Racial Problems amongst Shia in the West

This is an e-mail that was circulated between a person and a few scholars. I think this issue is important and needs to be discussed further. Please take a minute and read it and lets think of way that we can combat this issue.

InshaAllah this reaches everyone in good health. By the grace of Allah (swt) many active and sincerely devoted youth have begun to connect with each other from all across the country. Through mediums such as email list servs, conferences, face book, and online forums these youth have demonstrated incredible understanding of Islam’s revolutionary ideology. Often times because of their unadulterated view of Islamic tradition, they end up feeling isolated within their own communities and resort to finding young adults through other means. In the last couple of years we have begun to exchange ideas about the future of Islam in America and the necessary steps that need to be taken by communities and their respective leaders. After noticing that many of our communities are facing the same problems, and feeling that the majority have neglected to address them properly, we have decided to take our issues directly to our scholars across the board.

One of these preeminent issues is regarding race relations, and ethnocentricity. The reality of the matter is that racism exists down to the roots of many Islamic centers, pervading even up to the mouths of some religious leaders. The Caucasian, Black and African American, and Latino growing Shia communities are feeling more and more isolated as they continue to search for avenues to practice their new found faith. The masjids are increasingly becoming deficient for our new converts and reverts by failing to provide adequate resources. Often times they naturally bring with them their old styles of dress, hair, and slang. Unfortunately out of lack of insight and patience, many centers stuck in their own cultural ignorance tend to shun and look down upon such ‘foreign’ behaviors. Countless numbers of reverts have turned back from Islam because of this type of attitude.

Full article: www.insight-info.com

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Western Muslims are Racist

We have many people struggling to get married but even beyond that we have people trying to justify their skin colour, heritage, race and nationality with the overwhelming immigrant muslim community’s perception of them- especially those who are Muslims born in America to non-Middle Eastern families.

racism protest

There is a serious problem and I believe it must be addressed soon and head on. The communities as a whole must be told that racism and prejudice based on class, nationality or any other prejudice is incorrect. Telling people that they should not marry converts is not correct. Telling people that they should only marry within their culture is not correct as a general statement. These issues must be dealt with on an individual basis but the larger picture- the overwhelming prejudice in some communities is a large backward step for the Ummah.

I wanted to share a brief comment from an African American brother who is very close to me. He was born sunni and converted to shi’ism at 15 years old. He has been trying to get married for 6+ years and is now 25 and in dental school with an industrial engineering degree. He has memorized much of the Qur’an and is extremely intelligent. However he has been rejected time and time again for marriage from parents because, and only because, of his skin colour- even when the sister agreed and was hoping to marry him. Here are his feelings he shared with me:

In all honestly, I’m tired of this game…Immigrant Muslims come here enjoy this country while bashing it all the time and (insert explicit word for defecation here) on us, the Muslims here…They treat us like we are criminals or kafirs even…I’m through…This isn’t an ummah…Its not a brotherhood…Loyalty to family, tribe, and ethnicity is paramount to these people…I honestly feel like the immigrants should go back to their home countries and focus on fixing the problems there instead of coming here and being hypocrites…Other Shaykhs have said racist things on calls…I’m done with all of it…And I will be a witness against them on the day of Judgment Insha Allah…

I believe if we all banded together and decided to confront these poisonous issues together, head on, with CLARITY and PERSISTENCE then Allah will change the believer’s hearts and help us stay away from hypocrisy in our deen. I think this should also been done on individual bases too where we talk with individuals about these issues and exalt the righteous and forbid the evil and satanic. There must be a pro-active way to bring communities together, just as the Prophet (may Allah bless him and his progeny) brought tribes together. We should realize that most of the children of immigrants do not hold extremely traditional outlooks and even are very happy to marry cross-culturally. It is often the parents and elders who forbid these actions- and often with terrible excuses, sometimes racist and nationalist in nature. Every day my brothers and sisters are getting hurt because of backward mindsets…

The Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: “He who hurts a Muslim believer, surely he has hurt me.”

Bihar-ul-Anwar, vol. 67, p. 72

Be part of the solution, inshaAllah….

Imam Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (a.s.) said: “May Allah have mercy upon the person who services a right and removes a wrong, or refutes an injustice and establishes justice.”

Qurar-ul-Hikam, p. 181

With Peace, Hope, and Blessings,
Your brother in Islam,

TC

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