Rebel Flags in Michigan and White Supremacy

A colleague of mine who is a Native American sent me this yesterday.

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Obviously after the national stories about removing the Confederate Flag in the wake of the Charlestown terror attack, capitalism dictates that the demand for the rebel flag has increased which means there is money to be made.

Meanwhile at the camp ground close to Chelsea, Michigan, a white man just put up a flag at his trailer.

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The neighboring trailer is resided in by an African American family.  I was informed that upon the raising of the flag that the African American family left the camp.

Mind you that in the whole discussion about the Confederate Flag and southern heritage, Michigan was not part of the Confederacy.  Moreover a significantly large percentage of white Michigan’s residents trace their lineage back to immigrants from Germany, Netherlands, Poland and other European lands who were not residing in the States at the time of the Civil War.  Thus they cannot even invoke the whole southern pride nonsense.

People are flying this flag and wearing this symbol as an expression of white supremacy.

If you lacked doubt about the meaning of this flag and the power of intimidation that it has, I hope that you get it now.

AUDIO: Maintaining the Ramadan Spirit

Today’s khutbah was given at The Muslim Center in Detroit.

The first portion was about maintaining the spirit of Ramadan through extra fasting, praying in the masjid and reading the Qur’an.

The second portion was about the story of Harun “Ar-Rasheed” asking his wife’s permission to get married to a second wife, her refusal and the verdict given by Sufyan Ath-Thawri (RH) against him.

AUDIO: Centering Blackness in Early Islamic History

Yesterday’s lecture was given at The Muslim Center in Detroit.

The following points were touched upon:

1) The reasons why Blackness in early Islamic history has contemporary relevance.

2) Arabness & Blackness are not mutually exclusive, and the problems of Black erasure & Black Orientalism.

3) Highlighting some of the Black Salaf and how Bilal (RA) has been tokenized.

Click here to listen.

Rebellion in Early Islamic History & Recent Protests in Baltimore

I’ve been reflecting on the unrest that took place not long ago in Baltimore in which a big to do was made about a CVS being burned down.  Many in the American Muslim community even picked up the meme of focusing more on property damage than the police homicide of Freddie Gray.  Upon reflection of the burning of the CVS, I thought several times about an event in early Islamic history related to the burning of buildings as a form of protest.  I’m sure that some people will be offended by the comparison that I’m about to make.  The comparison is not to give proportionately nor is it an endorsement of CVS being set ablaze.  It is, however, an acknowledgment of the drastic measures that people can be made to feel compelled to implement when oppression is systematic and widespread.

In the early Islamic history, there is no doubt that the most oppressed family was the Alawiyyeen, meaning the family Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (KW) and his offspring.  Most of his sons, grandsons and subsequent generations were imprisoned and/or martyred through stabbings, beheadings and poisonings.  Some of their names are Al-Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Talib (SA), Al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib (SA), Zayd bin Ali bin Al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib (SA),  An-Nafs Az-Zakiyyah Muhammad bin Abdillah bin Al-Hasan bin Al-Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Talib (SA) and Musa Al-Kathim bin Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Ali bin Al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib (SA).  The suppression and crimes against them started under the government of Bani Umayyah and continued under the government of Bani Abbas.

Within this context, Abdullah “Al-Ma’mun” bin Harun Al-Abbasi was the ruler of the Muslims.  He beheaded his own brother, in fact, to ascend to the throne, which illustrates how vile the political leadership of Muslims had become.  Though outwardly appearing to give felicity to Ali Ar-Rida bin Musa Al-Kathim (SA), who was from the Alawiyyeen, he too was involved in oppressing them as well. Moreover under Bani  Abbasi, there was the oppression of Zanji people meaning black Muslims in Iraq, which also led to the famous Zanji rebellion.  This is the contextually era of many uprisings including the extreme actions of a man by the name of Zayd An-Nar (RH).

According to Abu Nasr Al-Bukhari, As-Samarqandi, Fakhruddin Ar-Razi and others, Zayd An-Nar was the brother of Ali Ar-Rida bin Musa Al-Kathim.  Zayd was given the title An-Nar, meaning The Fire, because while in Iraq during the rule of “Al-Ma’mun,” he rebelled against Abbasi authority in Basrah, which later included burning down the homes of Bani Abbas and their immediate supporters.  Zayd was subsequently imprisoned.

My point of bringing Zayd An-Nar into the discussion of Baltimore is that systematic oppression will lead to rebellion including destruction of property owned by those who are seen as being active participants or complicit in oppression.  Sometimes, extreme measures are taken by the marginalized to amplify their grievances with those who hold positional power.  Definitely the numerous rebellions by the Alawiyyeen starting with Al-Husayn bin Ali and Zayd bin Ali bin Al-Husayn are not directly like the event which we saw in Baltimore.  It is to say, however, that when the majority of society turns a blind eye to systematic oppression, there is guaranteed to be responses that appear extreme and “criminal.”  Extreme circumstances eventually breed extreme responses.  This is evident in the story of Zayd An-Nar.