GOATMILK continues its original and exclusive month long series entitled “Facing Race: Muslims and Islam” featuring diverse Muslim writers from around the world discussing race, ethnicity, prejudice, stereotyping and multiculturalism in the post 9-11 world
Muslims Facing Race
Br. Dawan Muhammad
Under the regime of Caucasian Americans the most ridiculous yet compelling justification for racism continues to be the idea that power is somehow based on physical characteristics, with skin color being at the top of the list. Class and status also rank high in the pecking order, which is why racists also need to believe that they are superior, and need to make others believe that they are inferior. Simply put, a racist has an obsessive compulsion to degrade and dominate others. Every so-called ethnic group in America experiences a unique brand of racism usually related to some aspect of each group’s physical characteristics or cultural tradition.
This compounds an already existing identity crisis among Americans attempting to maintain ties with their ancestry in other parts of the world. Caucasian Americans with European ancestry do not experience the same crisis, because Europe is presented and glorified as the epitome of prestigious human and cultural development. Consequently, it is very difficult for ethnic groups in America to unite and combat racism on the basis of common problems and common struggles against common enemies. I won’t try and cover all of the racial idiosyncrasies of every ethnic group in this short essay, so I have chosen to primarily focus on race relations between Muslim African Americans and the Muslim Americans with East Indian ancestry, because I have experience with those communities in this country and the current media attention being directed towards Pakistani Muslims could serve to enhance our perspective.
We can understand that racist policies and practices are tolerated in Judeo-Christian society however, they are not in Al-Islam, and so harboring these ideas even if they are not acted upon is in violation of Islamic Law.