Boonaa Mohammed, Toronto Muslim writer, spoken-word poet and Dawah activist, hosted on January 8, 2017 a webinar on Anti-Black amongst Muslims featuring Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick, Dr. Donna Auston and Imam Shadeed Muhammad.
The issue of Anti-Black amongst Muslims has recently stirred controversy. Hamza Yusuf, an American Islamic scholar and the co-founder of Zaytuna College, came under fire in the Muslim community in the US and Canada following his statements at the Reviving the Islamic (RIS) Spirit conference in Toronto (December 24-27, 2016) about black on black crime and the breakdown of the black family.
Numerous American and Canadian Muslim scholars, Imams, community leaders and activists harshly criticized Hamza Yusuf blaming him of racism and some even of deviating from Islam. Under the pressure of criticism, Hamza Yusuf apologized and retracted his statements. To read Yusuf’s statements and for more information click HERE.
Speaking in the webinar, Abdullah Hakim Quick, a member of the Canadian Council of Imams, acknowledged the existence of racism in the Muslim community towards black people and of an inferiority complex. He went on to say that as a response to almost 10 years of racism, Canadian Muslims voted en masse in the last federal elections (2015) to bring down Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.
The following are excerpts from the webinar:
We’ve established that Sheikh Hamza Yusuf himself was worried about you know we don’t feel like he’s a racist. Nobody here has malice thought or intention towards him. But like we said the statements he did put forth were very troubling, and actually I had a sister who was at their knowledge retreat, so RIS after the conference they have a one week knowledge retreat. It’s kind of like an intensive seminar and a sister that was there messaged me and told me that she heard a statement that really troubled her.
She said one of the scholars there, she did mention who said that, basically criticizing even when criticism is true is backbiting, and Allah glorious and exalted be He, will take away the good deeds of those people and give them Sheikh Hamza. So anyone who engaged in you know even you know we can say you know just peaceful critique and you know open criticism of him, this whole notion of backbiting comes up, you know, you’re backbiting him, you’re slandering him, we’re you know throwing his name in the dirt and because of that we are sinful and you see this a lot and you know sometimes in dictatorships and unfortunately by the Muslim countries where you know you can’t speak ill of the leaders. I want to get some clarification on that. How do we actually fix the problem if we can’t even address it? Sheikh Abdullah maybe you can give me some some thoughts on this?
Abdullah Hakim Quick:
I believe the part of the problem you know is the Muslim community itself, and that is you know, as a product of racism we developed an inferiority complex. And what I’ve noticed in the community over here, I accepted Islam in 1970, and I had a chance to move around in M.S.A. [Muslim Student Association] conferences, you know, move around in early 70s, I traveled with some of the leaders and I was able to like get a glance at immigrant community and what was happening, and almost systematically, you know, whenever our Caucasian or white person accepted Islam , they would be given leadership positions almost immediately, sometimes without knowledge. Sometimes even without ability, without charisma, they would suddenly be in president positions, secretary positions without having earned it. Sometimes people would even come to them for fatwas [Islamic rulings], even though they couldn’t even speak Arabic or they never [inaudible] and that has to do with an inferiority complex that you know within the system of white quite privilege and white supremacy.
The fact that the [inaudible] is or comes from the dominant society means that the person deserves to be the leader and the opposite is if the person comes from the oppressed so called lower class society they deserve to be on the bottom.
So you know whenever a black person would accept Islam or Latino would accept Islam, he would usually say OK Brother call the adhan [call to prayer] or security, adhan or security… Very seldom you would see a black brother actually be placed in the front to lead the salat [prayer] or give the khutba [sermon] and there a few of us because of [inaudible] who have gone to institutions, you know, in [Saudi] Arabia and came back. We actually were able to break although in some of the communities had some of the people thought I was not an Afro-American, they thought I was a Palestinian…
That is the system of white privilege, a system of inferiority, you know, that assumes that somebody is correct and above criticism.. people cannot criticize and this is what has be addressed. I called the organizers of the RIS [Reviving the Islamic Spirit], you know, they need to be held accountable as well, because by setting up this hierarchy, you know, in Canada, you know, actually getting us back almost 10 years, as far as our youth are concerned, because we have young Arabs young Asians, you know, who don’t live in America, but they are affected by the propaganda of America, and you know they are also taking on this type of pathology of the black community that we are inherently criminals.
And what’s happening in Canada now is that this is having an impact, and you know, Muslims came up en masse in Canada bring down a Conservative government. Many Americans may not be aware of the fact that our society took down a [inaudible] the Harper government, you know who came in on a matter of anti racism. This type of, you know, with religion in the background, you know, actually threatens racist concepts and actually pushes our youths towards the conservative community and that [inaudible] 10 years to this negative racist concept of black people and people of color.
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