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ISLAM AND AFRICA: This site serves two aims: to provide information about Islam in the global African world (Continent and Americas) and as a guide to African Muslims globally identity in the context of culture and personality. This site is a cultural and historical site on progressive Pan-African Islam

 

     

     

 
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AFRICAN HOLOCAUST ARTICLES

Until lions tell their tale, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter

African Proverb

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will

– Frederick Douglass

The most pathetic thing is for a slave who doesn't know that he is a slave

– Malcolm X

Every man is rich in excuses to safeguard his prejudices, his instincts, and his opinions.

– Ancient Egypt

Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it political? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right.

– Dr. Martin L. King, Jr

How can the views of the oppressed are expressed at the convenience of the rich?

– Owen 'Alik Shahadah

We are not Africans because we are born in Africa, we are Africans because Africa is born in us.

– Chester Higgins Jr.

Leave no brother or sister behind the enemy line of poverty.

– Harriet Tubman

 
ABOUT ISLAM AND AFRICA: This site intends to serve two aims: (a) to provide information about Islam in Africa (the continent and Americas); and (b) to offer a guide to the African Muslim’s global identity in the context of culture and personality. It is also a cultural and historical site on progressive understanding of Islam from the lenses of this promising community of people—the Africans.

The objectives are Pan-African and Pan-Africanism creates unity through fostering knowledge between different African religious groups in the world. Islam is one of the fastest growing religion among the Africans (Black people) and the most misunderstood, and misrepresented.

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The site aims to give service to these reflections by dealing with historical truth from a cultural Pan-African position.

Culture has never been static, and certainly no static culture has survived history. A culture which is inflexible in a globalized world is a culture on the verge of extinction. African Culture is not a monolith and while the foundations remain fundamentally unaltered, the interpretation and expression of continues to be a forever blossoming flower. Islam has been a traditional part of the dynamic African landscape for over 1400 years. And beyond argument remains a fundamental sculptor of the African reality past and present. Africa as we know it is a direct and inseparable consequence of Islam. There is no such thing as African Purity, cultures smash through deserts and cross trade routes, and they travel through immigration borders and disregarding our notions of geography and race. Throughout history, Africa has influenced, and been influence. Names, foods, cultures, religions have jumped between Asia and Africa from the dawn of humanity.


   
O Mankind, We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other
 
Qur'an

ISLAM AND AFRICA


WHAT IS ISLAM

 

Islam a spiritual technology which codifies a way of life and dictates relationships between God, the environment and other human beings. The code of Islam serves to create cohesion among its members by propagating principles which solidify this unity through communal activities in the form of ibadats that apply to self in peaceful relationship with God such as those found in faith (iman), prayer (salat), pilgrimage (hajj) and fasting (sawm) and alms giving (zakaat).

Zakat serves as a socio-economic wealth distribution system which has deep parallels in ancient African practices. The ultimate aim of the Islamic faith is to guide humanity to a successful balanced and structured society with moral life as the apex by showing obedience to the laws of the Creator, Allah. The final destination is for the deeds of the individual to be weighed to allow entry into paradise (al-Jannat), A concept found in Ancient African Egypt thousands of years earlier.  


ISLAM AND OTHER RELIGIONS

Shared Values Muslims see Islam as a continuation of revelation by the creator, from the time of Adam. Islam was revealed as the final religion to Prophet Muhammad in Arabia. Islam has elements found in indigenous Africa, Christianity and Judaism. Islam is particularly very similar to Judaism. This similarity is challenged because of the on-going conflict in occupied Palestine. According to the Islamic tradition prophets are given to all people.

Luqman, an African, was one of the wisest prophets who has an entire Surah (Chapter) dedicated to him. But unlike some other Prophets who only come for a localized area, Muhammad is a prophet/messenger for humanity. And this is perhaps the greatest difference between Islam and Judaism in Islam's ability to expand via conversion. Islam and Judaism both differ from Christianity because they consider ascribing divinity to humanity as blasphemy. Therefore Jesus in Islam is a prophet and God/Allah is a supreme being who does not become man.


QUR’AN AND HADITH


   
All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a White has no superiority over Black nor a Black has any superiority over White except by piety and good action.
 
Prophet Muhammad


The code of Islam is communicated via the Qur’ran which is for Muslims the final revelation brought by the Prophet of Islam. Islam holds to the traditions of the Biblical prophets (included Jesus who is a prophet) and believes that all the past messengers/prophets are part of a collective spiritual system for humanity. After the Qur’an the next significant book of Islamic instruction is the Hadith, or traditions of the Prophet of Islam.

There are “two voices” in the Qur’an: one for a 7th century audience and another for the future. Both have a unique application in the context of African culture—and this is the critical area of study that has become obscured and now necessary to unearth. How does the Islamic veil apply itself in Somali society? Because the condition of the woman to cover does not describe how a culture chooses to cover or what material to use and age applicable a woman begins to cover her hair.


ISLAM AND PEACE

Islam does not mean ‘Peace’ as loosely defined by some Muslim apologists to suit parochial interest. Islam means submission to God in peace. The new view that is being sent down the throat of people entails the necessity to proclaim that being a proper Muslim does not mean being a proper Arab.

O Mankind, We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honored in the sight of God is he who is the most righteous of you says categorically the Qur’an, in chapter 49 verse 13; this is added by the Prophet (pbuh) in for example the saying: “You are not better than people (of other races) unless you excel them in piety” - Hadith, Al-Tirmithi, 1361.

This real application of Islam on the bases of wisdom and humility has done a great deal in furthering its acceptability among the locals. When Islam was revealed in Arabia it met the Arabs, for example, doing Tawaf (going round the Ka’aba) but they did that naked as was reported by historians and Islam didn’t say “Stop!” it rather fashioned it out according to how it should be humane when pilgrimage (Hajj) was made part of the 5 pillars of Islam by Allah, the Most High. That is the highest stage of wisdom. It was not abolished entirely but changed to conform to ethics and it is still being done today.  Thus there are lots of fusion of cultural norms and realities so long as they do not contradict the basic tenets of Islam and this is not applicable only to a certain community but all believers.

The message of Islam is for all people and all times; that’s the essence of its universality. So being a Muslim does not mean speaking Arabic or loosing one’s mother tongue and Muslims have no insight as to who will gain God’s favor on the Day of Judgment. The day and what will transpire therein are exclusive to God, not the creations. Islam does not require cultural uniformity. These are deeply embedded ideals of Islam in its altruistic universal application among people of diversity—from Sudan to Indonesia and any other geographical community where the faith is being practiced a semblance of peculiar culture could be seen.  The primary challenge with Islam has always been that of the fact that those who God in His infinite wisdom has given the power to spread Islam are also doing so to spread their particular culture which is wrapped up in the Islamic ideology. The first, and still perhaps definitive “problem” which has created misunderstanding and misrepresentation and fueling the phobia shown or being shown to Islam in recent memory. 


ISLAM AND WOMEN

See Islam and Woman's empowerment. Women's justice and rights is a ongoing battle and Muslim women have unique challenges as well as general challenges which require debate and action. Sometimes when we study a subject area we tend to misdiagnoses the agent which oppresses women. Men historically have oppressed women, therefore men in any religion in any culture in any geography have oppressive habits towards women.

Many traditions have been loaded into Islamic culture which have no foundation in the canon of "religious Islam". Most of these opinions and positions imposed on women are cultural impositions sucked into Islamic tradition from pre-Islamic oppressive cultures. The taboo on women as imans is challenged in places like Indonesia, the taboo about having women at the back of the Mosque is challenged by the side-by-side seating of the Nation of Islam. So an open discussion about advancing the issue of Women and Islam is about changing these things to better services woman's rights in our times. And none of these things impact upon the Islamic creed, so they can be accommodated for without fear of creating biddah( false practices.). The thing that inhibits this is male ego. The voice of the Muslim woman must be raised to function in every single aspect of Islamic development.

Cultural relativism assumes that the practices within a specific culture have been created through agency and therefore have a relevance and value that outsiders must be sensitive to when hurling critique. The Western anthropologist has done a lot of misdiagnoses and created paradigms of primitive and advanced based on cultural bias. That has intern washed into academia where the very people from these cultures absorb this discourse and reapply the misdiagnoses to their own communities; a kind of Heisenberg paradox. To assume pleasure in the Somali world is equal to pleasure in the Western context is to assume a normality or expectation across cultures. How can a Western woman dictate to an African woman how she should experience sexual pleasure? And this is why the issue of so-called female genital mutilation becomes an issue as outlined in the groundbreaking work of Fuambai Ahmadu. The only stipulation is choice as it relates to the woman engagement in marriage, sex, etc.

In the West woman are force to define their position with their sexuality, power for the woman is via her body.  It is imperialist and arrogant for a woman in a western society to cast judgment on what is oppressive and what is not oppressive in another culture. Especially when that culture is  far removed from the paradigms of liberal values of feminism. A woman covering her hair may be oppressive through the  bikini clad western eyes,  but Islam is not the Western so why would it be weighted by these standards. Unless we are suggesting that White Western women are the benchmark for development, morality and women's justice.

Muslim woman in the context of how they chose to define freedom must within those cultural paradigms express self-determination without the assistance of an alien Western culture. It is interesting how Western woman talk about being liberated but this liberation and freedom to do as they please is not an Islamic characteristic nor is it an African trait. African values and Islamic values are communal values. Where honor and respect carry more weight than agency over sexual expression. Why is it necessary for every woman in Hollywood to take off her clothes and pose semi-nude on the cover of a mens magazine. Is this how Western woman escape the impositions of men? Because in their escape they are feeding a male dominated world which wants them to degrade themselves.


ISLAM AND CIVILIZATION

Islamic is a partners in modernity. Western propaganda has annexed this history and claimed it for their own. Many are shocked to discover how much of of our modern world is Islamic. Even the every numerology 1, 2. 3, 4, 5 etc is Arabic numbers, not European.

By briefly surveying what Islam has already contributed to the world's civilization, education, culture and to scientific development. Unlike Western Christianity where Religion and Science are posed as two separate elements, the study of Science has always been compatible with Islam. Many young Muslims are discouraged when they see the poor standard of living of Muslims throughout the world and their limited opportunities.

They also know the undeveloped status of technology within the Muslim countries in comparison with the West. From these observations, they immediately leap to the conclusion that the Muslim countries are 'backward', because Islam cannot adapt itself to the changing conditions; cannot assimilate new knowledge. Some even go so far as to say that Islam is actually against progress and against scientific advancement. However, those Muslims who have studied the later part of Islamic history will know that this is a complete fallacy and misconception.


SHARIAH | Islamophobia:

AGENCY AND MISHISTORY

Terms like "Islamic Invasion" and "foreign religions" are painted all over pseudo-African history exclusively as if this was the process by which Christianity and Islam came into Africa. In an attempt to nail religion to the cross they are prepared to flush Islamic and Christian history down the toilet. No more is Aksum great, or Sankore, or Songhai. Islam has been a native part of the African landscape for 1418 years, Christianity for 2000 and Judaism for far longer. Islamophobia and Eurocentrism has hidden much of Islamic contributions and tried to create rifts in the African world by funding and encouraging Black revisionist. Anthropologist seeks to extract religion from reality and make Africa the perpetual victim. This unique thesis where Africans are concern reasserts the lack of agency and racist perception of a "child like” and weak Africa.

The culture of victim-hood is a mechanism at play within some African academics. So much easier to point a finger at a large omine foe than deal with the complexities of our own agency. The entire notion of "poor little Africa who was raped by Arabs and then Europeans" is a denial of African intelligence and agency. It stipulates indirectly that African have no sense, no judgment and no ability as a collective to act for self-determination or unity in the face of a collected foe. We must stop constantly seeing our history through the eyes of a victim, played out via the rhetoric of conquered, foreign and invaded. To believe that African Islam and African Christianity were forced down the throats of an unwilling people is as regressive and bigoted as the diatribes of Kant and Hume.

SHAIRA

Islam has a political system embedded in its foundation, there is no way between to escape sharia as part and parcel of Islam. There is no complete Islam without its political system, because how can a "way of life" not also instruct politics for ruling people? So in theory why would Muslims need democracy when sharia deals with the governance of Muslim lives? And the reason this logic is not well received because the media has constructed and cherry picked examples of sharia as backward, barbaric and oppressive: e.g.. Sharia = Taliban. Why would we assume that is the only expression of Sharia? Especially when much of the African kingdoms were under sharia law, Islamic Spain which was a sanctuary for Jews and persecuted people during the Almoravid and Almohad reign for over 500 years. Even in the UK sharia law has done a better job than so-called secular law with family affairs and is tolerated because of its success rates. Right now in Europe Islamic banking (based on sharia law) is adopted and used beyond the believers of Islam because of its ethical policy (the entire concept of Ethical banking started with Islam). But these two worlds are going on (the extreme oppressive examples and the very successful stories) but only one is reported on. Islamic banking is the new banking revolution in Europe and HSBC and other major banks now engage in it. Even in South Africa most banks now offer Islamic banking.

There is no area of Islam more misunderstood, demonized and misrepresented by utter ignorance than the topic of sharia. Lets get straight to the truth, skipping religion for the moment. Sharia is bad for business. Sharia threatens Western trade in the vices the feed their economies; liberal media, alcohol, etc. It is necessary to use every single muscle in the Western arsenal to demonize Sharia. Sharia like socialism and communism is a competing political ideology. Sharia can be very destructive in the hands of the wrong leadership, but which one caused the deaths of millions of people in the 21st century, sharia or Western democracy? What was the motives for poisoning and slaughtering millions of people in Indochina? Countless wars after wars all over the world in the bloody name of Western democracy. So it is hypocritical if fear of persecution, intolerance and violence are being used as the primary augments by the detractors of sharia.

The West does not only rely on its own people to demonize Sharia it co-opts weak Western-oriented politically naive Muslims to testify on behalf of the Western interest (most unaware they are being used because of their historical amnesia and ignorance). A bunch of silly rappers in Sudan referring to Sharia as the Stone Ages, only because they want to live the MTV Base Lifestyle. Happy for their picture to get on BBC. These types are the ones rewarded by the West, just like the slave dealers in West Africa who sold their country people into the African Holocaust. Trinkets for instant short-lived pleasures. Everyone in Sudan must realize the fastest way to get an American visa and a book publishing deal is say you are oppressed because you are gay or you escaped from your Arab slave master.

Now why is Sharia such a hot topic? For the same reason communism was 40 years ago. Its all about political power struggles. Why do people, even practicing Muslims, run when they hear the word? Because of the Western indoctrination. If you lived on Mars for the last 1000 years you would treat Sharia with the same academic neutrality as Democracy, Socialism, Capitalism and all the other isms failing as builders of civilization. We have to ask our selves, are the best components of democracy (justice, balance, fair play) absent from Sharia? Does anyone actually know what Sharia means? Is Sharia a monolith? Is the Taliban and Saudi models the only examples of Sharia? The point here is we cannot even begin the debate because of the prejudicial climate which was created to frame the debate.

The West has had an agenda to demonize Islam, not because of the direction in which Muslims pray, but because of the consequence of an Islamic power shift and disruption to Western hegemony in trade and politics. Since stopping Islam is not going to work, they have embarked on infiltration, where now Islamic theologians are re-writing Islam for Western pay-masters. We see now Islam, which use to mean submission, now means Peace. Sharia which was just another type of politician system, has people turn pale with fear. All engineered from Israel, USA, France and the UK.

Now we must deal with the other side of the problem, the so-called Sharia And it is a delicate subject because Sharia can be liberal or it can be extreme (like anything else). The West has always found the most regressive examples of Sharia or the most alarmist aspects of Sharia to be the posterboy of Sharia and what it means for its "victims." Oppression of women, veils, moral police. Now considering the state of morality in the Western World it is strange that Shariah's solution for curbing intoxication and sexual slackness (which brings HIV) would be an issue. Just like with Mugabe, every single report, without exception speaks ill of Sharia Strange in a society which claims it is plural. When Somalia Sharia banned the harmful drugs how was that painted? Two options:

ONE ARGUMENT | Curbing Drug addiction of Khat which has grown into a monocrop in Somalia destroying families and diversified agriculture.

BBC ARGUMENT | Destroying the khat traders business. Khat being a drug. So if the West feels this way about drug dealers why do they put them in jail?

BBC celebrates immorality and every vice that Africa apes from them as "a liberated Africa", gay rights - they side with that, promiscuity - they side with that. Everything which destroys African values.

Now dealing with the negative side of Sharia is critical and no one should advocate for Sharia just to oppose the West. Sharia too must be critically challenged in our 21st century world and it must hold up to the complexities and realities of our society. They are some backward aspects which have been associated with Sharia and Muslims must via agency and self-determination explore and reform Sharia to a 21st century viable alternative to Western imposed Democracy. Democracy was allowed to evolve, and Sharia must be allowed to evolve to meet its potential.

The biased targeting of Islam and Arabs in all areas is beyond argument.  If a man who happens to be Muslim kills a child, it is Islam. If a woman is beaten and abused and is Christian she is just a batter woman, if she is a Muslim it is a victim of oppressive Islam. When suicide bombing is used in war it is called a tactic, when Muslims do it, it becomes religious fundamentalism and extremism.

By strategic neglect of factual information and artistic license the reader is left to assume Jews have only been the victims of Slavery but never the perpetrators of Slavery. Now it must be reiterated that being Jewish, Muslim or anything is not directly related to Slavery, it is an act humans do, it is not because of their religion; it is because of their human weaknesses. If it was due to religion then why does slavery, war, etc predate all known major world religions? More often than not religion is why vastly different communities are able to coexist with tolerance. So to assume Muslims or Arabs, and not Jews, by virtue of religion are more inclined to slavery is vulgar. It is the same racism that sells the fact that African-Americans by virtue of their race are more inclined to rape, steal and kill. Statements like ‘Slavery predates Islam, but continues under Islam and the Muslim Arab rulers’ are statements loaded with a false focus on the Islamic religion and sets up a casual relationship between slavery and Islam. When Darfur occurred Islam and Arab was splashed all over the story, yet this was not true for Rwanda, or Sierra Leon, or Mozambique when the majority were Christian

 

Nowhere was the religion of people an issue when discussing other world conflicts. It seems that the audience is to believe that Islam is recklessly tied to slavery, war, inhumanity, oppression and women’s abuse. The agenda thus is to portray Muslims as champions of the most fearful aspects of our modern world. The question must be asked why is religion a focus in Slavery when Muslims are involved, but excluded when Christians and especially Jews are involved? The sanitizing of history has been part of the most sinful aspect of bringing justice. There are a growing plethora of Christian websites which claim to ‘reveal’ the ‘truth’ behind Islam and Slavery, but in their entire argument neglects the role religion blatantly played in the biggest Holocaust in history, the one brought by so-called Christian missionaries.

Some of the most ill-read Afrocentrics are guilty of the same hypocrisy and double standards. The biggest slavers in Africa where neither Muslim nor Christian, yet they constantly neglect Dahomey and focus on Arabs and Muslims as agents of enslavement. Afrocentric history on one page vilifies these religions but then on the next page tries to score racial points by claiming the glories of the Islamic and Christian contributions such as Mali, Aksum and Songhai. They try to claim the history of Sunni Ali Ber and discount his Islamic heritage. They pose the libraries of Timbuktu to the world as testimony of African accomplishment yet deny the Islamic backbone. The blood lust of Dahomey is washed over yet the Jihads of the Islamic states are sold as some extra-historical event that was totally unprecedented in African history. African states have always fought wars, Kemet crushed Nubia and then Ethiopia finally destroyed an annexed Nubia in A.D 350, why then do Afrocentrics bring a peculiar lens when Muslims conquer others in West Africa?

The resurgence of Islamophobia has brought this aspect of history to the foreground as a form of anti-Arab sentiment in an attempt to further the riff between African people and Arabs, and ultimately between African Muslims and other Africans. Considering 50% of the African continent is split between these two faiths, little imagination is needed to appreciate the outcome of agitating the religious divide. Still today, the fastest way to get a book published as an African is to write on Arab/African slavery.

Arab Slave Trade
Maafa: Audio sample of Dark Voyage: Arab Slave Trade

Looking deeper shows great political and economic support from far-right "special interest" Christian American fundamentalist. The best recent example of this malicious activity occurred during the Darfur crisis where it was said that “Arabs were killing Africans.”

Anyone who is familiar with the ethnic dynamics of Sudan immediately would understand how nonsensical this is. The so-called Arabs are really Africans, there are no different from the so-called non-Arabs of Sudan—they are generally the same complexion and both groups are Muslim. The meaning of Arab in Sudan is radically different from that definition in the West. Nevertheless, the Western press is fully aware of the racial tension that mislabeling these so-called Arabs would cause and have exploited race dynamics to their end.

The problem is the uniformed Africans in the west joins the anti-Arab camp because of their lack of cultural information on their own motherland. The political agenda of our time if not considered, with a wise mind, is an accident that has already happened. See The US Role In Darfur by Sara Flounders.


ISLAMIC REFORM IN AFRICA

Despite the solid canon of Islam it is far more flexible than both Islamist and Western Orientalist like to believe. Islam's heart pertains to worship(the sacred space). In this space is Salaat and Hajj things which are pillars of Islam. Outside of this a whole world of cultures have been imposed on Islam and pass-off as part and parcel of the faith - dangerously so. Many things associated with Islam are only non-religious cultural elements, some are non-harmful such as the accepted symbol of Islam (crescent moon and star). This is not part of the Islamic faith and therefore is not a necessity. The notion to call everyone Muhammad and wear Arabic names, is not part of Islam. Wearing specific cultural clothes such as a certain type of scarf is not part of Islam. The prohibition of music is also not clear. There is sufficient evidence and history within the traditions of the prophet which must be looked at to understand the breath of Islam and avoid unnecessary restrictions. Islam is not suppose to be oppressive it is a way of life. This certainly does not open up Islam to having girlfriends and drinking at the local pub. This is about movement within the faith and challenging norms which are outside of worship. No reformist will seriously suggest playing rap music in the mosque as the core of Islam is crystal clear as a continuing tradition.

too focused on narrow historical debates and behavioral issues of what should be forbidden, at the expense of economic and social development. The extremes produce extremes. Men who are in highly restrictive societies find finding wives difficult and find alternative outlets such as pornography, prostitution, and homosexuality (in rare cases).

The Prophet himself used to visit women, not men, for counseling and advice. They could lead prayer. Even in his battles, they are there! In the election between Othomon and Ali to determine who will be the successor to the Prophet, they voted. (Hassan al-Turabi)

  • Kanem Empire (700 AD - 1376 AD)
  • Kingdom of Kano (1000 AD - 1805 AD)
  • Ifat Sultanate (1285 AD - 1415 AD)
  • Songhai Empire (1340 AD - 1591 AD)
  • Bornu Empire (1369 AD - 1893 AD)
  • Adal Sultanate (1415 AD - 1555 AD)
  • Sennar Sultanate (1502 AD - 1821 AD)
  • Dendi Kingdom (1591 AD - 1901 AD)
  • Wassoulou Empire (1878 AD - 1898 AD)
  • Sultanate of Darfur (1603 AD - 1874 AD)
  • Kong Empire (1710 AD - 1894 AD)
  • Kingdom of Gumma (1770 AD - 1899 AD)
  • Fouta Tooro (1776 AD - 1861 AD)
  • Kingdom of Gomma (1780 AD - 1886 AD)
  • Kingdom of Jimma (1790 AD - 1932 AD)
  • Sokoto Caliphate (1804 AD - 1903 AD)
Timbuktu, photo Owen Alik Shahadah copyright Underthissun.com

   
The most pathetic thing is for a slave who doesn't know that he is a slave
 
Malcolm X


Islamophobia: DARFUR ET AL

The biased targeting of Islam and Arabs in all areas is beyond argument.  If a man who happens to be Muslim kills a child, it is Islam. If a woman is beaten and abused and is Christian she is just a batter woman, if she is a Muslim it is a victim of oppressive Islam. When suicide bombing is used in war it is called a tactic, when Muslims do it, it becomes religious fundamentalism and extremism.

By strategic neglect of factual information and artistic licence the reader is left to assume Jews have only been the victims of Slavery but never the perpetrators of Slavery. Now it must be reiterated that being Jewish, Muslim or anything is not directly related to Slavery, it is an act humans do, it is not because of their religion; it is because of their human weaknesses. If it was due to religion then why does slavery, war, etc predate all known major world religions? More often than not religion is why vastly different communities are able to coexist with tolerance. So to assume Muslims or Arabs, and not Jews, by virtue of religion are more inclined to slavery is vulgar. It is the same racism that sells the fact that African-Americans by virtue of their race are more inclined to rape, steal and kill. Statements like ‘Slavery predates Islam, but continues under Islam and the Muslim Arab rulers’ are statements loaded with a false focus on the Islamic religion and sets up a casual relationship between slavery and Islam. When Darfur occurred Islam and Arab was splashed all over the story, yet this was not true for Rwanda, or Sierra Leon, or Mozambique when the majority were Christian

Nowhere was the religion of people an issue when discussing other world conflicts. It seems that the audience is to believe that Islam is recklessly tied to slavery, war, inhumanity, oppression and women’s abuse. The agenda thus is to portray Muslims as champions of the most fearful aspects of our modern world. The question must be asked why is religion a focus in Slavery when Muslims are involved, but excluded when Christians and especially Jews are involved?

The sanitizing of history has been part of the most sinful aspect of bringing justice. There are a growing plethora of Christian websites which claim to ‘reveal’ the ‘truth’ behind Islam and Slavery, but in their entire argument neglects the role religion blatantly played in the biggest Holocaust in history, the one brought by so-called Christian missionaries.

Some of the most ill-read Afrocentrics are guilty of the same hypocrisy and double standards. The biggest slavers in Africa where neither Muslim nor Christian, yet they constantly neglect Dahomey and focus on Arabs and Muslims as agents of enslavement. Afrocentric history on one page vilifies these religions but then on the next page tries to score racial points by claiming the glories of the Islamic and Christian contributions such as Mali, Aksum and Songhai. They try to claim the history of Sunni Ali Ber and discount his Islamic heritage. They pose the libraries of Timbuktu to the world as testimony of African accomplishment yet deny the Islamic backbone. The blood lust of Dahomey is washed over yet the Jihads of the Islamic states are sold as some extra-historical event that was totally unprecedented in African history. African states have always fought wars, Kemet crushed Nubia and then Ethiopia finally destroyed an annexed Nubia in A.D 350, why then do Afrocentrics bring a peculiar lens when Muslims conquer others in West Africa?

Terms like "Islamic Invasion" and "foreign religions" are painted all over African history exclusively as if this was the process by which Christianity and Islam came into Africa. Islam has been a native part of the African landscape for 1418 years, Christianity for 2000 and Judaism for far longer. Yet history paints Christianity in Europe as if it was fundamentally a European institution, they pain Buddhism in China as if its origins where Chinese. Anthropologist seeks to extract religion from reality and make Africa the perpetual victim. This unique thesis where Africans are concern reasserts the lack of agency and racist perception of a "child like” and weak Africa.

The resurgence of Islamophobia has brought this aspect of history to the foreground as a form of anti-Arab sentiment in an attempt to further the riff between African people and Arabs, and ultimately between African Muslims and other Africans. Considering 50% of the African continent is split between these two faiths, little imagination is needed to appreciate the outcome of agitating the religious divide. Still today, the fastest way to get a book published as an African is to write on Arab/African slavery.

Arab Slave Trade
Maafa: Audio sample of Dark Voyage: Arab Slave Trade

Looking deeper shows great political and economic support from far-right "special interest" Christian American fundamentalist. The best recent example of this malicious activity occurred during the Darfur crisis where it was said that “Arabs were killing Africans.”

Anyone who is familiar with the ethnic dynamics of Sudan immediately would understand how nonsensical this is. The so-called Arabs are really Africans, there are no different from the so-called non-Arabs of Sudan—they are generally the same complexion and both groups are Muslim. The meaning of Arab in Sudan is radically different from that definition in the West. Nevertheless, the Western press is fully aware of the racial tension that mislabeling these so-called Arabs would cause and have exploited race dynamics to their end.

The problem is the uniformed Africans in the west joins the anti-Arab camp because of their lack of cultural information on their own motherland. The political agenda of our time if not considered, with a wise mind, is an accident that has already happened. See The US Role In Darfur by Sara Flounders.

 


MUSLIM FACES

The public faces that usually represent Islam come in certain boxes. All fashioned by a Western lens.

The Apologist - These are the Hamza Yusufs who bend over backwards to re-image Islam as non-threatening and benign. They try very hard to show how American they are. Always avoiding controversy typically associated with the Islamic faith.

The Sell Out - The ones who feed the Western negative image and profit from "revealing" how backward and ridiculous everything Islamic is. They are highly rewarded by Hollywood and Western Publishing houses. This group is a minority but have access to mainstream outlets. But they are paraded around with their immoral values and Western lifestyle as the future of Islam. Most of them fail the criteria of being classified as Muslims.

The Jihadist - The hard-line who is politically insensitive to plurality and holds the stereotypical hard-line that is postered in the West as the "Islamic threat", as real as it is, it is a serious minority of Muslims who fit into this box.

 


MUSLIM CHALLENEGES

Muslims as a community, like any other community, have certain challenges: Identity, globalization, tradition verse modernity, functionality, practicality of customs, dialogue in a multi-cultural world, foreign influences. Some of these issues are internal issues which only Muslims can debate, other issues belong in the wider African and world community. Which require a collective action. There are things that Muslim communities must take on from Christian communities and vice-versa.

Muslims are no more human than anyone else and have to deal with issues of arrogance, greed, corruption, sincerity, lust, power, bigotry as any other community. And these things need to be challenged within the confines of the Islamic doctrine.

  • Protecting and foster a unique African culture within Islam
  • Reducing the public voice of the three groups identified above who all misrepresent Islam
  • Removing all forms of extremism which may relate to gender relations and allow balance societies which protect Islamic values but not at the expense of creating single men and women who cannot marry because of extreme fundamentalist social taboos.
  • Fostering an integrative multi-faith dialogue
  • Remove the dichotomy of religious and secular knowledge but teach the importance of both in there own right
  • Serious looking at gender bias which has come into Islam, (extreme separation of the sexes)
  • Stopping the cultural influences from Iran and Arabia which is Arabizing Traditional African Islam.
  • Greater Aligning with the global Pan-African identity and African consciousness rebirth.
  • Progressive advancement of women's rights within the broad ambit of Islamic ideology. But not to do this because of Western demands, but by Islams own self assessment and social development.
  • Healing the defensive nature of Muslims and allowing them to share constructively their world-view
  • Removing the post 9-11 Islamophobia which has caused Muslims communities to isolate themselves or compromise their Islamic values to appease Western interest.
  • Integrating progressive concept into the practice of Islam and create a Islamic rebirth as what happen during the golden age of Islam.
  • To take the debate of what is Islam out of Western hands and develop a new set of priorities such as humanities, health away from the constant terrorism debate.

MYTHS ABOUT ISLAM

  • Islam is an Arab Religion: Islam is a global religion that was revealed in the Ancient Middle East which comprised up of Arabia, Persia and Africa. The followers of Islam have been ethnically diverse since the time of the Prophet; for amongst his companions included Bilal Ibn Rabaah (from Abyssinia or now Ethiopia), Salman al-Farisi (present Iran) and Abdullah Ibn Salaam (a Jew), etc. Morevoer the bigger reality is the fact that Islam has been part of the African landscape for 1400 years. It has been there longer than many native faiths. So regardless of origin we must deal with the reality of how integrated it is into Africa. It is almost like saying to Rome that Christianity is foreign. While Rome has thousands of years of Christian history and culture.
  • One common historical mistake is the issue of multiculturalism. And this misunderstanding still forces people to look at multiculturalism as a feature of a post-slavery paradigm. Multiculturalism predates Western advances on the New World. People of all different nations and nationalities mixed and knew about each other. 7th century Arabia was a cultural melting pot where, like London or New York today, many cultures shared the same socio-political space.
  • Islam destroys culture: Islam encourages culture and as part of the sources of Islamic law (Shari’a) there exist what is termed Urf (that’s the custom of a particular community of believers wherever they may be geographically located is accepted as part of Islamic practice; Islam has not said abandon that culture in so far as it is not contradictory to the basic tenets). This is why Islam today remains one of the most culturally, colorful religion on the planet. We can look at the Harar and Somalia, and contrasts it with the Islam of southern Ethiopia of the Hamer, versus the dynamic aesthetic of Islam in Senegal and Mali. Islam has always been a photogenic religion because of the expression of cultures in it. The saying goes that ‘Islam is like water passing over a rock; it takes the color of the stone it passes over.’ Islam in its set of regulations does not inform aesthetic but rules and regulations and codes of conduct. Styles may differ but the central concept is what matters. As a sign of respect to the elderly among the Arabs, younger ones could touch the beard of the old which is not being practiced among the vast Hausa-Muslim communities of Africa and maybe seen as a ‘taboo’ and disrespect to the elderly. Again among the Hausa and Nupe communities in West Africa, take for instance the culture of greetings (and this also apply and is common among the Fulanis and Touregs); the younger ones are required to lower their bodies (kneel down) assuming an elderly person is standing but some Arabs in their understanding see and propagate this under Wahhabism as polytheism (Shirk) by calling it as prostration in prayer (salat) which clearly the two are distinct. How will a Hausa Muslim see an Arab who kisses or hugs a lady even though she might be his direct blood relation (that’s a woman who cannot be married due to blood affinity)? There are customs among Muslims like this even though some have sanctions as to their being acceptable as good or bad in Islam and must be seen as such in their context: of good or bad (sin) not blanket condemnation just because the Arabs do not practice them.
  • There is nothing in any major world religion that automatically creates war and slavery. Islam does have a more militaristic tone in the Qur'an but so does the Old Testament -- if not more so. Yet for all the accusations of violence and Islam where is this so-called violence in Muslim communities which have some of the lowest crime rates in the world. Anyone who has visited Morocco or any Muslim majority country would struggle to feel a threat from natural civilian violence. And we cannot consider war torn Iraq as that is a war zone created by Western interest. You could walk almost anywhere in Iran without worry, even in Palestine or Lebanon. Islamic countries are extremely peaceful compared to their Western counterparts.
  • Islam perpetuates Arab dominance | Power struggles are common to all areas of human activity and Islam is no different. While America was expanding democracy it was also expanding capitalism and Americanism. Russia was busy with its own political expansion. When Arabs carried “the flag of Islam” they naturally imposed Arab cultural values as the norm. Africans have been at the center of struggle for dominance even in matters of religion and interestingly to the Muslims by competing countries of the Middle East—notably Iran and Saudi Arabia and beyond; each trying to woo the “faithful” to her fold and her own understanding and interpretation of this religion of God. This seemingly dangerous competition has created diversity but at the cost of what many African Muslims stand for centuries ago and it has diminished the role played by the continent and has polarize individuals and families as a result of what you may call “trivialities” in textual interpretations which deep down their hearts even the advocates know or ought to know that this thing is not right. It is partially for these reasons that we have chosen to add our voice to the fold of meaningful discussion on what Islam really is as opposed to how it is being projected which unfortunately characterizes the time we live in. The distinctive nature of Islam as a universal religion is being subjected to “myopia” or turned at best to a “brief case” religion where the many doors of religious diverse practice known in Shari’a and propagated by the early scholars of Islam have been closed. The predicament is the entrenchment among the community of believers of an ideology of varying degree: an ideology and system of beliefs of if it is not this type it isn’t Islam and the emergence of “scholars” who benefit directly and indirectly from the crumbs of this disorder. This arguably has added to the phobia of Islam by even its adherents and confusion has cropped in at the detriment of sincere followers and rooms for meaningful discourse have been finally sealed and closed by these “new propagators”, it seems. As African Muslims enter this new era they are confronted by realities everyday and even in the matters of religion they have been subjected to becoming pawns in what you may call “religious game”. The Qur’an is the first source of Islamic Law and Muslims are encouraged to learn how to read and write it. We know as well that there are different types of science of recitations of the Qur’an—seven types of recitations have been reported by the Prophet’s Hadith. But it is now being made look like those who recite in other versions not common in certain geographical areas as if their recitation is wrong despite the Prophet’s final approval of these other versions. The imposition of a kind of dress pattern for Muslim women never happened during the time of the Prophet Muhammad nor has he ordained that all men shall be bearded. Women were not stopped either from seeking education; for, we read in the early history of Islam how spots were “colonized” by women even in the mosques and other matters of religion. “Education is mandatory on every Muslim male and female”, Muhammad Prophet of Islam.
  • Islam is a religion of invasion: Islam cannot be judged by the action or inaction of Muslims and Muslims are people engage in war and expansion. There is nothing unique about this. This does not mean that Islam is not a factor in motivating expansion and invasion or has not been used as an excuse to invade and expand and we must deal with this as in historical context to understand it where it is misunderstood and condone it when it is not. Our sense shouldn’t be beclouded as many mainstream religions are expansionist in both ideology and practice most often than not more brutal and inhumane. The destruction of the Ottoman Caliphate and Muslim Spain as well as the invasion of many African Muslims communities by the colonialists who systematically destroyed religion and culture and entrenched theirs despite pacts to the contrary signed by them with the natives is good evidence. Humane expansion was seen during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) where same people who embraced were sent back to the same communities they belonged to in order to teach and establish justice there. The revival campaigns carried out in West Africa by Shaykh Usman ibn Fodio, for example, did the same by not touching communities which did not mix up Islam with paganism. The end result has been the establishment of justice second to none in human history, whether old or contemporary.
  • Islam forces people to convert: This is a common urban legend; while in some parts of the world Muslims did used the "convert or die" under the name of Islam but it is not the general agent of how Islam was disseminated in Africa. The trade factor had been of tremendous benefit to the spread among the Fulani and Berbers as well as through inter and intra-marriages. Others accepted Islam for political reasons, which is no different to what Rome did at the rise of Christianity. Political alignment is a feature of the human-political landscape. Some African rulers by aligned themselves to Islam were able to draw on the political strength of other Islamic super-states for security and expansion.
  • Islam sponsored many jihads in Africa: Long before Islam, there was intra-African warfare and rivalry.It could be that as a result of the success of Islam as a nation building religion it naturally would have made the conflicts more intense because Islam led to the creation of super structured states such as the Mali Empire and Sokoto Caliphate which flourished and were modeled along the line of the Madinan Model of the era of the Prophet —which revived and established Islam as it should be practiced sifting away practices alien to Islam among the local African Muslims and these Islamic Empires in Africa had institutionalized as well the culture of reading and learning in sciences, economics, law, history, administration, poetry, Arabic grammar (Nahw) and handwriting style (Ajami), medicine, Qur’anic Exegesis (Tafseer), Rules of Religious Practice (Fiqh), etc. 
  • Islam sees non-Muslim Africans as infidels: The notion of the “weaker other” aka an infidel is global issue all groups exhibit. This is not unique to the interactions between Islam and non-Muslim groups in Africa. In historical sense this was the way it was, Islam was not different and Muslims in this context have created negativities in human relationship to the detriment of all. So when Greeks speak of Persia they speak of Barbarians. When Kemet spoke of Nubia and Hykoes they glorified themselves and demonized “the other.” History should be a good teacher for all of us. When the first generations of Muslims were oppressed to abandoned their homeland it was to Christian Ethiopia the Prophet (pbuh) sent his disciples and the King who served as the host when he heard the message of Islam from the eloquent mouth of one of his (i.e. the King’s) guests was said to have drawn a line on the ground that “the distinction between you (the Muslims) and us (the Christians) is like this line [thinly on the sand]” and “You can remain in this land (under my protection) so long as you wish”, he added and this, despite the diplomatic pressure from the Arab emissaries that went to him requesting that the Muslims be expelled back to Mecca. That is the goodness in religious interplay according to texts revealed as opposed to emotions characterizing relationship during our time.
  • Islam has been a religion of the slave master: Islam has done more as a religion to eliminate slavery than most religions. Freeing slave is repeated constantly within Islamic doctrine. The default condition of humanity in Islam is freedom. In the old world slavery was a mechanism of dealing with prisoners of war, criminals, etc. Islam accommodation of slavery was far less than most indigenous Africa faiths because not a single indigenous African faith took issue with enslavement. It is not easy to draw a distinction between a slave and slave master in most Muslim communities of yesteryears; for, “slaves” were allowed to intermingle and married even the daughters of their “slave masters”. 
  • Islam and invasion: It is interesting how history is written when Kemet invaded Nubia, and how same reality reared its ugly head when Northern Sudan invades Southern Sudan. In a matter of concrete reality this is a selective history. So we must speak truth in respect of empires and those clamoring to establish empires and see all invasions in the global context.
  • Islam discards African values: The values of Islam are at their core African. Africans do circumcise; Africans have communal worship and they as well have dowry. Africans equally are polygamous with sense of justice. The Islamic world has jinns (spirits) like the indigenous Africa.
  • Islam discounts African traditions: Not everything is good however because it is African. Many things which are today romanticized in our contemporary times are actually destructive to nation building. Islam eliminates lots of inequities and injustices in African societies. This development in religious understanding and scholarship coupled with sense of justice—second to none—established in Africa has been well documented by even the early European explorers who came to Africa as prelude to colonialism that shattered the seemingly relative stability and progress witnessed by the people of African descent. Despite years of the systematic pillage of the identity of the African Muslims this has not made them lost their psyche or identity as they kept to their cherished ideals and understanding of what is sacred to them because Africans could still see the living testimony of the justice of Islam.  This is why Islam spread quickly because it is not seen that foreign ideologically and the locals have seen the sense of justice not as rhetorically being preached by the Empires of today. 
  • Islam helped the Arab Slave Trade. See www.arabslavetrade.com | The Arab slave trade existed long before the arrival of Islam. And it is unfortunate that the voice that narrates history has a hypocritical tone to ascribe Islam to the actions of Arabs, while the same treatment is not brought up when describing European Christians Atlantic Slave trade. There is no causal relationship between Islam and Arab Slave Trade. Arabs happen to be Muslim, “Pagan”, Christian and Jewish during the length and breadth of the Arab Slave Trade
  • Arabs Hate Black People. If Arabs hate Africans or not, it is an Arab issue not an Islamic issue. The merging of these two separate groups is malicious. Most Muslims on the planet are not Arabs. Arabs are a minority group in Islam. And many groups thrown into the “Arab” group, such as Arabized Sudanese, Mauritian Berbers, Turage etc is absolutely incorrect. It is like saying Native Americans and Indians (from India) are the same people.

 


THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ISLAM

Islamic is a partners in modernity. Western propaganda has annexed this history and claimed it for their own. Many are shocked to discover how much of of our modern world is Islamic. Even the every numerology 1, 2. 3, 4, 5 etc is Arabic numbers, not European.
  • Islam in West Africa introduced women’s schooling even before Europe.
  • Islam was part of Africa long before India, Persia, Turkey and most of Arabia. Africa is the first continent Islam spread to and therefore has the oldest history of Islam outside of Arabia.
  • Islam actually preserved and institutionalized many traditions (such as the tradition of scholarship and wearing turbans among Africans, communal work, Griot tradition and music tradition) in West Africa.
  • Islam is responsible for the bulk of history post-Aksum , post-Kemet in Africa. Outside Islamic sources the only other sources are European colonialists and intrepid travelers. The journal of the legend Ibn Batuta gives a window into the Ancient African world and is the only such accounts that give us this “pre-colonial” history.
  • Muslim communities are significantly more peaceful than their western counterparts. With lower instances of violence and crime.

 
Unfortunately Muslims in Africa have been dragged, to cite examples, into scenarios and subjected to undergo debates as to the appropriateness of allowing Muslims women to be in schools, among host of other confusions. The proliferation of this approach in religious mis-perception has done havoc and ironically even these groups have also split into sub-groups aided and abetted by both who do not mean well for us.

The story has been that of backlash in other areas even in Muslim Africa—having to do with the emergence of “sleeper cells” because of too much interference over the years from countries pumping money and those who choose to play with politics and the fire of religion. To the average Muslims it has been one of dilemma and another—cut across between those who advocate “Takfeer” [all others are unbelievers save me] and the traditionalists who practice along the line of kicking against anything “modern” which Allah in His wisdom created for us and such other obscure groups that dotted the religious landscape of our troubling time. To understand these groups you don’t need to go further beyond the shepherds who have been caught up in one internal dispute or the other and the politicization of their movements and other succession or power struggle. Against this background they have fallen victims whether or not they know it of what has been coined the “Hadith wars”—a diversionary tactics in recent years created and nurtured by those who do not live or share any life ideals with the Muslims where people are instigated to fight over the interpretation of Hadiths.

It needs to be stressed that it would be incorrect to consider this phenomenon just as a sign of the end time, as other segment of the Muslim population whether in Africa or elsewhere view it or would want us to understand.

It is also important to remember that Islam and Africa is a move that we can play in the little time we have to appreciate the future and what we ought to learn from history. We do not it seems, know why so many things happened or are still happening and the need to chant a new course which is imperative for our survival against the machinations of those who have raised a red card against anything pure or holy. We do not know where the world moves but we follow its winds and then how do we as, African Muslims, play a greater role in shaping events as they unfold?


REALITIES THAT MUST BE CONFRONTED

  • Ignorance: We must revive among ourselves the need to be knowledgeable and educated to fully appreciate history and confront issues of today.
  • Isolation: The challenge to African people everywhere is unity, unity demands understanding, tolerance and working together. Religion can no longer be a barrier for African working together for a Pan-African agenda to secure African interest. There is no conflict in protecting your home and worshiping God.
  • Dependency syndrome: This will take to task the funds being injected by those who desire to cause religious confusion in Africa. Self-reliance should be the key to opening the door of religious freedom.
  • Fish out bad religious elements: Identify and rally behind genuine religious authorities who are truly not sell-outs or agents on the payrolls of countries far and near.    
  • Immoralities: Genuine practice will lead to this and by so doing our societies will have adopted a closed door policy without obscuring our vision against the usefulness of what modernity created for the benefit of all humanity.
  • Injustices: The need to mobilize people towards the search for justice to serve all people.
  • Stagnation: This understanding must be passed and institutionalized to and for the younger generation.
  • Docility: All African Muslims are stakeholders in Islam in the African world and as such should voice their concern in matters that are being discussed at least within the level of their capability.

RACISM AND CONVERT CLASS

Today the class- mentality is still present between Caribbean and say Pakistani Muslims, where African-Caribbean are perceived as 'not real Muslims.' and regardless of being 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation Muslims viewed as 'converts' (a term that has no historical precedent in original Islamic doctoring). In the West, Muslim communities are just as racist towards African minorities. In Islam, leadership are based on merit but in these communities it is based on a lingering caste system.  The isolation and lack of dialogue has compounded the problem leading to greater racial fragmentation.

  • The accusations against Eurocentricity are not lost on Arabized “Islamic” history. The tradition of subverting African history and making it a footnote or as Maulana Karenga said “a forgotten casualty” is not an exclusive European enterprise. From the legacy of the Arab Slave trade, it is clear that the social status of the African in Arabian societies has been obscured and belittled. The magnificent contributions of Africans to the formation of the religion of Islam and Islamic science are at best undermined at worst written out of history.  For example, the first Hijirah (or flight) is recorded as the 622 Hijirah from Mecca to Medina; however, the most critical Hijirah from Arabia to Ethiopia was made in 612 (it is not even given the respectful title of Hijirah).  There is no point in blaming a religion for this, for it was not the Qur’an or the prophet of Islam that institutionalized this racism. Guilt sits with those who inherited control of Islamic history: The same ones who interpreted a Sharia that favored enslavement over manumission. Still today African people are written out of Islamic history from every corner: by non-African Muslims, Eurocentric’s and Afrocentrics alike.. Volumes of books are written on Islamic empires and no reference is made to Sokoto, Mali, or Songhai (the largest African empire). The problem is the general lack of African agency in all aspects of history.

  • Despite all the brother and sisterhood promised in the canon of Islam, it rarely manifest itself in Muslim societies, there is an unimaginable degree of racial segregation. This is not a historical occurrence for in more ancient times inter-racial marriage was far more “tolerated.” But it must be stated that historically the spread of Islam among the Berbers did not guarantee their support for the Arab-dominated caliphate. The ruling Arabs alienated the Berbers by taxing them heavily; treating converts as second-class Muslims and, at worst, by enslaving them. As a result, widespread opposition took the form of open revolt in 739-40 under the banner of Kharijite Islam. So Arbaization has been a historical problem which has always been opposed.

     


    RACISM IN ARAB CULTURES (SUDAN AND MIDDLE EAST)

    African-Iraqis have been in Iraq for around 2000 years and still are actively discriminated against in a society which is hidden and untreated. The social change witnessed in the USA where active desegregation and issues of race are very public is absent from Arab society. As a result the Arab world in general is very regressive in race-development. The history of discrimination is clearly visible: Many African- Iraqis in Zubayr live in stone and mud huts that are little changed since they were built three centuries ago. Africans do the menial jobs and are excluded from Politics and business. Even the relatively affluent face problems. Khalid Majid, 39, said he took his 6-year-old daughter out of school because she suffered constant harassment from classmates who called her abd, the Arabic word for slave, and other derogatory names. LINK


    ARABIZATION | CULTURAL DOMINATION

    Practiced Islam, like practiced Christianity, became the context for the cultural prevalence of Arab culture: Arab names became Islamic names and those who adopted Islam automatically adopted Arab culture in an attempt to become "Islamic." Today we see the uniformed African entering into Islam, and as opposed to taking on African Muslim names and wearing African Islamic attire they wear the cultural dress of Saudi Arabian Arabs, they adopt the mannerisms and cultural mind set of an Arabized people, which is not much better than being Europeanized.

    Looking at Islam in Turkey, West Africa, Indonesia and China we see a strong de-emphasis on this Arabized Islamic version. This is testimony to the agency at work within these places. The standard or Orthodox Islam is thus one cultural dimension on a much broader faith. And just like the Roman church, this cultural interpretation is a symbol of racial and cultural dominance.
    Dr. Ali Mazrui: Arabization

    There is no more validity in Sufi Islam in Mali than the Wahabi fundamentalism of Saudi Arabia. People resisting globalization must be aware of cultural religious globalization as well and also recognize it is a violation of the Qur’anic verse:

    "O people! Behold, we have created you from a male and a female and have made you into nations and ethnicity so that you might come to know one another…" [Qur'an 49:13]

    A lot is written about the "confused Arabized people of Sudan" but when we compare histories how are they any different from the creole class in Jamaica (like Mary Seacole), or the mulattoes of Brazil , or the brown-paper bag on America? It is critical when studying a people to do so comparatively because often Sudan is made out to be some peculiarity created by Islam and Arabs. But we find this pattern everywhere.


HOW TO ASSIST

Any African can contribute to this site. To assist means to contribute in similar thinking and work in your immediate community and in particular you can:

  • Send us your article (videos and interviews) on any aspect of Islam and Africa. What is the essence of any writing that is not being read by others?
  • Participate in the discussion of the role being played by the African Muslims.
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  • Translate body of knowledge specific to the topics under consideration and send to us and we will post on the site.

NEW MILESTONE

Islam and Africa is trying to generate meaningful discourse and open a new chapter in the healthy relationship between Islam and the Africans. This is our voice and it should be yours too. 

 

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