Love, Life Stories

It’s about time we call out racism within Muslim communities

Mosques can be extremely cliquish, as so many people gravitate towards hanging around those who are the same ethnicity.

It’s no surprise that there has been a long history of discrimination against Muslims in America.

In 2017 alone we have seen mosques set on fire, hijabi women have been threatened and anti-Muslim hate groups are on the rise.

According to the most recent hate crime statistics released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, anti-Muslim hate crimes increased by 67%, which is the highest rate since the September 2001 terror attacks.

While Muslims have suffered many Islamophobic attacks, we cannot deny the fact that racism exists within Muslim communities.

[bctt tweet=” We cannot deny the fact that racism also exists within Muslim communities. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

There are some Arabs who think they are better than Desi people and there are lighter skinned Muslims who think they are above Black Muslims. Mosques can be extremely cliquish as many people gravitate towards hanging around those who are of the same country of origin as theirs. For converts and new attendees at mosques, it can be difficult feeling comfortable or welcomed when racial identity plays a large role in who talks to you.

This racial discrimination happens on both small and wide-scale levels. I’ve witnessed Arabs making snide and derogatory remarks about Indian and Pakistani food during Ramadan iftars.

“Ew, what is that?” and “that looks nasty!” they would say as they looked at the food in disgust.

I’ve heard stories about Arab parents not wanting Southeast Asians teaching their children the Quran at Sunday Schools, because they are not native Arabic speakers. Some Middle Easterners act arrogantly because they can speak Arabic well and read Quran fluently as opposed to non-native Arabic speakers.

My Desi friend has told me stories about how her father, who is very light skinned, works in the Middle East and is treated well but when people find out he is from Bangladesh, he is treated worse.

At my own mosque, I have seen how Black leaders put up with unfair amounts of verbal abuse and racial slurs and aren’t taken as seriously.

Unfortunately, this racism doesn’t just exist within diverse Muslim communities in America. Based off my observations, it’s also rampant within the Middle East. When I visited Mecca over the summer, I was appalled at how some Southeast Asian Muslims were treated by Saudi Arabians. Even in the holiest city in Islam, it’s clear a racial hierarchy exists and non-Arabs are treated as second class citizens.

This racism is not just disgraceful, it’s also un-Islamic.

[bctt tweet=”This racism is not just disgraceful, it’s also un-Islamic.” username=”wearethetempest”]

During his last sermon, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), made it clear that there is no place for racism in Islam. He said, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.”

If the Muslim Ummah wants to combat Islamophobia and overcome anti-Muslim sentiments, then we first need to put an end to the racial divisions which exist in our communities. If you see something racist happening at the mosque, speak up about it. If you only hang around Arabs, befriend a Desi person. If you see a convert sitting alone, sit next to them and strike up a conversation. Small gestures can make a big difference.

[bctt tweet=”If you see something racist happening at the mosque, speak up about it. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Regardless of our skin color or country of origin, in the eyes of God, we are all equal and the best amongst us are those who best in character so let’s actively work towards putting an end to this racism.