Race & Religion – The Dialog Has Begun

Again, thank you to all of you who have taken a moment to comment on this issue. I am humbled that the response is as large as it has been and that it’s been a balance from both sides. It is my wish to continue this dialog and to carry it from a secular point of view into a forum where it can also mix a little bit with religion. So both sides have a say. I am intrigued to see the interplay of the social issues that certain groups face while still being a part of the seem spiritual group. Racism means many things to many people (or at least that’s what I gather). The racism that I may experience as a Blackamerican (tip of the hat to Professor Sherman Jackson) will not be the same as someone who’s Arab or Pakistani or Albanian (oh, yes. The Albanians are white but they do suffer from racism as well – now wouldn’t that make an interesting post/subject?).

And finally, how will Blackamerican Muslims use Islam as a vehicle to combat white supremacy and institutionalized racism? What tools can we extract from Islam and the Prophet’s Message to use in our fight for equality? I don’t know, but I’m sure some of you will have some ideas on that. Feel free to share.

P.S. I really appreciate it when you link to me – it allows me as a writer (albeit a semi-pro/amateur one) to reach a bigger audience. So in return, leave your link as well and I’ll return the favor. Thanks.

The Miseducation Of Brother X

I had a really good conversation last night with a good friend of mine. The topic mainly revolved around education; both formal and self-education. He’s a student at a small liberal arts school and talked about how ineffective he felt his education was. I spoke to him about the process of self-education. How one really needs to be self-learned. This is not an easy process to just come upon. It takes planning, foresight and a deep-rooted desire to learn.

I was a victim of public education – by that I mean that I was not challenged at all. I was bored and just simply disconnected as a young person. I day dreamt a lot and yet, despite my day time sleep walking, I was a bright kid (if I may say so myself). I taught myself Japanese (fluent both in speaking, reading and writing), which if anyone has tried to learn, is no small task. I wasn’t stupid – just not engaged. And it’s there, the being engaged part that I think my friend falls on his face. You cannot sit back and wait for the school to teach you – you have to teach yourself. Give up television (or at least restrict it) and read. We live in a day and age where large amounts of information on virtually every subject known to man is available (the Internet). I think if one can temper his/herself to this task you’ll see the rewards.

It's Okay To Be A Follower

So what happens to a ship that has either a crew of captains or everyone’s rowing? Arguing over who’s in charge or no one’s in charge at all! I was listening to a recent audio clip from the Zaytuna Institute in which Hamza Yusuf pointed out that not everyone needs to be or even can be a scholar.

And that’s okay. What’s important is following the religious authority (there is one? Ooops, my bad. See the next article for that one). We have to get out of this notion that we’re all supposed to go off and study and become scholars of the religion. We need carpenters, lawyers, plumbers, doctors, cab drivers and entertainers just like any other society. We all can’t steer the ship nor can we all row blindly in the dark. And that’s just another bulletin from your friendly neighborhood Muslim-Man.

Obstacles We Have To Over Come

I had a very interesting conversation with a brother last night outside the mosque. We were discussing some problems and issues that had come up recently but are not new issues or problems by any means.

The first case was of a young Muslim couple who were going through a hard time. Looking at this from the outside without any sense of reality, or their reality, you’d say this was all brought on them by themselves. While this summary isn’t far from the truth it does make for an interesting “case study”. Continue reading “Obstacles We Have To Over Come”