The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) today announced its planned distribution of 100,000 copies of the translation of the Qur’an to public officials in an effort to clarify misconceptions about Islam.
Archive for June, 2009
The US Supreme Court recently ruled that White firemen were unreasonable denied promotions in New Haven, CT when tests were set aside for promotions because they adversely excluded Blacks from promotions due to generally lower test scores.
The ruling was a victory for those who view affirmative action as “reverse discrimination” or “reverse racism” though many of them perhaps are unaware of the reality of historical White privilege in America, or perhaps they are aware and desire to maintain their privilege.
The question must be asked among Black Americans is has the collective condition of Black America improved since affirmative action has been instituted? If not, then why?
Though there are more Black professionals than 50 years ago, it appears that the condition of Black America is in worse shape currently.
My father told me that he was trained that if you want to get ahead, you need to work twice as hard as White people. This mentality bred supermen and superwomen in the Black community. This mindset linked one’s striving for excellence in both personal and community sense and not waiting for any special breaks as the primary path towards success. This is an Islamic teaching.
G-d does not change a condition of a people until they bring about change their inner-selves/psyches. [Al-Qur’an 13.11]
Is there a reward for excellence except excellence? [Al-Qur’an 55.60]
“Surely G-d loves that when a servant [of His] endeavors anything, he seeks to perfect it,” said the Prophet Muhamamd.
The Qur’an speaks of two forms of oppression that should be challenged, which are outward and inward. There is no doubt that the residual effects of slavery and White supremacy still manifest themselves in the American socio-political order despite our having a Black president in this mythical age of “post-racialism.” However, what troubles Black America most today is internal oppression, not external. As long as Black activists and preachers focus more attention on preserving the status quo such as affirmative action or requesting reparations than addressing what Dr. Na’im Akbar has labeled our collective “insanity”, no amount of legislation in the world can help Black America. This is where Muslims need exemplify leadership in Black America.
The mystics have a saying, “Whoever knows himself, as most certainly known his Lord.” Meaning that if a person examines himself sincerely, he/she should come to some conclusion. He/she should conclude the following:
1. I am not infallible
2. My best independent thinking in many instances has not led me to successful results.
3. I am beneath He who created me.
4. I must depend on His guidance for success in this world and in the next life.
Thus, Muslims, who understand this concept, need to be at the forefront in challenging the collective social norms within Black America through raising awareness and presenting an alternative modality to what is generally viewed as normative.
This alternative modality, despite some of its theological flaws, was presented during the lifetime of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad while he led the Nation of Islam (NOI). The NOI exhibited a viable alternative to Black morality and ethics, which addressed many of the issues that plague a large percentage of Blacks.
Al-Islam has the answer to fixing the pervasive nature of out of wedlock child births (currently 7 out of 10 Black children) and the serve as a shield from commercialism, gross materialism and anti-social aspects within pop culture, which helps fuel this pathological. Al-Islam has socio-political measures to bring Black America out of economic and political immaturity within the American democracy to raise her up to par and above what is deemed as productive.
It is Muslims who have to step forward and led by example to serve as an alternative mind to what intrinsically unacceptable in man’s nature (Al-Fitrah).
Without intense internal repair within the Black psyche, affirmative action can not further raise up the educational and economic opportunities for Blacks in a meaningful way. The incarnation rates will increase, drug abuse will increase, and depravity will increase for the masses while some will thrive.
The US Supreme Court today ruled that White firemen were unreasonable denied promotions in New Haven, CT when tests were set aside for promotions because they adversely excluded Blacks due to their generally lower test scores.
Today’s ruling was another strike against decades of affirmative action in America. This, however, is not a surprise at all to me for a couple of reasons.
For one, it was to be expected as of November 5, 2008 when America elected its first Black president that affirmative action would become a questionable issue to many Americans, especially to those who had a propensity to lean towards affirmative action being “reverse discrimination” or “reverse racism”. Now that there is a Black president (though he is not from the offspring of slaves), everything is equal now has become the mantra from the “Right.” Even those on the “Left” who made silly proclamations on election night that “Dr. King’s dream has been realized” feed into this non-sense.
The reality is racism in America is real though less overt towards Blacks (Arabs are checking it more these days). Racism is institutionalized in America though nothing like it was a century ago. For instance, White abuse drugs at similar rates as Blacks in America, yet Blacks make up 50% of the 2 million people in person. This is an obvious sentencing issue since Blacks only make up 12% of the population. School expulsion rates are disproportionate, exploitation through usury occurs at much higher rates, and other forms of more subtle discrimination are still the order of the day in America.
On the other hand, much of what Black America suffers today is self induced in which affirmative action and even reparations can not fix. Black out of wedlock births were significantly lower in 1959 than now. It’s hard to fathom a group of people succeeding socially and economically when 70% of its children are born into single parent homes in which a large percentage of the mothers are under-educated. Since Black male role models in too many homes are MIA, too many Black children look to rappers like Lil’ Wayne to athletes like football star Terrell Owens, who live flashy, dysfunctional lifestyles as role models.
Blacks are the biggest consumers with the least amount of capital in America. Prior to desegregation (never has been true integration), Blacks had vibrant business districts and owned significantly more farms. No one is stopping Blacks from cultivating Black business cooperation like Arabs, Jews and Koreans have in America. The psychological chains of slavery that grip Black America and are stronger than chains made of iron are the greater issue.
I’ll share some thoughts tomorrow, G-d willing, on the role of Muslims in the Black community on how we need to step up to the plate with others in offering a solution and going back to the old school so to speak in solving these issues.
It seems like confusion is still brewing whether Michael Jackson actually ever became a Muslim or not.
One urban legend that has circulated among Muslims, even repeated by Imams, is that Dawud Wharnsby, a Muslim musical artist, witnessed MJ taking his “shahadatayn” – bearing witness that there is only one G-d and that Muhammad ibn Abdullah is His messenger and the last prophet. Wharnsby stated on his blog that he never even met MJ, nor did he ever have the opportunity to discuss issues of faith with him.
Muslim singer Yusuf Islam also dismisses the urban legend as well that he witnessed MJ accepting Islam.
Now, stories are circulating that an Imam visited the Jackson family allegedly discussing burial arrangements. Who is this Imam? No one is sure.
If MJ died as a Muslim, may he be accepted as one and be granted Divine mercy.
MJ was definitely an artist whose impact was felt worldwide. I wonder, however, if Muslims are being overly anxious to claim him as among the fold out of sincere concern for his spirit in the life of the grave or to claim this world renowned (and repudiated to some) figure because of a collectively damaged ego and esteem.
Surely G-d knows best.
The King of Pop Michael Jackson died today at the age of 50.
In November 2008, a story broke in a British paper that Michael Jackson accepted Islam and changed his name to Mikaeel.
During this time, Jacko was being sued by a Bahraini prince for not paying him back set amount of money owed. After the suit was settled, Jacko’s lawyer proclaimed that Jacko was NOT A MUSLIM.