The Arab Muslim slave trade is alive and well in Sudan where black Muslims are slaughtered and brutalized by Arab Muslims.
UK GUARDIAN Many converts feel uncomfortable with the term “black Muslim”, as they regard themselves as part of a worldwide community of believers who do not recognise “race”. However, others are less reticent about associating their blackness with being a Muslim, and believe that Islam is the “natural religion of black people” and provides the means for full “spiritual, mental and physical liberation” from an oppressive system designed to subjugate them.
My research reveals that there is no one, straightforward reason for conversions, but a plethora of theological, emotional and cultural motivations. Practically all those interviewed suggested that Islam had given their lives meaning and woken them from a spiritual malaise.
Others said that their faith provided inspiration and strength to engage with a society they regarded as corrupted by materialism and moral relativism. And for those whose lives had previously been errant, Islam’s decisiveness on a range of religious and socio-cultural matters had given them a focus and an anchor. Equally, many of the women interviewed suggested that the Islamic focus on modesty had liberated them from the rampant fashion-related consumerism that objectifies all women, and sexualises pre-pubescent girls.
Arab Muslims are killing Sudanese Muslims because they consider them to be ‘too black.’
What I also found of real interest was the fact that the vast majority of those interviewed had some previous connection to Christianity, either as former church attendees or through having relatives with firm ecclesiastical connections. This differs from white converts who tend to have no previous religious experience.
I also found that the aforementioned Malcolm X had influenced many black folks, particularly men, to consider Islam. In many respects brother Malcolm’s life reads like a blueprint for the majority of those with whom I spoke. He was bright child who was brought up as a Christian, but was failed by an institutionally racist society. As a result he became a delinquent who subsequently fell foul of the law. While incarcerated he embraced Islam (in the form of the Nation of Islam) and this turned his life around , resulting in him becoming one of the most eloquent, courageous and uncompromising spokespeople for black civil and human rights.
“They cut off the ears, they pluck out the eyes, they burn people alive.”
Black Muslims in this country, just like in the US, have also gained a reputation for “cleaning up” the lives of those involved in crime, drugs and gang violence, and many of those I spoke with were recipients of this remedial work. As a result, these beneficiaries were never bashful about sharing their beliefs with those of others faiths or none, and it would be true to say that black converts are often in the vanguard of efforts to proselytise. Having said that, my book includes contributions from Black Muslim doctors, academics, students, artists, sportsmen and musicians. The latter are important because Muslims are increasingly using the musical genre of hip-hop to promote Islamic teachings, and it is worth noting that many of the leading hip-hop artists are Muslims.
Black Muslims are mindful that both 9/11 and 7/7 have placed their faith under a microscope with converts singled out for particular scrutiny. However, all those interviewed showed a commitment to walking “the straight path” and believed that sections of the media made too much of the so-called impressionability and/or susceptibility of converts to the wiles of “preachers of hate.”
The media never mention that it is systematic Islamic ethnic cleansing of African Muslims by Arab Muslims that is behind the genocide in Darfur.
Finally, I would say that Islam is providing a spiritual alternative among those who would generally have looked to Christianity for answers to life’s great questions. My book is an attempt to find out more about a phenomenon that is enriching Britain’s religious landscape, and should hopefully be a catalyst for greater discussion and study.
Islamic history is the world’s primary driving force behind black African slavery. The Islamic black slave trade engendered brutality, sexual concubinage, and elicited an extremely high death toll during the slave transports. The Islamic slave trade comprehensively dwarfs any other slave trade in recorded human history.
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