Sunday, September 25, 2005

ISNA Thugs? by Sheila Musaji

Hat tip to PMUNA Debate for posting in this entry.

This is an article by Sheila Musaji, looking into the accusations by and Muslim Wake that ISNA is an exclusivist group of Islamist thugs.

I'll write on some of their accusations later but Mrs. Musaji does a good job at poking holes into their theories.


Blogger UmmAli said...

Some bothersome stuff in that article. Firstly are all or even most Af. American Muslims associated with W.D. Mohammad and his group. I never have been and neither has anyone in my family or my immediate circle of Af. American Muslim friends. So, that wasn't much of a counter.

Also, as far as Shi'a participation. UMAA is very much marginal in the American Shi'a community.

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salaam 'Alaikum

Umm P pointed out this part to me:
"At one point I was walking through the ISNA bazaar and heard a Native Deen’s rap cd being played in the bazaar area which attracted my attention. I was able to purchase a CD for one of my son’s and even get it signed by one of the musicians."

How is Native Deen's presence at ISNA a sign that African Americans are represented at ISNA?

Ms. Musaji needs to come back with more research about how many people actually attend the Mosque Cares convention. It is the largest Islamic organization, yes. The last I read, from a Mosque Cares affiliated website, they counted 2 million members, which is a significant portion of the Black American Muslim population.

At the same time, how much sway does ISNA have among Arab Muslims? Or Pakistani? Or Whites? With about 30,000 attendees, it's just ridiculous to expect that ISNA represents all or even a majority of the Muslim American population, which is what MWU would have you believe (and probably ISNA as well).

ISNA, like ICNA and MAS, and other orgs, does have a problem when it comes to the concerns of Black Americans. The 2000 presidential endorsements are the most obvious example. But I don't think it follows that ISNA is actively discriminatory. ISNA can't control who comes to their convention.

Anyway, I find that remark in the original article a little hypocritical. How many Black American Muslims are represented on the PMUNA board (whatever part of it still exists)? I know Amina Wudud was on the board, but she quit (along with many others). I know the Abdul Ghaffurs were / are involved, but who else is? How many conferences have they held inviting TMC-affiliated people to attend? It goes both ways. One thing I noticed about MWU when the mag first went online is that it seems very focused on the voices of first and second generation Pakistanis and Arabs, with a token voice now and then from some White convert and no interest at all in Black Muslims (let alone Latino Muslims). Which is fine if that's what you want to do and where your interests lie. Just remember you're living in a glass house before you throw stones.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


My other point is that no group -- ISNA, ICNA, MAS, MPAC, UMAA, PMUNA, or anyone else from the Acronym Brigade -- can accurately claim to represent the majority of Muslims, because they don't. Because most of us are not members of these orgs, we will always find something in their missions, goals, and accomplishments to disagree with.

I wouldn't join ISNA. I don't like their magazine, I don't agree with things they've said and done, and if I went to their convention, my main motivator would probably be the bazaar. But I think that the charges levelled at them in the original article are really ridiculous (and some of them patently false, as Musaji demonstrated). Well, and I also think it's criticism for the sake of criticizing anything mainstream and conservative in the community, with ISNA being the largest of them.

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