The Racial Divide Between Immigrant Muslims and African-American Muslims:
Mohammed Brahimi who has an extensive background in community organizing and advocacy, has spoken out about the need for Muslim communities to come together and fight for justice for all. Brahimi explains that the Muslim community appeared to cocoon itself from the wider American community and be focused on its own issues. In his view, after the tragedy of 9/11 i, Muslim immigrants gained an insight into the lives of those pigeonholed as inherently criminal because of the color of their skin.
Nonetheless, Brahimi notes the lackluster reactions of the Muslim community towards the plight of other communities in their fight against inequality, injustice, police brutality and economic disparity. He suggests that the brutal killing of George Floyd gives rise to expressions of solidarity by Muslims toward other communities victim of police brutality and injustice.
Anti-Blackness in the Muslim Community: Being black and Muslim.
1 in 4 Muslims are Black, however this is rarely seen within representations of the larger American Muslim community. Black Muslim Jenasu Simaha expressed her experience of being a Black Muslim, having to explain and somehow prove the latter of her identity.
This is further reflected in the Somali community who lives in Minneapolis where Floyd was killed . Minneapolis resident Haji Yussuf explained that being seen as both Black and Muslim means sometimes facing multiple forms of discrimination, not only from the general public but from within the Muslim community itself. The elder generation of Somalian Muslims struggle with this dual identity and are often averse to being considered Black Americans.
The owner of Cup Foods, who called the police to report Floyd after he attempted to use a counterfeit $20 bill, is Mahmoud Abumayyaleh of Arab descent.For that reason, Arab Muslims like Khadijah Ali have expressed concerns that the call to the police which led to George Floyd’s death ”came from a Muslim shp owner who couldn’t give this guy the benefit of the doubt.” (although Abumayyaleh told CNN that the employee who called the police was simply practicing “protocol” after discovering the suspicious $20 note). Abumyyaleh also released a personal statement , stating ”We stand for Black Lives Matter, we are against abuse of power and racial injustice. We have a system that is broken, and it must be fixed.”
The events in Minneapolis have sparked calls for solidarity from many Arab-American groups and advocates. On Thursday, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), issued a statement rebuking anti-black racism. ”Although we have some shared struggles, we must also acknowledge that now is a time for us to listen to Black Americans and Black civil rights groups about their unique experiences and about how we can best support our collective struggle against injustice,” the statement said. “It is also our duty as Arab-Americans to educate ourselves on the struggles our Black brothers and sisters face and how we can do our part to tackle anti-blackness.”We must also ask ourselves ‘Have I done enough to rid my community of anti-blackness and racism? What are we doing in our homes, our places of worship, and our businesses to fight this?