#MiddleGroundPodcast: Islam, Blackamerica: Between Morality and White Supremacy

In this episode, I  foster an important conversation about the future of Islam in America, particularly as it relates to Blackamerica, with Dr. Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, assistant professor of Islamic law and Prophetic Tradition at Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, and Malik Shaw, author of The Green School: A Natural Approach To Educating Children and the co-Founder and executive director of Midtown Mosque, in Memphis.

From Malik Shaw’s book, The Green School:

“As Jill Rigby states in her book Raising Disrespectful Children in a Disrespectful World, ‘As a result of this emphasis on self-esteem, twenty-somethings are returning home rather than facing the world on their own. College kids are flunking out because they don’t know how to manage their schedules. Kids are growing up without problem-solving skills because their parents think love means solving all their problems for them. Many adolescents have no respect for authority because their parents didn‘t command their respect. Instead, their parents gave too much and exposed them to too little. In our attempt to build self-esteem in children, we have reared a generation of young people who are failing at life, haven’t a clue who they are, and are struggling to find a reason for living. Their kids fall for the latest craze, healthy or unhealthy. It doesn’t matter, as long as they are in the middle of it. They would rather die than give up their cell phones. And they feel that others have an obligation to serve them’.”

Muslims, Modernity and America: The Problems of Meaning

During the 2018 Blackamerican Muslim Conference there were a few instances when modernity, liberalsim, and progressivism—amongst other ideals—were evoked and discussed. Often these philosophies are discussed in relation to the so-called immigrant Muslim community and how it affects them. But these philosophies and value systems impact the Blackamerican Muslim community as well. As I mentioned in my last post, my hope is to delve a little deeper into these topics so as to raise our literacy on the forces acting upon us. I found Steven Seidman’s phrase, “problems of meaning” aptly titled and insightful. In short, Seidman defines the “problems of meaning” as,

“a pervasive uncertainty regarding ultimate beliefs and values, confusing images of self, society and nature, and the ceaseless conflict over the ends, rules, and norms in terms of which personal and collective life is organized and legitimated.”

Continue reading “Muslims, Modernity and America: The Problems of Meaning”

Islam’s Capacity to Empower

Given the recent attack in London — along with others, many would be highly suspicious of, if not downright hostile towards, any claims of Islam’s ability to empower those who have been downtrodden themselves. Quite the contrary, many view Islam as a corrupting force which prays on the poor and disenfranchised, of which then they all too often employ Islam as an irrational justification to mete our violence in response to perceived injustices. But it may surprise some, particularly American whites and Europeans, that Islam has a very different assessment in the black community. For many of us, even non-Muslim black folks, Islam is seen as redemptive, a system that has the solutions to our social, existential, and even civilizational conundrums. This was beautifully demonstrated by brother Ibn Ali Miller when he broke up two young men attempting to solve their disagreements through violence. He also gave a valuable critique against the voyeuristic technology culture that allows others to sit on the sidelines and gloat at the suffering of others. May Allah reward brother Ali and make him of the inheritors of Islam. An inspiration to us all.

وَنُريدُ أَن نَمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذينَ استُضعِفوا فِي الأَرضِ وَنَجعَلَهُم أَئِمَّةً وَنَجعَلَهُمُ الوارِثينَ

“And We want to empower those who were being oppressed in the land, to make them leaders, and to give them an inheritance in the earth.” Qur’an, 28: 5