Sunday, August 13, 2006

radical african-american muslims

Thanks to George Kelly of negrophile for the heads up:

Radical Trends in African-American Islam by Chris Zambelis starts off by acknowledging the fact that the Seas of David, the group whose members were recently arrested in Florida, aren't actually a Muslim organization. But his article still goes on to raise an alarmist note about possible radical militant tendancies among African-American Muslims.

Florida African-American Group Inspired by al-Qaeda Ideology also by Zambelis, goes into a little more detail about the Seas of David and its similarities to other movements. He also points out that just because a group may be tactically working with al-Qaeda that doesn't necessarily imply any kind of ideological affinity. For example, the white supremacist group Aryan Nations has manifested some willingness to co-ordinate their efforts with al-Qaeda as well.

I would want to underline again the point I made earlier in ideology and temperament that violence and militancy need to be viewed seperately from the issue of ideology.

Perhaps the point would be easier to see in a different context. In the U.S. one of the main examples we see of Christian terrorism appears in the form of violence directed at abortion clinics and the doctors and nurses who work in them. There is a small extremist fringe which engages in such violence, even though in principle the overwhelming majority of Catholics and evangelical Christians believe that abortion is morally equivalent to murder. So the difference between the terrorists and the non-terrorists doesn't lie in their beliefs about abortion but somewhere else (e.g. their mental health or emotional state, attitudes towards "the system" and a host of other factors which could be lumped together under the umbrella of "temperament")

I would suggest that in a similar way one can make room for "radical" (deep, to the "root") Muslims whose worldview is thoroughly shaped by the principles of orthodox Islam. Truly "radical" Islam will inspire and guide its practitioners to lead more compassionate and spiritual lives. Such "radicals" will be good neighbors who make positive contributions to whatever society they live in. Terrorism, on the other hand, is rooted in narrow thinking, short-sightedness and anger. It doesn't come from "depth" or being "radical", on the contrary, it is the ultimate example of superficiality which treats life and death as means to an end.

I feel like I plug it too much but I want to just point to the Third Resurrection blog to demonstrate that a deep "radical" commitment to the Quran and Sunnah combined with the collective spiritual, historical, political, and philosophical wisdom of people of African-descent is a good thing; something to be prized and valued and cultivated instead of feared.

see also:
islam needs radicals
islam in latin america (which links to another article by Chris Zambelis)
laughing lions
miami and the seas of david
eric robert rudolph

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