Creating an Islamic-American Culture
Twenty years ago, I stood nervously in front of a group of reporters. The bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma killed 168 people, including 19 children, shook the entire nation. Our local chapter of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) took the lead in pushing back against the Islamophobia in media coverage and organized the press conference. The Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) had only been established a year before in Washington and their advocacy work had not reached our community in Northern California. In the decades that followed, CAIR has expanded across the country, as Muslim led initiatives have taken the reigns in combatting Islamophobia through political advocacy, interfaith outreach, and education.
And during this time, it has become increasingly rare to see Black American Muslims, and even rarer to see Black American Muslim women, in media or in decision-making capacity in these national efforts. The erasure of Black American Muslims undermines efforts towards developing a unified front in the face of our greatest threat. Groups working in the field must take into account the ways in which their anti-islamophobia work alienates Black American Muslims.
Excellent article, mashAllaah.