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MANA: The State of Blackamerican Islam


We are kind of late on this one. But it is important that all Muslims, esp. in America, are aware about this excellent event ongoing in Philadelphia through today (Nov. 2-4). Alhamdulillah other bloggers (and speaker) are covering it, so you can be with the brothers in spirit, if not present physically. Here are some great links:

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  1. Mujahideen Ryder

    November 4, 2007 at 1:17 PM

    May Allah (swt) make MANA successful in there work for Islam in America. Ameen!

  2. Imam Johari Abdul-Malik

    November 4, 2007 at 8:49 PM

    I just got back to the DC area and plan to post some final thoughts from the conference, Insha Allah, but I am very tired now. I will try to post my thoughts tomorrow, Insha Allah.

    Thanks again for showing your support. We will need a lot of du’aa as we face many challenges in the urban areas and will need the help of brothers and sisters like you

  3. amad

    November 4, 2007 at 9:31 PM

    Imam Johari, we are your service inshallah.

  4. talib

    November 5, 2007 at 5:08 PM

    salam aleykum

    Although this project in very beneficial in a general sense, the disappointment lies on why the focus is on blackamerican muslims. I dont think the problems this community faces is different from the problems muslim communities across north american face. Even though the speakers are of african background they still can and should address the issues in their workshop to muslims of all background. atleast this is my understanding. and this comment is not to stir an argument but its a valid point towards the imams. and imam al johari specifically.

  5. Imam Johari Abdul-Malik

    November 5, 2007 at 7:20 PM

    Brother Talib,

    wa alaikum as-salaam,

    Thank you for your question and I think that this is a discussion that is NEEDED in our community.

    Firstly, Blackamerican Muslims on the panel at MANA have been consistent in their support of the issues of Muslims of all backgrounds.

    However, to illustrate the point of the gap between the immigrant and indigenous communities when it comes to the issues that concern them, Imam Talib Abdur-Rasheed was in a meeting of Muslim leaders (unconnected to this) in which they did a poll in which they were asked to rank their issues and concerns by prioritization

    The issues that ranked high with Immigrants, were ranked low by Indigneous Muslims and vice versa.

    And then take into account that Immigrant Muslims make up the majority of the Muslims in the country and set the agenda and that the issues of indigenous Muslims were put on the back burner. Not only that, but anyone knows that among ten action items, only five are actually worked on, so the issues of indigenous Muslims are not even on the back burner. This is not said from any malice, but just a statement of fact.

    For the most part, immigrant Muslims do not have to deal with crime, drugs, poor education and broken families. On the other hand, Indigenous Muslims do not find immigration to be an important issue for them.

    Another example is when we speak of marriage. When Immigrants speak of marriage they speak of “match making”. With urban Muslims, they speak of match making, but also domestic violence and abuse.

    The marriage session at MANA was a living example of the problems that brothers like Tariq Nelson have written about on numerous occasions.

    Saying shahaadah will not make these problems go away. We must address these problems and they can not go to the back burner. So all of this is to say that we basically taken the initiative to stop ignoring the problems of urban/indigenous Muslims

    And we should not deny that this is largely a Blackamerican problem.

    Secondly, the initiative that came out of this meeting…ANYONE can adopt these initiatives.

    And finally I should mention that Altaf Hussein – a non-Blackamerican that grew up in an urban environment in Cleveland – gave a beautiful speech addressing your concerns and why people from immigrant background should be concerned about these issues – as I am sure that you are.

    At the end of the day, I think that we are probably saying the same thing. I don’t know if you attended the conference, but if you did not, I think that your concerns would have been answered.

    Again, I want to reiterate that this dialogue is needed and the concerns of people like yourself need to be addressed and people need to understand why these issues need to be addressed

  6. Amad

    November 5, 2007 at 8:46 PM

    jazakAllah khair Imam Johari.

    It is a misunderstanding to believe that a focused effort in one area implies an exclusion of other areas. Problems are vast, and the more focus groups that we have who can identify and tackle specific problems, the better. In fact, that is how the best governments and the best corporations work. If we think of our Ummah in America as consisting of quarters of people and problems of specific and different natures, then having people focus on issues closest and most familiar to them will likely be the most efficient and most probable way of making a change.

    I applaud the brothers and sisters of MANA in recognizing the different nature of problems that inner city Muslims face, which have mostly nothing to do with specific Islamic methodologies, but rather everything to do with ground realities. As an immigrant, I can say honestly that I am not in the position to be able to make the same sort of impact among the inner-city Muslims relative to someone who is close and familiar to the situation.

    On a related note, I started reading this book at a friend’s home and plan to get a copy for myself inshallah… but even based on the few pages that I was able to read, I found it interesting and enlightening for me as an immigrant… I hope some of you will put this on your books-to-read list:

    Islam and the Blackamerican: Looking Toward the Third Resurrection by Sherman Jackson

    And here are some of my own reflections on immigrants and AA Muslims from my previous blog:3 parts series

  7. Imam Johari Abdul-Malik

    November 5, 2007 at 9:07 PM

    Br Amad

    Dr. Jackson’s book is a valuable read and I highly suggest it for all Muslims who want to understand the background of Islam in America and specifically Blackamerican Muslims

  8. talib

    November 5, 2007 at 11:55 PM

    Jazak Allah Khair Imam Johari

    your reply basically answered many of my concerns. Unfortunately i live in canada and wasn’t able to attend this conference. However muslim canadians of african descent are also facing many issues that you pointed out, like crime, broken families and drug abuse. Maybe you can bring that conference/workshop to Toronto and insha allah me and the muslims here will find your expertise of use.

    salam aleykum wa rahmatu allah wa barakatu

  9. Pingback: Imam Johari Abdul-Malik » Blog Archive » Final Thoughts on MANA

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