Islam and Blackness
Channel: Jonathan Brown
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Hello everyone and welcome to blogging theology. Today I'm delighted to talk again to Jonathan Brown. You're most welcome back sir.
Hi, welcome in so I come in to everybody and
it's nice to be back. Although it's funny because I just saw you in person in London. We did our we're talking like now I don't even know if it's 20 maybe 24 hours later. Now I'm in Washington DC and not I felt in particular embarrassed because we had an English sort of an English breakfast together and we had vegan bagels a vegan bacon these two strips of something it's not going on my list of best breakfasts but you know what, that's not the point it was it was not about the food. No, but I felt embarrassed you know, you got to American coming to London. And what did he get? He got this this What am I view is disgusting vegan. But you know, I actually I went to slough and they
have a place called like Kashmiri
Cafe it's a big building actually. It's not a little it's a kind of big building with a park around it and they have I had a I actually the guy was kind of he was like, Oh, you're think you're gonna eat all this by ordered full English breakfast and then a married breakfast and that they were both individually too big to eat on their own and so I you know, I really struggling but it was delicious. So I had a delicious Hello English breakfast so you don't have to worry about that. Now the food was definitely lol. Although questionable, integrity. Anyway, we're gonna go there. It was good to see you yesterday that has a fascinating conversation. But back to today. For those who
don't know, Jonathan Brown is a professor and our lead Bintelli Chair of Islamic civilization in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington. Is it Washington DC where you are now? Yep, yep. Cool. He's the author of the following books, slavery in Islam. There we are. This is a classic work,
seminal work and this one misquoting Muhammad, the challenge and choices of interpreting the province legacy. We've got an enormous in friends, I think it's particularly good introduction to the subject. One of my favorites is second edition or Hadith, Muhammad's legacy in the medieval and modern world, because your PhD is in the subject. And this is your PhD, I think, canonisation with Al Bukhari and Muslim the formation and function of the Sunni Hadith canon. So I recommend all of those. He's actually written also, the the very short introduction to Muhammad, I think, is called in the Oxford University, Very Short Introduction series, which again, is really great for the
general reader who doesn't know anything about Islam, I think.
So that's, that may not be an exhaustive list of all your books, but those are the ones I've read anyway.
That's all. I've read all your books.
Now, Jonathan has kindly agreed today to discuss his critically acclaimed new book. Yes, there's another one, titled, here we go, Islam and blackness. And what a striking cover that is, I think, is a very brilliant cover book cover actually, that's the size of it. newly published it with some very positive reviews indeed, on the back cover. One for example, Imam Zaid Shakir who's a professor emeritus now, obviously tuna college and other other scholars as well. And I just want to read just briefly what the dust jacket says on the inside front cover about the book, I assume the publisher wrote this rather than you. I wrote it. Oh, you did? Okay. I wrote it. I think they say they, I
mean, they what they do is they say, Can you write us what to say on the inside of the dust jacket, and then I write it for them. They may check it and say, you know, this may mean they may it may some person person might write when it's lousy, and they don't abuse it, but they've always used the ones I sent them. So yeah, this is about you, though, isn't a third person. It's commonly claimed you write or it says that Islam is anti black, even inherently bent on enslaving black Africans. Western and African critics alike have contended that anti black racism is in the face of very scriptural foundations and institutions of law, spirituality and theology. But what is the basis for
this accusation? Best Selling scholar Jonathan AC brown examines scripture, Islamic scripture, law, Sufism and history to comprehensively interrogate this claim, and determine how and why is emerged, locating his origins in conservative politics, modern Afro centrism and the old trope of Barbary enslavement. That's a particularly common one on the internet. And there it is. He explains how
anti black blackness arose in the Islamic world and became entangled with normative tradition, from the imagery of black and faces in the Quran, to Sharia assessments of black women as undesirable. And the assertion that Islam and Muslims are foreign to Africa. This work provides an in depth study of a controversial not that Islam, that is Islam and blackness, and identifies authoritative voices in Islam as past that are crucial for combating anti black racism today. So that's the book Islam and blackness.
Except best selling author, Jonathan Brown, I everything I probably just wrote this book does that and then
out of that,
thank you, for your honesty there. Yeah, you didn't write that bit.
So there's something we need to get, we need to clear the decks on this. First off, if I may, some people might have an issue with the fact that a white guy you has written a book titled Islam and blackness. And I know there's something that came up recently, when you were in London a couple days ago, I had so I think it actually this is something you address at the very beginning of your book immediately, actually, what is your response?
I mean, yeah, I've heard this a lot.
I understand people, I mean, I'm not angry at people for having this criticism. It's just that I don't think that it has anything to do with the book. Like, I mean, the, if I were writing a book about, you know,
the experiences of black Muslims, or,
you know, even kind of getting into like, the Define grains, or dynamics of anti black racism in the modern world, like, you know, maybe my being a white guy is probably not helpful, or doesn't give me some kind of,
you know, perspective that I need. But this book is about, it's a book of Islamic intellectual history, really, I mean, it's a book about how Muslim scholars, over 1400 years dealt with, you know, texts in society interacted and then how Muslim scholars dealt with their own legal and normative traditions in, you know, surrounding questions of like, race and color in their society. So it's really
Yeah, I mean, I just wonder, like, if I were,
I mean, if I were, like, a black Muslim in the US, I'm not sure that would give me a lot more insight about what, you know, a text written in, like,
ninth century Baghdad,
is saying, I mean, it's just sort of, you know, the the only way that that would make sense is if there was some kind of trans, historical, unchanging thing called blackness, so that if you're black in America today, it's the sort of same as being black and Baghdad in the ninth century. And I think that it contradicts basically all the established understandings of race, which say that it's not some kind of essential thing that exists throughout time and space, but rather, it's it's socially constructed. So I think, I think that the criticisms are kind of, I mean, I understand someone's criticism if they think this is a book about being black and Muslim, or about how challenges of
being black and Muslim, but this is a book about the interaction between Islamic normative tradition. And me just make sure my computer is not
going to ping every couple of minutes focus. Okay, do not disturb.
So, but, you know, that's not what the book is about. The book is about. And we're I mean, the funny thing is, like, we're all foreigners to the past. So not none of us is from the past. Yes. It the past is foreign to all of us. I think. I think it's interesting to think about, like, what these questions assume about the work. And also, I mean, not to be kind of a pain about this, but someone could say, well, your books caught us on blackness. So you know, we're, we have concerns about this. Okay, that's fine. I understand. I don't expect people to read the book. But you know, there is the blurb that you just read, which tells you what the book is about, which I think that if read this, I
think they would it would not
probably make sense why you could have,
you know, someone who's not like a black Muslim today writing it. So, but I would also say that, you know, I mean, I may as well also use this opportunity to say why I wrote the book, it wasn't like I wasn't like I woke up one day and I said, Hey, you know, I really want to write about Islam blackness or something. I mean, this was, in fact, when I wrote the slavery book, Islam and slavery book people would ask me, oh, you know, you should write.
You should write kind of a book on Islam and race or something. And I said, a way out and I said, I'm not
Crazy, I'm not going to do that.
But what happened was in the summer of 2020, there was this debate, which actually I found out later is actually a recurring debate in
some circles about that, where some scholars like actual professors in the US in academia, we're saying that Islam had its scriptural foundations in the Quran, the Sunnah of the Prophet leaves us alone, right? That the normative tradition of Islam is itself anti black, not you know, Muslims are racist. Some of it actually, the scriptural foundation is normally
our anti black, you know, so I kept getting these emails forwarded to me from by our questions. People, my friend, you know, colleagues asking me like, hey, you know, there's this debate going on, and someone's bringing up this hadith and this Quranic verse and this fic opinion, and do you have any, you have any responses to this? I'm trying to figure out how to respond. And I was like, oh, okay, interesting. So I just kind of I was like, Okay, I'll look at it. And I'll try and send you helpful information. And then I started to actually look into it. And I was like, Well, this is actually really interesting. And then I started to, in order to answer those questions, I look at
other issues that was raised other questions, issues of context, and history came up. And so before I knew it, I had a book on my hands. And that's how, yeah, so I have an almost act, not accidentally, but you haven't, it actually was, it was entirely accidental. Yeah, it was something where I, I didn't think, yeah, it was kind of was a bizarre experience. But I mean, that's sometimes how even the slavery book it wasn't, I didn't intend really to do it, it kind of came up. But you do write books that tend to address these popular misconceptions or misunderstanding that Islam? Obviously, a statement is something one, and this one, I know, you, you told me before, he didn't
didn't choose the title of this misquoting Muhammad. This is kind of a reference to bourbons Misquoting Jesus. But, you know, the, you do push back against misunderstandings in this book, as well on Hadith. And so you do have a history of really tackling some of these red button issues as they arise in our culture, even though you you're not looking for them, they tend to find you perhaps, I mean, I think that I think what it is, is that I'm, you know, like I'm Muslim. And I mean, when I come across these questions, you know, I also have these questions, right. So someone, when I see these, you know, Hadith or fake opinion, that used to be really shocking in the context
of blackness. I mean, I also want to know what's going on? So I mean, I sort of I think maybe one of the reasons I do this is that I am a member of the I'm, I'm, you know, curious readers want to know, I'm curious reader, I want to know the answers to these things as well. No, that's fair. Oh, you touched on this briefly. But is this my next question to you? What is the argument of the book that you have a section of your book? What is the argument of your book so?
So I have a section in my book called I actually have this in all my books, I think, which is, this is true argument of this book. So if you really don't want to read the book,
this section and it will tell you everything, or will give you a summary, but tell you everything I give you a very very brief summary. Yes. Yeah. Okay, so I'm gonna read it. It's, it's, it's, it is two pages. Exactly. Yeah, well, pages a game can't remember where it is page three, and PAGE PAGE three to five, but it's
Though a contested concept. anti blackness is most succinctly understood as racism directed against people of sub Saharan African descent. stereotypes about real or imagined black Africans are nearly as old as historical records. From ancient Rome into medieval China. However, these stereotypes rarely stood out markedly in societies that were often cosmopolitan. And where skin color played a less important role than other markers of identity. The notion that the rights and standings of people racialized as black African, were determined by that racialization became pervert pervasive only in the early modern period, with the rise of the Atlantic slave trade and Europe's powerful
The understanding of race the sorry the understandings of race and blackness that formed in the West, particularly the United States, have profoundly shaped global shaped global discourse. They have forced a dualistic template of black and white onto social terrains from Mali to Karachi, which are often too dissimilar or complex for such a binary. They have bound black African pneus and slavery in an essential relationship. When the two when the link between the two has often been incidental, and they continue to insist that black as a mundane color descriptor cannot be separated from black as a negative metaphor. When no such a central relationship exists. Not everyone
everywhere, and particularly not speakers of African languages south of the Sahara has collapsed blackness as skin tone and
blackness is a metaphor. Neither has aesthetic preference always entail judgment of human worth. Not all descriptions of color is a prescription of value.
In the West Islam and Muslims have been particularly singled out as anti black and accusation emanating from a centuries old western stereotype of Muslims as slavers, as well as from contemporary American Conservative cultural and political agendas. anti blackness is rampant in much of the Muslim world, North Africa to South Asia. It causes real pain that goes unrecognized, but it does not originate in Islamic scriptures or its system of law and ethics. Islamic civilization inherited stereotypes about black Africans from the Greco Roman conviction that climate shaped both body and personality and from Judeo Judeo Christian lore about Africans being cursed with blackness
and enslavement. Though problem though prominent Muslim scholars oppose these ideas as antithetical to the Koran, the bulk of Islamic tradition, indulged and added to this body of material. While anti blackness did not define the lives and destinies of people with darker skin tones. from Morocco to India, black African came to stand in for slave and correlate with inferior social status. The Sufi tradition, however, inverted this image, using it to represent the saints journey from earthly subjugation, to liberation through union with the divine, and it portrayed the black African as the pious and devout slave of God, who taught and inspired his or her social betters, and Islamic law,
particularly norms around marriage. When the correlation of blackness with low status and undesirability was recognized. It was as a social reality that law had to manage not as a norm for it to protect, whether in law or in how we're sorry, whether in Islamic law or how black Africans have been perceived in other genres of Islamic scholarship, anti blackness has been incidental, not essential. In law, Muslim jurists recognized that what blackness meant whether it was attractive or unappealing ended on where, when and who was perceiving it. negative stereotypes about black Africans and Muslim writings on geography and ethnology, were often mirrored by stereotypes about
slobs and Turks. And the association of blackness with slavery and primitiveness, including in the writings of many black Muslims from this hell ultimately turned not on phenotype, but on their locating blackness beyond the southern boundaries of the abode of Islam. Whether anti blackness was incidental or accepted as social customs. However, leading voices of Muslim scholarship from medieval to modern times have rejected it, and advocated vigorously for the prophets teachings that no race or tribe has any inherent value over another. As judges, jurists, and moral guides, Muslim scholars have had to balance a realistic accommodation of custom with their duty to enjoy and right
as heirs of the prophets, in light of the severity of the blight of anti blackness today, it is clear that their duty as moral guides must be to promote the ratio of the color line.
Section. Yeah, very eloquent. I just noticed something in terms of the way you
express yourself in this is that the word black itself, sometimes there were like black African is capitalized, B, capital B, capital A, but other times you have a small b, when the word Black is, what was the logic here in switching from capital to non capital when he using word black? Yeah, so there's a lot of actually writing and debate around this in
various academic fields in the US, primarily in the context of kind of Africana Studies in the US, kind of Atlantic world.
The so the debate is, is that black can mean different things. So if I say, you know, like, this book cover is black, like, that's just a color descriptor, right?
If I say that, you know, a person is black. Well, now, I mean, I've never actually met anyone whose skin was actually this Gregory, there's always struck me as this whole language of black and white when I look at you, I'm also not yours. I didn't mean to be rude, but your pink show is, yeah, so when we, when we use it to talk about people's features. Now we're getting kind of into more of a realm of figurative description and also, not just that, but race, but but inscription, right. So
somebody might mean for example, languages in a lot of languages in Africa, south of the Sahara. You know, if you ask someone what's what color is your skin and your language, they'll say black right? And that doesn't they're just such a subscription for them doesn't mean anything. But when you say, you know when a British person or an American person says someone's black or an Arab person says someone's black, there's also other
are kind of
connotations about that they come through history. But in addition, this is also very important, right? If you're like Heraclitus, you know we know the famous Greek historian from from almosafer Muhammad from 100 BC. Yeah. Oh my God, he's not from Malaysia. He's died for about a strum.
It's today It's Bo drum. Telekinesis. Yeah. So he, in his when he talks about
Ethiopians being like black, he also says like Indians are also black. So for him blackness. And this is actually not uncommon in the kind of Greco Roman tradition, but also in the, in the early Arabic tradition, that blackness is not just something about Africa, it also includes like people who are very dark skinned toned in Southern India, for example.
So it's, it doesn't this is important, right. So when we, when we say black, in modern, you know, kind of European linguistic traditions, and we're using it as a color just to describe someone's phenotype, their, their, their presentation, their physical appearance, we also it's not just their skin color, right? We have associates about what their hair texture is, what their facial feature is, features are, right? So there's all these
kind of stereotypical phenotype ideas that come along with saying someone's buck. So that's becoming suddenly a lot more complicated than just saying the color black of this book. And so the question is, do we want to
put a capital letter there to show that we're not this is no longer just a neutral kind of normal color description anymore. But now we have other ideas about race and ethnicity and value and history and power going into it? Then you take another step, right, which is that some people will, you know, it's very common to find this among scholars in Africana studies that
Black can also mean, for example, if I it's actually interesting that my friend giving me a ride to the airport yesterday, is British Muslim, his family is from Zambia. Okay, I actually actually saw you walking past with him to the car, actually, actually. So he, when he went to
visit his family members in Zambia, they said, You're not, you're not you're not black, you're white. They said to him. It had to do with his skin color. They meant like culturally, you're not from here, like you're
right. You just use the word. I think it's Masoom. Boo, I think is your what one of these like, the word they use for white foreigners? Right? So it was really funny, because someone's telling him, he's not black, right. But in the UK, he's always been told he's black. Yeah, so the reason why is for some people. And this includes, by the way, some, you know, scholars and activists in let's say, black American culture or anti racist, anti racism activism in the US, where they'll say that black with a capital B isn't, is really for it's not for people in Africa, from Africa. It's for people who are part of this diaspora community that had the experience of enslavement, of being taken away
of growing up in these kinds of
almost like Creole communities that have different cultural and racial
kind of inputs into them in the 400 years or so, since the
or four and 500 years of the Atlantic slave trade and the European enslavement of Africans and then exploitation of their labor in the Americas. And then the growth of commute of the diaspora communities in the Americas, right. So in this case, Black would mean
to someone what you remember when President President Obama was there was these debates about whether Obama is black or not? About what the heck is this? I thought I thought he was black. But the idea is,
he some people would say he's not black, because he doesn't share his father was from Kenya. You know, his mother was white, his mother was white. The idea is that he doesn't have share this black experience in terms of enslavement, segregation and exploitation of communities that come out of the diaspora. So there's all these debates about what black means. And people have come up with various ways, kind of conventions for using capitalization to indicate this. I think it's it's very, it's difficult because on the one hand, you want to kind of acknowledge and abide by these conventions. On the other hand, the problem is if you start to capitalize and not capitalize, it sort of becomes
unmanageable because you're reading let's say some 10
century Muslim jurist or 11th century Muslim historian in Baghdad or Cairo or something, and he says someone's black and you're like, do I capitalize this or not? I mean, I don't know what what do they mean by this? I mean, if, if I realize or don't count, you know, then I might, imposing my reading of what he's trying to stay on to something that he might not mean. So what I say in the book is, you know, if you're, if we're going to talk about like black British or black American, we'll talk about, you know, capital B, capital A right, black American, yeah, we're talking about
blackness as like, a modern construct that we're discussing in the context of race and everything, I use a capital B. But generally, I just default to lowercase because otherwise it becomes, you know, you sort of you end up backing yourselves into court and yourself into a corner, forcibly interpreting for the reader something that maybe the reader should be able to kind of encounter. unmediated. Okay. Well, from that, from that very sophisticated theoretical analysis of the dilemmas of how we capitalize words, I want to go to the other extreme in my experience at speakers corner, here in London, this occasional bear pit of a place don't necessarily recommend it. A lot of Muslims
go there. A lot of Christian missionaries go there and they're not main terribly mainstream. They're quite that they're definitely anti Muslim. They all are actually, I think it was one exception, who wasn't NT wasn't polemical and hostile. And, and one particular issue amongst a number one that came up repeatedly. Still does sometimes, is what you call in your book, The so called reason headed Hadith. Kind of quote it because I'm not actually sure why you say that it comes in different variants anyway, it's not like a single Hadith. Some do mention the raisin headed Hadith words. Others don't. But that is in Bukhari, as well. But the accusations of anti black racism in the
Sunnah is the point here. And now personally, I don't I don't have an issue with it. I mean, what what I think is not really the point. But what is, what is the most likely wording of this series? And why is it problematic? And how do you respond to it? I mean, is it an example of racism? From the Prophet himself? Yeah.
Um, so I mean, I think the Hadith itself occurs in several variations. The general
pretty consistent part is that you should
obey your commander. So it's in the context of,
of essentially like being on a military campaign. Right? So obey your commander,
even if he is so some versions will say like an
mutilated slave, like a slave who's had his, like, nose cut off or ears. This is something you see in the kind of Byzantine tradition actually, that sometimes slaves would be, like, mutilated, like have their nose parts of yours cut off.
And then some versions say, you know, even if he's an Ethiopian slave, right?
And then some versions say even if he's European slave, who who's not so because of EBA, his head is like a raisin. Right? So the general meaning of the hadith is very clear, it's not really disagreed on right, which is that says that whoever is your commander, you obey them, it doesn't matter if they're someone you think is socially higher, you're socially lower than you. Even if it's the lowest person in this society, this kind of mutilated slave, they're in charge you obey them. This was then interpreted, extended kind of Anna logically to apply to any kind of official in authority. So one of the instances in which the hadith is actually transmitted. And the main transmitter of the
Hadith the companion I bizarre, look at 40 he settles after the death after the death of the Prophet he settles at a place called lava which is like kind of a view if you go on the trail from Mecca, Medina to southern Iraq, you would pass it's sort of like a station way and it's where also where the all the cat camels, the camels were collected from for charitable tax work for pastured there. So he lived there. And
one of this A, like artificial under the Umayyad government is brought out to or the Muslim government is is brought to is they're like assessing for taxation. And this is the official is a an Ethiopian slave whose whose job is to do this right.
the prayer time comes and the you know, everyone's like, Okay, I would thought it a saint, you know, very old
We'll do companion to the Prophet they say you should lead us in prayer. And abogado says no like you the the gesturing to the Ethiopian slave official, he says you should lead us because the Prophet said, you know, obey your command or even if he's Ethiopian slave, right?
So he, he kind of II, he was interpreting this a deed you can and so that becomes used. Well, Judge has that but just the general meaning of the hadith is generally it's understood to apply to any official who's an authority, you will obey them, even if there's someone you think is lower than you. Okay. Now, let's put that aside. That's pretty simple. The other then the issue is,
so everything about the hadith is fairly straightforward. Except this one clause, which appears in one actually very rare narration of Hadith. This narration is in Sahih Bukhari. But it's bizarre because not in other books, it's and it's actually not the most reliable narration of the Hadith, if you were to get all the different narrations of the Hadith, the part that has the clause that says,
his head, like or his head, like a raisin, that is actually a minority clause, right. So this is specifically in one version, it's not the most reliably transmitted version. It's insane Bukhari so there's no people don't really debate its authenticity. But if you were to, you know, if you were to say, like, look, we have lots of different versions of this hadith, which is the most reliable it would not be, it'd be the least reliable version. Okay. But let's but, you know,
no pre modern scholar that I know of no modern Hadith scholar that I know of, has ever argued that this flaw is somehow false or has been added in. So let's deal with it. But you do, and you say, to continue in the book that in the early centuries of the Hadith commentators, this was not understood this particular clause or the whole Hadith And anyways, pejorative in a negative way at all, it was only much later that it was understood with perhaps more racist or in early times, the earliest
prescriptions of scholars in like the 910 Hundreds, they just say, you know, oh, it just means that, for example,
you know, Ethiopian people's heads are like dark, you know, their skin is like dark color like a raisin. And they also say that they, they talk about the
the texture of like, tightly coiled African hair, they say it looks like peppercorns. So if you have,
like, it looks like a bunch of peppercorns, like together, they like the texture of the, like the outside of the kind of wrinkly texture of the peppercorns. So they say that the it's the color and the texture of the raisin is like the texture of their hair. They just, they just say like, this is what the profit means. And then they move on. They don't have a problem with it.
Incidentally, I mean, I should add right now that it's, it's actually it's hard to Okay, so if you look at how African Muslim scholars uses Hadith, it's the same right? So they don't have
you know, let's say like scholars like Holland Bello, the second world or the Sokoto Caliphate, and what's now northern Nigeria.
People like his father as mind on video, died 1817, the founder of the so called caliphate, people like
Muhammad Amin, Sheikh Mohammed Amin, Al Hadi, who just died a few years ago who's actually Ethiopian, right? So he's not just he's actually the exactly the that's being described.
None of them have any, they don't ever say anything about the Hadith that indicates that they're, they consider it to be like offensive or something. They just, in fact, Muhammad bello and most minds on fire, do they just use it? They actually use it in instructions to their commanders like and how to how to act on campaign. So what does happen roughly in the sort of 1200s 1100 1200 amongst Hadith scholars, who are living from kind of in the kind of Cairo,
Syria, greater Syria, kind of Iranian world is you see a shift to a much more pejorative language, right. So what they'll say again, they don't, they don't
they're not trying to say anything pejorative, but what the way they read it shows a much more of a kind of social openness or contextual openness to a negative meaning. So they'll say things like, is the reason why the prophet is using this example is because, you know,
Ethiopian black slaves are those sort of the most
they disregarded sort of lowest rung of the social ladder. They'll say that they're, you know, that they're the smallness of their heads has to do with like, their stupidity, their lack of reason. Their ugliness, right, so you get a lot of like just kind of a lot more negativity, whereas the early commentators, they're just like, it's color and texture. And that's it, they don't really go into it anymore. So there's definitely after the 1200s. And that really continues into the, you know, essentially, Early Modern period, or maybe even to the modern period, depending where you're looking that this negativity, really, it's more because much more pejorative. And you see kind of
the reading into much more reading into the stereotypes about ugliness and stupidity, and loneliness. So
it's a purely subjective, but I know some Ethiopian brothers in London, I would never ever think they were ugly, or stupid. Ova is just I'm just running with this idea comes up. It's not obvious that this would be something that could be said, and even the raisin head thing. Maybe I need to go look at some Google Images of raisins. But I just didn't, it's not obvious to me that this is a collected description, either. But hey, I mean,
I mean, here's the thing, like, I mean, you.
So what's interesting is I remember I was reading this French ethnographer study on this, in the 1960s, on this oasis in Algeria. And she talks about the describing the hair of some of the people who live there, she says it looks like peppercorns, which I thought was really I was like, wow, like this is a person's kind of the the same description of peppercorns not raising. But I would say that
it's interesting, right? The
one of the the kind of pitfalls of this sort of
looking into the past is that we tend, especially on issues of race and black men, there's kind of been this globalization of American conceptualizations of race and what it means not just kind of globally today, but actually kind of retroactively imperially into the past. So it's sort of Western, you know, it's like American cultural conquest, not just of the present, but of the past, which is kind of about horrific weight. And so, there's always this idea that what blackness means to Americans is somehow what it means everybody in the past which is or the present, which is just totally untrue. So one thing you find this very interesting is and by the way, this is same thing
with Heraclitus. Harada says talks about the Ethiopians being the handsomest people.
Okay, it's a mixed race, right?
And what's interesting is there's a book written in the 1500s, the late 1500s, by Medina and Scotland and even Abdullah boggy was actually a tea but like a guy who gives the Sermon on the Friday sermon in the prophet's mosque in Medina. So
him, you know, you can see in his work in other works from the 1600s 1700s 1800s, early 1900s, from the hijas, including foreigners who go there, like snooker Granja, the Dutch foreigner, like this one, Scottish traveler, Bruce, who travels there in the 1700s, trying to find the source of the Nile. They all know they all say the same thing. And they note the same thing, which is the people in jazz, are absolutely obsessed with Ethiopian women. And by Ethiopian, they mean, both kind of Horn of Africa. So Ethiopia and Somalia.
These are the that are the most beautiful women. And they're, they're obsessed. So this one guy, even of the buck is teacher. He's writing all this love poetry about Ethiopian women, how much he longs for them. And he has like some concubines for Ethiopian. And he's so so bad. The Alto has also asked to write a poem to his wife is apologizing for his obsession with
women. So on the one hand, you could say, well, these people are definitely not ugly.
According to Hijazi men from the, as far as I know, the 1500s pretty consistently from the 1500s to the 1900s. Okay. On the other hand, if then Abdullah Baca in his the the same book, right, I mean, he has a whole section about the beauty of Ethiopian women, and then he moves on to how ugly Czanne's women are. They're ugly, they're stupid. They're lousy parents. They're done. I mean, just this is so what is ENTJ Zan for him? And the general way it's used in its kind of Arab Islamic civilization is its people from further south on the East African coast. So kind of, you can imagine kind of Ethiopian Somalia and then you're going south.
down into, you know, Kenya, Tanzania Malawi, that area, right, that those people brought in from the inland on and on the coast. So these people he sees as completely different. And centers I'm extremely ugly. And this is very widely held in in kind of Islamic civilization in the medieval to the early modern period roughly from North Africa, across through the Middle East into Iran and northern India. Very common opinion. But the reason I bring this up as you see like this something that we in the US would just categorize as black.
That for someone like him that Devaki are two totally different groups that he has absolutely dimension always assessments of in terms of their beauty. Yeah, no, that's absolute. That's that's very fascinating. Actually. I think what we have to ask the question, just for the record, in case anyone is unaware of what did the Prophet Muhammad upon him up to teach about race and what really matters to God because He did teach drums. So
it's very easy. I mean, the Quranic rule is very simple, right? Academic Amendola, here at Koco. The most no bull, in God's eyes, is the most noble view, according to God is the most pious, the one with the most Taqwa.
When, of course, we also have the Prophet alayhi salam saying that you know that in his famous Farewell Sermon, the Arab has no virtue over the non Arab and the Arab non Arab has no virtue over the Arab except by their deeds, and the black and the black and the red, which is interesting, we can get into that if you want. He's the black half person has no virtue over the red. And the red has no virtue over the blackboards except in their deeds. For what what is read. So it's I shouldn't know what to read in the mobile. It's very interesting.
Earliest Islamic Arabic and kind of pre Islamic Arabic as far as we know, if you're going to use a bipartite division for people for their appearances, so to like, you know, two groups, you have black and red. So, and most scholars would say that Arabs were in the black group. So the Arabs would lump themselves with Ethiopian southern Indians and everyone like that, right? So they would say we're black, the Reds would be people who are like lighter skinned from maybe the north in the Mediterranean, kind of Syrian Anatolian populations, right. So that's how they said, white, a black and red.
Which is interesting, by the way, because when you go back and you look at,
like, let's say, ancient Egyptian artwork, and even some of the pre Islamic Arab depictions, we have some like it caught it and fo from roughly maybe 200 to 300 ad 300 of the Common Era plays, it's about kind of south
of Mecca. There are some wall paintings, and it's the same as the way Egyptians are portrayed themselves in kind of ancient Egyptian art that we all know about, right? They, they draw themselves at red color, almost like an ochre color, so they call themselves red. Whereas portray like a Nubian or an Ethiopian, as literally black colored like this book color, or sometimes a kind of like a brownish color, a lighter black. So it's interesting that you know, this idea of considering what we might think of as like an Arab or Middle Eastern phenotype being more red colored then and then okay, but what's also interesting is when that's not very common, right, so generally, when Arabs
talk about, they'll either pre early Islamic Arabic, pre Islamic Arabic, you either had a bar type bipartite, Division of red and black, or you have a tripartite division of black, white and red, black being very dark skinned
ins are dark skinned Arabs. White would be the absurd of what we think of like a Mediterranean complexion. Which is interesting, because who came up with the idea of saying white people was the Romans the Romans, use the word Alvis to talk about a Mediterranean complexion? You and I, Paul would not be white. For Ancient Romans or for you know, Republican early Imperial Romans, we would be what's called pallidus, or candy dose, which means palette. We're basically palette colored. We're not white for in the Roman
kind of taxonomy of phenotype and color. But the white is kind of that idea of a Mediterranean look is what also what the Arabs meant when they said White it's sort of like So the Prophet lays Islam was described as white. Exactly this. I was just going to ask Him that very point because it has caused some controversy in terms of, oh, he wasn't really an Arab was not as white
What that means is he sort of has like a, you know, medium all of tone, kind of, you know, sort of a Mediterranean picture kind of an Arab or Italian or Greek. Anthony Quinn, let's go.
I feel like that's how Anthony Quinton or you know,
did he play Hamza in the the message the film? I mean, yeah, yeah, he did. I mean, I don't know. He also played out to Abu Tae in Lawrence of Arabia and Zorba and God and another guy in Allama seismometer in Guns of Navarone.
But I don't know if how much makeup on Anthony Quinn, you could have been heavily made up of Anthony Quinn and all those movies. And that's probably pretty good. But I mean, the point is that he's sort of he's a Greek and he's an Arab at the same time. So that's, that's white, to black, white, and then red, which again, is sort of like an A lighter skin Mediterranean person, a lighter skinned Persian person. Turks, Byzantines Russians. What's interesting is when Muslims, geographers start to either travel to or hear reports about Northern Europeans, people like the British, Celts, Irish, Irish, Irish people, they're just like, off the radar for them. They don't know they're like they
say their red color. They say they're blue colored. They have the stringy, red hair stringy blonde, or whatever that might be because the Celts sometimes were portrayed with wearing blue makeup. And that might be it but I my guess is and I don't know for sure. My guess is that it's, if you will, people who will look really, really white light skin, you can kind of see their veins.
A lot. That's my guess.
You the word thing might be I'm gonna go for the word thing. I prefer it because it's more exotic explanation. Yeah, I mean, but yeah, that's interesting question. So. So
now what's interesting is as well and very important, is that I just mentioned that when early Islamic, you know, kind of Arabs of the time of the Prophet and early Samick. Arabia, pre Islamic Arabia, if they're going to talk about people's looks, they'll say, either red and black and black as the divisions or black, white and red. If they use black and whites, they don't use it for people's appearances. So black and white is a metaphoric, right. Right. It's metaphoric. It means noble and ignoble. So if you're when this happened, this term is used in the Chrome the sentence on appeal was nice. Yeah. Well, to understand that as a racial classification, then does not No, no, if
you say in the Koran and talks about, for example, when people hear news of their that they have a daughter, their face is blackened. On the Day of Judgment, there will be faces that are blackened and faces that are white. And yeah, this is not this doesn't mean they suddenly look like an African person. Or they suddenly look like you know, David Bowie or something. This isn't this is not what this means, right? This Muslim Scott, commentators are very clear about this. First of all, they debate whether or not it's just totally metaphorical, and not physical at all. But in the case of safe in this world is obviously metaphorical, right? Because it's not like your face gets darker
colored when you get bad news. If anything, you might get lighter colors and blood drains out of your face. But the in terms of the afterlife when the believers, their faces are white and disbelievers, their faces are black. And what they say is this is this is obviously the whiteness of nobility and ennoblement before God and the blackness of profanity and kind of debasement before God. And what if they even if they say it's physical, what they'll say it's a.
So why do you have
cool Anwar so odd, right? So it's blackness that differs from any kind of blackness in this world. It's like a, it's an other worldly color that is not related to phenotype. Like it's not like people, everybody who, you know, again, it's nothing to do with black and white in this world. And what's really interesting is when you go to, let's say, famous Arabic poet, Arab poets who are writing in the eight hundreds, like Anita Nebby,
who and at this time, right, when they're commentators are writing in the 910 Hundreds, by this time, you know, anti blackness has become common amongst Muslim scholars from Iraq to Iran. And that time, it's, it's there have been influenced by the same kind of anti blackness you see in the rest of the Mediterranean world, which we can discuss later if you want. But what's interesting is even those scholars who are culturally primed to see black people as lower and white people as higher when they when someone like a mutant ever uses saying like, this guy is black or this guy is white. They don't interpret it in their descriptions, those
They oh he means noble and ignoble, right. So that that that the strength of this notion that black and white as a distinction is really something that is first and foremost metaphoric
that, that that persists even after anti blackness has become rampant. That's interesting. I, when I read chapter four of your book is on the blackness, I didn't realize, I started from the first sentence, I didn't realize it was a quote, and that maybe that's deliberate to the shock value. The chapter is entitled The Western narrative of Islam, slavery, and anti blackness. And the chapter begins, I just read the first couple of verses are going to say a couple of sentences, the Muslim slave trade was 200 times greater than the American slave trade. Moreover, while it Westerners had fought to an end, slavery globally, Muslims continue to buy and sell human beings. White guilt, it
would seem it was uncalled for. And then you say, so tweeted the Canadian fire identitarian Stefan Molyneux in 2018, not long before he was banned from the platform, and absolutely right. So the question really is about the Barbary slave trade, in part, and it's also it has a theme that's come up at speakers corner, and certainly on social media as well. I'll just read a sentence from Wikipedia, which I looked at earlier about this. The Barbary slave trade, it says, involves slave markets on the Barbary Coast of North Africa, which included the Ottoman states of Algeria, Tunisia, and the Sultanate of Morocco. between the 16th and 19th centuries, European slaves were acquired by
Barbary pirates and slave raids on ships, and by raids on coastal towns from Italy, to the Netherlands and Ireland, and southwest Britain, as far and as far north as Iceland, I didn't know that and into the eastern Mediterranean. So this is like a huge, almost global slave trade. So in terms of Western narratives on Islam, slavery,
and anti blackness, I mean, this what is going on with the Burberry, the Barbary slave trade? And, and why is it? Why are you talking about it in your book on Islam and blackness? Yeah, well, I it's very important when we think about the way in which this notion of Islam as anti black, how this idea comes about, and how, why it continues so strongly. And when I say is that it's, it's concurrently traced back to Amina say, four,
or three or four kind of root causes. I'll list the root causes, and we'll count how many out of the city and so the first one is this idea, which is very present in Western Europe, from France, Spain,
England, and then also in the American colonies of the northern United States. What becomes the United States, right? This idea that Islam, and Muslims are, Islam is a slaver religion and Muslims are slavers. So this association now in this case, it's enslaving Europeans. So what happens is from roughly the 1500s until, really, the early 1700s is kind of the heyday of this of the Barbary slave trade. Is
pirates, Raiders operating out of you know, tent, you know, Algiers, especially Morocco, Tunis to an extent are capturing French, Italian, British and American ship ships and capturing the crews and passengers if their passengers and
keeping them in slavery, usually for purposes of ransoming them, right? So they want to ransom them back to their families for money, right?
So that's the Barbary slavery. And this is like a, you know, this is a real issue. One guy who is a famous guy who is, remember that's what Robinson Crusoe in his story. He talks about being
in fact, I think maybe even the author was captured at one point that you can look that up or the viewers can look this up. Robert Louis Stevenson the author
WHAT THE HELL Who the hell is the author of
cuz I'm gonna actually read the book.
Anyway, getting who's who wrote this book, anyway, so that but it's very early novel, so it's much earlier than rather than we've seen, but the
John Smith, the guy who's one of the founding figures in the Jamestown colony was also captured by pirates.
Now, these Muslim pirates is Raiders. It is a real cause of fear in the kind of public
song Rule Britannia. Any Britannia rule the waves Britain's now
Never ever will be slaves. What does it taught me? This is actually talking about the beat, being powerful at sea and then not being enslaved by by being captured by the pirates. And what but what Okay, so this is very important. And this persists in popular imagination. Until, I mean, until the present day, you know, you can I have a list in my appendix in my book of all the movies, including some movies in the 1990s and 2000s, that have totally extraneous scenes of white women or white especially white women being auctioned at these North African slave markets.
This is today it's like a vestigial, but and some of the earliest, the one of the earliest genres of films. Oh, where was the show, it's called the shaker genre, where white Europeans especially women, get captured and sort of room romance slash seduced by these shake figures. Right. So there's this very mixed up like there's a lot of you know, you could put kind of British and American culture on the couch for some analysis here because of the ones are terrified of being captured. On the other hand, there's, there's like, they're terrified of falling in love. In other thing, by the way you really is, there's a lot of obsession with the idea that
Muslims will sodomized you is a huge theme in this Barbary narrative is that you're gonna get sodomized by the the Muslim cap. It's a little too, there's a little too much focused on it, in my opinion. I'm not a psychologist, I'm not a psychologist,
post Freudian here is impossible not to do
this, I could just say it was Daniel Defoe. I just looked at
the 19. So you're much earlier than the person I mentioned yet. So what happens is, what's interesting though, is by the early 1700s, the strength of the Royal Navy and of other European navies has actually turned the table. So after that, it's actually more Europeans ship European pirates and raiders and ships who are capturing Muslim in the Mediterranean. And there's a very, you know, brisk trade in slaves of Muslims from Morocco and Algeria. And that area being captured at sea, and sold as slaves in cities like Naples, Genoa, up through the mid to late 1800s, or the 1860s 1870s 1880s really kind of healthy trade of slaves being Muslims captured on sea and brought
and sold as slaves, usually domestic slave for domestic slavery in places like Naples and Genoa. So, the but what I'm trying to say is that this becomes, it transforms from a reality into this kind of Phantasm it that is both, that remains kind of a potent part of the European mind, in mind, in American mind, until the present day, there are more games, there are novels, there are films, there everything what was interesting is not only do you have a genre of people writing really their own experiences kind of coming back and saying my time as a bar activity in the barberries on the Barbary Coast, but it also becomes something where you make when people write fake one. So you get
people writing, best selling stories of how I was captured, especially British, British or American women, I was captured by the, by these Moorish slavers. And they're horrible, like black African slaves, and that they're made up there. So this is like there's a hot market for this. So that's one important origin for this. The second is, so we say, well, what does that have to do with blackness? Okay, here's the second part.
When the after the abolitionist movement, which is based mainly in northern United States in Great Britain really has its big victories in the early 1800s. In the 1830s, and 1807. With the end of the British banning on the slave trading, most of you probably read all about in your other book, by the way, a very interesting read that Yep, in 1830s, with the prohibition of slavery in Britain, and many of its colonies, not one of these or not, okay, yeah. And then
this attention starts to turn amongst abolitionist to non Atlantic slave trade. So the Atlantic slave trade has been crippled and in are crippled significantly. Then they started talking about okay, they say there's two kinds of slavery there's a Christian slave, they say was incorrectly called the Christian slave trade has nothing to do with Christianity, but Europeans did this. We have now stopped. The other type is the Mohammed and slave trade. And so, for that kind
of Europeans and Americans thinking about slavery globally, after the 1830s, the only other show in town for them is what they call the Muhammad and slave trade. And so this is, of course, completely inaccurate. It's not inaccurate to say that Muslims were engaged in the slave trade in, let's say, transistor, trans Saharan, or across the Red Sea or in the Indian Ocean. Yes, of course, Muslims were involved in this. No one's denying that, right. But the idea that it's only Muslims doing this is totally incorrect.
Inside inch, there's an all these inter African kind of circuits of slave trade, whether it's from what's now like Northern kind of Nigeria, down to the southern coast to places like Ghana, or whether it's Christian, the Christian emperor Menelik, the second in Ethiopia in the late 1800s, who is expanding his state and capturing and enslaving other Ethiopians and non Ethiopian Africans. And so this is a Christian ruler who's doing this. But the point is that from this point on, from really the mid 1800s, onward, you get the idea that the Arab Muslim slaver, now their other target is the black African, that peaceful black African native, who's just, you know, this is not my idea, but
this is how it's portrayed. You know, they're out and, you know, dancing and doing various noble savage things. And then the evil Arab Muslims come in and enslave them. Remember, well, first of all, what are some of the most successful early films Tarzan movies in the 1920s? Why in Edward Rice Burroughs novels and in the movies, why is Tarzan there? Why is his family there that they can be washed up on the coast and he can grow up and be raised by whatever? The the tiger, the monkey, the gorilla, right? Why is it his family is part of an anti is part of it, the British effort to end the Arab slave trade. Right. So now you have a new team, a new story, which is the white
British and Americans who have come in to help save the Africans or black Africans from the evil Arabs, evil Arab slave traders.
Okay, then you add, here's the third root cause.
Where both of these ideas are now kind of bubbling in the western cultural imagination, that kind of vocabulary of Western European and American culture, Arab slavers, Arabs as slaves and so even black people. If you're, if you're a conservative, who's trying to claim the kind of moral high ground of Western civilization or its sort of role and the vanguard of human moral perfection or moral advancement, this is a great way to kind of shift the blame. So you can say, Yes, we were engaged in the slave trade. But we repented. We tried, we tried to end slavery, the Muslims never did the Arab Muslims are they they never repented, they're still doing it.
This is what the Steven Molyneux was doing. And he, by the way, he's just one person. If you just Douglas Murray says the same. He said the same thing on Bill Maher show after the press, he came on the show and said this, you can find it if you just go look at kind of these more conservative or sort of West is best West supremacist figures in the public and public life, they will regularly bring up the idea that the Muslims, the Muslims, slave trade was equivalent to the Atlantic slave trade. And unlike Europeans, who realize it was wrong, Muslims have never realized it's wrong, right? You so these, you see this over and over again.
In fact, and I go into this in some detail in my book, it's not.
It may be true, it's very hard to calculate. But it may be true that from around 700 ad until 1900 ad that slightly more people were removed from Africa,
then by Muslims,
then we're removed from Africa by Western Europeans. But one has to remember that the Western European slave trade is basically you know, three centuries, roughly three,
you know, essentially three and a half centuries, whereas, so you're talking about three and a half centuries worth of enslavement compared to 12 centuries, 1200 years or 1300 years. So the intensity and the violence of the European slave trade is I think, is not comparable, and it's far more severe than the very these various kinds of Muslim Islamic slave trades. And of course, then there's all sorts of problems about calling anything like Muslim slave trade Islamic soldier, what does that mean? I mean
what is it
mean if somebody is, you know, somebody one day becomes Muslim and there's still slave traders that now Islamic slave trade. Some people engage in the slave trade, our local African potentates. I mean, this is very common, you didn't go, it wasn't like these raiders went in and just started grabbing people, they would go and buy them from people who had already captured them or who are selling their own
members of their own communities. So I'm not I'm not trying to say that, you know, Muslims have no blame or Arabs have no blame. And, by the way, then Arabs, slave Raiders from the Gulf, for example, go to Zanzibar in the 1800s. And they would just start raiding the Zanzibar Island and taking Muslims, they would start taking the local Muslims as slaves. And this is something that the Salton is and local communities extremely angry about writing protest letters like you can't these people come from like what's now UAE area kind of Persian Gulf, very calm down and read and taking people who are who are Arab speaking Muslims as slaves. So it's a very complicated anyway. So the point I
want to make is that you have this idea of the Arab as slaver and Arab as enslaving blacks and the Arab as the kind of unrepentant uncured. A slaver is very useful for conservative Western conservatives who want to push for like a West is Best
Western superiority to others narrative. Now, who then picks us up the fourth very important kind of source for this not temporal source, but in terms of who's driving it, like who's really revving this engine and keeping it going? Is
Israeli public diplomacy? It says, I mean, I, someone might say, Oh, here he goes, elders, protocols of elders, as I put his on, you know, you mentioned this
Israeli Zionist and others. Yeah, this is well documented. This is why I didn't go and document this. This is well documented, right? That the role of Israeli public diplomacy, either by American Zionist, or by Israelis, in one Islamophobia, the propagation of what Nathan Lane called the Islamophobia industry, to the narrative of anti Muslim, anti black.
A lot of films that have these plots are produced by Israeli producers. They are produced in Israel with Israeli actors, right?
The why so why would someone why was it why is this question is why so what what?
Israel was one of the earliest supporters of the South Sudanese liberation movement in the 1960s. It's, it allows you to break the solidarity, that kind of first of all, Cold War, third world non aligned movement colonized world movement of solidarity between colonized peoples, so black Africans, and Arabs, navy, North Africa and Sub Saharan Africa, right? You break the solidarity between them by promoting the idea that the Arab north and Muslim North is a predatory slaving force on the on the real Africa, right, quote, unquote, the real Africa.
Then another thing is they'll highlight anti blackness in, in Middle Eastern Arab society. So they'll say, and you can see, you can see this, you know, it'll come out every couple of months, you don't have to go back and look in history, just wait around and watch for discourse online. When you have someone like alumnus as a moment
I forget his name.
I'm forgetting his name. But every time there's, like kind of effort, were by some kind of black American thinkers or writers to talk about solidarity with Palestinians, between like black, you know, Black Lives Matter and lives, though, you'll see in like Jerusalem Post or something will pop up an article saying, Oh, how do you have solidarity with Arabs, when they think they call black people slaves? And you know, Saudi Arabia and Palestine? These are all, you know, places where they treat black people terribly. So there's a though, Europeans, we see this idea of Arab society and Arab culture as anti black brought up in Israeli media in pro Israel media in the West to fragment
or fracture the possibility of kind of black, Muslim or black air or black Palestinian solidarity, especially isn't it to manipulate public opinion with a view to protecting the summer called the apartheid policies of the State of Israel by as you say fracturing
as referred to it as this? Yeah.
divide and divide
didn't rule basically by bringing this. So this is like the other examples of going off subject but where public opinion is manipulated to reach certain conclusions on events that happen in our world. So we don't live in a, you know, we're gonna be wary of fake news and how we're being manipulated.
Okay, well, but just draw to perhaps draw to a close. But I was struck by a sentence very early on, I was struck for several reasons. In your book in your preface.
you said one comment on social media, whoever is stuck, stuck stuck with me. A black Muslim asked me with a sincerity of a Muslim brother. Do you know what it feels like to be considered subhuman? And you replied, I do not. Once in the outskirts of Dhaka, as I sat with a family that raised me there, a toddler came into the yard saw me and started bawling in fear. That is the one time in my life that I've ever felt singled out by my race. And it was more entertaining than anything else. You said, throughout my life, I have been treated like royalty at home and abroad. And I thought, that's very revealing. And I can actually in a smaller way related to that. When I went to California at
San Francisco airport just a week or so ago, long queue of people and,
you know, I was anticipating being interrogated or asked questions, and I knew what questions they'd asked, because I heard everyone else been asked them ahead of me. So what's your length of your stay? And what's the purpose of your visit? And I saw people in front of me, people of different ethnicities, you know, one one woman was taken away, I don't mean him, screaming, I mean, she was a guy, the immigration,
please. And this person came away and took this woman away for I don't know, questioning, I have no idea why. And then came my turn. So I was all prepared for questioning. And the whole interview lasted about four seconds. It was like, purpose of visit, I was saying, seeing friends hanging over here for five days, off you go. And it was like, whoosh, straight through. And I thought, hang on. That's it, you know? And why? Why? You see because I've been told all these stories by Muslim friends or my Muslim brothers who most of them are not white about the experiences they had had at us. Immigration, I'm not, there's not a point about US immigration, particularly but same in Britain
as well. And elsewhere. And I didn't have that problem. And I have never had that problem. Maybe I will now.
But the your experience had been treated like Roger, this sense of effortlessness of just passing through things of being accorded a welcome. And it almost becomes norm, the normal behavior. And it's not the experience of many of our brothers and sisters who share the same views, the same face, sometimes the same marriages and so on. And this whole notion of white privilege, or whatever that may mean, but nevertheless, comes comes home with renewed force. I thought in that comment in your book, and in my recent experience in the United States, I'm not complaining, by the way, I'm glad I got through your country's immigration very easily. But I was aware how different it could have been
for some people I know.
Yeah, I mean, I the sort of the question is,
if you were to or if I were to be wearing like a show, or kameez and have like a big beard and a, you know, like a little pucks tiny hat on or something, I think we would get treated very differently. And that's not to say that there's that that's not to kind of try to problematize the notion of white supremacy, I think, or white privilege, I think these are, you know, very well established facts. But I think what it means is that this idea of the racial, the racial Muslim, right, that being racialized as Muslim, is not necessarily about your actual ethnicity or your skin color, but that there are other signs you send of your Muslim pneus Yeah, those will also racialized
you as a Muslim, in the eyes of the other. And I think this is important, because sometimes people will kind of be like, you know, there's no great Muslim is not a race. This is nonsense. How can you say this, and it's hard to understand where they're coming from, because they're, like, look, other races about your kind of your ancestry and how you look and things like this, and what seems like like everything, and they have all sorts of ancestries. But the fact of the matter is, in the eyes of the general non Muslim public, there are certain signals that mean Muslim, and that if you give those signals, then you will be racialized as a Muslim. And you can't get out of that, right.
There's nothing you can do. You can't say, you know, to the guy at the border, I moderate I have
No problematic views. I'm wonderful. I love baseball. I'm a Sufi Sheikh, and I matter right you're you've become racialized as a Muslim I that's when the cons of racialization means is this notion of people reading into something, people more powerful than you reading into something about you that they make, indelible and unalterable.
Anyway, it was a wake up call, perhaps we can conclude that and this is the book, we're talking about Islam and blacklist with this incredible cover by your good self. It's quite substantial as some very positive reviews indeed, from very distinguished scholars and experts in the field on the back cover. I do recommend it it's not been out long and it literally it will come out in paperback in due course, I assume. Yeah, I think so. Usually, I usually try and stuff some extra things into the paperback. I like when because they'll they'll send me the essay kind of before you do this guy stuff. I try to stuff more stuff into the footnotes. You know, the paperback versions of my book
actually have stuff to hardbacks. Don't have they have more stuff, more
data stuff in there. Yeah, gosh, I'm gonna plug my local books that one of my favorite by using misquoting Mohammed the challenging choices of interpreting prophets legacy in the contemporary world is an outstanding introduction to the whole subject of Islam and how we interpret the the Islamic tradition today. You tackle a lot of really thorny issues about 434 We're not going to go then Kron 434 And you know, lying about the prophets. And when scripture can't be true, these IPH Daijiro some people saying no to the Scripture, because they don't agree with it and hermeneutics interpretation. So its history and narrative as well as taking on board complex theoretical
questions about how in the modern world we understand and take on board the scriptures of Islam. So that's my feed, particularly for non Muslims and Muslims as well. We I certainly learned a huge amount from it. So do you have any concluding words, Jonathan, before we wrap up, thanks for having me on. That's all my concluding word. And I'm happy that you sort of let me ramble ramble on and know your rambling is always educator and interesting. So once again, thank you very much Dr. Jonathan Brown for your time. I'll put a link to the two books I've mentioned primary ones and misquoting Muhammad and Islam or Black was in the description below. And if you haven't got them,
get them both. They're both worth your time and, and share them with friends as well. So so I'm gonna come until next time, thank you. Thank you.