This month’s Sunday Seminar was held to commemorate Black History month covering the topic of the history of Black Muslims and the future of Islam in North America. The goal of the seminar was to delve into the discussion of what it means to honor Black History month, and explore modern day struggles of Black Muslims in North America.
To explore the meaning of Black History month from an Islamic perspective, Imam Yasin Dwyer started the seminar considering the importance of text and context. When discussing Black History month, Islam may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Imam Yasin discussed the early developments of Islam in Africa and the importance of understanding the role Islam played historically in Africa. Following the Islamic presence in the African continent, he urged that it is important to recognize that the Muslim population in the slave trade made up 15-30%. It is not only for this reason that we should always remember the importance of black history month, but that at its core, black history month originated in a setting to project positive images of a historically marginalized people.
While Black Muslims face various struggles today with regards to racism and prejudice from Non-Muslims, Shaykh Abdalla Idris Ali discussed racism even within our own Muslim community. He stressed on separating the religion Islam and the Muslim people. To explain this he mentioned a few Quranic verses that shed light on equality. The takeaway from this segment is to embrace our diversity and what separates us in the eyes of Allah is Taqwa (God consciousness) and worship. Finally, in this segment, Shaykh Abdalla Idris Ali concluded with providing advice as to avoid being a victim in such situations and to not use that as an excuse to be treated negatively.