New Religious Jim Crow In America
By Nadra Enzi
If you’re Black and Muslim in this country, you’ve been looking over your shoulder at least since September 11th. Historically that’s always been the case. Racists have always considered Muslims the worst threat to business as usual. That’s why recurrent domestic incarnations of the Crusades rear their pointy heads.
The ” Religious ” Right has made it no secret that they hate Islam, not the terrorist branch, but any version of this way of life. Period.
This sad spectacle is made even more so when Black folks join the fervor.
Islam’s history in Black America is overwhelmingly one of liberation within a hostile society. We have set the standard for opposing discrimination and promoting dramatic self-development. The same racists who claim to be caretakers of the nation’s Judeo-Christian ( and Islamic ) heritage also treat their Black Christian brethren like second class citizens.
The same applies to racists within Islam. Black Muslims have also been very vocal about prejudice among Arabs. As a group, we bow to God and none other. That stance doesn’t make it easy for those intent upon abusing you. While a friend calls me an unorthodox Muslim I am proud to be part of a way of life that can regularly offer the world epic figures like Noble Drew Ali; the Honorable Elijah Muhammad; Malcolm X; Muhammad Ali and others.
Black folks should realize that our difficulties aren’t religious in nature. Being a majority Christian minority inside a majority Christian country still hasn’t stemmed the tide of injustice. Reformers have arisen to bridge gaps and in recent years some mainstream denominations have apologized for their avid support of slavery and Jim Crow.
Conservative Black Christians should view the ” Religious ” Right agenda very cautiously. If American Muslims are defeated iby this latter day Crusade, the ” Religious ” Right sights once more return to their alleged brothers in Christ who happen to be another color. While not as obvious as Klansmen burning crosses, the ” Religious ” Right influencing the Republican Party possesses the same bigotry toward Black Christians; Jews and others who don’t make their narrow grade. They know they need Black faces to legitimize their latest appeal to bias so the recruitment drive is on!
Faith; family and community are universal values Black Christians and Muslims share. We face the same broad culture; experience the same social changes and enjoy progress equally. In that light signing onto the ” Religious ” Right’s anti-Islamic agenda is as wrong as our Muslims joining Al Qeda factions. While the Black community isn’t a monolith it does agree on common concerns.
That’s why listening to these dubious outsiders doesn’t benefit us. While concerned Muslims and Christian alike work to stem the tide of inner city violence and hopelessness the “Religious ” Right sits in judgment uptown. Their interest rests in an insular vision of their faith that folks like us would do well to avoid.
For the record, as a safety rights activist I oppose domestic crime everyday. As a self-described MUST ” Muslim United Against Terror ” that should tell you my stance on terrorism, whether the perpetrator is a misguided Muslim; crazed Christian or whatever!
Obviously, there are good conservative Christians in all communities. As a Black man and God conscious person I can’t say this applies to the current” Religious ” Right.
To these jaundiced eyes, they represent little more than a new form of religious Jim Crow.
Boys, your sheets are showing.
NADRA ENZI AKA CAPT. BLACK promotes crime prevention and self-development. http://www.captblack.info