Yes, I have high expectations when it comes to African Americans and Islamophobia. I do not expect black Americans, who experience hate crimes more than any other group in this country, to turn around and treat with contempt another group that does not look like the white majority. Further, I would hope that African Americans, painfully aware of how the dominant media has historically vilified black people in this country and around the world, would see through the lies, biases, and distortions of the media and of racist individuals when it comes to Islam and Muslims, here in America and abroad.

Realistically, however, as we know from Ben Carson’s Islamophobic comments, the high standards to which I hold black Americans do not always hold.

Still, the unique growth of Islam in black communities, especially in the mid-to-late 20th century, makes black Americans strong allies in American Muslims’ fight against Islamophobia. Largely because of Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam, the novel economic, educational, and media enterprises it brought to poor, urban communities, and the charismatic personalities of Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Louis Farrakhan, Islam came to be forever associated with black power, freedom, and justice.


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