Islam is an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God, and that Muhammad is a messenger of God. It is the world’s second-largest religion with over 1.9 billion followers or 24.4% of the world’s population, commonly known as Muslims. Wikipedia
Quran: The Quran is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be a revelation from God.
Founder: Muhammad Birthplace: Saudi Arabia
Third pillar: ZakatHoly
The Quran is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be a revelation from God.
MuslimMatters.org Discourses in the Intellectual Traditions, Political Situation, and Social Ethics of Muslim Life
30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 16: The Best of You
by Marwa Aly, Guest Contributor on July 9, 2020 at 6:24 am
Now that we have learnt about fruit out of season, let’s now talk about the best of you. I want you all to think about your closest friends and how you treat them. Question: Would anyone like to share how they try to treat their closest friends? That’s wonderful! You try to be thoughtful and The post 30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 16: The Best of You appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas | Book Review
by Zainab (AnonyMouse) on July 5, 2020 at 8:40 pm
In the second decade of the 21st century in America, Muslims consider themselves “as American as apple pie,” don American-flag hijabs, and consider their presence and participation in American politics as a crowning achievement. There is little to no resemblance between the majority of the American Muslim population today, and the very first Muslims who The post Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas | Book Review appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
Remembering Mufti Naeem (Jamia Binoria)
by Ustadha Umm Sarah on July 2, 2020 at 3:10 am
Guest post from Areeba Baig Sometimes you are so busy with life you don’t think much of where it all started, how you became who you are, the journeys you took and the people who helped you along them. And then something happens which forces you to pause. Only then you remember there were people The post Remembering Mufti Naeem (Jamia Binoria) appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
Podcast: Priorities and Protest | On Muslim Activism with Shaykhs Dawud Walid and Omar Suleiman
by MuslimMatters on June 30, 2020 at 4:32 am
Islam teaches us to stand up for justice, to enjoin good and forbid evil, and to help our brother whether he’s the oppressor or the oppressed, but how? To help us fully understand the answer to this question, we have the honor of speaking to not one, but two subject matter experts on Muslim activism. The post Podcast: Priorities and Protest | On Muslim Activism with Shaykhs Dawud Walid and Omar Suleiman appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
Raised by Converts
by Laura El Alam on June 29, 2020 at 1:00 pm
Note to the reader: Some Muslims debate which term we should use for someone who has chosen to accept Islam. Is it supposed to be “convert” or “revert?” In this article, I choose to use the word “convert.” Before I start receiving comments from individuals who are convinced that the term “revert” is the only The post Raised by Converts appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
Al Jazeera English Al Jazeera Media Network
US reports 3.3 million coronavirus cases: Live updates
on July 13, 2020 at 4:08 am
US president presses schools to reopen amid surge in new cases while COVID-19 infections in Brazil near two million.
Poland’s Duda in nail biting fight to retain presidency
on July 13, 2020 at 2:50 am
Late poll gives Duda razor thin lead over challenger Rafal Trzaskowski with official results expected later on Monday.
Explosion, fire on US navy ship at base in San Diego: 21 injured
on July 13, 2020 at 2:05 am
Origin of explosion on Sunday morning unknown, but Navy says all crew accounted for and situation under control.
US court gives green light to first federal execution in 17 years
on July 13, 2020 at 1:39 am
Daniel Lee execution was expected on Monday, but family of victims now says will appeal, citing right to view execution.
WHO reports record daily increase in coronavirus cases: Live
on July 12, 2020 at 11:22 pm
US, Brazil, India and South Africa register biggest rises in COVID-19 cases, according to the UN health agency.
Dr. Kameelah Rashad Champions Mental Health and Shares Radical Love Along the Way
by Guest Contributor on July 9, 2020 at 7:49 pm
Editor’s Note: We’ve been featuring dynamic Muslim women on the blog for awhile, and we are stepping it up with our summer series dedicated to ChangeMakers, women who are living boldly and working to affect change in a myriad of ways – big and small – through their work as community organizers, artists, scientists, activists, educators, health professionals, care givers and more. We hope you are inspired by them to be the change you are searching for in your community! By Layla Abdullah-Poulos I first met Dr. Kameelah Rashad at the Black Muslim Psychology Conference, a convening created by her that centers on the mental and emotional well being of Black Muslims and addresses the social issues impacting them. The annual conference is one of the many ways that she uses her sage voice and expertise to amplify personal, community and national issues impacting Black Muslims, non-Muslims and women. Listening to Dr. Rashad at the conference, her supportive confidence and wisdom shone through. She riveted listeners and encouraged an atmosphere of respect, fellowship and mutual emotional and spiritual edification among attendees. As long as I’ve known her, she has a special way of making everyone feel validated. Dr. Rashad holds a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology and multiple master’s degrees and clinical certifications. In 2013, she founded the Muslim Wellness Foundation (MWF), a mental health organization with the primary objective to reduce stigmas about mental illness, addiction and trauma and raise awareness in American Muslim communities through education. In addition to the Black Muslim Psychology Conference, Dr. Rashad organizes multiple collaborations and projects through the Muslim Wellness Foundation, including the Black Muslim COVID Coalition (BMCC) and the Wisdom of the Elders project, two initiatives that center Black Muslims and the unique social issues affecting them. Dr. Kameelah Rashad upon completing her PhD. “We have a unique experience of being both a racial and religious minority in a country that prioritizes white, Christian lives,” explains Dr. Rashad. “It’s not just enough to be white, you have to be Christian too. There are so many ways that we [Black Muslims] can be invisible. “[With African Americans], we have a racial affinity and shared history, but when it comes to religion, their privilege, or the fact that they are part of a majority faith community does afford Christians some capital and perceived respectability they may try to hold onto. When we think about what many Black Christians have internalized about Muslims, it’s very negative,” says Dr. Rashad. “They may know about the Nation [of Islam] but not the range and diversity of Black Muslims in the United States. They don’t know about The Walking Quran or the rebellions in Brazil. So it’s completely another culture’s religion.” The problem in American Muslim communities, continues Dr. Rashad, is that “… we replicate some of the broader structures that serve to exclude Black people in general. The systems we live in predicate white superiority and black inferiority, with structures in place that reinforce that idea. In American Muslim communities, there is always this distancing from Blackness. “The complicity in non-Black Muslim communities post-9/11 was to cling to this idea that we are different. We are not like those Black people who have been historically subjugated. So, let me show you how I am different and should not be treated [like them].” In focusing on how they are exceptional or different than what non-Muslims believe about Muslims, non-Black Muslims ended up making things harder for themselves and their Black Muslim sister and brothers: Dr. Rashad explains, “There is a narrative of exceptionality spun. Let’s try to curate the extraordinary Muslim stories. When someone uses exceptionality to prove their humanity, they’re playing into that trope. No, your life has inherent worth, you don’t have to tell an extravagant story. “These are some of the things that we have to accept as our reality because if we don’t accept it, we can’t effectively challenge it.” Black Muslim Psychology Conference The BMPC, one of Dr. Rashad’s initiatives, demonstrates a growing appreciation for the need for Black Muslims to have spaces to address their mental and emotional well being and the issues negatively impacting both. According to the initiative’s website, “The Black Muslim Psychology Conference intentionally and unapologetically centers the narratives, voices and strengths of Black Muslims with a special emphasis on healing and collective well-being. This unique gathering is dedicated to expanding the conversation on self-love, self-acceptance and self-determination.” The MWF holds the annual conference in Philadelphia, where people gather to listen to panels and engage in spirit-fortifying communal fellowship. Every year, the BMPC affords presenters and panelists from across the country and throughout the globe opportunities to highlight topics centered on a common theme. Last year, the conference’s theme – The Mis-Education of the Black Muslim – included keynote speaker Yusef Salam, workshops on marriage, family, community development and educational topics like home school cooperatives, spiritual miseducation of the American Muslim negro and a generating deeper appreciation for oral history, storytelling and creativity in Black Muslim communities. Black Muslim Psychology Conference; image source: BMPC Past conferences have included notable American Muslim scholars, leaders, educators and activists like Rep. Ilhan Omar, Ustadha Ieasha Prime, Jamillah Karim, Margari Aziza, Donna Auston, Habeeb Akande and Prof. Khaled Beydoun. Convenings also provided space to center Black Muslim creativity, hosting artists like Tariq Toure, Sadiyah Bashir and Youseff Kromah. Organizers canceled the conference this year due to state COVID shutdowns. In an About Islam article, Dr. Rashad describes the gratification she finds in facilitating an event that brings her fellow Muslims joy. “If this is what Allah intended that I do, I am so grateful that He gave me this mission because there is nothing like seeing your people happy. It is not the kind of happiness that is so optimistic that you are oblivious to challenges. It’s a happiness of gratitude, fulfillment and peace. “If I can provide a space and mechanism for people to find peace, even for two days, it is just tremendous.” The BMPC is unique in the way it wraps attendees with a sense of tangible fellowship. In the year that I attended, people constantly expressed a sense of belonging and community that extends beyond the two-day conferences. I have built professional and personal relationships at the conference that continue to enhance my work and feed my spirit. Black Muslim COVID Coalition At the onset of the COVID pandemic in the United States, Dr. Rashad anticipated the distinct ways the virus would impact Black Muslim communities and the existence of blindspots in Black and Muslim organizations addressing them. She and her team at MWF, in cooperation with the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), developed and launched the BMCC, creating a consortium of Black Muslim organizations, experts, advocates and activists examining and addressing layers of ways the virus impacts Black Muslims. Through webinars, the BMCC offers education, planning and preparedness advice to populations of people who often fall through the cracks of media and community attention. “We hope that people take away a message from our programming that we are caring for ourselves,” says Dr. Rashad. “We care about the folks who are incarcerated, the women who are incarcerated and those who want to fashion the rights of Ramadan but have their rights infringed upon. We care about our elders. We care about people who are weary and recall the history of scientific racism and medical apartheid. “These are the hard conversations we want to think about and center. We are marginalized people who understand that there are layers of vulnerability.” Dr. Rashad remains a voice of influence on social media, in interfaith spheres and through her show on Islam Today Radio. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and children and remains a major influence in American Muslim culture. Her work fortifies the Ummah, and her caring personality fortifies the emotional well being of so many honored to know her.
Our Eid ul Adha Gift Guide! Gift Giving Made Simple
by Haute Hijab Staff on July 8, 2020 at 9:43 pm
The holy days of Dhul Hijjah are nearly upon us, and with that comes Eid ul Adha! This Eid honors the story of Prophet Ibrahim, who was asked by Allah (S) to sacrifice his son Ismael to prove his faith to Allah (S) (Ismael was at the last minute replaced by a ram). Eid ul Adha celebrates the apex of the Hajj, when the Day of Arafah is complete. Although the COVID-19 global pandemic has altered how we are able to celebrate our holidays (and cancelled the Hajj itself), we hope you are able to find a way to honor this holiday wherever you are! As you plan out your celebrations, we’ve got a beautiful array of gift ideas for you! Because if we can’t be together, why not share our love and connection through gift giving? Hijab Gift Sets and Palettes Who doesn’t love opening up that iconic black and white box to see what’s inside? Whether you opt for an ultra-versatile Neutrals Palette or one of our whimsical curated sets, like the Lagos Coast Palette, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Printed Hijabs Make Fresh Gifts Not sure what to get for that someone on your list who seems to have it all already? A limited-edition Haute Hijab print is a simple and thoughtful way to freshen up her wardrobe. Our prints sell out fast, so be sure to get one while you can! Faves Gift Sets and Foundation Sets These sets are THE easiest way to treat your loved ones to our game-changing accessories. Give your mom, your best friend, or yourself (we don’t judge!) the gift of a great hijab day, and enjoy a special value-add when you purchase these items as a set. Go Luxe with Our Heritage Collection If you want to give something luxurious and timeless, look no further than our Heritage Collection! These beautiful and originally-designed hijabs are crafted from 100-percent pure silk and adorned with subtle tributes to Islamic art to create heirloom-quality hijabs she’ll love forever. Show your HH Love with Totes and Mugs The perfect pick-me-up for anyone on your list! Our totes and mugs make fun and economical gifts that proudly showcase hijabi pride. Gift Cards! If you just can’t decide what to get, an HH gift card is the gift that keeps on giving. Not that we recommend waiting til the last minute, but our digital gift cards are perfect for that too. Be sure to try and get your orders in before July 21, so we can make sure to get your gifts out to you before Eid is here!
How Community Organizer Hazel Gomez Works to Build a ‘Madinah’ in Detroit
by Guest Contributor on July 6, 2020 at 8:29 pm
Editor’s Note: We’ve been featuring dynamic Muslim women on the blog for awhile, and we are stepping it up with our summer series dedicated to ChangeMakers, women who are living boldly and working to affect change in a myriad of ways – big and small – through their work as community organizers, artists, scientists, activists, educators, health professionals, care givers and more. We hope you are inspired by them to be the change you are searching for in your community! By Nargis Rahman Hazel Gomez cruises down Lake Shore Drive, parks at the beach and gazes out at the skyline. She knows Chicago like the back of her hand. Her family was moved westward due to gentrification. The Chicago Cubs’ fan wears many hats – community organizer, mother, lifelong learner and educator. Fascinated by the systems of life, Hazel examines history to understand the present and future. “I don’t want anyone to experience the same pains I endured as a child. At first, this is why I involved myself in different organizations. I have always wanted to be a community resource for others. Now though, I’ve come to learn that I can be a resource and help others while being more intentional and specific in how I show up and share of myself and skill sets. As a dear friend and mentor once said, ‘Eventually you’re going to have to stop organizing from your pain. How are we moving from shame and pain to power?’ I want to help empower others as we grow together.” Hazel’s mission is to become a community resource. “The organizations I intentionally am a part of are a way to help anyone who may have been in a similar situation as myself.” Puerto Rican with a Mexican Legacy Hazel grew up with the values of 1940’s Puerto Rican and Mexican society, she says about herself. She was raised by her maternal Puerto Rican grandparents while her Mexican paternal grandparents lived a mile away. Her parents came in and out of her life during childhood. “[My] childhood was interrupted by a lot of the systems that make you realize the American dream is a fairy tale fed to many immigrant families,” she says. Books became her refuge to make sense of the world. “[I had a] childhood full of books being my best friend.” She currently has more than 1,000 books in her collection. Hazel studied at Northside College Preparatory High School, one of Illinois’s top public schools at the time. She graduated from Loyola University with a degree in forensic science. Her mother watched unsolved mystery shows and reminded Hazel to ‘be careful who you trust.’ All that led her to want to contribute to the world by helping disenfranchised communities prove their innocence. “I looked at forensic evidence as the science where people try to legalize our God Given characteristics and identifiers in order to create a punitive system… traits that were going to solve innocence or guilt,” she says. Early on, though, she realized the system is flawed and goes hand-in-hand with a broken police system.” Hazel took Islamic classes throughout her university experience, taking classes at school and weekend seminars at Chicago-land masajid. She says knowledge of the deen and dunya are both important. “Knowledge is knowledge. In order to better understand who I am as ibadur rahman (servant of Allah) it’s important to work on myself as a Muslim woman working within this dunya. I strive to have an Islamic worldview in anything I do. I need to study my faith in order to even attempt to do that within a plural society,” she says. She has been taking classes with Rabata, a women’s online Islamic seminary, for the past eight years. “Rabata and Sheikha Dr. Tamara Gray came into my life when I needed a guide,” she says, referring to when she became a wife and then a mother. Years ago she learned from a sheikh during an Islamic seminar that a child’s first university is his or her mother, which has influenced her as a parent. Hazel says, “While trying to grow I’m also hoping to teach my children along the way.” She was attracted to Rabata’s diverse teachers, global students, focus on Islamic knowledge and spiritual reflection. The program helps women pursue Islamic sciences “The beauty of Rabata is that it empowers women and helps them realize that once we strive to become better Muslims it affects every other aspect of our life. As women many of us tend to put ourselves, second, third or last. Rabata reminds us to tend to our physical spiritual mental well being,” she says. Hazel Gomez and Rabata’s Dr. Tamara Gray Path to Islam In the freshman year of high school after first period, Hazel went up to a fellow student who was an Indian Muslim girl and dressed in an abaya and hijab. At the time, Hazel, who was 13-years-old, was confused as to why she was “dressed like a nun.” She was not aware that there were Muslims in India. “She laughed and said, ‘I am Muslim. This is why I dress like this.’” They’re both friends to this day. Over time she befriended many Muslim girls who shared her Catholic religious values, such as no dating, without imposing their beliefs on each other. She noticed Muslims stuck together, despite cultural differences. She proceeded to study Islam for two years before converting at 18. “When I started covering and walked around my neighborhood, elders would ask my family, ‘Hazel became Muslim. Is she okay?’ My Puerto Rican grandfather would say, ‘She dresses like Virgin Mary,’” she says. Her grandparents never imposed religion. They encouraged having a personal relationship with God. “I was raised Catholic and went to mass. My grandfather was one of the helpers during Sunday mass. And so at first when I converted they were fearful. They thought I was confused, but to their friends they would defend me. Years later they became very respectful of our faith,” she says referring to her grandmother making special iftars to substitute pork in typical Puerto Rican dishes for her Muslim family. “They thought I was being influenced by my friends. My grandmother said, ‘Once you start college you will leave Islam.’ Once they saw I would fast and pray and that I was less angry about life, they took me seriously, especially when I started college,” she says. ‘Community Building’ a Madinah Hazel was drawn to Islam by the Prophet’s experiences – his approachable personality, one-to-one interactions and societal leadership. Each of us plays a role and must examine our strengths and weaknesses to contribute to society, she says. She also focuses on those one-to-one interactions by creating intimate circles and engaging in storytelling, something she says is a rich tradition in the Islamic faith. “The storytelling aspect of my work is a reminder that [different things] affect everyone. I’ve got my own [that] I have gone through myself or [with] my family,” she says. It’s important to “build a Madinah” grounded in faith, history and spiritual knowledge, Hazel says, adding that part of that work is done through storytelling. In her early 20’s Hazel volunteered as a Spanish translator at IMAN’s health clinic, a community organization aiming for social change. This led to an organizing job and mentorship from executive director Rami Nashashibi. At IMAN, Hazel met her husband, Mark Crain, through their coalition work. They married in April of 2011. In 2013 they moved to Detroit, Mark’s hometown. Mark was appointed as the executive director of Dream of Detroit. Hazel serves on the steering and organizing committees. Dream aims to create affordable housing justice, community development and resources for people to live in the the neighborhood around the Muslim Center neighborhood in Detroit post 2008 recession. “The city had no plan to invest in this community,” says Hazel. They both live in the neighborhood with their two sons. Hazel conducting trainings for MuslimARC alongside Margari Aziza In 2016-2017 she worked as a researcher for Institute for Social Policy and Understanding’s Muslims for American Progress Michigan project to gather demographic information and highlight the contributions of Muslims in various professions. From there she moved on to Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, where she served as board member for two years for the organization, which focuses on racism and heart work. It resonated with her experiences of being asked ignorant questions and stereotyped as a “feisty or spicy” Latina. Hazel is now a trainer with the collaborative Muslim Power Building Project, bridging organizers with self-reflection to overcome implicit bias, which brings together her religious studies and organizational skills. “MPBP allows us to pause, train, teach, and engage Muslims across the country and mentor them in whatever work they are doing and on a more personal level,” she says. Recently she worked with Believers Bail Out, to create language for zakat-eligible opportunities to bail out Muslims in pretrial incarceration and ICE custody. The program hits close to home, as she has personally seen family members torn by the prison system. Latina at heart, Muslim in spirit Hazel says Latinx Muslims are largely invisible. “Latinx are often forced to learn about Muslim majority cultures of the space or communities without people taking the time to learn who that person is under of the umbrella of Latinx cultures because they have stereotypes of who we are and would rather believe the stereotypes than sit down and get to know us.” She says people need to learn about the Latinx community in turn instead of expecting them to fit in and give up who they are. In the Quran, Allah tells us to get to know one another, Hazel says. “We should learn about our own history about the United States as well as one another’s to understand what keeps us apart. We unintentionally follow those patterns and never truly be [together] in community with one another,” she explains. “The Quran is full of stories we are meant to gain lessons from.” Latinx Muslims are cultivating their own identity that includes authentic Islamic resources in Spanish, halalyfing recipes, and holding onto cultural practices that have a place within Islam. The first known Latino Muslim institution was Alianza Islamica in the 1970’s in New York. There is one Spanish masjid, IslamInSpanish Centro Islamico in Houston and the nonprofit La Asociación Latino Musulmana de América (LALMA) has weekly classes at the Omar ibn Al-Khattab Masjid in Los Angeles. (Image: Hazel and her children in Madinah) The immigrant experience that many Latinx Muslims have is a rich, untapped treasure of communal experiences that should be appreciated by and shared with other immigrant communities, which sadly doesn’t happen often enough, says Hazel. “Latinx Muslims can be a bridge with the various communities,” she says. “We have been here for a long time. For some of us the border crossed us, for some of us our African ancestors were forced here and built these nation-states. Because of that we have been affected by policies that discriminate [against] our communities and African American communities, such as redlining, police brutality and immigration.” She says, “Latinx people are the fastest growing population converting to Islam. It’s incumbent on the Muslim community to be welcoming and not ignore us.” Meanwhile Hazel says it’s important for people to surround themselves around those who bring out the best in them. “An integral part of our faith that our Islamic calendar started when a new community was formed and mentorship between the Muhajireen and the Ansar took place. We should be mentoring, helping, growing with one another.”
From the Editor’s Desk – The 4th of July and What It Means To Be Muslim in America
by Dilshad Ali on July 4, 2020 at 3:56 am
As salaamu alaikum and hello everyone! As this goes live, it occurs to me that the Fourth of July is here, and I don’t really know how I feel about that. Before the ultra-patriotic folk of our country come at me, let me say I’m still grateful to live here. Part of being a proud American, I believe, is the ability to engage in criticism for the betterment of our societies. The freedoms that are so baked into our American DNA and codified in our national documents are ones I greatly appreciate – but we can’t talk about freedom and American values without addressing the elephant(s) in the room and talking about why rising up against injustice and fighting for the betterment of our country is part and parcel of being American. And, to be Muslim in America is something extraordinary. To be Muslim in America is to learn our history in this part of the world and to understand how important and crucial the experiences of Black Muslims – who shaped Islam in America – are as well how our immigrant parents came to this country and thrust their stakes in this ground to shape and be part of the ongoing stories of this country. We stand at a crucial time right now as a nation, ravaged by the COVID-19 global pandemic, reeling from ongoing violence against Black people, and reckoning with so many dark parts of our history and our failings as a nation. I don’t mean to be all down and depressing here, but we have a lot of work to do in all our communities. And so while many of us have right now aren’t necessarily in the mood for stars and fireworks, let’s use our nation’s “birthday” as a catalyst to do the work. Here are some suggestions to get us all started: 1. Get to know what’s happening in your region better. Who are your elected officials, especially locally? What do they stand for? 2. Black Lives Matter – how can we educate ourselves and how we can better support our Black sisters and brothers? 3. Get involved with American Muslim communities by supporting local causes, charitable organizations and projects, and institutes of knowledge. Image source: Pinterest Here at Haute Hijab, we are committed to not only bring you “the world’s best hijabs for the world’s most powerful women” (punctuated by our “Live Boldly” campaign this month) but also to being a platform for news, issues and all stories pertaining to Muslim women. This month, we’re taking part in the #StopHateForProfit campaign and halting all Facebook ads to hold them accountable for the hate speech and censorship on their platform. We are also are launching our ChangeMakers summer series on the blog, featuring dynamic Muslim women from different professions and parts of the country who are catalysts of change in their communities. Our hope is that you will be able to see yourself in one of these women and be proud to be a part of the sisterhood of Muslim women contributing to the fabric of this nation. Before I sign off, my friends, I want to remind us that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. We are all affected by this in some way, shape, or form, and we all have a part to play in keeping each other safe. As states open up, practice our values of looking out for each other and do your part to protect yourself, your families, and others by social distancing, wearing masks, and being careful. It’s is exhausting. Believe me, I know. But we are in a marathon here, and we must keep going as safely as possible. Let’s commit to being change-makers in whatever areas of life we are passionate about, no matter how big or how small. May we good choices and always say Bismillah-hir-rahman-nir-raheem. Editorially yours, Dilshad
11 Common Microaggressions We Should Avoid (and May Have Been Said to Us)
by Dilshad Ali on July 1, 2020 at 8:05 pm
This summer has been a summer of learning for me. Learning about the difference between not being racist and actively being anti-racist. About how to channel ihsan to debate with people who disagree vehemently with me (and when not to engage) and about learning about things I don’t know well enough about myself without asking others to do the work for me. Ultimately, shouldn’t we all always be in a state of learning and growth? One term or action I’ve learned a lot about in my coverage of Muslim and minority communities over the years is the word microaggression. You may already be familiar with this word or have had microaggressions said or used against you. You may have unknowingly (or maybe even knowingly) uttered a microaggression to someone else. What is it exactly? What are common microaggressions used against minority communities, like Muslims, and more specifically, Black Muslims? Let’s break this down. Image source: UW Medicine According to this article on Oprah.com: A microaggression is a comment or gesture (whether made intentionally or not) that feeds into stereotypes or negative assumptions created around oppressed or marginalized groups of people. The term was first used in the 1970s by Harvard’s Chester M. Pierce, MD. They tend to be based on a person’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability—and to the recipient, can feel like an attack. Think of microaggressions as multi-level forms of communication. The words that are stated may seem neutral or even positive to the speaker, but that neutrality is a thin veneer for the bias that may lie beneath them. Derald W. Sue, PhD, a professor of psychology and education at Columbia University, studies microaggressions and their impact. This is the key. It’s not an outright, in-your-face form of aggression. It’s often couched in what the person who is delivering the microaggressive question/statement believes to be kindness or curiosity. Often, the person isn’t aware that what they are saying or asking is offensive. But if we don’t kindly explain this to the person doling out the microaggression (biding that they are someone who you think will listen), how will anyone learn? Here are 10 examples you may have heard yourself (adapted from the Oprah.com article): 1. “Where are you really from?” (Said to anyone who is nonwhite.) 2. “You don’t act like a Black person.” (Obviously, said to Black people.) 3. “When did you convert to Islam?” (Asked often to Black Muslims.) 4. “You’re so articulate.” (Said in different contexts to Black people and other minorities.) 5. “How you’ve overcome your disability is so inspiring.” (Said to someone with a disability.) 6. You speak English so well! (Said to anyone who is nonWhite and said to me three times in the course of six months by the same checkout lady at Costco last year.) 7. “Your name is hard to pronounce. Can I call you this instead?” (Said to anyone with a foreign-sounding name.) 8. “You’re Asian (or whatever ethnicity)? You should meet my one Chinese friend. You all may know each other.” (Said different ethnic groups and/or races.) 9. “Is that your real hair? Can I touch it?” (Said to Black people.) 10. “I’m colorblind. I don’t see color.” (Said to any person of color.) 11. “I don’t know how you deal with it all! (Said to a parent/family member of a loved one with a disability, something I’ve OFTEN heard in my life in reference to my son.) These are just 11 often-heard microaggressions. “Microaggressions are particularly toxic because the aggressor often doesn’t view their statement as an insult,” writes Crystal Martin and McKenzie Jean-Philippe. “Those who deliver them may wonder, ‘Why are you so sensitive,’ or ‘Why are you making this about race?'” But those who say these things, even with the best of (or most innocent) intentions, are still committing a microaggression. If someone is made to feel uncomfortable or hurt by something you said, it’s a microaggression. I’d wager that many of us have been on the receiving end of microaggressions in the past, but how many of us have uttered these kinds of phrases ourselves? Starting with myself, I hope we all can open to learning and growing from what we’ve ourselves experienced and what we may have unknowingly or unknowingly said. And, if we ever commit a microaggression towards someone else, I pray we will be willing to apologize, learn, absorb and pledge not to do it again (and then really try not to do it again).