US Reps Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib hold a news conference following President Donald Trump's attacks on them on July 15, 2019 [File: Erin Scott/Reuters]

US Reps Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib hold a news conference following President Donald Trump's attacks on them on July 15, 2019 [File: Erin Scott/Reuters]

Al Jazeera / 7.24.2019 
THE LONG HISTORY OF BLACK AMERICANS BEING TOLD TO 'GO BACK'

If the blatant racism on display in the lead-up to the 2020 election is at all surprising, you have not been paying attention. Candidate Donald Trump began his ascent to the US presidency descending down a gilded escalator and spewing racist epithets about Mexican immigrants. The descent has continued and there doesn't seem to be a bottom.


 
Flickr/Trending Topics 2019

Flickr/Trending Topics 2019

The Islamic Monthly / 5.28.2019
ALADDIN 2.0: HOLLYWOOD STILL ISN'T SERIOUS ABOUT DIVERSITY

Last week, Disney Studios released a live-action version of its 1990s animated film, Aladdin. The live-action film has been mired in controversy even as the studio attempted to approach the remake with a kind of cultural sensitivity that the older version is infamous for lacking. These efforts include some seemingly progressive moves like actually casting a person of Arab descent as Aladdin (although where is Agrabah actually?). But there are also a series of missteps including spray tanning extras and having only one Black character with a real speaking role play a supernatural figure bringing up the trope of the magical negro. It is clear that despite the experts and community folks who were brought in to consult on the film, there were just some things, like the fact that Arabs come in all colors, that the studio just couldn’t let go of.


 
Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer

Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer

Vice / 3.27.2019
REPRESENTATION AS A BLACK MUSLIM WOMAN IS GOOD — AND IT'S A TRAP.

Last May, I got a “Congrats!” text message from a friend to which I replied, “Huh?” My friend then promptly sent me a link to CNN’s 25 Influential American Muslims list in which I was identified as defining Muslim Cool because of my book by that title, and nicknamed “The Arrowhead” because I don’t half-step.


 
Ilhan Omar via Lorie Shaull / Flickr

Ilhan Omar via Lorie Shaull / Flickr

Black Youth Project / 3.27.2019
HOW TARGETING ILHAN OMAR INSTEAD OF WHITE SUPREMACY FURTHERED BOTH ANTI-SEMITISM & ISLAMOPHOBIA

Last week, House Democrats passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and white supremacy. As Black women, Muslim and Jewish, we agree that anti-Black racism, anti-Semitism, sexism and Islamophobia must be condemned.


 
Black Muslims are subject to a double burden of state violence: the War on Crime and the War on Terror

Black Muslims are subject to a double burden of state violence: the War on Crime and the War on Terror

Boston Review / 2.27.2017
ISLAM ON TRIAL

All along the campaign trail, Donald Trump made clear his intention to ban Muslims from entering the United States. He also suggested that Muslim citizens were a threat to the country, in need of special monitoring. Given this, many were puzzled by Trump’s tweet commemorating Muhammad Ali when he died. How could Trump espouse anti-Muslim racist rhetoric on the one hand and praise Muhammad Ali, a Muslim, on the other? One explanation is that Muhammad Ali is seen as exceptional, and thereby different from other Muslims. But it is more likely that Ali is not seen as Muslim at all, despite his very public embrace of that identity.


 
 
 
Photo Credit: Photo: Marvel Studios

Photo Credit: Photo: Marvel Studios

Blavity / 3.18.2018
IS 'BLACK PANTHER' ANTI-MUSLIM?

Since the epic release of the film Black Panther, a few voices coming out of the US Muslim community have called the movie anti-Muslim. Black Panther is an amazing film and, while it has its flaws, I join others who find it a bit of an overreach to cast the entire film as anti-Muslim. Nevertheless, I think this claim does raise three important questions: Can media made by Black people or that centrally features Black storylines traffic in myths made about other people of color? And if they do, how should we interpret that? And, what should be our response? 


 
 
 
Courtesy of Al Jazeera

Courtesy of Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera / 6.21.17
THE CAMERAS COULD NOT SAVE PHILANDO CASTILE 
CAMERAS WILL NOT END BLACK DEATHS. 

Over the past few years the use of cameras - whether on police vehicles, on the police themselves or taken by citizen journalists - has been seen as a possible means of achieving more police accountability and preventing black deaths. This cautiously hopeful narrative made Friday's acquittal of Jeronimo Yanez for the murder of Philando Castile especially upsetting for many. 


 
Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Ebony Magazine / 7.21.16
HE WAS OURS - WHAT MUHAMMAD ALI MEANT TO MUSLIMS

 

Like many, I found out about the death of Muhammad Ali via social media. My timelines and newsfeeds were full of the expected stages of grief-- shock and disbelief followed by sadness and commemoration. Along with these expected responses came something unexpected: My Muslim friends shared after photo of themselves as babies, toddlers and adolescents posing with The Champ. These photos were posted not only by other Black Muslims but also by friends whose parents were Muslim immigrants to the United States from South Asia and the Middle East. They, too, shared stories of folks "back home" who, for example would gather around the only TV in the neighborhood to watch Ali... 


 
Courtesy of Al Jazeera

Courtesy of Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera / 1.29.17
TRUMP'S MUSLIM BAN IS A DANGEROUS DISTRACTION
DONALD TRUMP'S EXECUTIVE ORDERS ARE SMOKE AND MIRRORS TO DISTRACT HIS SUPPORTERS FROM THE PROMISES HE WON'T BE KEEPING

On January 27th, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to make good on his promised Muslim Ban. One of the primary provisions of the order is a ban on visas to the US to nationals from seven countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, which are all Muslim-majority nations.


 
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The Immanent Frame / 9.22.16
WE GON' BE ALRIGHT: BLACK LIVES MATTER AND BLACK RELIGION 

In a recent conversation with a racial justice organizer, I asked if religious institutions played a role in their work. The response was “happily, no” because religious folks “don’t come to join but to tell you what to do.” This sentiment reflects the observation that religious groups seem to be, on the whole, on the margins of the movement for Black lives. Their sidelining is particularly pronounced because today’s movement is often compared to civil rights era activism in which the Black Church and Black Islam played central roles. This absence is also intentional insomuch as the principles that guide young Black activists—particularly around issues of hierarchy, respectability, and sexuality—challenge the social norms of some Black religious communities. Nevertheless, the marginalization of particular forms of religiosity does not make Black Lives Matter a secular movement.


 
Courtesy of The Atlantic

Courtesy of The Atlantic

The Atlantic / 6.16.16
HERE'S "WHAT'S GOING ON" WITH MUSLIMS:
SIX ANSWERS TO THE QUESTION BEHIND DONALD TRUMP'S IMMIGRATION BAN

 

Donald Trump’s suggested “Muslim ban” is simply standard White American racism, 21st-century edition. How do I know this? Because black Muslims have been contending with such racism since 1776. Part of my inheritance, as a black Muslim citizen of the United States, is knowing how to spot this phenomenon, which is as durable as it is elastic.


 
tree-lemon-fruit.jpg
Sapelo Square / 5.06.16
GOD GAVE US LEMONS

In the visual masterpiece that is Beyoncé’s newest visual album, Lemonade, there are several references to what is called “Black Religion,” “Black Diaspora Religion,” and/or “Africana Religiosity.” There was the expected presence of Christianity—as distinctly practiced by Black people (to riff off a point made at a recent talk by Dr. Jennifer Richardson). There were also, as many have noted, prominent references to African Diaspora religious traditions known as Lukumi, Santeria, La Regla de Ocha, Candomble and Ifa (what traditions are called is tied to place and practitioners). One of the most clear references was to the Orisha Oshun who Beyoncé appears to invoke in the video segment for the song “Hold Up.” Islam, as practiced within Black communities in the Diaspora, also makes appearances in the visual album.


 
Courtesy of The Islamic Monthly

Courtesy of The Islamic Monthly

The Islamic Monthly / 9.22.14
AMERICAN MUSLIMS AND THE 'FACTS OF BLACKNESS'

 

Picture this. An American Muslim event, such as a lecture, conference or maybe a well-planned fundraiser. The so-so lighting on the stage illuminates the night’s main event. He is African American, male and Muslim. The committee that planned this event chose him because he can move a crowd — to want be a little more “Muslim” or add more zeros to their checks. The crowd has heard of him before and they wait, with bated breath, to be moved. Many adore him, some idolize him, and all are unlike him in one very significant way: None of them are black.


 
Courtesy of World Can't Wait

Courtesy of World Can't Wait

Huffpost The Blog / 8.5.13
YOU ARE TRAYVON: INSTRUCTIONS FOR MY BLACK [AND] MUSLIM SONS 

 

In an article on the Trayvon Martin tragedy, Melissa Harris-Perry cites WEB Dubois’ searing question: “How does it feel to be a problem?” Taking his question into the present day, she lists a series of conditions in which certain Americans are made to feel as if they are a “problem.” These include the devaluation of black life and delegitimization of black citizenship during Hurricane Katrina and the false equivalencies of Muslim and terrorist, and Latin@ and “illegal.” These descriptions may be interpreted as distinct experiences: black, Muslim, Latin@. Yet, all those types could easily be found in the same body. The sons I might have one day will have unambiguously black bodies, be Muslim, marked in name and (hopefully) practice, and may also speak the Spanish tongue of their grandfather.


 
Courtesy of Eve Rivera

Courtesy of Eve Rivera

The Islamic Monthly / 6.17.13
BLACK AND BLUE: REMEMBERING ISLAM AND HIP HOP

 

“I don’t care what people say | I’m gonna do this hip-hop anyway | I don’t care what people scream | I’m gonna follow my, I’m gonna follow my | Beat me till I’m black and blue | Freedom comes in that shade, too | Stand my ground and persevere | Until my death I’ma be right here”


 
The Moorish Chief  c. 1878 // courtesy of Wiki Commons

The Moorish Chief c. 1878 // courtesy of Wiki Commons

Huffpost The Blog / 8.5.11
THE PECULIAR CASE OF THE BLACK AMERICAN ISLAMAPHOBE

 

Growing up in the diverse black communities of Brooklyn, NY, being Muslim was not really a strange thing. And to a certain extent the same could be said for the rest of the city. For example, a few years ago I attended a bombazo in the South Bronx and while there, I needed to make one of the five daily prayers. In addition to an inconspicuous place to make salat, I needed to figure out the direction of Mecca, northeast. All I asked one of the event organizers, who was not a Muslim, was: “Do you know which way is east?” To which she immediately responded, “Oh, you need to pray?” and then led me to a quiet and clean place where I could do just that. This familiarity with Islam comes from the role that various everyday and prominent Muslims, like Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, have played in shaping black identity and fighting against racial inequality. And when hip hop took up Black Nationalism in the 80s and 90s, being Muslim was not only familiar but also cool. Even Ramadan, which incidentally began this week, had a cameo, albeit irreverent, in the hip hop track “Kick in the Door” where Biggie Smalls rhymes “quick fast, like Ramadan.”


 
Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Religion Dispatches / 11.14.11
NO ONE CAN TELL I’M A MUSLIM: ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM DEBUTS

 

As I watch way more reality TV than I probably should admit to, my expectation was that All-American Muslim, which premiered this past Sunday on TLC, would be “All-American Orientalist,” replete with images of women in hijab trying to break free, patriarchal fathers, and exotic immigrant traditions. And it was. But it also wasn’t. Set in Dearborn, Michigan, the show follows five Muslim-American families as they, “struggle to balance faith and nationality in a post-9/11 world.”


 
courtesy of gleenshootspeople

courtesy of gleenshootspeople

OnFaith / 06.04.10
YOUNG MUSLIM VOICES: SELF-DEFINITION AS FREEDOM

 

Critical Self-Definition is the most significant challenge facing  American Muslim communities today. This challenge is the product of an all too popular conversation on “Muslim pathologies” i.e. a “culture of terrorism” created by institutions and individuals who benefit materially from demonizing Muslims. Unfortunately, under the pressure of this pervasive discourse many American Muslims have let this external narrative determine how they see themselves and what their communities’ priorities should be.


 
Courtesy of Sapelo Square

Courtesy of Sapelo Square

The Root / 10.01.08
EID AL-FITR -- IT'S A BLACK THANG, TOO

 

For the past month, I have been dragging myself out of bed at 4 a.m. for a pre-dawn meal, usually yogurt and granola, to prepare for an all-day fast. At each sunset, I have been breaking my fast in the lively, and lovely, company of my fellow Muslim sisters and brothers fasting for Ramadan.