Sunday, December 26, 2004

Slave Mentality in the American Umma

For those of you who are offended easily by strong language and comments, than you might not want to read this entry because right now, I am very angry.

Have you ever read the autobiography of Malcolm X? Many people are inspired by his message and some converts to Islam were heavily influenced by his life. He often spoke a sociological paradigm amongst African American people known as the house slave/ field slave mentality. Here’s a brief explanation.

On a plantation, there are basically two types of slaves. The field slave is risky, adventurous and always thinking about freedom. He wants to make a life for himself where he is free to live as he pleases. He doesn’t want to live under the boot heel of his abusive, jealous master. He constantly thinks of a better life away from the plantation. The house slave, on the other hand, is quite happy with his condition. Even though he is hated and feared on the same level as the field slave, he is quite content to live under the tyranny of his master. Despite his squalid conditions and low social status, he will defend the same people who would rather see him eliminated.

During the Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X compared the field slave to African-Americans who were fighting for their social, economic and political rights. The house slaves were those who didn’t want to rock the boat and preferred things as they were under Jim Crow law. Now…how does this relate to today’s Muslim of North America? I must thank the Muslim who left a comment on my last entry about an appearance by Ahmed Nassef on Fox News informing his viewers that most of the masjids in North America are filled with extremists.

Yes, that’s right. If you are a Muslim who goes to the masjid, your mosque is probably crawling with Al-Qaeda types who want to take over America. Thank you Brother Ahmed Nassef for making our neighbors even more afraid of us and warning them of the immiment danger.

"You’re one of the good ones,” the Fox Newslings must say.

This is prime example of a slave mentality. Rather than work with all Muslims and key Islamic organizations on issues like foreign and domestic terrorism, you and the key figures of the PMU, write articles about how all our masajid are walking time bombs. I find this claim absurb and ridiculous on so many levels because many of the people who are making these claims have never been inside of a masjid in years. How would you know if Masjid X is a front for Al-Qaeda if you don’t even attend Friday prayer?

And what does he mean by “extremists”? Is an “extremist” a Muslim who does not agree with Ahmed Nassef and Co.? If that’s the case then Farid Esack, the unofficial founder of the Progressive Muslim Movement, is an extremist. Or better yet, according to Nassef and Tarek Fetah, “ a neo-Salafi.” It must be nice to silence your competitors by mislabeling them rather than answering their claims. Sure, make claims that CAIR and ISNA are run by Saudi Wahhabis. What better way to help to your American Muslimeen than to tear down established institutions who don’t share your worldview?

It’s not progressive. It’s not helping us. It’s putting us in danger. Innocent Muslims are being stereotyped and demonized. We have not yet recovered from the tragedy of September 11th. We are trying to fight a world wide plague of suspicion and racism known as Islamophobia. And now we must contend with these Muslims who are cooning it up with the Step-n-Fetch It routine.

“I’m not a themza Muslim. I’s a youza Muslim.”

Make no mistake, this group does not care about Islam or creating an environment of inter-religious tolerance. It’s not enough for them to go against Sharia. It’s not enough to hate hijab or reject Hadith. It’s not even enough for them to reject the kamila shahada. They want to be THE voice of the Muslim American community, whether you like it or not. If you don't fall in line to their agenda, they'll just write an article about you so that others can ridicule devout Muslims and Islam. But just as the field and the house slave, if the government decides that all U.S. Muslims are a threat, they will be in the detention centers along with the rest of us. They hijacked the original Progressive Muslim movement for their own media campaign (and of course, for the promotion of their books and music) under the mantra of fighting racism, sexism and homophobia. But here are some questions…

If Ahmed & Co. are so dedicated to fighting racism, why all the Arab-bashing (particulary Saudi-bashing) on their website? Where is the voice of the converts, particulary African-American converts? (You know, we do happen to be at least 33% percent of the American Muslim umma.) Where are the articles about masajid being burned down or Muslims being assaulted in the streets? There was a pregnant Muslim woman stabbed to death in Louisiana, where is the MWU opinion on that?

If they are so dedicated to fighting sexism then why is there all that humiliating, degrading pornography on their website? It doesn’t matter if the writers are women. Aren't enough women being exploited and shamed through the pornography industry? What about our sisters who are being discriminated against for wearing hijab? Isn’t that just as hateful, oppressive, demeaning and sexist as the pseudo-Islamic states that make hijab compulsory?

Oh, they are very keen on gay rights. You should hear what they said about Maulana Rumi and Imam Sirraj Wahhaj. What better way to demean a strong black man like Imam Siraj Wahhaj than to call him a "homo?" (What is the deal with Michael Knight and his beef with Siraj Wahhaj and Ibrahim Hooper?) This day and age, you can not be a poet or have a close relationship with a person of the same sex without people accusing you of being a homosexual. Never mind that Rumi was a Hanafi scholar well versed in Qur’an, Hadith, fiqh and hated all forms of sinful deviation. We are very familiar with the efforts of Orientalists who paint him as some kind of whacked out hippie who rejected Sharia and espoused inclusion of all kinds of nonsense. Audhu billah. But if the MWU crew is so keen on gay rights, why invite Bush-supporter Malik Hasan to serve on their Progressive Muslim Union? Isn’t President George Bush responsible for amendment which currently bans gay marriages?

The jig is up and this people are causing serious problems for us Muslims in America. They are killing our efforts to reach out to others and they need to be revealed for the people that they are.

But all is not lost.

We don’t need Fox News, CNN or MSNBC to throw us a bone. Who is stopping us from having open houses at the masjid? Who is stopping us from creating newspapers, websites and writing articles against Islamophobia? What about documentaries, blogs, writing clubs, charitable societies, non-profit organizations?

Nobody, that’s who.

Don’t think that just because you’re not a imam or sheikh that you can’t do something. We can not afford to be silent. Our lives and the lives of those who come after us depend on it. CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, Zaytuna and others can't do it all. We must all put in an effort. It’s time to stop being nice, quiet and pleasant because confused Americans are mistaking that for guilt. It's time for the gloves to come off. We have nothing to be guilty about. We do not condone the actions of September 11th or any other murderous actions against innoncent people whether they are Muslim or non-Muslim. Let's knock off the slave mentality and get to work.

14 Comments:

Blogger Yusuf Smith said...

As-Salaamu 'alaikum,

I think the reason Malcolm X's "house nigger" (he didn't say house slave, did he?) was in no rush to escape from slavery was because he was well-treated by the master, lived in the house and perhaps even ate at his table (at least occasionally), if only as a means to get him to spy on the field slaves. Also, perhaps some black people realised that ending slavery would not be the end of their ills, because whites would lose whatever sense of responsibility they had towards them.

The modern-day house niggers of the Ummah are people who either want to cosy up to Bush and the gang to get favours for their businesses, or they don't realise that these people will absolutely never be satisfied with any Muslim. I've even seen people on the sites we all know about saying that MWU are not really moderate ... so they really are deluded.

3:34 PM  
Blogger DrMaxtor said...

This was an amazing article. Jazakullah Khair !

7:01 PM  
Blogger thabet said...

I don't live in the States, so I can't comment on the "state" of mosques. But I do remember reading that Muhammad Hisham Kabbani made a similar claim about "extremism" in a large percentage of American mosques.

asslaamu `alaykum

8:21 AM  
Blogger bloggerism said...

Kabbani and PMU's Naasef/Omid Safi have one thing in common - they both like to hang out with Bush supporters. Basically a lot of this is two faced - they talk one way when around people who oppose Bush. They then invite these Bush people to be on their board of advisors. Kabbani had a picture of him and Bush on his website for sometime - don't know if he still has it there...Another of Kabbani's supporters is Stephen Schwarz - who is a Shia Muslim version of the neo-cons.

These people tried to hijack a new Shia organization called UMMA - and wanted to make it a showcase of Shia support for Bush. These people were beaten back by some good organized Shia folks.

Sunni Muslims need to do the same with these PMU people -don't let them get too far. There is a need to do more! Go after their funding source.

Regarding Arab bashing you mention in your excellent article: There is a new Rand report that talks about increasing the divisions between Arab and non-Arab Muslims. This is probably why you see Arab bashing on MWU - this new Rand Report talks about how the US can work to increase these divisions.

5:27 PM  
Blogger izzymo said...

Salaam Brother Yusuf,
I think he did use the term "nigger" in his bio but on TV, he used negro or slave. I guess I just don't understand how someone can claim to be so liberal and than show up on Faux news and tell Americans that our masjids are filled with extremists. The hypocrisy sickens me.

Salaam Thabet,
Yeah, I heard that Kabbani made a similiar comment. But as Bro. Yusuf, they will never be satisfied with us. I doubt even Progressive Islam suits their tastes but it's a great way to further divide the umma.

Thanks Dr. Max! I am waiting for a post from you. :)

Salaamz Bloggerism,
I need to keep track of all this information. There are all these groups working right under our noses and we can't even see them. And as far as for "extremists in the masjids," maybe Nassef should visit my city. There is a mosque with no barriers between the genders, a mosque with no space for women and a multitude of masajid with variations in between. But why tell the American people that? We really need to get to work.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Yusuf Smith said...

"bloggerism" wrote:

Kabbani and PMU's Naasef/Omid Safi have one thing in common - they both like to hang out with Bush supporters. Basically a lot of this is two faced - they talk one way when around people who oppose Bush. They then invite these Bush people to be on their board of advisors. Kabbani actually did the same when Clinton was president. In fact, you can still read his notorious State Department speech on the ISCA's website. The speech was roundly condemned within the community, for the same reason which comes up here - because it puts the community in danger. Of course, if there are extremists in mosques it should be dealt with in the community - we've had our own problems here with sectarians taking over mosques, but it's our problem, not the government's.


Kabbani had a picture of him and Bush on his website for sometime - don't know if he still has it there...Another of Kabbani's supporters is Stephen Schwarz - who is a Shia Muslim version of the neo-cons.Schwarz is not actually Shi'ite - he considers himself a Sunni. I quite admired him when he was talking about Saudi vandalism of mosques in Bosnia and extolling the virtues of the mujahideen in Chechnya in the mid-1990s. When he cosies up to the neo-cons I started to switch off. He doesn't impress the real neo-cons, of course.

4:40 AM  
Blogger Brother Michael said...

Peace brotha,

Brotha, it was house negroes, and it's evident that Islam despair has everything to do with the human's waning concept of Islam, entirely. First off, Islam in not modern, nor is it TRIBAL. And this is what I've seen in the Hawaii mosque. Whether it was treated with acceptance is seen with assimilation of American Muslims dressed in Middle Eastern garb reflecting a culture "we" try to emulate. You see it during Friday prayer's when the sermon's are given in Arabic. Being a "new" convert I felt neverless comforted by the fact I was closer the believer's in faith. But what does culture have to do with Islam. EVERYTHING, when you can identify with your own culture. GOD say he created different culture and races to know each other. So please know this...GOD say's what other HADITH will you have after this...After the death of Prophet Muhammend Peace be upon him we ushered not only his sayings and doing's which GOD say's if he uttered anything other than the QURAN he would have cut HIM off and we would have been able to do nothing about it. So what about 9/11 it's still As-salaamu' alaikum, but since were so disconnected from "TRUE" "ISLAM" we can't see why the devil and corrupted the MOSQUE. GOD say's do not MENTION ANY OTHER NAME THAN HIS IN THE MOSQUE and HE would rather you attend a MOSQUE built for WORSHIPPING HIM ALONE. SO why have we INVENTED PRAYER'S INVOLVING the names of PROPHET'S when the proclamation of faith reads' I BARE WITNESS THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH. GOD has NO PARTNER'S and I mean in the LITERAL since NONE. FIRST, let's get back to basic's and pray to GOD alone again, and maybe the conflict between MODERN Islam, Islamic "so-called" Fundelmentism, Islamic Fanactics, Muhaddeans' and the like can be laid to rest. It's not like the hadith don't contradict each other, really. It's not like GOD didn't say there will be no division of sects. Submission.org 19 and the Quran. Islam. Let's get back to the source cause the war is here..... itsbeenyou@hotmail.com Brotha Michael Brown Article 11 clause 5 the Constitution reads "...If you were not a NATURAL born CITIZEN UPON the ADOPTION of THIS CONSTITUTION you are not eligible for the office of the President..." This means Afican Americans must vote to get this amended. So much for field nigga, African Americans have unconciously accepted this fate of HOUSE NEGROE and are still unaware of this Article and how is pertains to them. So don't be so ready to discard your OWN BROTHER of FAITH without knowing all the facts. As-Salaamu-alaikum.

6:12 PM  
Blogger maka said...

Muslims sound the same as Christians. I think everyone needs a lesson in Indigenous spirituality that focuses on living in sync with the environment, as care takers of the land, since without it's food and water none of us would be here to speak about anything. So much for arrogance on all sides. Why does mass religion want to take over the world? Why does Judaism, Christianity and Islam seek to convert? And, don't say it doesn't. Because that would be bull! You're all the same and you all think you're so much better than the other. I don't need your charity. I need to have my own freedoms so I can provide for myself.

1:14 AM  
Blogger maka said...

correction: its instead of it's my mistake. It's rather late.

1:15 AM  
Blogger maka said...

Does any Muslim or follower of Islam know anything at all about Aboriginal practices or beliefs of the country they now live? Do you even care to know? Why is it that you feel entitled to impose your faith on others? Do you realize that you are the same as everyone else? You're not any more righteous than the last aggressive blow hards that invaded before you! Expect a lot more people to not welcome your ways. Nobody likes being invaded and imposed upon. I would think that goes for you, as a population as well. Fight for your right to be Muslim in your own backyards. And the converts are surely welcome since they've adopted your ways. I'm still trying to get my country to accept my way which is the Indigenous way. I'll be damned if you're before me. Think about that perspective while you're making your demands to be clearly understood. Why fight here when you can be easily understood in your own states where Islam already rules?

You don't have to teach anyone about Islam. You just have to be a good human being and you will be accepted into whatever alternative society you live amongst. That's the basic principle of most human beings. If you act differently or alienate yourself and insist on your own way when you are the new way then, you help create your own hardships. You can not control all of nature to suit your needs. You must adapt and be fluid if you want to be truly harmonious. Not a virtue afforded to us, American Indians who were here first and thriving. Despite popular misconceptions of our culture, thanks to many who are uninterested to learn about our true ways. As I understand it, it's not your way either (much like the Christians) to be adaptable and fluid, but to be adamant and self righteous. Stubborn. If that's how you act, then expect others to repel you. It's nature. What would you do if the situation were reverse? What have you done when the situation was reverse?

And Peace Brotha, you have misinterpretted the constitution. Any natural born citizen born upon the adoption of the constitution can run for president, legally. Which if you were born here, that includes you, legally. However, if it is of any concern to anyone, the Black vote was simultaneous to the Indigenous vote and any other poor or minority, 1965, with the Voter's rights act. Let's not forget about the Chinese. Nobody ever talks about what they lived through. I guess they don't matter either. Everyone had to fight, some had to fight harder and longer. Let's see if there's ever going to be an American Indian for president. That's right, we're still here. Thanks for asking.

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