An Open Letter in Support of the Black American Muslim Conference (BAMC)

Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem

As-salaamu Alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu

We at Islam4Europeans fully support the Annual Black American Muslim Conference. The Black American Muslim community has several issues that are unique and specific to them. Who are we to provide advice on how to handle issues such as police brutality and being visibly Muslim? Some voices in the Muslim ummah might say that this conference only creates division. We believe a get-together like this is not only beneficial but absolutely necessary for any group of Muslims, especially those with a high number of new converts. It will be a chance for Black Muslims to network, to discuss new ideas, and allow you to bring your non-Muslim family members who are curious about Islam but are too reluctant to go to a mosque. In addition, there is also the relationship between African-American Muslims and other Black Muslim communities (Somali, Senegalese, Chadian, etc.). Moreover, there is the issue of liberalism and third-wave white feminism that current Muslim leaders are being influenced by due to the recent Muslim alliance with Left wing groups. This year’s conference will focus on Black American youth, such an important topic as Muslim youth are influenced by so many new fahish in 2020 (in addition to being Black in America), holding onto Islam is the best hope for them. Insha Allah this conference will bring enormous benefit to our Black brothers and sisters in Islam.

Indeed, Allah says in the Qur’an that we should all hold the rope of Allah together. However, Allah made us into different tribes and nations, and our differences is one of the ayat of Allah. Each sub-community of Muslims have specific needs that are unique. The majority of us on our website are converts of European descent, and several (but definitely not all) African American Muslims are also converts. Thus, we have shared issues of how to keep new converts in the fold, dealing with our relationship with Muslim sub-communities who come from abroad, and repairing the broken relationships we have with our families. White Muslims have our own specific issues, including huge identity crises, being preyed upon by suitors who are looking for a Green Card, and being abused by our Conservative families. Regardless, we have some overlap in terms of the struggles that we undertake in converting to Islam. We shouldn’t divide ourselves in that regard, in that we need to be in touch with converts who have gone through similar experiences from different walks of life. However, it is naïve for us to think that European descent Muslims should act as leaders or imams for Black Muslims of any community in the West. We have seen the fruits of white Liberals who try to help out the African-American community with disastrous results.

At the same time, recent Muslims from Muslim countries many times do not understand Western Muslims’ situations. They have the shared experience of being “visibly” Muslim along with Black converts. But their method is more about distancing themselves altogether from Islamophobes and the West, we do not have that option many times. To them, people who do not like Islam is any random white person on the bus or on the street. To us converts, it can be our father, our uncles, our aunts, or the people we played sports with. As knowledgeable as some of these brothers are from first generation immigrant families (including celebrity imams), many of them have no non-Muslim family members. They have no vested interest in trying to reason with those who do not like Islam among our community. But for us (converts), being good to them is a fard. We can’t enact Islamophobia laws on our parents, nor can we bash them on social media and pretend they will go away. As well, we are immersed in the community we live in. Sometimes we have to help out our parents at their businesses, even if they sell alcohol. Sometimes we have to treat our sister’s friend kindly, even if she wearing a bikini. We may have to take our in-laws angry tirades with patience. So, African American Muslims have some things in common with white Muslims, and some things in common with newly immigrated, first generation Muslims. But not enough to assume that a cookie-cutter approach will work for all Muslim sub communities.

One important question is, what is the best thing European Muslims can do for our African-American brothers and sisters? Some non-Muslim Black allies would quote pre-Hajj Malcolm X (“nothing”, a statement he later regretted), while many Born Muslims believe we are all exactly the same and we should therefore have only one culture (i.e., theirs). We want to take a different approach instead mere assimilation or separation. Instead of taking on these “white saviour” positions at the mosque that we did not earn nor are we ready for, we should work mostly on giving da’wah to our own family and community. Just as the Sahaba would support a single convert from another tribe for that tribe, the white convert is in a unique position being the only one who prays toward Mecca in their whole family and white town. But this is very difficult to achieve as a single person. We just feel that we need an organized group (just as the Black Muslim community is organizaed) to act as a stronger voice so that we can grow the white Muslim community from the ground up. We understand that we have more privileges, but our family needs to see the beauty of Islam through our good actions, and we want to make it easy for them to join us and feel comfortable within their own culture if they choose to convert. It may take years to lower their anger towards Islam, but even a tiny website like the one we have is sufficient for the time being. This was the recommendation of Malcolm himself that he stated in Alex Haley’s autobiography (I know he did not specifically mean white Muslims, but at that point he just wanted white people to study Islam). He did not want us to be completely separate, as he encouraged collaboration between us, but he also understood that total assimilation would result in white people trying to take over their movement. One possible solution would be to have a conference for white and Latino Muslims (as the BAMC has already established for Black Muslims), along with a combined tri-council conference where we discuss how we can improve the status of Western Muslims as a whole. We do not want any conference or get-together where it is “white Muslims only,” but we all want a platform where we can discuss our issues. There needs to be a balance, because the last thing we want is for Black, White and Latino/a Muslims to be divided.

Regardless, if you are reading this and are attending the BAMC in April in Atlanta, please let me know how it goes. Feel free to bring up the article and provide us feedback. May Allah provide barakah for your conference, and we give our salams.

To donate to the BAMC, go to

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