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Interracial Marriage and Racism in Islam – Shaykh Ammar AlShukry
Channel: Faith IQ
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Episode Transcript ©
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So how do you deal with racism with regards to Muslims, especially in the Muslim community, specifically in the scope of marriage?
Welcome to faith IQ, where we answer your questions about Islam if you haven't already hit the subscribe button and the notification button. So you can be notified whenever there's a new video. And now, I think that when you live in a society where you are the minority,
and there's oppression that's being put upon you,
this upholds now it's not to the extent where black Muslims are being held from going to the masjid. We can't go pray. It's not that, but it's the more subtle nuances that happen on a day to day basis, just with the minority versus the majority of Muslims in the community. So I mean, what are your thoughts on that? I think Sure, yeah. I understand what you're what you're so for saying that there is no blessing with oppression? Yes. And then you have a Muslim community whereby just the black Muslims in that community are not seen as the same as other Muslims in the community? Yes.
Is that not oppression, someone will come and start in trouble. Just a look around the room. Hey, you black.
If we had to make it a black and white dialog, we had to make it a black and white dialog that like that's literally what it is. So you have a white Muslim is never seen as the same as a black Muslim, treated within the Muslim community. But what do you mean by like, SOCAR is giving me like very specific examples. But even very specific examples could be is that because you're black? Or is it because of the capacity of you working at the masjid?
You know, I'm saying like, Hey, can you do security? Is that because you're black? Or is it because you're six foot four and 300 pounds? Like there's trouble? Am I gonna like call like, like, I'm just assuming that if someone saw trouble that they would point at me and say, Hey, can you help just because, like, look at me like, I'm just look like a action figure like
speaking in terms of a match as a matchmaker, okay? When excellent now now I'm getting some weird glare when Muslim after Muslim after Muslim after Muslim is being interviewed. And they tell you and your point blank asked, What are you looking for in terms of ethnicity? Like how open minded are you? Absolutely. And they named everything except black? Except black.
Why? Yes, the family would be except black. And usually it's always starts off with, I'm open, I'm open. And when you're when you're asked when you're probed.
How open are you? Like, if you if I were to introduce you to a black brother has everything you're looking for? And then like, above and beyond? No, no, that would be
so like, what do you call that? But, I mean, we've had this discussion before, right? When it comes to marriage, this is personal preference. Like in the previous event, in ROTC, I said the same thing. Like the guy was saying, I get rejected, because I'm Arab. And all the VCs reject me, it's not about rejection. Everybody has a preference. So people want to, most people want to marry that similarity, you know, because I am from a certain place I like a certain food. I would like to be with somebody who likes a certain food. That doesn't mean you anything is wrong with you. How does how she learned from her saying, you know, every single race is okay, I'm open and then every single
race is okay. Oh, no. How so? How does a brother who goes to the machine and insisted a woman prays upstairs have no like presence downstairs? Or in the same with sulla? How was that when he makes the argument that
this is my preference, and you are not like a man and therefore you should pray upstairs? Like how's it a different thing not about praying? No, but I'm just I'm making. I'm using it as an example that we say it's preference, but then at what point does it become your enemy, like
when it's coming like
family ties for money or for religion?
Get married, right?
know that a woman desired will generally be for when a for her wealth, lineage, beauty qualities that men adore. But the one who has mentioned above all the rest of she who practices her religion best.
don't get me wrong, like you have your preference. You have a preference. Everyone has their preference, and I wouldn't want anybody necessarily. I wouldn't want anybody to necessarily challenge me on what I prefer in a spouse. But at the same time, it's like, as an individual who hears this all the time, and I'm reading it all the time. Like, hey, like you will pause and it will make you think like, and it's across the board. Regardless of what that person's ethnic background is. They will say the exact thing you know,
I'm okay with everything. But like, so you do this more than all of us. So you're definitely have expert testimony in this matter. But I think that this is a matter of conditioning, colonialism, programming to see fair skin. I mean, that's just all over the Muslim world, even in Africa, right? fair skin is looked at as being fairer skin. That's why you have these products that lighten skin, and all of that type of stuff. It's all. I mean, it's unfortunate, but it's it's conditioning. And so we suffer from that hear, just like people suffer from everywhere. It's Cologne, it's the post colonial mentality.
That being said, it requires education, it requires challenging, and that hamdulillah I think that there are a lot of people
who do truly have open preferences. But I think that you should have these conversations with these people. Someone says that, then you know what, try? And if you don't, I don't think it's necessarily an issue of oppression, as much as I think is that it's preferences, born out of some very deep programming that we've been having for the past 200 years. But you wouldn't like anybody challenging you on your personal preference. Yeah, but a person's preferences can be wrong. That's That's the idea. Is that what what makes you think that I like beef over chicken and buy beef preferences wrong? Like, that's my preference, I like to hang out with just saying, I like to hang out with I
don't know, Asian people or not. It's my preference, because of whatever I get along with them. Maybe they get my jokes, maybe we share common history, whatever that is. But who are you to challenge my preference? Just because I hang out with let's say, Asian? Doesn't mean I'm saying Asians are superior than whatever the other races are? That's my personal preference. Why would anybody challenge me on that? Unless I'm saying no, Asians are actually better people? Yeah, then I'm discriminating discriminating. Or I'm saying I don't want to hang out with you. Because I think you're inferior. that's problematic thing. But if I have a personal but they are, there's, like, so
like, seriously, that's what it is, at the end of the day when someone when it's across the board, and they're saying no black? Like, why why would anybody say that? You are more sensitive to it, because you always specifically asked them that because I know a lot of people I know a lot of people who do not want right? Like I know a lot of DC people who do not want to marry right? I know that for a fact. So it's, you know how we are more sensitive to it because we are more into? Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. Statistically speaking, statistically speaking, interracial marriage is actually getting more and more common, which is good news. I mean, if you use that as a progress, of
the fact that our society is progressing, compared to before we were as a whole more racist than we are today, just because, you know, people are more educated, more open minded people interact with everyone in university settings. So any internalized racism that their parents or their grandparents have had for us slowly, slowly dissipating. But that doesn't necessarily mean that, you know, conversations shouldn't be had with a society as a whole. Because we do have, you know, just, it's just indicative of our culture, I mean, cultures in general, not to point out a specific culture. But I think it's important to differentiate between, like just acknowledging a preferences of
preference, and then saying, maybe what led to it and shaped it in a person's life or over generations could be blameworthy, like tracking it back saying the colonialism and and all this stuff that can we can say it's blame worthy, let's let's have a hope to work on. versus just saying, hey, somebody reached their preference, because when you're talking about see that my brother is wanting to get married, and he knows, for example, that his mom is not going to be okay with a certain ethnicity. Whether you call it black or white, or Mexican, I don't care suddenly, ethnicity. So he's actually saving that girl from oppression because he knows that she won't be treated well in
that household for whatever reason, he cannot change his mom. So he is point blank saying, at the get go, I do not want XYZ race. That doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with it. I'm actually saving that person from future oppression. That's what I'm trying to say. You don't have to always be judgmental about a person. And that's what I was talking about in Salaam as well. When somebody is is perceived as rude. Because the way I'm talking, I might be having the best of intention but you are perceiving me as rude. Let's say when I say Salaam to you, right? people perceive me as cold all the time. And I'm which probably is true, but that's another discussion.
But because you don't know you don't know the depression. You don't know the depression and battling at home. You don't know the struggle that I am overcoming, you know nothing about that. So you are having the judgment of feeling just off of my Salaam. That is
called, you don't know that I am fighting a depression at home and I'm having mental issue and I'm having oppressive husband or I'm having in laws issue, you know nothing about it. But you formed an opinion because my Salaam seemed cold to you. So I think we need to be a little bit more open minded and not be very judgmental and jump to the negative conclusion that if I am saying that I prefer Mexican over bla bla, that means that white person or I'm being oppressed, or I'm thinking black is bad. No, it might just be that I just don't gel with it. I maybe you don't get my joke. And this guy gets my job, whatever that could be.
I want to buttress Yeah, I want to foster something about what you said earlier that I mean, is there there are actually some people who don't want white. And I had a case of
an Egyptian sister,
who I mean finding a and a white brother to marry. And I mean, she actually said it's a I mean, it's a situation that she finds very funny because she had to come to an imam of Masjid with a black brother, but is any man to talk to his dad? And to talk to her dad? So equal? allow her to marry the white brother? So I mean,
Yes, you say that I mean, the the cost to be the element of colonialism that people are still afraid of black people? Generally. It's Yeah, and it is because of the way blacks are perceived in the, in this society. And it's not just blacks. I know something that people seem to think about arrives that they think they are the best of races, and any other kind of race doesn't matter where they're coming from the think those those races, I mean, I'm not in there.
Behind them, and I know of a
an a, an Islamic school, so to say, in the Houston area and the other large population of Arabs, and I know some sisters, who are I mean, some were black and some other Mexican. And they withdrew their children from the school because they felt that the I mean, the Arab population Deaf feels Arab supremacy over I mean, over them. So it's not necessarily only over blacks. Yes. within the community, it will seem there, and it's possible. But a lot of people like
the House said, so how said that people are transcending that. And they are interracial marriages. And we should be more open to that. Try to encourage that. And, look, I mean, look, I mean, whatever little sources we'll find in that area. Try to I mean, put it up, so people will actually get to know that. I mean, it's possible. I mean, even racism, just think of it, our process of learning. So his last,
his last cookbook, racism bought up and so whether it's happening to you or against you, or through you, we're all going to be facing this particular issue. I mean, and it's always been there.
The last thing our Prophet talked about is laugh.
Think about that. And then the Prophet said that there's like a disease that will never leave my own mind racism and something else.
It is a hadith he said something about there's two, there's two like things they'll never like, be like, yeah, from being proud of lineage and things like that. That's never going to be which is basically racism. Cuz because basically like the things that you just mentioned one example with your line of work, but I'm sure there are so many others that we can't really fathom or really capture because we haven't been in your shoes to experience it.
Oh, no, I would love I mean, if you'd had the time, I'd love to hear like more examples from you. Because that's just like one and we kind of focused on it like the topic of preference and marriage. But there's so much more to it, it's just coming out. I feel like it's not just marriage to like even in the massage that he was talking about. I mean, I felt like marriages have been better but even growing up I remember growing up and like all day see Masjid and like I literally had like people their mothers will tell their kids not to like play with me because I was the black one like we were the only like black family like it's just you from like a young age when you see those kind
of things you kind of just things like that also make black people want to stick together and now you see
Even like not Muslims, like black people, like I only marry black women I only marry like black men. I don't date out of my race because other people have done that to us too. You know, it's just
and then people build their own messages like now even in Houston, you'll have like, oh,
like you have every Masjid everyone caters for their own colors, never usually a thing to introduce to you, outside source. But you don't know, like growing up, I never knew I was black until the police officer told me
in a negative way, right? You don't know these things. So how old are you? You're
like my stepdaughter never even paid attention to she was black until she came home and then said, some boy told me my skin is blue. Like what? She's six years old. I'm 58 years old at this time, like so you don't even know you just go through life. And someone tells you every minute you and now what we're talking about here is something that's supposed to be inclusive. And but yet you still feel that separation.
So I think from my experience, inclusivity also comes from familiarity. So when you're not familiar with something, you're apprehensive of it, you're most scared of it. And that's what it is. So a lot of times when you've never seen an I've had in Canada, for example, I know. A lot of my friends who are from like, pure redneck area, they've never seen anything other than white. And the first time she has seen somebody I am very sketchy on Yeah, my very close friend. And she said the first time she has seen something other than white was when she came to Calgary for work. Right?
I had a recent example, experience with my neighbor opposite my apartment, right. And this is the first time I've had a neighbor that's extremely rowdy at all my neighborhood in my whole apartment complex is really good people. And this is like extremely rowdy. And they happen to be African American, right. So now imagine if I am somebody who has never seen an African American in my life, I am going to naturally as a human habit going to form a habit that African Americans are really rowdy. But I know a lot of African American who are not. But imagine if that is the only exposure I have
to many cases and the burden on you to go and not generalize and broaden your horizons. It's very easy. It's very easy to say that in a book language, but we're all human and we're all flawed. And she's not talking about some guy in Saskatchewan. She's talking about Houston, Texas. Yeah. So so so so, I mean, these are like Urban's and we are human beings, we are not going to now go ahead and say, You know what, let me now make a research and figure out if you are the norm or if you are the exception, I mean, we are human being right, if we come across something that is off to us, we kind of assume that whatever it is about you, I'm not gonna I don't want to talk to you. So if a Muslim
is really rowdy, which we are, we really park here and there and people naturally say that, you know, Muslims that you have to be away from. So on the topic of racism. I think that it's important to understand a couple of things, even when we're talking about marriages, you know, there's a beautiful Latifah like a beautiful like, subtlety that's in the room. You know, those famous verses that get recited at every wedding a law says swimming it Allah Allah camino physical as well as any tuscano Allah, that from Allah signs that he made for you spouses, right, and that you find between them more than Rama, mercy and love. In that is a sign are in that are Signs for those people who
reflect it's difficult on those people who think. And then the next verse after talking about marriage, Allah says women, it helps them out a lot. Walk the laugh. Well see, that's why he said, the next verse is from his last science also is the creation of the heavens and the earth. And your variation in your tongues, your languages, and your skin tones and wonderful your colors in Nevada, I mean, in that our science for the people who know. And so it's almost like we could argue interracial marriages are being presented in the Koran, but something I do believe with regards to racism racism is one of those, those challenging issues that the prophets that will lead us and that
is never going to be if there's one thing that's gonna stay behind in my own more one of the things that are gonna stay behind in my own mind is
I'll talk a bit about people being proud of their or their lineages and the prophets. The light is and I'm called it putrid and Allah azza wa jal recounts,
talking about hatred between an ocean and hustle edge.
Eliza says, what I love obey Nakula obey Him. Allah says Allah united their hearts, low un*ed Mr. philology me and my left, obey. nikolova him that
If you own Hamad had spent all that is on this earth, you would not have been able to unite their hearts. But a lot did. Allah did. And so I do believe that we cannot unify people, without calling them due to the unification of God. If at the end of the day, we try all of the best programs, and resources and institutions and marketing campaigns and hashtags, and all of that, to try to resolve the problem of racism, and if we as Muslims kind of just jump on the bandwagon of this particular hashtag, or this particular, you know, whatever platform and if we are not calling them to the one who's actually able to resolve these problems, then we are actually falling short of our obligation
because you cannot call people to resolve racism without calling them to Allah and that's why at Hajj Malik Chavez Rahim Allah maka Max's brilliant soul, searching for the truth when he came back from Hajj and he knew America better than most. He said, America needs to understand Islam because that is the one religion that solves the race problem. But what about Muslims? Muslims are Muslim and they're racist, we need to call them to Islam as well. We need to call them to the oneness of God. And there's there's a lot of work that we need to do. There's a lot of you know, baggage that we need to unravel over centuries of time. But if there is anything that can solve this issue of
racism, it is undoubtedly Islam. If you haven't already, hit the subscribe button. Like and Comment join the discussion with regards to racism.