An Open Letter to sister Sinead O’Connor

First of all, let me start with the traditional Islamic greeting, As-salam alaikum (peace be upon you), and I would like to welcome you to Islam. I am also a white convert to Islam in 2003. You will find that Islam gives us a chance to get closer to our creator, Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. You will also find that you now have millions of brothers and sisters from all walks of life. We hope that you will find acceptance and love with the entire Muslim community.

I think when many of us converts converted to Islam we received ideas and beliefs from all different kinds of sources, some of which were authentic, some not so much. I wanted to address something that you had recently said upon your conversion, namely that you wanted to cut off all relations with white people, calling them disgusting. I can understand where you are coming from, especially coming from a former Catholic background. However, Islamically, we should never defame nor cut ties with our own community, for several reasons. First, there are millions of White Muslims around the world. These include ethnic Muslims from Europe including Bosnia, Albania, and also enclaves encompassing Eastern Europe such as Poland, Bulgaria, and Russia. There are also several Irish Muslims, including rapper Eric Shrody, the former lead singer of House of Pain. It also includes several other white converts From Europe to North America to Australia. Secondly, as Muslim converts, we have an obligation to stay in contact with one’s family and be good to them, particularly our parents. We cannot shun them away based on their skin color. Yes, there are white people who have been racist to non-whites, but there are also many whites who are good people, just like every other group. Islamically, the only thing that distinguishes how good a person is is their “taqwa” or God-consciousness. To claim that one group of people are superior to another based on culture is completely against our religion. Ahmad (22978) narrated from Abu Nadrah: Someone who heard the khutbah of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) on the second of the days of at-Tashreeq told me that he said: “O people, verily your Lord is One and your father is one. Verily there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a non-Arab over an Arab, or of a red man over a black man, or of a black man over a red man, except in terms of taqwa. Have I conveyed the message?” They said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) has conveyed the message.

When we look at the Seerah, or story of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), his mission was to call people to Islam. The main non-Muslims at that time were his tribe, namely the Arabs. The Arabs living in Mecca at that time were the worst of mankind before Islam. They would bury their female daughters alive, they would drink alcohol in large amounts, they would oppress people who were not like them, they would have group intercourse with women and bring in a witch doctor to determine who the father would be, and so on. The Prophet (pbuh) and his companions never gave up relations with their people, even though the latter was oppressing the former. The Muslims still were kind to them, and showed them the true, upright nature of being a Muslim, and never gave up the goal that they would either accept them as Muslims or convert to Islam. Never once did they reject their culture or family outright. While some of the Muslims sought exile while they were being oppressed by the pagan Arabs, ultimately they never cut themselves off from the greater community of Arabs. After several years, the whole Arabian peninsula ended up accepting Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) forgave everybody who oppressed him, demanding justice only for those who oppressed others.

Again, as a fellow convert to Islam, I welcome you to Islam and we wish you the very best. My only recommendation would be to reconsider this idea of cutting ties to your own White community. From an Islamic perspective, we should take the good and leave the bad, and keep good relations with them so they can see how Islam makes us better people. We should not give non-Muslims the misconception that being white is antithetical to Islam, nor should we create the misconception that Islam is synonymous with being a person of color.

Brother Robert, Canada

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