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11 Resources and Initiatives on Black Muslim History– From the UK to USA

by in Identity on 3rd October, 2018


1. Black Muslim Forum

“Bringing awareness and creating solutions to combat racism, colourism, and anti-Blackness in the Muslim community.” This blog is massively needed, it looks into unraveling progressive and needed conversations in the public space. Providing dynamic perspectives from politics, to identity.  The founder is also in the process of bringing a black Nana Asma’u community school. Watch this space…

2. Islamic History Project

A web site designed to empower Muslims through history.

“The Islamic History Project is an initiative founded on the belief that through reviving our connection to Islamic history we can empower Muslims of today. Islamic history has been widely neglected by Islamic institutions as well as western academic settings. This has created an identity crisis in Muslims living in both East and West. Our history defines who we are today, what we stand for and determines our direction.

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'In 1325, Mansa Musa, the ruler of the vast empire of #Mali returned from his fabled pilgrimage to #Makkah. He had crossed the desert with over 60,000 followers. His caravan contained eight thousand soldiers, servants and courtiers who drove 15,000 camels laden with #gold, salt, perfumes, and stores of food supplies. It is said that the Mansa carried so much gold with him (approximately 180,000 kilograms) that he changed the economy of every land that he reached. On his return, Mansa Musa built a #masjid at every stop and on reaching Timbuktu, he commissioned his chief architect, the Andalusian Abu Ishaq As-Saheli, to build the largest house of worship in the whole of West Africa and a spacious royal palace. The grand masjid called Jingarey Ber or Al-Masjid Al-Kabir is still standing and has been the primary site for Friday prayers in Timbuktu since that time! Mansa Musa’s exploits made Mali and Timbuktu world famous and legends of gold-lined houses and fabulous riches were spread throughout Europe.' #blackhistorymonth #muslimandblackhistory #richestmanintheworld

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Every nation must know their shared history to be truly united and empowered. As Marcus Garvey famously quoted, “A people without the knowledge of their history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.” Many of us grow up our entire lives never knowing the history of the Ummah beyond the Seerah. The Islamic history project is an effort to bring to the forefront our stories of the past. We must teach the Ummah its successes and failures, and remind the world of the significant contributions Muslims have made to the world in which we live today. Reclaiming our past will help us to build our future.”

3. Black Muslim in Britain

“A video series, which consists of seven videos is a collection of stories and dialogue from influential Black Muslim in the UK.”

Last year a range of Black British Muslims were involved from Muneera Pilgrim, Habeeb Akande, Mahmoudat Sanni Oba, Dawud David Currie, Saraiyah Bah and many more.

4. Everyday Muslim – Black Heritage project

“Everyday Muslim’s third annual symposium will aim to explore constructions of Black Muslim identity and heritage in the UK and how the stories of Black British Muslims intersect within the wider British Muslim society and beyond. It will bring together those working in academic, heritage, arts and media organisations to interrogate the changing ways in which everyday Black Muslim life has been represented and archived. It seeks to ask how the process of constructing a Black Muslim heritage has changed over the years and looks forward to possible forms that this might take in the future.”

5.Black Muslimah Toolkit

Momtaza Mehri, a poet, and comparative literature researcher has compiled an incredible and extremely vital document named the ‘Black Muslimah Toolkit’.

A free google document, readily available to anyone featuring a list of links to multiple different resources. The list includes, but is not limited to poetry, essays, academic resources, music. It is meticulously organised into fifteen categories, to ensure easy access;

  • Black/Muslim Poetics,
  • On  Black Muslim Art & Praxis
  • Black/Muslim Hip-Hop Scholarship
  • Beauty Politics
  • Theory/Diagnosing The Wound
  • Between Feminism(s)
  • Anti-Black Islamophobia(s)
  • On Spirituality, Suffering & Resistance
  • Of  Mothers & Daughters
  • Self-Care & Self Defence
  • Through The Lens
  • Cinematic Visions
  • Tasbihs & Turntables: A Playlist
  • Podcasts On Loop
  • Miscellaneous

Some examples include; the poem ‘A Personal Jihad’ by Gaston Neal, a Dua for Ancestors by Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer, and a video of Five weak points and strikes for self-defence.

6.Black Muslim Syllabus

This project is curated by Dr. Kayla Renée Wheeler and was inspired by Prof. Najeeba Syeed, #BlackInMSA, and Muslim ARC.  The goal of this project is to provide teachers, professors, researchers, journalists, and people interested in learning more about Islam with resources on Black Muslims to promote a more inclusive approach to the study of Islam.  If you would like to contribute to this project, post your recommendations on Twitter using #BlackIslamSyllabus

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7. The Black American Muslim

A website filled with articles, essays, books, food, and events to learn about to help understand the myriad factors making up the Black Muslim American Muslim identity. The founder’s vision is to see,  “healthy, Black, American Muslim  families who are clear about the worship of Allah alone, clear about the Prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) and committed to the realization of a ‘full dignified life in America.’

 A ‘full dignified life in America’  means a life with equal access to quality education, both secular and religious for men and women,  decent housing, full employment opportunities for all people and a society free of white supremacy and other totalitarian inclinations. In other words, a truly pluralistic society that protects freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom from fear and freedom from want. Education is the key that unlocks the mysteries of societal organization *. Competency in the professions of law, finance, business administration, technology, and medicine will enable us to begin to cast off the chains of oppression in its many forms and forge a future based on the guidance of Allah in light of contemporary scientific knowledge.

8.Enter Sapello Square

“We take the name “Sapelo” from one of the first communities of African Muslims in the United States founded in the early 1800s. On Sapelo Island, off the coast of Georgia, enslaved African Muslims struggled to hold onto their Islamic roots amidst the dehumanizing institution of slavery. Our use of the term “square” is about famous Congo Square and the broad notion of a town square as a communal place of gathering and a cultural hub for African-descended people.

African-descended Muslims are situated at the intersection of three significant geographies: the African diaspora, the United States, and the Transnational Muslim community. They are therefore positioned to make critical and unique contributions to many meaningful conversations on the status of Black America, the state of US society, politics and culture, and Islam in the 21st century. Yet, because their unique intersectionality challenges the traditionally imagined boundaries of these geographies, Black Muslims have often found themselves excluded, or rendered invisible by much of the mainstream discourse around these issues.

In the spirit of “do for self,” Sapelo Square hopes to intervene in the marginalization and erasure of Black Muslims in the public square by building an online forum that places Black Muslims at the center. Our mission is to celebrate and analyze the experiences of Black Muslims in the United States to create new understandings of who they are, what they have done, and why that matters.”

9. Royal Museums Greenwich Blog

Have a read of this fantastic piece uncovering a history of black and Asian people in Britain.

“Hassan Mahamdallie, Director of the Muslim Institute, considers recent archival finds uncovering the stories of men and women from black and Asian people in Britain, including 2000 photographic records of Bangladeshi ships’ cooks in the archives of the National Maritime Museum. There are two complimentary foundation texts for those interested in the history of black and Asian people in Britain. One is Peter Fryer’s Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain; and the other is Rozina Visram’s Ayahs, Lascars and Princes: Indians in Britain, 1700–1947.”

10. The National Archives

Find your online historical resources from the last 1000 years. Catalogues and collections, essays, and books. Bringing history buffs more resources and accessibility to facts and nuance, all at the click of a button.

11. Cambridge University Press

Sift through 1108 books on black Muslims, 2 journals, and 14 counts of related topics. This is a great way to engage with academic books, revealing the more mainstream resources that are out there on black history, literature, physics, astronomy, politics, international relations, and religion.

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