Advertisements

Why Abdullah bin Hamid Ali of Zaytuna College Cannot Teach Black People Islam

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.

 Why Abdullah Ali Cannot Teach Black People Islam 

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. Yet, this man was given a professorship position at America’s first accredited Muslim college!

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.

After years of slavery, black codes, red-lining, the last thing Black Muslims need giving the Khutba at their Mosques is someone who is going to sound like Uncle Ruckus from the Bondoocks or Clayton Bigsby from Dave Chappelle’s famous comedy skit.

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 has no business teaching any black person Islam.

 

 

Has Lamppost Education Initiative Sold Out Black People? Addressing Dr. Abdullah Ali’s Poor Critique of Critical Race Theory.

Black people in America are suffering under immense oppression.

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.[1]

In an empirical study titled “The Prison Boom & Lack of Black Progress, University of Chicago economists Neal and Rick, after examining Black and white income inequality, unemployment rates, and the increasing number of Black men in Chicago who are in prison, concluded: “the Great Recession has left most Black men in a position relative to white men that is really no better than the position they occupied only a few years after the Civil Rights Act of 1965.”[2]

In a study of the impact of the Fair Housing Act intended to outlaw racial discrimination, sociologist Douglass S. Massey notes that, due to practices such as redlining, racial steering, and block-busting that developed in the Post-Jim Crow era, “the level of Black-white segregation has hardly changed.”[3]

Studies have found that applicants with more “Black-Sounding” names on resumes (i.e. Jamal, Lakeshia) were less likely to be called back for an interview than applicants with more “White-Sounding” names(I.E John, Emily) even when credentials were identical.[4]

Even more troubling, a study found employers to be more likely to hire a white person with a criminal record than a Black person without one, even when qualifications were the same.[5]

 

Lamppost Education Initiative Joins the The Muslim Anti-Critical Race Theorists 

As Black people are subjected to the prison industrial complex, placed systematically in polluted neighborhood through racist city-planning, and continue to be at the bottom of the socio-economic hierarchy, Dr. Abdullah Ali of Lamppost Education Initiative decided to pen a timely article titled How Islamic is Critical Race Theory? where he concerns himself with how critical race theory  “solidifies the otherization of “whites.” [6] That’s right folks!

Those oh so  poor white people, that Black critical racist theorists such as Derrick Bell  are ‘otherizing”  through their academic works on institutional racism must surely be happy that they have such a brave advocate in the form of Dr. Abdullah Ali and Lamppost Education Initiative.  In How Islamic is Critical Race Theory?  Dr. Abdullah Ali writes:

 

A critical race theorist would never accept the notion that he/she is being racist against white people. That’s because the theorist has convinced him/herself that only whites can be racist due to the fact that only whites have power. That is to say that racism can only be racism if and when you have the power to oppress others. And, since only white people have this power according to the critical race theorist, only they can be racist. [7]

In this statement, Dr. Abdullah Ali ignorantly assumes that all critical race theorists are Black or people of color.  They aren’t. From the beginning of his critique, Dr. Abdullah Ali indicates that he has not done his due diligence in terms of researching what he is critiquing. He is critiquing a caricature of what he thinks critical race theory is. Indeed, the authors, Richard Degaldo and Jean Stefanic, of the one and only book that Dr. Abdullah Ali cites titled Critical Race Theory: An Introduction are not Black. [8]

So one is puzzled as to why Dr. Abdullah Ali believes all critical race theorists are just some Black or other people of color folks who won’t acknowledge their alleged racism against whites.  In reality, Dr. Abullah Ali has essentialized critical race theorists as just a bunch of Black and people of color folks who just wont acknowledge they can be racist towards whites.

Critical race theorists such as Richard Degaldo, who is Latino, in works such as Racism, Capitalism, and The Search for Reform will tell you that “[t]oday, more Black children attend segregated schools than before Brown came down.[9]  The real assertion of critical race theory, as opposed to the caricature that Abdullah Ali attempts to refute posits that structural racism goes beyond mere interpersonal interactions and attitudes.

Works within critical race theory such as Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva indicate that even if Whites collectively improved in their interpersonal interactions with Black folks and stopped displaying racist animosity toward Black folks, this alone  would not be enough to remedy the years of wealth, opportunity, and material gain garnered through years of Black codes, jim crow, and other manifestation of institutional racism.[10]

Does Critical Race Theory reinforce biological determinism? 

Dr. Abdullah Ali claims that critical race theory essentializes white people by reinforcing biological determinism.  He writes that critical race theory ‘enforces biological race and behavioral determinism” by suggesting  that “to be white is to be “privileged” and “racist.” [11]

These is not a single critical race theorist who bases their analysis of structural racism upon biological behavioral determinism.  One wonders is Dr. Abdullah Ali critiquing The Iceman Inheritance: Prehistoric Sources of Western Man’s Racism by Michael Bradley or the Nation of Islam’s theology of Yacub?  Critical race theorists do not make their analysis based of structural racism upon  biological determinism. Rather, the assertion is that years of slavery, Black codes, and jim crow, and defacto forms of  racial discrimination has continued to significantly reduce the quality of life for Black folks in education, health, and economics.

Moreover, the social structural in America socializes white people into maintaining this unjust racialized hierarchy.  As  Bonilla-Silva has indicated in Racism Without Racists, you can still have a system of structural racism and immense racial inequality in a society where white people themselves may not be individually racially prejudice against Black people.

Structural Racism in America manifests as a system of white domination that economically, socially, and judicially controls, dominates, and subjugates Black folks, Native-Americans, and other non-whites. Structural racism in America allows for whites to control and dictate the standard of living of Black folks and to yield such control in ways that are detrimental. For example, in the Chicago neighborhood of Altgelds Gardens white city-planners intentionally placed Black communities near garbage instructors and toxic waste dumps.

An angry Black man advocate can call a random white person on the street a “White devil oppressor”, but it won’t result in a power dynamic in which Black folks have the ability to mass-incarcerate white folks, exploit white folks through predatory loans, or systematically place white folks in toxic neighborhoods. Beyond potential hurt feelings, it has no systemic structural impact.  Similarly, Dr. Abdullah Ali cannot show a single structural impact to the “otherization of whites” he absurdly claims is fostered by Black critical racist theorists against whites in the areas of employment, economics, or education..etc.

Does Critical Race Theory Essentialize White People? 

Dr. Abdullah Ali asserts 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.”[12]

Only someone with no real engagement with critical race theory would possibility make such an uninformed statement about critical race theory.  Works such as Whiteness as property by Cherl Harris,[13]  Whiteness and Ethnicity of White Ethnics in the United States[14]  How the Irish Became White by Ignatiev[15] have thoroughly addressed how European immigrants in America sought to unify around the ideology of whiteness in order to reap social benefits and subjugate Black people.

Lamppost Education Initiatives Obfuscates The Oppression of Black people

Why are Muslims discussing whether or not critical race theory is Islamic as opposed to discussing whether the immense Black-white wealth gap is a just social arrangement according to Islam and if not, what is the Islamic agenda to deal with it? Why are we discussing whether or not critical race theory is Islamic as opposed to discussing whether or not the fact that the current mass-incarceration of Black men is a just social arrangement according to Islam and if not, what is the Islamic agenda to deal with it? Why are we discussing whether or not critical race theory is Islamic as opposed to discussing whether racially discriminatory city planning that has confined Black communities to polluted neighborhoods is a just social arrangement according to Islam and if not, what’s the Islamic agenda to deal with it?

Lamppost Education Initiative should be thoroughly ashamed at the miseducation they are directing towards Muslim communities through their decision to publish the article How Islamic is Critical Race Theory? Black intellectuals in critical race theory who are seriously seeking to analyze the oppression of Black people post jim crow are portrayed by Dr. Abdullah Ali as folks who just wont acknowledge they can be racist towards white folks and in doing so, otherize white people.

Critical race theory was pioneered by African-American legal scholar, Derrick Bell as mechanism to address the very real racism that Black folks faced in a post-jim crow world. Derrick Bell was a former lawyer in the NAACP who sought to end school segregation and decades lived in horror upon realizing that schools were just as segregated. Derrick Bell produces what is arguably the best account of understanding the ulterior motives that went behind the decision of the Supreme Court to declare the unconstitutionality of school segregation,

Sure, not all of the scholars of critical race theory are Muslim.  Still, critical race theorists make valuable contributions towards understanding the political plight of Black folks post-jim crow. Muslims, especially Black Muslim, should be involved in addressing the systemic oppression facing Black communities and can garner important insights through studying critical race theory.

Muslims certainly should not be involved in insinuating that a field designed to analyze structural racism facing Black communities post-jim crow is somehow otherizing or essentializing of white people based upon their complete misunderstanding of the theory.

As Black folks are being oppressed, the focus of Lamppost Education Initiative. is to publish an article on how critical race theory harms white people via essentialism and otherization. They posit this critique after a poor reading of critical race theory.

The political insights are most pertinent to Black folks in neighborhoods directly impacted by the legacy of jim crow. What is quite revealing is that when Lamppost posted their article How Islamic is Critical Race Theory on twitter, they tagged multiple personal accounts of non-Black Muslims and did not tag a single personal account of a Black man in a neighborhood directly impacted by the legacy of Jim Crow. It should be very clear who Lamppost Education Initiative is catering to and who their audience is. Its certainly not Black folks.

Oh Muslims! Remember the legacy of sister Safiya Bukhari!  Remember the Legacy of Malcolm X! Remember the egacy of Albert “Nuh” Washington. Strive hard against the mainstream American Muslim establishment’s attempt to detach Islam from the Black struggle against White Supremacy.


 

[1] Joshua Holland(2016), The Average Black Family Would Need 228 Years to Build the Wealth of a White Family Today,  The Nation, https://www.thenation.com/article/the-average-Black-family-would-need-228-years-to-build-the-wealth-of-a-white-family-today/

[2] Derek Neal & Armin Rick, The Prison Boom and the Lack of Black Progress after Smith and Welch, (2014), https://www.nber.org/papers/w20283.pdf

[3] Douglas S Massey & Nancy A. Denton, (1993)  American Apartheid, Segregation and the making of the Underclass, 225

[4] Marianne Bertrand et al(2003) Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination Mullainathan, National Bureau of Economic Research, https://www.nber.org/papers/w9873

[5]  Devah Pager (2003) The Mark of a Criminal Record Devah Pager Northwestern Universityhttp://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdf

[7] Abdillah Bin Hamid Ali(2019), How Islamic is Critical Race Theory? https://lamppostedu.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/how-Islamic_critical_race_theory.pdf

[8] Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic(2001) , Critical Race Theory, An Introduction

[9]  Degaldo(2014), Rodrigo’s Equation: Race, Capitalism, and the Search for Reform, https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/wflr49&div=6&id=&page=&t=1560471802

[10] Eduardo Bonilla-Silva(2003),  Racism without racists by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva,

[11] Abdillah Bin Hamid Ali(2019), How Islamic is Critical Race Theory? https://lamppostedu.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/how-Islamic_critical_race_theory.pdf

[12] IBID

[13]Harris(1993), Whiteness as Property, https://www.jstor.org/stable/1341787

[14] MCDermott(2005), Whiteness and Ethnicity of White Ethnics in the United States, https://www.jstor.org/stable/29737719

[15] Noah Ignatiev, (1995), How the Irish Became White by Ignatiev

 

Are Muslim Anti-Critical Race Theorists Liberals in Muslim Clothing?

I just wrapped up a discussion with Daniel Haqiqatjou as to whether Muslims should adopt or accept critical theory. There will be more forthcoming thoughts regarding that discussion.

As for now, I will discuss why Muslim anti-critical race theorists are in fact more liberal than they think. In a discussion, Abdullah Al AAndalusi, writes:

This is a continuation of an argument that Abdullah Al Andausi made in his Middle Way lecture. He argues that social policies aiming to address the legacy of Jim-Crow and Black Codes in the form of “positive discrimination” “create rancour” and result in them joining facist movements.  His mistake is that he attributes causality of “poor whites” in joining white supremacist movements to legislation endeavoring to end racial discrimination.

This argument is not based upon Islamic ethics but liberal consequentialism in which the morality of an action is to be judged solely by its consequences.  When we look at even legislation prohibiting racial discrimination from the end of school segregation, end of racially segregated schooling, ..etc. there was an increase among whites(of all classes) in joining the KKK and other racist movements which perpetrated  acts of violence against Black people.  After the Fair Housing Act was passed seeking to end housing segregation where I am from in Chicago, Whites preceded to start facist movements,. They bombed and killed  black people in order to intimidate them into remaining in certain neighborhoods.

However, this does not mean that the end of racially segregated schools, racially segregated housing, ..etc. were not worthy goals to pursue.

No Muslims would make the liberal consequentialist argument that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,  should stop seeking to proclaim the oneness of God simply because there will be backlash from the idolaters among the Quraysh.

When it comes to achieving addressing the legacy of jim crow, the fact that some poor whites will seek to uphold white supremacy by joining facist movements is not a reason for why we should not address the legacy of Jim crow.  To quotes Dr. Charles Mills:

De facto white supremacy treats as a neutral baseline “the existing color-coded configurations of wealth, poverty, property, and opportunities;” it assiduously maintains “the pretense that formal, juridical equality is sufficient to remedy inequities created on a foundation of several hundred years of racial privilege….White supremacy organizes group power not only in explicitly white supremacist polities like the Confederate States of America, Nazi Germany, and apartheid South Africa, but also in polities that renounce white supremacist ideology but still protect distributions of wealth, office, education, and opportunity systemically biased in favor of whites.”

The question that I pose for Muslim anti-critical race theorist is how they seek to address continued structural racism in a post-jim crow era in a way that is attuned with Islamic values.

Moinul Abu Hamza & The Incompetence of Colonized Muslim Critiques of Critical Race Theory!

 

Moinul Abu Hamza & The Incompetence of Muslim Critiques of Critical Race Theory!

Imagine the following scenario based upon the notorious torture ring that Jon Burge conducted against Black men.   A Black American, who happens to be a Christian, is apprehended by the police in the street. He is taken into police custody where the police call him the n-word. They apply electric shock to his genitals and suffocate him in order to force him to confess to crimes that he did not commit. The judge does not believe the African-American Christian brother when he says his confession was obtained through torture and allows his confession to be utilized by the prosecution against him. He is found guilty and spends 20 years of his life in prison on false charges before defense attorneys are able to help to overturn his conviction.

Upon leaving prison, the African American Christian brother stumbles upon self-proclaimed “Muslim intellectuals” dedicated to fighting the supposed “secular liberal” influence of critical race theory upon society.

The African-American Christian brother explains what happened to him and remarks “The police really did me wrong. Many think civil rights legislation ended structural racism but its clear that structural racism was able to maintain itself post jim-Crow.”

The self proclaimed Muslim intellectual responds “Structural Racism? Where is your evidence for this structural racism in the Qu’ran and Sunnah. Stop being a liberal social justice warrior. You aren’t qualified to speak on this because you haven’t studied Islam and believe in the trinity. Plus, by talking about racism you’ve only reinforced racism.”

As absurd as this sounds, this is the underlying logic of recent efforts of self-proclaimed Muslim intellectuals to refute critical race theory.  In a recent discussion I had with a critic of my previous article titled Why Muslims Need Critical Race Theory, Moinul Abu Hamza preceded to lambaste critical race theory as a western & secular liberal theory but not substantive analysis.

I explained to him that critical race theory is functionally a critique by African-American legal scholars of how structural racism was able to maintain itself in  a “western” and “secular liberal society” in a post jim-crow era. I explained how African-American critical race theorists have critiqued foundational secular western liberal thinkers from John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Thomas Jefferson, Jean Rousseau. Therefore, the categorization of critical race theory as being a western secular liberal theory is both ignorant and untrue. Moinul Abu Hamza responded to this by stating:

 

“If you think ive not educated myself about CRT, tell me your qualifications in Islamic sciences. Where have you studied and with who?”

 

Continuing, Moinul Abu Hamza writes:

 

Hakeem, please tell me your qualifications to say Islam has not addressed these issues and is bereft of answer so that you need to crawl up to CRT.

 

Instead of addressing my argument for why the categorization of critical race theory as a “western liberal” theory was inaccurate, Moinul Abu Hamza preceded to ask me about what my qualifications are in Islamic sciences. Additionally, Moinul Abu Hamza preceded to argue from a fundamentally unfounded assertions that by turning to critical race theory one is somehow implying Islam is bereft of answers to societal problems.

This is fundamentally untrue.  Critical Race theory, as posited by Derrick Bell, is literally a theory that posits that structural racism against African-Americans was able to maintain itself in a jim crow era after the passage of civil rights legislation. Moinul Abu Hamza never explains why the acceptance of this basic premise means one must be a “liberal Muslim” who does not believe Islam has answers to societal problems. He makes conclusory remarks which he never cares to substantiate.

I am admittedly not a scholar of Islam. Given the role of Moinul Abu Hamza role as the founder of the Qu’ran institute and his copious lectures he has providing tasfirs of the Qu’ran, he has likely studied under more Islamic scholars than me in traditional Islamic sciences.

The basic assumption of your argument is that somehow one needs to be an ulema or Islamic scholar to have a valid perspective on white supremacy and structural racism in American society.  African-Americans descend from Islamic civilizations in West Africa which were rich in Islamic heritage and learning. Unfortunately, the process of the transatlantic slave trade prohibited the ability of Africans to transgenerationally transmit Islamic knowledge.

Moinul Abu Hamza argument is essentially the equivalent of telling Fredrick Douglass, W.E.B Dubois, or Martin Delany, individuals who emerged from slavery, that all of what they say about white supremacy or racism is erroneous merely because they are non-Muslim or not learned in the Islamic tradition. Its a stupid and nonsensical argument.

I am an African-American Muslim human-rights attorney. I have worked to bring litigation against correctional facilities that have perpetrated human rights abuses against incarcerated African-American converts to Islam.  I have worked to defend African-American males who were falsely arrested and victims of police misconduct.   I have assisted in efforts to exonerate African-American males who have been falsely convicted of crimes. I see value in critical race theory in guiding my work as an attorney.

Prior to law school, I taught courses on Black political thought, including critical race theory at programs held at Harvard and U.C Berkeley.  I do not see any conflict between my Islamic faith and basic conclusions of critical race theory.

The basis premises of critical race theory are not really even a question of theology. What one does the insights and conclusions offered by critical race theory is the question of theology.  For example, one can accept the conclusions of critical race theory and say “this is why we need a Marxist-Leninist revolution” or one can accept the basic conclusions of critical race theory and say “This is Why we need Islam.” My position is the latter.

I am not foreclosing the possibility that there may be meaningful critiques of the critical race theory from the perspective of Islam. All I am saying, is that neither Moinul Abu Hamza or Abdullah Andalusi have presented such critiques. All that has been presented is an academically lazy categorization of critical race theory as a “western, liberal, social justice warrior philosophy”  when critical race theory is in fact a serious critique of the racism within western, liberal society by African-American legal scholars and political theorists.

Muslims: Improve Your Knowledge of Critical Race Theory 

Whether it be Moinul Abu Hamza or Abdullah Andalusi, Muslims are critiquing critical race theory from a position of ignorance.

This Sunday, Daniel Haqiqatjou, of the Muslim Skeptic Podcast, will be addressing the topic of “Can Muslims Accept Critical Race Theory?” and God-Willing, I hope to call into his show to clear up misconceptions that Muslims are presenting concerning Critical Race Theory. In a past statement, Daniel Haqiqatjou has stated:

 

There is this video of an ex-marine who hated Islam but then converted to Islam that is being shared widely.

Don’t take the wrong message from that video.

The ex-marine didn’t stop hating Islam and Muslims because an activist told him he suffered from islamophobia and he is a racist bigot who doesnt understand his white privilege, etc., etc.

He stopped hating Islam and Muslims because he read the Qur’an. And not only did he stop hating, he actually became Muslim.

Insofar as our dawah abandons the Qur’an and, instead, aligns with leftist activism with its reliance on critical race theory, decolonial studies, intersectional gender justice nonsense, etc., the less effective it will be. In fact, it will not be dawah at all. It will just be victimhood whining, which only breeds more resentment and hatred of Muslims and Islam.

 

I believe Critical Race Theory is very useful in giving Dawah to Islam.  I give dawah in very economically desolated African-American housing projects and inner-city neighborhoods. These are often neighborhoods where the drug economy and gang activity is rampant. Prior to speaking with brothers from such neighborhoods about Islam, I do research regarding these communities from the realm of critical race theory

In doing such research, you will often find that such communities have a history of being subjected to discriminatory and racist social policies. When I give dawah to brothers in these neighborhoods, I describe in concrete terms the ways in which the white power structure has worked to foster the desolated conditions of these neighborhoods. Then I talk about how Islam can empower them to rise above and transform the conditions that they are in. These response that I have received from brothers in such communities has only been positive and Allah knows best, but I believe it has only increased loved for Muslims and Islam.

As for the issue of the white marine, I mean sure. Someone isn’t going to read Derrick Bell’s article on Racial Realism, and be inspired to convert to Islam.  That was not the purpose of his research or writing. Nonetheless, reading Derrick Bell and other critical race theorists is a meaningful endeavor if one seeks to challenge historical racial injustices against African-Americans.

Derrick Bell, wrote in order to give insights into the African-American political tradition.  Additionally, there are Black critical race theorists who are very critical of the left and leftist politics. Therefore, it is inaccurate to paint critical race theory as a liberal or leftist social justice project.

The real question is absent the insights of Black political theorists in critical race theory: what type of Muslim is this ex-Muslim marine going to be? Is he going to be a Muslim that seeks to challenge white supremacy on a structural level or someone who continues to uphold it even after taking his shahada?

On another note, I find it quite odd that this ex-marine went from wanting to bomb an Islamic center to being placed as the head of the Islamic center after being Muslim for less than three years. Was there really not Black brother more qualified for the position to run an Islamic center than someone who three years previously wanted to blow Muslims up?

Abdullah Andalusi to Moinul Abū Hamza: Exemplifying Colonized Muslim Ignorance of Black Political Thought

 

In my article, Why Muslims Need Critical Race Theory, I responded to claims of various Muslim public speakers who have offered very shallow criticisms of critical race theory. In this article, I will further elaborate on the shallowness of their understanding of critical race theory and the dire social consequences of Muslims not engaging with Black political thought in a meaningful way.

Muslim have a very important responsibility to challenge oppression, tyranny, and injustice. African-American legal scholars pioneered critical race theory  to study how after the passage of civil rights legislation, the social mobility of African-Americans continued to be inhibited by defacto racial discrimination.

That is, as opposed to de’jure or legalistic racial discrimination, in which you have black codes and jjim crow laws that mandate segregated and unequal standards of living for African-Americans, critical race theorists posit that structural racism shifted in its mondus operani. An example they cite are  redlining and blockbusting replaced “no blacks allowed sign” as mechanisms to maintain racially segregated housing.

Critical race theory offers insights into 1) how structural racism can function absent laws mandating racial segregation and 2) how the removal of racist laws by Supreme Court were motivated by the need for America’s to clean up its image on an international level than a serious effort to end structural racism against African-Americans. 

Dismissing this entire body of African-American political thought, Abdullah Andalusi states “Don’t bring critical race theory into Islamic discussions” and that  “the western social justice warrior concept of racism coming from what they call critical race theory which is the ideological concept they come up with starts discriminating right off the back.”

 Islam is a faith that obligates challenging oppression and injustice.  On what basis does critical race theory have no basis in Islamic discussions when it is fundamentally an African-American critique of being subjugated in a western-liberal state in which structural racism continues to have dire consequences even in a post jim crow era?  

The only  that is demonstrated “‘right off the back’ is that Abdullah Andalusi’s understanding of critical race theory is derived from social media online caricatures. His critique demonstrates that he has had no serious academic engagement with the works of African-American legal scholars and philosophers who pioneered critical race theory.

Far from being western, critical race theory emerges among African-American legal scholars who while in what is dubbed “the west” as a result of forced migration, have been politically, economically, and socially outside of mainstream “western” society. Critical Race Theory is fundamentally a critique of how liberal European settler colonies such as the United States are organized around the concept of race and how even in a post black code & jim-crow era, structural racism has merely shifted from de’jure to defacto.

 With no serious engagement as to what critical race theory is, Abdullah Andalusi is accusing critical race theory, which is used by African-American legal scholars to analyze how racial discrimination can function on a defaco level as opposed to de’jure level of “perpetrating discrimination.” This is because he has not take the time to learn as to what critical race theory even is nor engage with it in a serious way. 

Critical race theory is a critique of how liberal European settler colonies are able to maintain systems of structural racism through non-legalistic means. Critical race theory emerges from the failure of civil rights legislation in the United States to adequately alleviate structural racism. Abdullah Andalusi responds to this by essentially discussing how in Islam  “we are all the human race, how we all come from Adam, and how we are all one human.”

This statement would be less non-sequitur if Abdullah Andalusi was juxtaposing how Islam would not organize a society based upon notions of race but higher ideals of piety.   However, this is not what Abdullah Andalusi does. Instead, he suggests that those who are making a criticism of the very real subjugation that occurs as a result of the decision of liberal European settler colonies to organize around race are themselves reinforcing racism because “in a way, using the word racism is racist if you say you’re discriminating against black people, your saying they are a different race. We are all the same race.”

Using the word racism does not mean one must accept race as a biological reality. Rather, one can acknowledge that race is a fictitious construct, yet use the word racism to describe the very real inequities and oppression that manifest  as a result of the decision of European settler colonies to organize around race. 

What’s remarkable is that Abdullah Andalusi is not consistent in terms of his line argumentation.   He erroneously labels CRT as “western” and insinuates that it comes from ‘the west.’  Similarly, Moniul Abu Hamza in response to my article refers to critical race theory as a western theory. 

The same questions can be returned to both Abdullah Andalusi and Moniul Abu Hamza. Why are you talking about “the west”? “The west” isn’t a valid biological or historical construct. The term “the west” is typically used by many Western Europeans to pretend they had some historical connection to ancient Greek to deny their barbarian roots.

The notion of “the west” is just as much as “fictitious” or `”non-biological” construct as race. Yet Abdullah Andalusi and Moniul Abu Hamza continue to see value in using the term “the west.” Their overzealous usage of the term ‘the west’ even causes them to  erroneously label critical race theory as “western thought?” Derrick Bell, the black legal scholar who pioneered critical race theory, would likely tell you that critical race theory is a critique of Black folks of being subjugated in a western liberal state. 

Why does not using the term “the west” reinforce the notion that the west actually exist by reinforcing European cartography and a western/non-west binary of the world?

Let’s continue: why should Muslims criticize the inequities of capitalism through fractional reserve banking and the system of speculative assets? Don’t you know speculative assets aren’t real? Islamic economists critiquing a system of speculative assets only reinforce  the notion that speculative assets are indeed real.

The point is that things that are not real can still have dire social consequences and talking about it is not a reinforcement of it.  Moinul Abū Hamza writes concerning the article:

Moinul Abū Hamza, a critic of the Why Muslims Need Critical Race Theory article.

 

“A study of how the West looks into the mirror from a western lens and seeks to adjusts itself from both ends of the human extremes. Basically an effort to redress the balance on a faulty scale void of morals and divine guidance. I’m surprised how Muslims find utility in every other book and author other than Allah (swa)’s book. But these are the times of confusion. We can’t even agree on what day of the week it is. We fall for anything. That’s my opinion in brief, I’m building on my understanding out in the real world outside of WordPress jihad and if you agree with the article, you are oh so welcome to inject yourselves and your children and pollute your circle of friends, just make sure your children are duat, your wife still wears hijab, and they don’t end up applying the same theories on to the Quran and taking issue. Eventually. Allah did not send a book and another book to explain it. Because this Deen is built on Quranic guidance, an experienced, actualised religion. For me, i’ll take a pass from these theories.”

 

This statement is just stupid. It makes a variety of unfounded assumption.

 

  1. As i’ve explained, Abdullah Andalusi’s arguments concerning how  critical race theorists reinforce race & racism by using the terms are just as applicable to Moniul Abu Hamza’s usage of the term “the West” and “western.”
  2. Critical race theory isn’t liberal or a liberal theory. It is literally a critique among African-American legal scholars of the failure of liberalism to sufficiently address structural racism.
  3. The Qu’ran is a revelation from Allah(swt) that was sent to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.  It provides a system of guidance, ethics,and morals for humans to follow. Critical race theory is a critique by African-American legal scholars of how structural racism of non-Islamic/Secular liberal societies shifted from de’jure to defacto post jim-crow and black codes. Critical race theory offers theories concerning of how structural racism can exist in a society absent a legalistic mechanism.  
  4. Derrick Bell and Dr. Charles Mills are critical race theorists/philosophers who are critical of how structural racism functions in the United States. Both the Qu’ran and Prophetic tradition stand strongly opposed to racism.  I’m not aware of any efforts of critical race theorists to critique the Qu’ran. I as an African-American Muslim, accept the underlying premises of critical race theory and obviously believe Islamic ethics are an alternative to the problems critical race theory identifies.

As i’ve stated, critical race theory certainly is not infallible. I’m willing and open to hear an Islamic critique of critical race theory.  However, I have not seen any real critique of critical race theory from its Muslim critiques that would even demonstrate  that they know what critical race theory is.  When Ibn Taymiyya sought to refute the Greek logicians, he actually studied the arguments of the Greek logicians. In Incoherence of the Philosophers, Al-Ghazali actually had to study and know Greek thought. Now, we have Muslims attempting to refute “critical race theory” without even bothering to study critical race theory and have no clue as to what critical race theory even is. Pathetic.

 

Why Muslims Need Critical Race Theory  

I am a Muslim. As a profession, I have also taught and lectured extensively on Black Political Thought including Critical Race theory at universities from U.C Berkeley to  Harvard University. Critical Race theory posits that even in a post-Jim Crow era, structural racism continues to operate on a defacto as opposed to de jure level with detrimental impacts to the standard of living, quality of life and access to opportunities for African-Americans.

As someone who works in many impoverished inner-city African-American neighborhoods on a grassroots level, I believe critical race theory, while certainly not infallible, offers valuable political insights that Muslims should study and engage with in a meaningful way.

Recently, there have been many Muslims who engage in Dawah who have endeavored to pushback against Muslim social justice activists who have adopted liberal or leftist political frameworks. In such critiques, Muslim public figures such as Daniel Haqiqatjou, Imam Zaid Shakir, Abdullah Andalusi, Ismail Royer,  Nour Goda, among others, have sought to critique critical race theory. They categorize critical race theory as being a liberal or leftist political framework. 

In their critiques, however, they have only demonstrated an immense ignorance as to what critical race theory even is. Their critiques are replete with intellectual laziness that only demonstrate they have not even bothered to read nor study  foundational works of critical race theory.  This article aims to 1) explain how such Muslims public speakers fundamentally misunderstand critical race theory and 2)explain how critical race theory bolsters Islamic critiques of liberalism.

The Ignorance of Muslim Opposition to Critical Race Theory

Daniel Haqiqatjou has stated that “Insofar as our dawah abandons the Qur’an and, instead, aligns with leftist activism with its reliance on critical race theory, decolonial studies, intersectional gender justice nonsense, etc., the less effective it will be. In fact, it will not be dawah at all. It will just be victimhood whining, which only breeds more resentment and hatred of Muslims and Islam.

In another lecture titled The Middle Way, Abdullah Andalusi writes that  “Islam doesnt have a word for racism….We are all human race.  Humans tend to hate each other based on tribe. It’s not limited to melanin in skin. People of the same ethnic group, same religion, but different tribes can hate each other just as much as a white supremacist hate immigrant.  The western social justice warrior concept of racism coming from critical race theory starts discriminating off the back.”

The characterization of critical race theory as being liberal or western is grotesquely inaccurate. Critical race theory emerged as a critique of the inability of liberalism and liberal political strategies to alleviate the structural racism facing African-American communities.

Critical race theory posits that liberal political reformist maneuvers in the form of civil rights legislation that prohibited de’jure racial discrimination only merely shifted it from de’jure to defacto.

For example, racially restrictive covenants made it impossible for African-Americans to move into neighborhoods which were designated as “white only.” African-American residential homes were often placed by city agencies near toxic waste dumps. African-Americans were often denied essential social services such as plumbing and garbage disposal services.

The Fair Housing Act outlawed these practices. Yet, critical race theory examines the ways how even after racial discrimination was formally outlawed, racial discrimination in housing continued via blockbusting and redlining, without a formal legal mechanism mandating such segregated policies.  

The origins of critical race theory traces its origins to African-American legal scholar, Derrick Bell, who once worked as an attorney for the National Association For the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP). Bell was part of the legal team that sought to end racial discrimination in schooling. This culminated in the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education which prohibited racially segregated schools.

In later writings which serve as the beginning of what is dubbed critical race theory, Bell reflected upon his work in the NAACP in more critical ways.   In fighting to end racially segregated schools, Bell stated the NAACP legal strategy relied upon the argument that racial discrimination in schooling would hurt America’s image in the cold war.  

Bell argues that the ultimate decision of the Supreme Court to end de’jure racial discrimination was facilitated by the need for the United States to better improve its image to newly decolonized nations in the cold war. It was not driven primarily by the fact that racial discrimination was inherently wrong. Bell believed much of his former work in the NAACP was ineffective in resolving structural racism in a meaningful way.

The second part of Bell’s analysis posits that structural racism is able to maintain itself even after legalized racial discrimination came to an end.  As proof, Bell cites data that indicated schools continued to be just as racially segregated even after the Brown vs. Board of Education declared racial segregation in schooling to be unconstitutional.

Now the question is this: what in Bell’s theory violates any tenet of Islam? What in this theory is liberal? What in this theory exactly is western? In fact, Bell is critiquing the inability of a western liberal state to resolve structural racism of a meaningful level.

Malcolm X, made similar critiques when he stated that “Washington, D.C tries to pacify our people with deceitful promises of tricky, civil rights legislation” and  “civil rights legislation will never solve our problem.” In fact, one can argue that it many ways Malcolm X’s critiques of the mainstream civil rights theory served a precursor to much of Bell’s writings.

In his lecture, Abdullah Al AnDalusi accuses critical race theory, a theory of African-American legal scholars to analyze structural racism in a post jim crow era as being the culprit in “perpetrating discrimination.”

Is Critical Race Theory Liberal?

There have been efforts of Muslim public thinkers to claim somehow that critical race theory is western or liberal, and this has the impact of undermining Islamic ethics. Ismail Royer, an American convert to Islam and Research and Program Associate at the Religious Freedom Institute, writes that “The paradox about these absurd attacks on American Muslim politicians/activists is that there activism actually involves undermining Islam with their “intersectional feminism” and critical race theory.”

Abdullah Andalusi also argues that critical race theory is somehow liberal or western in his lecture the Middle Way. The reality is that critical race theory has been highly critical of liberalism’s foundational founders.  African-American political theorist and critical race theorist, Dr. Charles Mills. for example has brilliantly critiqued how Immanuel Kant once wrote a treatise on how to properly beat African slaves with split bamboo to extract better labor from them and the implications this has on his categorical imperative theory.

Dr. Charles Mills writes that “Kant believed in a natural racial hierarchy, with whites at the top, and blacks and Native-Americans at the bottom. He saw the last two races as natural slaves.”

Critical Race theorists have been highly critical of John Lcoke. In his book The Critique of Racial Liberalism, Dr. Charles Mills  “John Locke invests in African slavery and justifies the aborignal expropritation; Immanuel kant turns out to be one of the pioneering theorists of modern “scientific racism“…liberalism needs to be reconceptualized as ideologically central to the imperial project.”

Critical race theorists have been critical of the ways in which John Locke introduced into the fundamental constitutions of Carolina in 1669, the right of white men to have “absolute power over their African slaves, and thus the right to kill their slaves with impunity.”

Several critical race theorists have noted that slavery has existed throughout history but was not always based upon race. They have noted and critique John Locke specifically as being  “an architect of the new race-based slavery.”

The Political Reality of Global White Supremacy

Critical Race theorists use the term white supremacy to identify the power system that has shaped the modern world. By white supremacist, they do not mean fringe figures such as an EDL or KKK members. They mean the essential thinkers that have shaped the modern world– Kant, Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Dr. Charles Mills defines white supremacy as “the system of domination by which white people have historically ruled over and, in certain important ways, continue to rule over nonwhite people.”

In a discussion with Abdullah Andalusi, he writes that  “CRT is problematic for two reasons, it creates a category called “whiteness” & ascribes to it culture and beliefs when visually low melaninated skin clearly has no connection to beliefs, culture.”

This is simply false. Critical race theorists are not the ones who created a category called whiteness. Derrick Bell, the founder of critical race theory, grew up in the United States, a society organized around the concept of white supremacy and through critical race theory merely analyzed how white supremacy continued even after African-Americans obtained formal, juridical equality.  It is not that Derrick Bell created a category called whiteness.

Rather, Derrick Bell grew up in the United States which through Jim Crow Laws and Black codes were predicated upon upholding a false construct known as whiteness. European settler colonists created a concept known as whiteness and upheld a political construct known as white supremacy in their political relationship with people they designated as non-white.

In this lecture, the Middle Why, Abdullah Andalusi spends time discussing how critical race theorists are in error because race is not a valid biological concept. This is non-sequitur.

Acknowledging that white supremacy as a political reality and to criticize that political arrangement does not require one to believe race has any biological reality. Critical race theory is critique of how European settler colonies have organized societies around race and created detrimental outcomes to groups of people who have been categorized into certain races.

In his lecture, Abdullah Andalusi precedes to talk about poor white people exist in the United States. Again, this is non-sequitur in addressing the basic contention of critical race theory that structural racism against African-Americans continued in a post jim crow era. As a result of the uniqueness of racism, poor whites are not nearly as detrimentally impacted by the rise of the prison industrial complex nor are they as adversely impacted by incidents of police brutality.

Poor whites have access to more opportunities for social economic mobility than do Black people.  Additionally, the existence of poor whites does not refute the fact that white supremacy in white settler colonies organizes distribution of wealth along racial lines.  African-Americans have such minimal wealth that at current trends even two whole centuries from now they will continue to lag behind in terms of household wealth in comparison to whites.

Why Muslims Need Critical Race Theory

Muslim public speakers who are opposed to critical race theory have not offered any meaningful critique of critical race theory that demonstrates that have even studied it. Critical race theory is a very meaningful political tradition for it demonstrates an effort of African-American legal scholars to conceptualize how structural racism could maintain itself even absent a formal legalistic mechanism mandating racial segregation.

Far from being “liberal” or “western”, critical race theorists have criticized the ways in which liberal strategies to resolve structural racism have been ineffective. Critical race theorists have critiqued the founders of liberalism for upholding white supremacy.  Critical race theory is not liberal or western. It is a Black criticism of being subjugated in a liberal-western state in an era in which Black people were told that the end of de’jure racial discrimination would resolve structural racism.

I am open to the possibility of valid criticisms of critical race theory. Unfortunately, the aforementioned criticisms by Muslim public figures of critical race theory which amounts to painting critical race theory as some “liberal social justice warrior nonsense” is not a valid criticism.  It is intellectually lazy and disrespectful to the Black political tradition and Black political thought.

 Such aforementioned criticisms of critical race theory will only result in Muslims being oblivious and complicit in oppression. Muslims have been obligated to enjoin the good and forbid the evil. Muslims are obligated to oppose oppression and tyranny whenever it is found. In order to achieve this, Muslims would benefit from the political insights of Derrick Bell and Dr. Charles Mills who have thoroughly dissected how structural racism continues to manifest itself in a post jim-crow era.

In the same way we need Muslim doctors, scientists, mathematicians..etc, we need Muslim critical race theorists. We need Muslims who study how structural racism impacts societies and the world.

Why Chicago’s Gang Problem is White

 

In a recent op-ed about Chicago’s epidemic of gang-violence, former Fox News conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly wrote, “the criminals causing the destruction are largely comprised of Black street gang members who sell narcotics in poor, minority neighborhoods.” He describes Black youth caught up in Chicago’s gang warfares as, “callous, violent individuals who have no regard for human life.”   O’Reilly advocates prison as the only solution, “Those gang members killing innocents are evil and no social program will change that. They should be locked away for decades.”  

When many think of Chicago’s “gang problem”, they think of the Gangsta Disciples, Black Disciples, Four Corner Hustlers, Vice Lords, Black Stones and other street organizations that run Chicago’s impoverished Black communities. But anyone who really wants to solve a problem knows you have to get to the root of the matter to really solve a problem.  The roots of Chicago’s gang problem are deep, decades deep, almost a century deep. Long before Black street organizations ascended to prominence, Chicago’s streets were made bloody by white gangs who massacred the city’s Black population. Indeed, it is the white gang-violence inflicted on Chicago’s Black populations that laid the foundation for the socio economic conditions for the contemporary violence seen in the Black community.

As my people began migrating to north from the South, the Chicago Tribune began running sensationalist headlines, “Half a million darkies from Dixie swarm to the north to better themselves” suggesting that Blacks were ‘infecting” the city.  In response, white gangs began to bomb Black households in an effort to systematically drive them out of Chicago .

In 1917, Mrs. S. P. Motley’s house was bombed, the next year 25 more houses were bombed, whites would also send threatening messages to Black homes in other areas, “Look out; you’re next” and “We are going to blow these flats to hell and if you don’t want to go with them you had better move out.” Tragically,  in 1919, a six year old girl was killed in a bombing.

These bombings, shootings, and arsons of Black communities were ultimately linked to Irish gangs.  In Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919, historian William M. Tuttle writes “These gangs, composed of white teenagers and young men in their twenties, many of the roughest of whom were of Irish descent, had terrorized Black people for years.”

What is particularly troubling is that not only were these individuals who carried out massacres of black neighborhoods not prosecuted for their crimes, but they would later be actively recruited into Chicago’s Police Department.  Criminal Justice Professor, John M. Hagedorn writes that the very same Irish gang which was a “violent racist tool to enforce segregation,” would be “reinvented as the Chicago Police Department.”

Thus from its earliest days, Chicago’s police department had members with the blood of innocent Black people on their hands and they recruited from white gangs who terrorized Black communities.  The decision of the Chicago Police Department to recruit from among white racist gangs would instill an anti-black culture in the entire institution.

As someone of Irish heritage himself, O’reilly would do well to reflect on the differing reactions of the city in responses Irish gang violence and that of Black gang violence.

The Chicago Housing Authority as an Anti-Black Gang

A Gang is defined broadly as an organized body of criminals who engaged in criminal activities. When one considers the rampant structural violence that has sentenced Black chicagoans to slow deaths, the Chicago Housing Authority fits fairly within this definition of a gang.  In the 1950’s, the Chicago Housing Authority established a segregated residential area for Black people. They built the community on a landfill in a toxic area surrounded with chemical waste incinerators and abandoned dumps with poisonous waste.

According to Environmental Justice Atlas, “Altgeld gardens had the highest concentration of hazardous waste sites in the nation.”  As a result of these environmental conditions,  residents of this area have an extremely high rate of children born with brain tumor, rare birth defects, asthma, and  large number of fetuses of mothers in the area were aborted because of brains developing outside of the skull.

Though Altgeld Garden was originally built as amo segregated community, the passage of civil rights legislation did nothing to remove or enable black  people from this community to escape the segregated conditions they had been placed within.

In a study of the impact of the Fair Housing Act passed in Chicago to outlaw racial discrimination, 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 fact, if current trends continue, blacks in Chicago’s south and westside neighborhoods will still be de facto segregated groups for decades into the future.

Thus, contrary to the assertions of Bill  O’reilly, historically speaking the real criminals of Chicago have been of white ancestry. They have used their power to terrorize black people, inhibit their social mobility, and force them in neighborhoods unfit for human habitability. It is the wretched conditions that Blacks have been forced to live within that has forced so many oppressed black youth into gangs and the drug economy for pure survival. While one may look at Chicago’s gang problem as a black phenonoman, the reality is  its origins are white.

 

An Islamic Critique of Neo-Liberal Economic Development In Burkina Faso

In his final sermon (McIntire, 2008), the Prophet Muhammad stated that “Allah has forbidden you to take usury … you shall neither inflict nor suffer any inequity.” The Prophet of Islam went on to say, “A white has no superiority over a black” (Mcltnire, 2008). In violation of this, I argue the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program is based upon utilizing usury to secure an economic order in which whites have superiority over blacks in the world’s economic affairs, and that the neo-liberal economic system solidifies a system of white supremacy.

The Qur’an (2:276) mandates that “Allah will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity.” And that “wealth may not circulate only among those of you who are rich(59:7).” In addition to positing an Islamic critique of the contemporary international economic system, this article will argue that the Islamic principles of Banking and Finance are a more ethical and humane alternative to the conventional secular western banking system. I argue that neo-liberal theories governing economics are materialistic and will never benefit Africans; they operate to secure a system of white supremacy in the world’s economic affairs. Rather, what is needed to bring harmony back to Africa is the abandonment of neo-liberal influence and a re-emergence of Islamic economic thought.

Walter Rodney in how European Underdeveloped Africa demonstrates exactly how European powers underdeveloped Africa and benefited from a parasitic economic relationship. According to Rodney, “Islamic Universities suffered because colonialism deprived them of the economic base which previously gave them support. As with so many other aspects of African life, what the colonialists put in must be weighed against what they halted and what they destroyed in both real and potential terms. Colonization has led to a decline in Islamic economic thought, yet indigenous African-Islamic economic thought can be found in the works of Uthman Dan Fodio, Askia Muhammad, and Al-Magadi. Islahi (2008) does an analysis on indigenous African-Islamic economic thought in which he states that Uthman Dan Fodio “advocates foundation of an economic system based on values such as justice.”

British Colonialism put an end to the society established by Uthman Dan Fodio, and with the Eurocentric educational system there has been a decline in African-Islamic economic thought; neo-liberal theories of economics are the prevailing model that the IMF and World Bank operate in Africa. These neo-liberal capitalist theories concerning development have been a disaster for Africa.  These neo-liberal theories are simply false and will not benefit Africa.

According to Zaham (2012), ”The founders of Islamic Economics had a vision of a superior and spiritual alternative to the injustices and exploitation of materialistic western systems.” This case study will examine the impact that the Structural Adjustment Program and liberalization of Burkina Faso’s economy has upon the people from an Islamic theoretical framework. It will provide a contrast between the reforms under Thomas Sankara and the IMF, and neo-liberal reforms speared-headed by his successor, Blaise Compaore. Was the World Bank’s “Poverty Reduction” program at all effective in reducing poverty in comparison to the reforms of Sankara?

White Capitalist Exploitation of Africa

 Bond(2006) critiques both the world bank and IMF. Bond(2006) argues that the World Bank work to maintain Africa in a perpetual state of poverty. Some of these schemes range from the outright theft and looting of resources by Western corporations in the Congo to clever and sophisticated programs, such as the structural adjustment program.  Bond(2006) notes that Tanzania is in debt by $7.5 billion, and Dar Es Salam’s water was privatized as a condition for the structural adjustment program and not many poor people lack access.  The author concludes that “Africa is poor, ultimately, because its economy and society have been ravaged by international capital as well as by local elites who are often propped up by foreign powers.” Furthermore,  Bond(2006) concludes that the economic relationship of the IMF and World Bank to that of Africa is one of exploitation.  

Payer(1982) gives a broad overview of the history of the World Bank and the IMF, exposing how it has largely been dominated by the United States of America. Payer(1982) ultimately concludes that their programs benefit the wealthy and that there is a major impossibility in alleviating poverty from a neo-liberal framework.  In a much more recent analysis, Ndikumana (2011) found that African nations seeking aid from the IMF are given loans with various one-sided stipulations. The interest rates are significantly higher than comparable loans, and, following the loan stipulations, various resources of the nations who cannot pay the loans back are privatized by Western corporations. The impact is that much of the resources and wealth of African nations are not in the hands of Africans themselves, but Western corporations; moreover, the high interest rates keep African nations locked in a cycle of debt

.Due to the high interest rates, African nations have actually repaid the IMF, World Bank, and Western governments significantly more money than was originally borrowed. As a direct result, the author, Ndikumana(2011), emphasizes that “contrary to the popular perception of Africa being a drain on the financial resources of the West, the continent is actually a net creditor to the rest of the world.” Moreover, the privatization of the resources of Sub-Saharan Africa by Western corporation results in wealth being increasingly concentrated in Western elites, outlining a major discrepancy.

An Islamic Analysis of Burkina Faso’s Economic Development

 

How racism created Chicago Gangs

chicago-ghetto African-Americans that previously resided in the Klan-run South came to Chicago during the great migration, lured in by the promises of jobs and political rights. However, these opportunities were systematically denied. Since blacks have entered this city they have been met with a level of bigotry so disgusting, and so pervasive, that it is a core aspect of Chicago’s culture. African-Americans seeking tocreate a better life would still face the very same racism and violence they found in the south. However, instead of it being by the Klan, it would be by the Chicago Housing authority and white mob groups. When blacks first came to Chicago they competed with the Irish over a scarce labor and housing market. In 1919, racial animosity reached a boiling point when a white person hit a blackchild with a rock while he was swimming in Michigan Lake. The black child drowned to death, but the Chicago Police Department refused to arrest the white aggressor. Blacks led a peaceful protest demanding justice, and as a result of their efforts they were viciously attacked by white mob groups. Whites entered the predominately black area on the Southside, terrorizing the black population through arsons and assaults.Nobody, not even children, were spared in the attacks. They even sought to enter a predominately black hospital to terrorize the black patients there. As whites continued to set fire to black neighborhoods, the Chicago Fire Department was not allowed to operate in these communities.

Hundreds of African Americans, including women and children, were left homeless on the streets after fires demolished their homes in these Chicago_Violence_Funeral-0e431-3658senseless attacks. Richard J. Daley was 17 years old at the time and one of the leaders of the Irish Hamburg Athletic Club that led this senseless attack on the black community.  Instead of being punished for these clearly racist attacks, he was made Mayor of Chicago, where he would continue to push and support racist legislation to disenfranchise the black community. Indeed, the white-ran Chicago housing authority from its inception worked to ensure that blacks lived in segregated neighborhoods. Blacks were confined to the Southside and these areas were treated with inconceivable neglect by government agencies. The “Neighborhood Composition Rule” ordered that housing was to be segregated. This resulted in Black people being segregated in the Southside in what is known as “The Black Belt.”Of course, all of the housing that the Chicago Housing Authority set aside for blacks was decrepit; many apartments lacked plumbing, were overcrowded, and far below requirements for healthy sanitation.

violencechicagoEven wealthy blacks were forced into substandard neighborhoods due to racial discrimination. As a direct result of these social conditions, the infant mortality rate for blacks sky-rocketed to well above the national average. Eventually, the neighborhood Composition rule was eventually struck down. This was met by complete outrage by white vigilante groups who, once again, terrorized the local black population with heartless violent confrontations. While blacks were portrayed as being “violent”, many times it was not the “delinquent” black youth attacking innocent peaceful white people but vice-versa. Indeed, during this time blacks lived under increased threats of violence and fear from whites. Blacks had no choice but to live in the ghetto because of the terrorism inflicted by whites against those would dared to live on the outskirts of their state created locus. During these times, overt discrimination against blacks reigned supreme in every area of Chicago’s society, such as employment, housing, health care, and every other opportunity for upward social mobility.

Black street gangs do not come out of the sky. Their origins are undeniably rooted in state imposed substandard social conditions. Gangs resultchicago4343 from the myriad ways in which this racist government has confined black youth in the most atrocious of social conditions. It is undeniably accredited to the denial of economic opportunities, denial of quality education, and racist violence inhumanely inflicted by covetous white vigilante groups. Discrimination against black youth runs rampant on the job market.  Often times, the drug economy is sometimes the only way in which they can provide for their families. Indeed, between 1967 and 1982, nearly 50% of Chicago’s manufacturing jobs were eliminated.   This devastated Chicago’s black community and gangs skyrocketed.  Of course, such an event is inevitable under capitalism which seeks to outsource to foreign countries for cheap labor to increase profits. John M. Hagedorn writes that “The conditions in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods came to resemble impoverished Third World countries, and police harassment was ever-present.” Also worth noting is that the Chicago government has also responded to white street gangs and black street gangs differently. Contrary to popular belief, the first gangs in Chicago were not black but white, specifically Irish. Unlike Black Street gangs that formed out of economic necessity, these gangs formed amongst white youth to terrorize black communities who dared to defy racist segregation  laws.

Chicago’s government decided to take a rehabilitation approach with these white Irish gangs and transform them into “respectable” members of society. Indeed, the entire Irish gang that brutalized and decimated black communities was transformed into the Chicago Police Department. Richard D. Daley, who was a dedicated member of one of these gangs, later became Mayor. There has never been a serious attempt by the Chicago government to rehabilitate black gang members into society. Instead, the government has only responded through police occupation of black communities.  Also, the black community has taken numerous steps to deal with gang-violence and all of them were foiled by the government.   Fred Hampton, the leader of the  Black Panther Party For Self Defense, attempted to form an alliance with Chicago’s black street gangs to turn them into an activist organization Instead of allowing this alliance to manifest, the FBI would instead forge letters between the two groups to breed hostility. The Chicago Police Department would eventually assassinate the Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton. This alliance had the potential to unify black street gangs and end the violence that they were perpetrating against one another but the government would not allow for it to materialize. Today, gang violence continues to take the lives of black youth.

 

. Chicago’s state-sanctioned racism produces “thugs” and systematically strips the morality from people and replaces it with a stone cold heart The Third World Inside of America: A Critical Look at the Southside of Chicago PT 1that is seen as necessary to survive on these mean streets.Blacks have been systematically disempowered and live in the most violent areas, not because we are “naturally” aggressive, but because of economic conditions that have been imposed on us by  malicious outside forces.  The obstacles that were, and still are, put in place,  to halt black socioeconomic aspirations,  has resulted in black youth  acquiring detrimental social, economic, and political habits that are exemplified in the gangs that roam Chicago’s streets. The gangs that we have in our community, the bloody knives that lay astray in the pavement, the white chalk on our sidewalks, the yellow tape surrounding vacant lots, and the rapid succession of bullets that are fired at one another are the cumulative effects of systematic institutionalized racism.

————————

1.Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

2 “Chicago Race Riot of 1919″.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-04.http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/110488/Chicago-Race-Riot-of-1919

3.) Tuttle, William. Race Riot Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (Urbana, IL; University of Illinois Press, 1970)

4)   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

5) Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

6) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

7 ) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

8)   Asraa MustufaFriday, June 17 2011 http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/06/chicago_activists_push_for_trauma_center_on_the_south_side.html Chicago Activists Push for Trauma Center on the South Side

9) “I See Everything Through This Tragedy” February 12, 2012, 11:00 am ET by Alex Kotlowitz http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/social-issues/interrupters/i-see-everything-through-this-tragedy/

10) Karen Jordan Activists rally against mental health clinic closures

Tuesday, April 17, 2012  http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8624017

11)  Race, Health Care and the Law Speaking Truth to Power!

Institutional Racism in US Health Care http://academic.udayton.edu/health/07humanrights/racial01c.htm

12)  Discrimination Contributes To African-American Health Disparitiea  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/55345.php 01 Nov 2006 – 3:00 PST

13)  Chicago’s Jackson Park Hospital Settles Discrimination Charges

Written by Molly Gamble | November 22, 2011http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/chicagos-jackson-park-hospital-settles-discrimination-charges.html

14) Black Borrowers Face Higher Hurdles in Lending, Study ShowsBy Stefanos Chen  Feb 24th 2012 1:48PM

 http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2012/02/24/black-borrowers-face-higher-hurdles-in-lending-study-shows/

15)  A Requiem for Blockbusting: Law, Economics, and Race-Based Real Estate Speculation Dmitri Mehlhornhttp://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?articl The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve

02/16/2012

e=3528&context=flr

16  Chicago Most Segregated City In America, Despite Significant Improvements In Last Decade

01/31/2012 12:49 pm http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/chicago-most-segregated-c_n_1244098.html

17  http://www.plp.org/leaflets-pamphlets/pamphlets/Racism_pamphlet2.pdf PROGRESSIVE LABOR PARTY ON RACE AND RACISM

18) The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve

02/16/2012 HTTP://WWW.CTUNET.COM/BLOG/TEXT/SCSD_REPORT-02-16-2012-1.PDF

19) Consortium for School Research at the University of Chicago

20)  “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination,” Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, National Bureau of Economic Research, July 2003.

21) The Mark of a Criminal Record Devah Pager Northwestern Universityhttp://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdf

22) http://www.dartmouth.edu/~blnchflr/papers/finalrestat.pdf DISCRIMINATION IN THE SMALL  BUSINESS CREDIT MARKET

23)   Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining  for a New Car

By  IAN  AYRES  AND  PETER SIEGELMAN*http://islandia.law.yale.edu/ayers/Ayres%20Siegelman%20Race%20and%20Gender%20Discrimination%20In%20Bargaining%20%20for%20a%20New%20Car.pdf

24)) NAS LYRICS “Hold Down The Block” (feat. Mark B. Mayfield) http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nas/holddowntheblock.html

26) Freeway, What We Do http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/freeway/whatwedo.html

27 )   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

28) Rates of of poverty, violence, and other indicators of social exclusion resemble Third world cities like Rio de Janiero, Cape Town, and Lagos more than they resemble lower-class European urban aieasofpoverty. JohnM.Hagedorn, “Youth in Organized Armed Violence in Chicago” in Neither War Nor Peace: International

 29) RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

30) Ibid.

31) Ibid.

32) Ibid. Also see The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffrey Haas.

The Black Power Politics of Malcolm X

Sapelo Square

By Hakeem Muhammad

Throughout his life, Malcolm X’s political and theological views constantly evolved.  However,  several core elements never changed. One was his recognition of white supremacy as a global political system that had to be vehemently opposed.  Malcolm explained, “The economy, the politics, the civil life of America is controlled by the white man.”  Political scientist Charles Mills advances this analysis; the United States is often falsely conceived of as a raceless liberal democracy instead of what it actually is: a white supremacist state.

malcom-1Malcolm X, in his autobiography, explains that this political arrangement had Black people confined to ghettos, living for mere survival, and unable to aspire to higher ambitions in life. Within these ghettos, Blacks were subjected to unbearable living conditions.   He lamented that many of his childhood friends had the potential to be great mathematicians or scientists but were instead victims of the white man’s…

View original post 1,511 more words