Friday, December 16, 2005

black cats who became muslim

Some time ago, a Sunni African-American Muslim blogger had asserted that African-American Sunnis weren't doing as much in Black communities as Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. And to be honest, the fact that he said so kind of annoyed me.... not just because I thought he was wrong, but because of the nagging suspicion that he might be right. So I felt compelled to try to disprove him by trying to point to Black Sunni activists and doing entries on them at Planet Grenada.

In the process, what I found is that there are alot of Sunni individuals and organizations quietly doing alot of positive work in the Black community. But because they don't seek out controversy, they don't get the same kind of media attention which Farrakhan or the Nation do.

In particular, I found a group of African-American Muslims who were all former Black Panthers and it made me really curious to see how many African-American Muslims came to Islam along that particular trajectory. It would be good if someone could do more research on the phenomena. Perhaps some Panthers are left unsatisfied by Marxist materialism and so they feel a need for more spirituality and become Muslim. That would be my guess, but to be honest I really don't know.

I've been mulling this subject over for a while, but it came up again for me recently because I've reading about, and working on a blog entry for, Malik Rahim who has been in the news lately. He is a (you guessed it) former Black Panther but is still very much involved in community activism. He lives in New Orleans and is running as the Green Party candidate for mayor. I'm tentatively assuming that he's probably Muslim but I'm trying to find out more information about him online.

remember imam jamil al-amin
nuh washington
dhoruba bin wahad
interview with safiya bukhari
jalil abdul muntaqim
mustafa ibn talib

prison islam
another piece on prison islam

young lords
a really nice black panther page

(i may need to fix some links)


DA said...

Yeah, I appreciate the good NOI does, but the way they operate sometimes and what they believe is pretty un-Islamic, in my opinion.

I had an FOI guy threaten me in Oakland once cos he thought I was a drug-dealer, it was really odd. This was pre-Islam me by a few years so I had no idea who he was or why he was bothering me. No relevance, just me talkin :-)

I've heard there are blackamerican shia groups with some activist tendencies, but I haven't looked into it. I know there are Black Shia in Philly, apparently some ex-panthers took their kids to go study in Iran after the revolution, and Khomeini was amazed and glad that they came. Some of those guys live back in the US now, one's a principal at a Philly area High School now.

Umar Lee said...

I can tell you in the East Coast, from DC to NYC and in between the work that Sunni Muslims do in the black community by far exceeds the work of the NOI. They are has-beens on the EC. The numerous black salafi Masjids in the East Coast includes the largest African-American Masjid in America in East Orange, NJ and a big community in Philly and then you have brothers like Siraj Wahaj in Brooklyn.