Channel: Siraj Wahhaj
Imam Siraj Wahhaj and Rev. Michail Curro on Institutional Racism given at the IONA Convention
November 25-27, 2016
Before I begin, I want to say something.
Please my love so much noise from Sudan.
And I learned something about my bonus.
Baby, no one
ever put sugar in the office.
They put coffee in the ship.
My brothers and sisters, I want to do two things.
First of all is obvious.
You must be
the best of you, those of you in the ground, teach
me the grind every day and read
the words of our beloved Prophet Muhammad peace against us. And we will have a better understanding
or an extravagance
deals with issues of today.
The second thing I want to recommend,
you must know the laws of the land which you
especially the Constitution of the United States.
What is the difference between the poor and the Constitution?
What is the difference
between the war end? And the constitution? What is the difference?
What is when a constitution, our founding fathers never claimed it to be divine
proof of it, they have in the constitutional position to make changes.
So since the time of the beginning of the Constitution, so now they've been 27 amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America.
We never claimed that the union was perfect.
We the people in the United States in order to make a more perfect union.
So we can all perfect. And the greatness of our Constitution is that I can always change as
my mother gave me some advice. She said some
people are people.
The very nature of human beings
is that sometimes we're good sometimes we bad.
Peace and blessings be upon said
in an hour, or shall
I am only a human being.
We're not divine. We're not ancient human beings.
Now, I told my friends jokingly
that if Donald Trump becomes the President of the United States of America, I'm getting my passport.
I was joking. I don't know that. Everybody's saying the same thing.
And let me give you I can give you at least 1000 reasons. Let me give you one.
In July, Donald Trump was asked
Have you ever asked for forgiveness,
hesitated a long time and said that's a difficult question.
He said I hope that I will never do anything that I would have to ask God's forgiveness.
all along India's thoughtful lacunae in the old taco in the center in the origin. He said I asked allows forgiveness every day, all the 70 times a day with the remains. And he said that if I become president, I'm going to do this. I'm gonna change everything that Obama has said.
People are people when it comes to my topic today.
I feel very generous today I want to give away some money.
Anyone who has been wanting to use money
I'm prepared right now to the $1,000.
out of pocket.
Anyone can answer this question.
isn't the same as institutionalized racism.
I will argue that the first racist machine on the Delta
law says matter collide lssu. That is
an even narrower black community. Why didn't you found out when I bought you? He said,
Adam, You created me a file and him you created a mud clay. Why? Because of your,
your spirituality, and it's no better because of my creation. So he's the first races
you have a racist is bad. I give you one example. Have you ever heard of Maggie Evans,
make it up as was a civil rights worker.
He was a young man in high school used to have to walk to school
today. And he said that when you walk with the children and the barbed wire, children in the buses used to throw things at them walk into school trying to get an education. And they did it because of their racism. That is a major problem.
Racism, thinking is not valid and someone else based upon your color. That's a problem. But that isn't the real problem. The real problem is institutionalized. Racism
isn't a very institution. It's an appeal within the educational system, housing, everything in law, everything in raises its ugly head, I want to give you one example.
When you know that this is the 50 year anniversary of the famous civil rights bill of rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 50 years ago.
institutionalized racism, racism, black people in order to vote
in many places of the South had to take a literacy literacy test.
So I want one person who would like to get $1,000 come up, and you want to I want you to answer one of the questions that were asked to black people in the 60s. And if you get it right, allow you to give your $1,000 anyone wanting
to know you know?
You're gonna get $1,000
give you some money, I
answer this question and you have $1,000 plus one extra Do you want cash or check?
How many bottles
in a box sold?
00. Very good. Bye bye.
You don't need 1000 bucks.
Isn't it like an intelligent man?
You can ask him some questions.
And this one is easy.
Have you ever heard of the Constitution of the United States of America?
Yes, I have excellent.
Now decided by heart
in 1963 are based on Dallas
The population of Dallas was 57% African Americans.
15,000 black men and women who was eligible to vote, only 130 actually was registered to vote because of all the insemination, etc.
My advice to us
we must use the law noble law of the land and use it to our advantage
like Martin Luther King, Jr. Did right now on the exam. Two things I want to say when I'm finished, I heard the robots are masters of reference.
The turning point of the civil rights movement I was there
happen, in my opinion,
March 7 1965.
It's not often that I recommend recommend you to watch a movie. I'm gonna recommend two movies today. For you to go see. The first one is called sound. I'm sorry.
If you didn't see it, you need to watch. Very accurate media the point here and it's 100% accurate, but very, very high.
The famous marks on Selma, Alabama. So we have to Montgomery
in March 7 600.
South to march on Selma to Montgomery.
The release that was on a Sunday, and
is called gun Sunday.
And what they didn't know is that while the police were beating these on protests,
Jeff Kennedy said,
those who make peaceful revolution impossible, only violent revolution in heaven.
And the beautiful thing about our religion, our own nation, we have the right to process. What happened is that night, at nine o'clock, there was a movie being shown, called the judgment at noon brewery.
Only 8 million Americans are watching and the interim in that program to show the protests and that taken place, and all those people that were brutalized by the police, and the nation saw it and they were outraged. And everybody began to talk about it and say that this can't be done. Two days later, March 9, was another launch.
not only were black people there, but white people, their burdens and rabbis, Jewish rabbis were there. And it had grown from 600 people to 2500 people. And they got together. And they began the march from Selma to Montgomery, or what happened is a revenue of the King Jr. and the organizers in turn it around the score turn around Tuesday, in the reason that they turned around is because they didn't have they didn't have the legal right to proceed. Right. Seven, the night
after the judge, the federal judge gave down lifted the injunction gave them a right to march.
They watch this time when I got someone building out. It was 25,000 people.
And in that year, President Johnson signed the famous civil rights of voting rights act of 1965. He changed everything. This is my advice. I give you one example. What about Muslims?
Look what we face.
Islamophobia. Look at that what they do to us unsane learn from African Americans.
Whatever we do, must, must, must be not
the only way that we will succeed in this country is that must be
close. I know there's a couple of lawyers here. So some of them
I need someone here.
Just tell me you'll get word for word but just telling me
make us understand the First Amendment and anyone with that.
Someone tell me about the first event.
The first amendment was actually handed by for you, as people got that on that they wouldn't be able to
know what it did, because they want a bill of rights. And
they really needed
to screw them over zone one. Number one all
you have the freedom of religion, you can practice your faith. You don't have to hide.
You have the right to practice your faith, don't want no to
freedom of speech. You can talk about your religion. No one can stop you from practicing and talking about your faith. Number three, freedom of assembly feel
as if you hold that one
In the press,
you have the right to publicize whenever you want
to write a book about Islam. Right, right. And newspapers. You have that right. You are Muslim, you are American, and you have that right. Don't you ever give it up?
about 60 million refugees. What he didn't say is that 70% of the refugees of war.
You have here, right to someone
and the last one he wants.
All right. Okay, that's it.
So you're allowed to go home,
you're out of position. You want to
do wonderful things.
We have the right to petition our government for redress of grievances.
I'll give you one case you have to know the Constitution. You have to know the land, the land, the law of the land, to give one example.
In a place called Bridgewater, New Jersey, not far from
that area, they have 17 churches,
so in boot cells, and a symptom or not one message.
So the Muslims in that area decided that they wanted to build a machine.
And there was a property on 10 acres of land and they wanted to use for MSG.
So in that area, you could build religious houses of worship.
And they went to the city council supply. The city council changed.
People said, we know Muslims.
Sounds like we don't want black people here is the same thing. And the city council came in and changes.
They petitioned the government
and guess what?
So they said okay, we don't want you to have this land. The Muslim said okay, so they gave them a better land 15 acres.
And then they want some money.
You know, I was wondering, do you want 7,750,000
right to petition the governor.
Those African Americans they paid the price. We should learn from them.
By the way, I was discriminated against because I was glad
I was terminated because almost, I have another one. That's how I did.
I'd like to pick up where he left off.
the Voting Rights Act
is under attack.
There is a
malicious attempts by the rights in our country to pull back the Voting Rights Act to pull back all the gains of the civil rights movement. So it's incumbent upon us not only to know that history of erratic guys that with social justice with any progress, every step forward is accompanied by a step backwards. And so it's going to be us in going forward from this convention, to making sure that the Voting Rights Act doesn't get fully stripped in Michigan across the country.
I'd like to start myself talking a little bit more about my own personal story, because I want you to know how I came to have this be such a passion for myself the kind of work that I do, in trying to battle racism, and then trying to work with the Muslim community against Islamophobia.
I was born in the city of Detroit. I had two uncles who were both Detroit city vironment. I fortunately, my father passed away when I was just two years old. I'm the youngest of five. And in Detroit, what happened in the city of Detroit in 1967? Anybody know what happened in the city of Detroit?
Right. Okay. So the I was born in 1966. So as I'm growing up, with two firemen, uncles, we would spend time around the holiday we're about to celebrate Thanksgiving. And there would be family discussions. And they would look at my mother with our widow with five children could say, Gail, that's my mother's name, Kaylee need to get those kids out of the city of Detroit.
No explanation other than the fear of someone looking different.
On my life, there was a house being built next to us. I moved out of Detroit when I was six years old. So that the house that was going up next to us
was being built and it was a fine house. It was a beautiful house. But the suspicion was
a black families going to be moving into that house.
So the trumpet starting to get blown a little hard to get out. They were forced, basically by fear to move out. And my grandmother, my mother's mother had a wonderful home in the country, a various date, but tragically racist community. And as I grew up there, we had to deal with the situation of a friend of mine and seventh grade, he moves up to the area from Indiana, his father's a minister, and he's got two adopted children. And one of the adopted children is a young man about seven years old. Yes, to be black. The sister was six, she happened to me
in a community that did not love and accept people of color.
When we went to the Detroit zoo, as our field trip is on his little deal, you get in a bus, you got a field trip. The city of the trains zoo is an industry that trades in Royal Oak. But as you're there, there was a boss of African American children, and all my classmates, were looking at the children for that other boss and was talking down to them simply because of their color.
So one episode after the other is part of my kind of offering of why this is incredibly wrong. It's so for me to see the same kind of stuff happen to Muslims. And anybody that's different in any way, is unbelievable affront to my values in my conscience, because you need to recognize that race is a construct
It's a social construct to keep control over a person. You didn't mention. What How are slaves cowering in
three fifths? African Americans were counted as three fifths of the human being in the beginning, three fifths all the way through history African Americans, and then the humanized see when you treat somebody is if they're different than you because of whatever color anything that you choose. Part of what you do when you treat someone different is you all of a sudden make them offer. And if you're in power, and they have less power than you're dehumanizing, they're making them someone less than human you're making them three fifths of the human being
as possible, right?
How does our media portrays Muslims today?
What about Hollywood? What does it do their
villains, right villains, heroes, everything else right. It's
dehumanizing people to keep them hungry. Now that we have all this takes place
to make us the new Boogeyman.
Right? You know what I mean by Burning Man, what's the boogeyman?
Anyway, What's up buddy man?
Jeremy, the Boogey Man is what you scare what you're afraid of what's underneath your bed. When you're a kid, when you turn off the lights, then you're afraid of the dark. You're afraid of the boogeyman because you don't know who that is. That's what our country is continuing to do with Muslims. You are in our narrative, the new Boogeyman, we came out of a world construct where the Cold War, which basically legitimize how we did everything that we did in the world in terms of foreign policy, we could shift our alliances because we're against the evil empire, which was the Soviet Union. That's how we did all of our decisions to keep the engine of our army going. We've
done we've replaced communism, with Islamophobia, post 911. Everything that happens in the world tends to pin look what happens. What do we have coming up as a national election in 2016?
Pay attention to what happens as we get closer to that election. Do you think the What do they call that Homeland Security with the colors? The colors will go up? Right? Because what happened with post 911 we as a people, all of us started giving up our rights. Right? Muslims lost all their rights that they had, because he didn't really have rights. But in terms of what was going on, in what time alone and other places like that you could be held without any cause just some suspicion. Now we have terrorist lists. Right? What happened, Dearborn was on the terrorist list, wasn't it something like that?
That's what our country is done. When you humanize another person, you make them less. That's what the institutional reasons of a game examples about what this voting are all about is that all of a sudden, the fear of other of that other person justifies that they're somehow less than human. And that allows the ethos, the values, the programs, the policies, everything that happens around the way the world works, is constructed by those images, and it affects everything. So if I bring this right to the President, in the comal County, yes. Have you had it? Who knows where McComb county is in the room? Is it No Okay, so if you drive north east from where we're at at Cobo Hall, and you
cross Eight Mile you're in Polk County, there is 875,000 residents in the column so it's bigger than I think eight or nine states in the country. How many languages do you think are spoken and recalled counted in the schools?
Got anybody 38 A
keep going up. 1030 Econ,
101 100 languages are spoken in our school district right now. That means there is a lot of people that don't look like me, right.
So I'm asked to be on a panel for the school district for the McComb county school, the Intermediate School District, it deals with all of the Special Education Programs for the county. But it also is a resource for every school district in the county was 21. School is. So all their curriculum, all of what they do kind of filters through the the ISP is what they call.
So they put together an advisory committee to do a strategic plan. There's 100 languages spoken. There's in Sterling Heights alone, one out of four people there is born from a different home and foreign born one out of four.
And I looked around the room at this Advisory Committee. Guess what I saw anybody have an idea?
very white. There was one African American sister there was
she was snapped.
And there was one kalbi and sister that was
out of the entire room of people. And they're doing a strategic plan. That's institutional racism. How can you address the gap that's in there? That's basically because of racism between black and white and testing, and everything else. If you don't have anybody at the table, who's setting the plan for how you're going to go about learning education for the next 10 years. That's what it's all about.
It so to act out what the mom said, you have to know your history. You have to know the plight of African Americans is tied with your client is Muslim.
But it's bigger than that. It's not just blacks and Muslims. Dr. King said in an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.
Which means when that sick temple is vandalized, you need to show up.
When those kids are mistreated, because they're Hispanic, you need to show up when some bozo and Donald Trump gets on the television and says you're an illegal alien. No human beings illegal, you're a human being. Right? We have binds together as one and the only way we can do that is if someone's problem becomes our problem. And then it's incumbent upon us to reach out to partners like myself and others in hopes that together we can find voice to petition the government for everyone's