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 

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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.

 

 

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.

 

A Black Response to Bill O’Reilly’s Racist Statement About Chicago’s Gang Violence

 

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.

 

In Honor of Safiya Bukhari

Killadelphia: Even Though What We Do is Wrong! (Hood Series)

kill

Fed up with taxation without representation, America’s founding fathers signed the declaration of independence in Philadelphia. As a result, Philadelphia became known as the city of brotherly love. Yet, Black people in Philadelphia have never experienced this liberty.  Philadelphia was a prime target for African-Americans during the great migration, and it quickly became a white on black killing field. In one incident, a large horde of angry whites who were upset about potential “race-mixing” violently attacked the black community. In addition to violent attacks, the Philadelphia Housing Authority created segregated housing, placing blacks in the most decrepit areas.

In Lower North Philadelphia, the majority of black homes lacked not only heating, but also plumbing; undernourishment among children was also common.

Thus, whites were able to accumulate capital and pass estate to their future generations, while blacks in these segregated communities were denied such opportunities. As a result of racist city-planning, African-Americans in the Moayamensin Slums lived life below the poverty line with an infant mortality rate double that of whites.

Today, Philadelphia is an epicenter for black-on-black crime; despite African-Americans making up only 43% of the population, roughly 80% of all murder victims in the city were black. From 2007 to 2010, over 90% of homicide victims below the age of 18, were black males, and roughly all the murderers were fellow young black men.

This franticide in the black community led journalist Palash Ghosh to comment, “As the drug trade remains highly active and the economy remains depressed, Philadelphia will likely stay a killing field for young black men.”

Philadelphia is  known as the city of liberty, and is home to Fairmount Park – the largest landscape park in the  world – and a variety of profitable Fortune 500 companies.  Yet, there is another area of Philadelphia devoid of such attractions. Barry Adrian Reese, who goes by the moniker Cassidy, describes his community as, “Killadelphia, Pistolvania”. True to the description, this “other” Philadelphia is notorious for its crackheads and crack babies, high levels of urban crime, and an ever-pervasive drug economy.

phillly435Despite being known as the city of brotherly love, there is no love for blacks who face oppression in the 21st century – oppression which is considerably more tyrannical than the founding fathers faced: the deprivation of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is carried out in the form of redlining to maintain segregated housing, discriminations in employment to maintain impoverished housing, segregated school to maintain an uneducated population, and an inequitable judicial system to funnel this population into the prison-industrial complex.

The poverty that breeds drug economies impacts black communities the most; in Philadelphia, blacks are exposed to poverty rates at three times the rates of whites. Sociologist John Logan states in his study that “Philadelphia’s black population, and particularly its affluent black population, lives in much poorer neighborhoods than comparable whites because they are so highly segregated by race.”

The study entitled “The Death Penalty in Black and White: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides” found that merely being black increased the probability of being given the death sentence more than smoking increased the probability of developing cancer.

Thomas Jefferson was outraged over taxation without representation, but significantly more atrocious is the daily plight of black Americans.

Thomas Jefferson was able to list the grievances that Americans endured from the British Empire, such as a lack of access to a fair trial and taxation without representation. If a group of black intellectuals came together, seeking to list every black grievance against the U.S. government from redlining, gentrification, discriminatory employment practices, blockbusting, economic deprivation, and an imposed drug economy, etc., it would far surpass the grievances noted by the founding fathers. This reality raises an interesting question: “Is it time for black people to call for freedom and independence?”

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Sources Used:  The encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, Great Depression,

http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/category/roger-d-simon/ Realtors and Racism in Working-Class Philadelphia, 1945-1970 Study,

Philly, 9th Most Segregated Metro In U.S.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Study-Phillys-9th-most-segregated-metro-in-US.html#hZGL0ZiMwPJb21he.99

Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era: Now You See It, Now You Don’t By Robert Charles Smith

Turbo-Capitalism: Winners and Losers in the Global Economy

Malcolm X To Lupe: Speaking Truth to Power

Malcolm X to Lupe, Islam & the U.S. Empire

Malcolm Little was born in the belly of the beast – a white supremacist American society. He was disenfranchised and exploited, and was living in an internal colony. His father was killed by the Ku Klux Klan, and subsequently his mother was placed in an asylum home for the mentally ill. Though he received better grades than his white peers in school, when he told the school staff he wanted to be a lawyer, his white teacher scoffed at him and told him that as a negro he would be better off working with his hands. Eventually, Malcolm Little would earn the nickname Detroit Red as he involved himself in gambling, robbery, prostitution and other vices, and he soon became a victim of the prison-industrial complex. While in prison, Detroit Red became Malcolm X, converting to Islam and he began devoting himself to knowledge by studying U.S. history, philosophy, and even memorizing the dictionary. Malcolm X came out of prison an incredibly learned man and became a vocal advocate for oppressed black people in the United States. Malcolm X was assassinated, but his legacy has influenced African-American culture greatly.

 

The hip-hop artist Nas once stated, ”Rap became a version of Malcolm ” Hip-hop is an art form which emerged in the ghetto and gave disenfranchised youth a voice to express their politics and their beliefs  or ‘speak truth to power’- something they were denied in mainstream American society. Thus, hip-hop was an extension of the tradition of black political defiance of Malcolm X. As Malcolm X was getting out of jail, another influential thinker visited America. Sayyid Qutb visited the U.S. and critiqued American society for its materialism and what he essentially saw as a hedonist lifestyle lived by members of the west. Qutb would eventually become the leader of the still influential organization in Egypt: the Muslim Brotherhood. What’s often ignored is the anti-blackness which exists Sayyid Qutb’s critique of American culture. He would write:
The American is primitive in his artistic taste, both in what he enjoys as art and in his own artistic works. “Jazz” music is his music of choice. This is that music that the Negroes invented to satisfy their primitive inclinations, as well as their desire to be noisy on the one hand and to excite bestial tendencies on the other.

Sayyid Qutb, one of the most influential Islamic thinkers, believed that jazz was invited by negroes due to their primitiveness and beast-like nature. To hip-hop artist Nas, whose father is an African-American Muslim jazz musician, jazz music was a part of a black oratory tradition for political expression for those who were given no voice. He states, ”Bridging the gap from the blues, to jazz, to rap. The history of music on this track.”  Muslims in the Middle East have been utterly silent on the anti-blackness in their societies, such as the frequent occurrence of calling of blacks abeed (meaning slave) at Hajj, as well as the anti-black prejudice among one of the most influential “Islamist” thinkers, Sayyid Qutb. These individuals will evoke Bilal and Malcolm X’s letter after going to Hajj to selectively to demonstrate how racially inclusive Islam is, while being silent on the racial injustices in their societies today.  Dabashai Notes:

Islam for Malcolm X was an equally combative occasion, but as an infinitely more liberating, progressive, alive, and living organism. In more than 200 years of encounter with colonial modernity, and literary hundreds of radical Muslim thinkers, no Muslim revolutionary comes even close to Malcolm X in the liberating, global, and visionary grasp of his faith and its place in facing the barefaced barbarity of economic and military world domination…. If Islam does not have anything to say or to offer to these disenfranchised communities…   without asking them to convert to Islam, then it is nothing but the fatuous  faith of the Khaliji, Kuwaiti, and Saudi sheikhs having difficulty bending their overfed bellies when pretending to prostrate to pray, or else the rambling gibberish of Osama bin Laden and Mulla Omar when replicating the American neocons in their advocacy of terror. There is another Islam unknown to those crooked bodies… the Islam of Malcolm X.”

In the  tradition of Malcolm X and an anti-racist and anti-imperialist tradition that has emerged in the African-American tradition. Lupe Fiasco, whose real name is Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, was s a rapper who grew up in Chicago and has arguably been the most politically vocal artists since Tupac Shakur. The son of a Black Panther, his lyrics blend together critiques of U.S. state racism, American foreign policy, and Muslim extremism. Lupe writes, ”I grew up in the hood around prostitutes, drug dealers, killers, and gangbangers, but I also grew up juxtaposed. On the doorknob outside of our apartment, there was blood from some guy who got shot; but inside, there was National Geographic magazines and encyclopedias and a little library bookshelf situation. And we didn’t have cable, so we didn’t have the luxury of having our brains washed by MTV.” Lupe Fiasco states he was influenced to rap after listening to Nas’ “It Was Written,” who was also  influenced by  Malcolm X .

“G’s up along with Muhammad and Jesus
In the Quran they call him Isa
Don’t think Osama and sadaam are is our leader.”

This makes it clear that, as a Muslim, Osama is not his leader. In another song, Lupe states, “Jihad is not holy war. Where’s that in the worship? Murdering is not Islam! And you are not observant. And you are not a Muslim.” This is a message to all extremist vigilante groups who misuse Islam to carry out violent attacks against innocent lives. Yet, Lupe does not stop there – his lyrics also condemn U.S. foreign policy and the military industrial complex, stating, ”I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullsh*t. Just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets.”  Lupe Fiasco then argues that:

 

“Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist
Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say sh*t
That’s why I ain’t vote for him, next one either
I’ma part of the problem, my problem is I’m peaceful”

Lupe Fiasco criticizes right-wring television cast while also condemning Obama for allowing Muslims in lupefiascioPalestine to be bombed. Interestingly enough, Lupe Fiasco condemns Osama for not being “observant,” and the reality is that Muslim vigilante groups are not fundamental to Islamic text – rather, they are reformists who break Islam’s clear prohibitions to justify war tactics that Islam finds despicable.  Through Lupe Fiasco, the revolutionary politics of Malcolm X is alive and well.

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Islamic Liberation Theology: Resisting the Empire: Hamid Dabashi