February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans throughout history. As part of this celebration, the Muslim American Society (MAS) held an event highlighting the important role that Black Muslims have played in shaping the history of the United States. The event served as an opportunity to learn about the history of Black Muslims in America and to honor the famous Black Muslim figures who have contributed to this rich legacy.
Imam Mikail Stewart Smith
Imam Mikail Stewart Saadiq is a prominent American Muslim scholar and community leader. He is the founder and president of the Institute of Knowledge and a resident scholar at the Islamic Center of Irvine, California. Imam Saadiq is also a sought-after speaker and has given lectures and sermons at various mosques and events throughout the United States.
Imam Saadiq has a diverse educational background, having studied both Islamic and secular subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and a Master’s degree in Islamic Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also studied Arabic and Islamic sciences at various institutions in the United States and abroad.
In addition to his work as a scholar and community leader, Imam Saadiq is also known for his social justice activism. He has been involved in various campaigns and initiatives aimed at promoting civil rights, ending police brutality, and addressing other social issues affecting marginalized communities.
Imam Saadiq is a respected voice within the American Muslim community and beyond, known for his depth of knowledge, commitment to social justice, and dedication to community service.
Tariq Touré is an American spoken word artist, poet, and activist. He is known for his powerful performances that blend elements of poetry, storytelling, and social commentary. Through his work, Touré addresses a wide range of issues affecting Black communities in America, including police brutality, systemic racism, and poverty.
In addition to his work as a spoken word artist, Touré is also a community activist and advocate for social justice. He has been involved in various campaigns and initiatives aimed at promoting racial equity and ending oppression, including the Black Lives Matter movement.
Touré has performed at numerous events and venues throughout the United States, including universities, festivals, and community gatherings. He has also released several albums and spoken word projects, including “Blk Grl Pwr” and “Conscious Ratchet”.
Through his powerful and thought-provoking work, Tariq Touré has become a respected voice within the spoken word and social justice communities, inspiring and empowering audiences with his message of hope and activism.
The history of Black Muslims in America dates back to the time of slavery, when many enslaved Africans were forcibly brought to the United States. Among these Africans were Muslims, who were often stripped of their religious and cultural identities and forced to convert to Christianity. Despite this, many enslaved Muslims continued to practice their faith in secret and passed it down to their descendants.
One of the most well-known Black Muslim figures in American history is Malcolm X. Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. He was raised in a family that was deeply involved in the Black Nationalist movement, and his father was a follower of Marcus Garvey. Malcolm X became involved in crime and was sent to prison, where he became a member of the Nation of Islam, a Black nationalist and separatist organization that promoted the teachings of Elijah Muhammad.
Malcolm X became one of the most prominent voices of the Nation of Islam, advocating for the rights of Black people and calling for an end to racial discrimination. He famously stated, “We declare our right on this earth…to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.” Malcolm X eventually broke with the Nation of Islam and embraced Sunni Islam before he was assassinated in 1965.
Another famous Black Muslim figure in American history is Muhammad Ali. Born Cassius Clay in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali was a professional boxer and a civil rights activist. He converted to Islam in 1964 and joined the Nation of Islam, changing his name to Muhammad Ali. Ali was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and refused to be drafted, stating that he had “no quarrel with the Viet Cong.”
Ali was stripped of his boxing titles and banned from the sport for several years as a result of his stance on the war. However, he was eventually reinstated and went on to become one of the greatest boxers of all time, winning three world heavyweight titles. Muhammad Ali was also a philanthropist and a humanitarian, and he used his fame to raise awareness and support for various causes, including poverty, hunger, and racial injustice.
The legacy of Black Muslims in America is a rich and complex one, marked by struggles and triumphs, achievements and setbacks. It is a legacy that has been shaped by the efforts of countless individuals, many of whom are not well known or celebrated. The MAS event highlighting Black Muslim figures in American history serves as an important reminder of the contributions that Black Muslims have made to this country, and the importance of valuing and learning from this legacy.
As we celebrate Black History Month, it is important to remember that the history of Black Muslims in America is a part of this larger narrative. We must continue to honor and celebrate the contributions of Black Muslims to our society, and to recognize the ongoing struggles that they face in the fight for equality and justice.
In addition to honoring famous Black Muslim figures, the MAS event also provided an opportunity to learn about the struggles that Black Muslims face today. Black Muslims are a diverse and multifaceted community, encompassing a range of ethnicities, nationalities, and cultural backgrounds. However, they often face unique challenges that are rooted in both anti-Black racism and Islamophobia.
For example, Black Muslims may experience discrimination and prejudice from both non-Muslim Black Americans and non-Black Muslims. They may face stereotypes and misconceptions about their identity and beliefs, and may feel marginalized or excluded from mainstream Muslim communities.
Despite these challenges, Black Muslims have continued to play an important role in American society. They have been at the forefront of the fight for civil rights and social justice, working to address issues such as police brutality, mass incarceration, and systemic racism. Black Muslim organizations and individuals have also been active in providing humanitarian aid and support to communities in need, both in the United States and abroad.
As we reflect on the legacy of Black Muslims in America and the challenges they continue to face, it is important to recognize the role that non-Black Muslims can play in supporting and amplifying their voices. This includes listening to and learning from Black Muslims, as well as actively working to dismantle racism and Islamophobia within our own communities.
One way that non-Black Muslims can support Black Muslims is by contributing to organizations that work to uplift and empower this community. For example, the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) is a Chicago-based organization that works to address issues such as poverty, health disparities, and criminal justice reform in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods. The Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC) is a national organization that provides education and advocacy around issues of race and racism within Muslim communities.
In addition to these organizations, there are a number of Muslim relief and development organizations that provide humanitarian aid and support to communities affected by poverty, conflict, and natural disasters. These include organizations such as Islamic Relief USA, Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD), and the Zakat Foundation of America.
By supporting these organizations and working to address the unique challenges faced by Black Muslims, we can honor the legacy of Black Muslim figures and contribute to a more just and equitable society for all. As we celebrate Black History Month, let us remember the contributions of Black Muslims to American history, and let us continue to work toward a future where all individuals are valued and respected regardless of their race, religion, or background.