Channel: Abdullah Hakim Quick
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Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim In the name of Allah, most Gracious, Most Merciful. Peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad via
I want to speak to you today, not just from the mind or from books, but from the heart.
That is because in the early part of 2020, the world has gone through tremendous changes with the convergence of the covid 19 pandemic, and the looming international economic recession, and blatant clear racism
when displayed publicly on social media, and NGOs throughout the world, because they feared for their lives, Michael Brown
people are feeling frustration, the youth are marching in the streets. And many individuals are feeling a type of frustration, and sometimes even a mental breakdown. I am an African American.
And I want to make it clear that both of my parents are African Americans. My mother has a Caribbean background from the island of Barbados,
my father, an African American, with some roots on his mother's side with the native people of the Mohawk nation. We were raised as African Americans in the Boston area.
And from an early age, we heard the stories of my father, who was an angry man, because he had served in the United States Armed Forces and World War Two. He was in the military police, and and traveling through Europe fighting against fascism, he found racism within the ranks of the United States Army.
And because of this, he brought back these stories of inequality. He brought back the stories of a type of ideology, a type of racism and white supremacy.
And we have to remember now that when we talk about racism, we are talking about that phenomenon that has three major manifestations. Racism is based on an ideology, a set of beliefs, and understanding that one group is superior to another. This ideology then manifests itself through racist behavior. That is where the racist names come in the insults, the arrogance, the the different, wrong behavioral patterns. And then finally, it manifests itself in a structural way in institutions.
So there's three parts, there's an ideology, that's the basis of racism.
There are racist insults and behavior, but the institution is the one that maintains it. And that really causes mass confusion within society.
Let's set the record straight.
When we look at the phenomena of Western society, of the Americas, and I talk about Canada, us, Central America, Caribbean, South America. Even when we look at Europe in terms of the Atlantic slave trade, we have to recognize that from the 15th century going on, for over 400 years,
a vicious program of slavery was set up a type of triangle that began with the European planters and merchants who invested in the boats, they went to Africa, and they captured African people, slaves, political prisoners, took them to the Americas to the plantations, where the cash crops, the tobacco, the sugar cane, the cotton was grown, and then the product sent back to Europe. So a vicious triangle that enriched the white bourgeois society, and also helps Europe and later America go through an industrial revolution.
And so we're talking about a vicious systems where millions of African people were stripped of their homeland, taken through a terrible Middle Passage in the Atlantic state.
together in slave boats, brought into the colonies in Canada, us, Caribbean, and South America, tortured, brutalized. And then the system maintained itself. And so we need to look at this as a process to understand what is going on because people, when they saw George Floyd, shouting, I can't breathe. When the white policeman put his knee on his neck, and snuffed out his life,
people started saying, I can't breathe, but they didn't realize that when the black people of the Americas, these are black people who are descendants of the African people of the Atlantic slave trade, when black people shout, I can't breathe. It's not breathing, physically, economically, socially, politically, and even spiritually.
So this is a very serious issue, when you were talking about not being able to breathe.
It is based upon an uncut thread of white supremacy, where the European people established a system of exploitation based upon the superiority of Europeans over people of color, and especially African people.
When they first came to the colonies, they tried to enslave the poor whites. But that didn't work, because they were white as well, and sometimes at the same family name. So they had an upward mobility, then they try to enslave the native population, the first nation, that didn't work either, because in many cases, the native people would just sit down. And when they get a chance, they run away. And that's their land. And so they look to Africa for an easily identifiable group of people who had good skills in farming, and producing a tropical type climates, who had good knowledge based upon their society, and could be easily found because of their color, or their language or their
traditions. And they brought them in large numbers. And so the terrible part about this dread that begins with the brutal capture of the people, is the fact that, especially in the United States, it became an institution.
And that is, because in the in the Constitution of the United States.
And we go back to 1776, and the US 13 colonies forming themselves, it was stated that the African slave was three fifths of a man. And many people do not realize that Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States had slaves. And when he was passing away, he wrote his will. And he didn't free the slaves.
So the subjugation of African people to maintain this brutality, was systematic. It wasn't isolated. And slave codes were written. They were written in the north, the code noir in French, in the colonies. And in these codes, anybody who was a person of African descent, whether you were originally free or captured, you became a slave. And so the color line was developed, and this terrible system, and slave people for hundreds of years, but the African people that we are now calling black people, the descendants of the slaves did not sit down, they revolted in Africa. They revolted and rebelled and jumped off the boats in the Middle Passage of the Atlantic. They revolted
in the colonies. And because of a series of traumatic occasions for the Europeans, when rebellions broke out, whites were being killed. And then abolitionists coming up black abolitionists, and white abolitionists who were struggling to abolish slavery. When these two movements converged, there was nothing left, but to end this cruel system. And so slavery was going through its final stages when it broke out in a war in the United States called the Civil War. This is between 1861 and 1865. But in 1863, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, wrote the emancipation
talking about the freedom of the slave, but it wasn't until 1865, when the 13th amendment was passed that the slaves were actually free. So this terrible war that took over 750,000 lives. It wasn't just the struggle for the freedom and emancipation of the slaves. It was to bring the union back together, so that the North and the South would stay as one union. Slavery was one of those reasons for it. But it was not the primary reason for this terrible war. Slavery then was abolished and a system of reconstruction developed. And this reconstruction period, basically, between 1865 and 1877 was a time when black people would be given, according to the books for 40 acres and a mule, and
reconstruction of society would happen. People would be freed people would be educated people would be reintegrated back into American society. But how can you do that when your language was taken away, your culture was taken away, your spirituality was taken away. Generations of parents were separated. And so people didn't know where to go, they ended up working on the same land. But reconstruction continued and many of the white intellectuals came down into the South. But but the white planters, the Confederacy, the white supremacy, ideologues fought back, this was a type of white rage, which expressed itself, especially in the south. And in 1866, the Ku Klux Klan was
formed, this terrorist organization was was was put together in order to put terror into the hearts of the African people
to break down any progress that came through reconstruction. And so the struggle went on with the North and the South. And because the Union had to be preserved, the southern is actually began to take power in the government of the United States.
And so whether they were able to pass laws or not, a series of state based laws, called the Jim Crow laws, were enacted throughout the South. And this Jim Crow system that went from the 1860s, all the way or the 1880s, all the way to the 1960s. These Jim Crow laws actually
put together a type of apartheid system, where people were legally separated. And you'll be surprised to note especially for those who are new, on the shores of the Americas, you might not understand what America really is, or what Canada really is, or what the Caribbean islands really are. But to use the example of America which is the clearest and best recorded example, the Jim Crow apartheid laws made racism, legal.
And so white and colored, meaning black people, people of Descendants of the slaves could not go in the same toilet. He could not eat at the same restaurant. You could not sit in the same bus in the same position, blacks had to be in the back. It even affected morgues, cemeteries, churches, all aspects of life. There was no marriage between white and black. It was against the law. And even in talking to a white person, you had to sort of look down and the white had the right to beat you to torture you and even public lynchings were carried on. Like you go out to a fanfare or you go to a football game. Public Lynch's where hundreds of people would come out white people come out to see a
black man or a black woman strung up and hung to death. And there are cases of a black woman who is strung up birth to death, her child is ripped out of her stomach in front of the people that included dead children. This is white rage, which is the defender of white supremacy. And white supremacy. Yes, it is born out of hatred and ignorance. And fear is its father, and isolation is its mother. But the danger of white supremacy is when it becomes institutionalized. So the Jim Crow laws continued until in the 50s and 60s, civil rights struggles broken
African people, black people that took to the streets with their supporters, in order to bring forth a peaceful revolution, peaceful protesting in order to get voting rights, education rights desegregation,
and the civil rights led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other great leaders carried this through the streets, especially of the South.
And the civil rights struggle was able to get certain acts, the civil rights acts that were enacted by the United States government, giving voting and giving education. But white rage came back. And so we find the clans coming back in, we find the black Wall Street, you hear about Tulsa, Oklahoma, that had probably the greatest manifestation of black progress that was coming up. And you find this is being destroyed in the 20th century, mobs coming down bombing and burning over 35 blocks of black establishments, people who had raised themselves up the American dream, destroyed by white rage. And so out of this rebellion happened in the 60s, the people took to the streets, especially the youth,
and the Vietnam veterans coming back, because you have to remember that Martin Luther King identified three great ills.
He identified poverty, racism, and militarism. Think of those three things this is just before he was assassinated,
a rebellion took place. Malcolm X, Alhaji Malik, Chavez, was able to crystallize the concepts of the human rights violations, to crystallize the concept of the ballot or the bullet. And so rebellion broke out in the streets. And in reaction to this, a counter insurgency program was unleashed by the United States government. And this is well known and public and documented, drugs broke out in what was where we were allowed to come into the black communities. First, of course, the heroin and the cocaine and the marijuana. But then crack cocaine was developed in a laboratory a cheap form of cocaine,
that could be easily distributed, and makes you addicted with a small amount. And then the war on drugs. And so through the government, for minor offenses with drugs, a person becomes a felon for life. And you what literally developed was a type of mass incarceration,
where stop and frisk was going on and, and people of African descent, also Hispanic, and also Native Americans was stopped and frisked. And the prisons then were filled with people of color for African people, for black people, and ended dread of white supremacy.
And so from the 70s, and 80s, and 90s, even going into into the 21st century, we find that the United States has the highest level of incarceration in the world.
proportionately. There were more people, more African people incarcerated. In the United States, this is in 2020, less than in South Africa, at the height of apartheid,
And even though a black president was elected, it didn't affect much on the ground, the broken thread of white supremacy, continued through the society,
causing confusion. And then remember what Martin Luther King said, he spoke about militarism. The war came inside the United States to police departments that were originally slave raiding groups, they turned into militaries. And you see that the united states that the New York Police Department has a larger budget than most of the militaries of the world. And so as Martin Luther King said, militarism, racism, right, he identified these ills that would happen in the societies. And so this manifestation of racism, we have to recognize it didn't happen just in the United States. It also happened in Canada.
Canada, being a British colony, did not have such blatant laws. They did not have such open Ku Klux Klan societies but kept the Canadians, early Canadians as British colonists, French colonists, they had slaves.
There were slave revolts, some slaves escaped Canada and ran to the United States.
But because the British had a different way of doing things, they were more polite with Islam. It was mainly a domestic slavery in some cases, farm slavery. And when you go to Nova Scotia, you'll see some terrible manifestations of brutality and slavery but
For the most part, it was a type of rotten slavery without smell to it. Whereas in the United States, it was rotten, and it stinks.
And so the Canadian slavery, the Canadian racism, developed right along and right up into the 50s. And 60s, the highest level of employment for most black males would be a red cap on a train, or musician and entertainer. The women were for the most part, domestics, you very rarely saw any black person in politics, or in high level, business or society. And so when the civil rights movement developed, and came about, it was embraced by black people in Canada, it was embraced and strengthened by black people in the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, with Marcus Garvey, and many of the great leaders, also Guyana and Trinidad. And you'll see the movement leaders are coming from all
of these areas for the civil rights that turned into this rebellion against white supremacy.
And then, George Floyd said, I can't breathe.
Everybody now wants to talk about racism. People want to know what is this about. And the strange phenomenon that I want to emphasize is that many of us were involved in the struggle in the 60s, we realized that anarchy is not enough that on the streets angry is not enough, we had to organize. And then we recognize that if we wanted only an economic revolution, it's not a complete revolution. We needed a total revolving, a total revolution, a transformation, our way of life. And so we embraced Islam. Because Islam represents an alternative society, that function before capitalism and socialism, and an alternative Society of which many of our grandparents, one third of the African
slaves and political prisoners brought to the Americas were Muslims. So this was part of our culture. So here is a package a way of life that we could grab on to giving us a worldview, a liberated spirituality, a way to break down color, a way to break down oppression, it appeared to be a package. And we fled into the Muslim community that was coming into the Americas as immigrants in the 19th and 20th century than 21st century economic migration, coming into the Americas, and forming Islamic centers. And so we took refuge in the Islamic centers and the master. Yes, we did have a manifestation coming out of black nationalism in America, with the more science Temple of the
world, with the Nation of Islam. We also had Sunni groups, the Orthodox and the Sunnah, amongst African Americans that developed, but the largest manifestation coming into the 70s 80s 90s was the immigrant based Islamic centers. And so we took refuge in the centers. But the immigrants, the Muslims who were coming from the Muslim world, in many cases, they were escaping poverty, they were escaping repression. They were escaping brutality, and they found a type of freedom in the United States and Canada, and South America and the Caribbean, they found some kind of freedom. Even when they came to the UK, when they came to France, they found this freedom. And so they took on, in many
cases, the body language and the mindset
of their master, thinking that this was a way to escape their own personal persecution,
but not knowing that they were taking on the attitude of white supremacy, which delegated African people are relegated African people to the bottom.
And it considered the only value that we had as it was in our voices or in our bodies. And so black people would come into the masjid and they would see the brother and they say, Okay brother called the other than
you make the call to pray, you are our beloved. And we know that say Donna Bella rhodiola. One was a great companion of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, but his position was was was reduced to a call to prayer made by a black person. And so they said to the black brother, called the other four, they said, Do security because they knew that we were in good physical shape. And this is the stereotype of black people. Good fighters, good athletes. So called
than and do the security, the black sister, you can sweep the floor and you can cook the food. And you can be part of the auxiliary force. But you very rarely would see a black African system, teaching the classes or as a scholar, or in any position of authority within Britain.
And so what was developing in these centers was what I call a type of structural prejudice. It is not racism in the classical sense, because it can't have an ideology, because within Islam within the court and, and the way of profit moments on some racism is finished. So people will say, well, there is no racism in Islam. And yes, there's no overriding ideology. But people carry their attitudes, they carry a type of class system based on the caste system of India and Pakistan.
They carry manifestations remember racism, now, the ideology and the behavior. So there's no there's no ideology ruling over the centers, but the behavior comes in. And so black people push to the side, negative attitudes coming in and feeling unwanted. And then the words come out, and I speak Arabic. And I know that the word out, meaning slave is used in many Arabic vernaculars, to describe African people, or zingy, or Clooney, or zift, or whatever it may be, and in Somali to, or don't, which is used to describe the band to Africans. Okay, so these attitudes coming in, looking down on black people, making people of color, especially the black Muslims, the sentence of the African
slave trade, to make us feel like a type of second class. It is real. And now it is coming to the surface. And when black people in us in the Islamic community say I can't breathe, this is what they're talking about. And in leadership, it was very rare to see an African American or black Muslim, male to rise to the position of EMA.
And those who did go for Islamic education, they had to be twice as good as the other students, especially a white Muslim. And I say this with all respect to those European Muslims who sincerely embraced Islam. But when a white Muslim would come into our communities, immediately, put him up, let him teach that and beyond the executive committee, because the low self esteem that out that Muslims coming into the white supremacy system inherited,
gave that person a position of power, without having the knowledge or actually having the authority or the ability. And so very rarely was a black person put in that position. And I even in Islamic universities, in Arabia, can remember it being said, when one teacher was talking this, this is our so called scholar talking to another one. And I and others were within hearing distance. And they said, what about those, those black people who are raising up? I mean, who are they? They're going up into the college, no, Americans have ever gone on this. And the other teacher said to his friend, these are not the real americans.
So he was speaking about black people. See, they're not the real America, the real americans are the white Americans. This is the the filth of white supremacy, that manifests itself, even within the Islamic Society, not in a structural sense, not systemic, in the same way as you control a society. But being prejudicial, causing bias, harming our children, the attitudes of teachers teaching the class, what is a good student, what is a bad student, DVD, the low self esteem it gives people of color, that beautiful is having light skin, or having straight here. All of these issues affect our community. And it's time for us to speak out about it. It's time for us to confront this because as
black people coming out of the rebellions of the West, we looked at Islam as a package, and it still is a package. It still is there the code and is still there. The sooner the way of Prophet Muhammad SAW Selim is still there, how they broke down color, how they broke down, this this negative stereotyping. It is still there for us. The examples are there, but somebody has to live Islam. Somebody has to manifest this way of life in reality,
Within the Islamic centers, and be involved in the struggle in the streets, be involved in some way to bring down the systemic racism within the Western societies. This is a dilemma now that I'm talking about. And many black Muslims are caught between systemic racism in the society and structural prejudice in the Islamic centers. This is a dilemma.
And Allah subhanaw taala is the one that we turn to.
Our faith is there, our lifestyle is there, and we are willing to go forward. And we pray that Muslims will face this deal with the demons inside of themselves. The demons of racism of caste system of tribalism, and come together in the true spirit of the early Muslims, who work side by side, it did not judge a person on the basis of the color or judge a person or whether he was an Arab or a non Arab. That is our potential. And that is our prayer. So I leave you with these thoughts. And I pray that Almighty Allah would help the society to come out of the pandemics physical and spiritual. I pray that Allah subhanaw taala would revive Islam in the hearts of the
Muslims and help us to give this to the society as a solution to white supremacy and the devilish concept of the superiority of one person over another. I leave you with these thoughts. Well, salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah.