now they will continue to lag in terms of household wealth in comparison to whites.  Abdullah Andalusi’s analogy between Black Americans and White Americans, and the Ansar and Muhajireen is absurd for several reasons.

First, Black Americans was brought to America through forced migration on slave ships,  whites were able to accumulate and pass on transgenerational wealth through slavery, and even after slavery, the U.S government financially compensated white slave owners for losing their former slaves whereas former black slaves received nothing.  After slavery, Blacks were subjected to Black Codes that prohibited them from establishing businesses and other enterprises for socio-economic advancement, and many were forced into a de facto system of slavery known as sharecropping. The G. I Bill, which aided White Americans to have a path to homeownership, was denied to Blacks. The New Deal passed during the great depression to provide economic relief to American citizens were also denied mainly to Blacks.

Additionally, the American socioeconomic system facilitates white people building wealth from Black people in explosive ways that Islam would find objectionable. For example, the bank Wells Fargo steered Black people whom they referred as white people into obtaining high-interest usurious home mortgages. In Bank Accused of Pushing Mortgage Deals on Blacks,” Michael Powell notes “for a decade, systematically [singled] out blacks in Baltimore and suburban Maryland for high-interest subprime mortgages.” Option One, the mortgage wing of H & $ Block, charged a Black borrowers with a credit score of 523 $10, 635 to finance $167,000, while a white borrowers with a credit score of 520 paid $2275 to finance.  Black people with higher credit score were still given higher interest rates on mortgage loans than whites with lower credit score were once against demonstrates how structural racism facing Black Americans regardless of their economic class. In “The Collapse of Black Wealth,” by Monica Potts, she notes that the subprime mortgage crisis, in which many Black borrowers defaulted on high usurious loans, the devastated wealth of African-Americans.  Economic Policy Institute indicates, “black households had a median net wealth of just $4,900 in 2010, compared with $97,000 for white households. A third of black households had zero or negative wealth.”  A recent study from the Institute of Policy Studies also found that by 2083, the median wealth of Black households would likely fall to zero.

Though, while Islam does not seek to make human beings “absolutely equal” in terms of wealth such as Marxism when the source of wealth disparities are rooted in exploitative practices. Neither Islam would find objectionable and outright haram, i.e. the discriminatory racial issuing of high usurious loan, challenging such wealth inequality is not Un-Islamic, nor would the only goal of Muslims be to ensure the population at the receiving end of these unjust economic practices have their basic needs met. Theoretically speaking, if African-American families had their basic needs met in terms of food, clothing, and shelter (which is not the case), yet wealth disparities were still being facilitated due to racially discriminatory high-interest loans, this would fail to live up to Islamic standards of justice.  The fact that Islam emphasizes earning one’s wealth in ways which are halal (Islamically permissible) is an indications of this fact. On the day of judgment, humans will be questioned as to their wealth and how they earned it.  

Abdullah Andalusi’s Critique of CRT is just as applicable to non-CRT, Antiracism Scholarship

Like Muslim anti-critical race theorists Daniel Haqiqajtou, Abdullah Andalusia also posit that Muslims can learn about structural racism and “without having to read a single book of Derrick Bell or any of the coterie of CRT writers.” He then discusses how several of the studies I cited are outside the realm of critical race theory.  Abdullah Andalusi like Daniel Haqiqajtou fails to explain how scholarship on structural racism and studies on structural racism would not be a victim to the same critique as Bell. For example, the study I cited on wealth disparity between Blacks and Whites comes from an organization titled Equality of Opportunity Project, whose research is rooted in some liberal egalitarian premises that Abdullah Andalusi finds problematic in Bell. Abdullah Andalusi, based upon his same contentions against Bell would be forced to argue how the liberal assumptions of this study mean Muslims should reject it.

Additionally, several studies on institutional racism are conducted by Civil Rights Organizations that have foundational egalitarian premises that Abdullah Andalusi would find problematic. With the liberal egalitarian principle that human beings should be free from unreasonable intrusions of privacy, the ACLU conducted a study finding Blacks are subjected to police harassment at alarming rates. The study is rooted in liberal and not Islamic foundations as to why police harassment of Black people is wrong.   Is Abdullah Andalusi going to pen his next article why Muslims cannot accept the ACLU’s studies on police harassment of black people because its bases the notion that police harassment is bad on liberal concepts? If no, why are Bell’s insights on structural racism and how it operates to be rejected because he has egalitarian ideas influencing his work?

Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, where she discusses how various drug policies have mostly resulted in Black American men being subjected to a new Jim Crow. Her belief in Democratic Socialism guides much of her scholarship on the subject; Abdullah Andalusi could just as well argue this means Muslims cannot accept Alexander’s analysis on the Jim Crow because the Democratic socialist ideals undergirding her work, if adopted by Muslims, can inhibit the Caliphate.

Well, perhaps, Abdullah Andalusi and Daniel Haqiqatjou can present us with scholarship in the field of anti-racism wholly devoid of influences in western sociology or liberal assumptions of egalitarianism, or any un-Islamic influences whatsoever. Whose authors and researchers hold views, which in 100% conform to Islam in every way on topics ranging from slavery, predatory lending, black codes, redlining, Jim Crow… etc…  Present us with an Islamic alternative on understanding school desegregation so that Derrick Bell’s work is unnecessary.

 Remembering the Lessons of Imam Abdullah Haroon

The efforts of Muslim public speakers to render “unislamic” a body of knowledge that provides legal analysis on oppression of Black people should be a wake up call to Muslims.

Muslims should do well to remember the valuable lesson in the life of Imam Abdullah Haroon. He was an Imam in Apartheid South Africa who urged the Muslim community and Islamic scholars of his day to join in the effort of resisting apartheid. The Islamic scholars and the broader Muslim community at the end were apprehensive about joining blacks in fighting apartheid, concerned with Marxist influences on organizations such as the African National Congress and Pan-African Congress.

The Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa declared “Has the government forbidden the worship of Allah and spreading of Islam? Has the government closed down or ordered the demolition of any Mosque in a declared white area?”  So long as the Apartheid South Africa government did not prevent Muslims from their ritualistic acts of worships, the Muslim Judicial Council did not believe in joining the armed resistance against apartheid. The Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa did not perceive the ways in which apartheid hindered dawah to Islam, by segregating Blacks into Bantustans and forcibly subjecting them to Christian education.

The Muslim Judicial Council legal verdicts for why Muslims shouldn’t join the struggle against apartheid mirrors how Daniel Haqiqatjou while viewing critical race theory as threatening the aquidah of Muslims, failed to conceptualize how racial injustices have historically treated the aqidah of African-American Muslims. Though forced conversions to Christianity and corporal punishments being issued to enslaved Africans who openly practiced Islam.

In an effort to end apartheid, Imam Haroon reached out and built bridges with Black communities and liberation movements, such as the African National Congress and Pan-African Congress.  His stance, according to Ursula Gunther, represented, “A break with the ulama’s hegemony.”  Soon, Imam Haroon became a member of the Pan African Congress and was “dedicated to the overthrow of apartheid by all means at its disposal, including violence.” Imam Haroon was arrested under the Terrorism Act of 1967 and because of his struggle against apartheid; he would be assassinated by apartheid South Africa’s police force while under interrogation, because of him being classified as an embarrassment to the ulama of his day, “Haroon was virtually forgotten by Muslims.

Like the Muslim anti-critical race, theorists of today, the “scholars” of the Muslim Judicial Council were concerned about the Marxist influences of various Black anti-apartheid movements. As long as the apartheid government didn’t prevent them from religious acts of worship, they did not see it as obligatory to overthrow apartheid. Imam Abdullah Haroon was viewed as an embarrassment to the Muslim community of his day that few Muslims attended his jannazya.  Only years later, after the fall of apartheid, would Imam Abdullah Haroon’s name be honored with his Islamic scholars who criticized him being viewed as cowards.

The Muslim anti-critical race theorists of today mirror the Islamic scholars during the era of Imam Abdullah Haroon, a cowardly episode in Islamic history.   These Muslim anti-critical race theorists have little engagement with Muslims in blacks communities impacted by jim crow today, they dismiss a body of work dedicated to analyzing the oppression of black people as “nonsense”, they promote misconceptions of black political thinkers, and they demonstrate utter apathy towards actualizing Islamic resistance to white supremacy.

Muslims have a choice of deciding as to whether they will follow the path of Imam Abdullah Haroon and his unapologetic support of black resistance to structural racism, or follow in the way of the Muslim anti-critical race theorists.

The answer to this question will have major implications in terms of Islamic outreach to oppressed black communities and Dawah in African American communities.

Muslims: The choice is yours. What path will you take?

The Logic of Racist Muslims and Their Attacks on Critical Race Theory

 

For centuries in America, the descendants of enslaved Africans were subjected to Black Codes, Jim Crow Laws, racially restrictive covenants, and a litany of other racially discriminatory social policies. After a long fought civil rights struggle, African-American legal scholars such as Derrick Bell, a former civil rights attorney, began writing and theorizing on how structural racism against African-Americans continued even post Jim-crow era merely transitioning from de’jure to defacto.  Bell is one of the greatest African-American legal minds and his writings solidify a field that later became known as Critical Race Theory.  The academic field of Critical Race Theory is of major importance to African-Americans for several reasons.

  • It exposes the illusions of a post-racial America.
  • Highlights the real societal consequences of structural racism on Black life
  • It provides stellar legal analysis on the limitations of civil rights law in addressing structural racism.

Critical race theory is of direct relevance to African-Americans, including African-American Muslims who live and reside in neighborhoods which are directly impacted by the legacy of Jim Crow.

The Anti-Black Logic of Muslim Critics of Critical Race Theory

 

As of recently, critical race theory, one of the most important traditions of African-American legal studies, has been under attack by Muslim public speakers This occurred in a lecture by U.K London Muslim speaker, Abdullah Al Andalusi who declared in his lecture The Middle Way “Don’t bring critical race theory into Islamic discussions.”  Of course, such a position cannot be adopted by African-American Muslims who actually live in communities impacted by the legacy of Jim-Crow, and who view critical race theory as a valuable academic field to draw from in order to gain political awareness about defacto structural racism facing their communnities.  Abdullah Al Andalusi arguments against Critical Race theory have thoroughly refuted by Professor Shareef Muhammad. However, in this article, we intend to further elaborate upon this refutation of Abdullah Al Andalusia’s criticism of critical race theory and expose its underlying anti-black logic. Abdullah Al Andalusi has critiqued critical race theory for being:

  • Liberal
  • committed to advocating Bell’s concept of racial realism
  • western
  • perpetrating discrimination.

How Abdullah Andalusi De-Legitimizes Black Political Thought

 Andalusi  argues that critical race theory is not needed among Muslims due to its liberal underpinnings. In reality ,critical race theory has been widely interpreted within academia for being a critique of the failure of liberal legal thought to address structural racism.  For example, Jeffrey Pyle, a critic of critical race theory, in an article titled Critical Race Theory’s Attack on the Promises of Liberalism notes that “The [critical race] theory holds that despite the great victories of the civil rights movement, liberal legal thought has consistently failed African Americans” and that “ the liberal legal system reflects and perpetuates racial subordination.” Jeffrey Pyle, in criticism of critical race theory goes as far as to declare  “Without liberalism to critique critical race theory would have little meaning.”

So, what exactly is Abdullah Al Andalusi’s argument for why Derrick Bell and Critical race theory reinforces liberalism?  Abdullah Al Andalusi provides a quote where Derrick Bell states Critical Race Theorists “are highly suspicious of the liberal agenda, distrust its method, and want to retain what they see as a valuable strain of egalitarianism which may exist” as proof that Bell believes in liberalism and his only issue is that modern liberal projects has not fully attained the objectives of complete equality.  This is simply Bell saying he desires for Black people to be treated equitably in America. Which is why Abdullah Aldalusi needs to answer is any desire on the part of Black people to garner equitable treatment within America and fair treatment under its laws a reinforcement of “liberalism” and if so what is his Islamic alternative? Though, Andalusi has not  proven his assertion that critical race theory reinforces western liberalism, for the sake of argument, let’s concede Bell retains some elements of liberalism.

The bottom line is that Derrick Bell through Critical Race Theory makes valuable political contributions to the Black struggle for justice which is of immense value to Black Muslims. Bell, of course was not a Muslim but was a Christian. Instead of outlining an Islamic agenda to address the structural racism that Bell condemns, Andalusi is basically critiquing Bell’s work for not being based in the Qu’ran and Sunnah. Ok, what’s next?

The great African-American abolitionist, Fredrick Douglass, in his arguments for ending America’s racialized system of enslavement against African-Americans unequivocally evoked arguments from the liberal tradition.  Is Abdullah Al Andalusia going to write an article on “How the Liberal Kufr of Fredrick Douglass’ advocacy for the abolition of slavery will destroy Muslim unity and lead Muslims to Jahannam?   Abdullah Al Dalusi’ arguments against Critical Race Theory is the 21st century equivalent of this.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous I have Dream speech, that “America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’ But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation.”  Is Abdullah Andalusi’s next article going to be about how Reverend Martin Luther King’s Dream of ending racial discrimination against Black people Is based upon a Liberal Democratic Kufr  which if embraced by Muslims will inhibit the Establishment of the Caliphate?

The great African-American sociologist W.E.B Dubois was among the earliest to conduct studies of the impact of institutional racism on Black life.  His influence and studies have been utilized to guide African-American political advocacy. Yet, W.E.B Dubois was not Muslim, did not conduct his studies from an Islamic basis, and in fact came to identify as a socialist.  Is Abdullah Al Andalusi going to write an article on “Why Muslims shouldn’t adopt W.E.B Dubois studies on institutional racism due to its socialist influences in a growing era of materialist disbelief?

African-American Civil Rights attorney Michelle Alexander in her book the New Jim Crow: Mass-Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness discusses the role of structural racism in the prison system of America. Alexander too has identified as a socialist. Are we going to hear from Andalusi of how the secular socialist kufr undertones of her books on institutional racism in the prison system can potentially lead Muslims to the hellfire?

This essential the logic of Andalusi when he concerns himself with how unsuspecting Muslims will be ensnared by liberalism through being recommended to read Bell’s work.

How Andalusi Fails to Comprehend Bell’s Racial Realism

Andalusi asserts that Critical Race Theory reinforces “race consciousness” and even embraces it deliberately (which Derrick Bell calls ‘racial realism’, which he sees as a useful means to combat against “White race” supremacy).” Andalusi further sees Bell’s notion of racial realism as destroying Muslim unity needed to revive the caliphate. He provides anecdotal evidence by stating:

Many Muslims of European descent who make uncontroversial points about Islam and call for Islamic revival in the Muslim world and the resumption of the Islamic way of life, are attacked for expressing “whiteness” or accused of thinking themselves as “white saviours” following a colonial tradition of their ancestors telling “brown people” what to do (myself being on the receiving end of this from an individual called Abu Layth.

First of all, Andalusi has failed to establish any causal connection between Abu Layth’s commentary and critical race theory, which is a legal field that analyzes structural racism against Black people. Neither Bell’s concept of racial realism or critical race theory posits that any white person who makes a statement calling for Islam automatically makes them a “white savior.” I’m not aware of who Abu Layth is nor the full context for Abu Layth’s statement.  Did Abu Layth read critical race theory books, embrace Bell’s concept of racial realism,  and then come to call Andalusi a white saviour? I doubt it.

Bell’s concept of racial realism, was designed to awaken African-Americans, including African-American Muslims of systemic institutional racism post-Jim crow. Bell’s highlights that racial realism is:

 “The reality is that blacks still suffer a disproportionately higher rate of poverty, joblessness, and insufficient health care than other ethnic populations in the United States The ideal is that law, through racial equality, can lift them out of this trap. I such we abandon this ideal.”                                                                              

Again, Andalusi  has failed to describe how racial realism infringes on any Islamic belief. Racial Realism is merely the idea that structural racism exists in American society and Black folks should be skeptical of the liberal legal system to resolve it. What Andalusi is essentially saying is that by Black people being aware and conscious of systemic structural racism through the embrace of Bell’s racial realism, that somehow they are destroying Muslim unity required for his geopoltiical goal of restoring the Caliphate. To Layth point, Andalusi’s statement of “Don’t bring critical race theory into Islamic discussions” with no engagement with African-American Muslims who engage in Islamic discussions of how to address the reality of structural racism in a post-Jim crow era and see critical race theory as offering valuable political insights, is a textbook case of a white savior complex. When you declare as though you have religious authority, that Muslims do not need to bring critical race theory into Islamic discussions, you marginalize Black Muslims who use critical race theory and bring the insights of critical race theorists into Islamic discussions of improving their communities in the aftermath of jim crow.

As Professor Shareef Muhammad noted, race consciousness for African-Americans was never a theoretical construct that we had the option of rejecting but a cognitive imperative. The impact of slavery denied the ability of enslaved Africans to reproduce tribally as we were subjected to laws that oppressed us by means of race, and subjected to a socio-political reality that oppressed us on the basis of the modern concept of race. Racial realism as advocated by Bell is valuable in exposing the limitations of the liberal legal system in resolving structural racism.

The Paternalism of Andalusi 

In his article, Why Muslims Do Not Need Critical Race Theory,  Andalusi writes “This is the problem that fundamentally afflicts Muslims across the board. We do not ask what insights Islam would shed upon modern problems, but instead run towards thinkers with completely different Aqedah’s (creeds), which if we unwittingly adopted them because it helped do some good in one area, it would undo Islamic concepts in many other areas.”

How to deal with the reality of structural racism is an immediate modern problem for African-American Muslims.  In understanding the impact of slavery, institutional racism, ..etc., it is inevitable that  African-American Muslims turn to thinkers such as Fredrick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B Dubois, and others in the African-American literary canon, considering that slavery denied the ability of enslaved Africans to transgenerational transmit Islamic knowledge, Islam did not survive among enslaved Africans  post-slavery, and, there were hardly any descendants of enslaved African Muslims to theorize on issues of  slavery from an Islamic basis in the period following slavery.

Abdullah Andalusi  is essentially implying is that by  Black Muslims seeing value in the   insights and theories of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Trinitarian Christian) W.E.B Dubois(socialist), Fredrick Douglass(he fought against slavery using liberal arguments), and other non- Muslims critical race theorists, in the struggle against racial oppression  that somehow  its indicative of a lack of conviction in Islam. He has no understanding as to how African-American Muslims have garnered valuable political insights from non-Muslim black theorists and have used it, extracted benefit from it, and incorporated it into Islamic based agendas in ways that do not undermine Islamic foundational beliefs.

Derrick Bell was not Muslim. Bell never advocated his theories for large geopolitical issues facing the larger Muslim world.  However,  through critical race theory, Bell offered valuable political insights on continuation of school desegregation after Brown v. Board of Education which is of immediate concern to Black Muslims living in communities impacted by this legacy of Jim-Crow.  If by virtue of not being Muslim or not theorizing from an Islamic perspective, Bell’s work is deemed of not value to Muslims and we should instead turn only to Islamic thinkers on the topic, perhaps Andalusi  can point to an Islamic scholar or Shaykh, who has done comparable work in the area of school desegregation as Derrick Bell. Perhaps, Andalusi can provide us with an Islamic thinker on redlining and blockbusting and provide us with with an Islamic solution to it.

Abdullah anDalasi, makes a totally asinine claim which is completely unwarranted by evidence when he states “most people around the world would be able to clearly observe discrimination that occurs despite equal laws, not just against African Americans….”  If Abdullah Andalusi isn’t too busy writing his next article on how Reverend Martin Luther King’s  quest for racial justice in his Letter From the Birghmaam Jail is based on a Trinitarian Kufr that if embraced by Muslims will lead Muslims astray, then perhaps he can enlighten us with some empirical data that would substantiate his claim that most people around the world are able to observe post Jim-crow racialdi scrimination against Black people. After all an essential claim of critical race theory is that civil rights legislation made structural racism hardly to detect and thus harder to address.