It is no secret that Muslims have faced a rising wave of hatred in recent times. Islamophobia has become mainstream, as US President Donald Trump has implemented his “Muslim ban” and right-wing candidates have won popularity across Europe.
Well-known, too, is the racism facing the black community in America and other Western nations; the #BlackLivesMatter movement has done much to bring race issues to the fore.
At the intersection of these two forms of prejudice and discrimination are a largely ignored group: those who are both black and Muslim.
For three years, one hashtag has been giving a voice to this marginalized and forgotten identity. “Being black and Muslim” was launched on Twitter in February 2014 by the US-based Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, which characterizes itself as a faith-based educational organization promoting racial justice.
This year the trend has been bigger than ever, and it is not hard to know why. The new American President has already managed to stir up racially and religiously motivated hatred like no other before him. Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration last month suspended visas to two Muslim-majority black African nations: Somalia and Sudan.
Let’s take a look at some of the best tweets about #BeingBlackAndMuslim:
Most don't know that Sumayyah (r.a) the first Muslim martyr was from Ethiopia... why? because it is barely mentioned. #BeingBlackAndMuslim— عائشة (@aishathepoet) February 14, 2017
#BeingBlackAndMuslim is knowing that the prophet was brought up by a black woman. He called her his 'second mother'— Silent Observer (@abs2ray) February 15, 2017
One particular issue the trend has shed light on is so-called “Arab supremacy”. While the majority of Muslims are non-Arabs, the Middle East still dominates the conversation about Islam.
#BeingBlackandMuslim means dealing with islamophobia, Arab supremacy & anti-blackness within and outside of the Muslim community.— Maymuuna Yusuf (@Mayameenah) February 15, 2017
#BeingBlackAndMuslim knowing there are more Muslims in Ethiopia than Iraq, and in Nigeria than Egypt yet their struggles are ignored— A (@AmalAkilYare) February 14, 2017
Black Muslims are fed up of Africa being erased from any discussion about their faith.
#BeingBlackAndMuslim no one talks about the Islamic Empire of Mali because they want you to believe that Africa had no significance in Islam— AZ (@atribecalledmoe) February 14, 2017
when 3 out of the 7 counties on the Muslim ban are African, but the voices & stories amplified are Arab/Desi still. #BeingBlackAndMuslim— vimto mami Ⓥ (@lunarnomad) February 14, 2017
In fact, many have suggested that racism is as bad within the Muslim community as outside of it.
#BeingBlackAndMuslim means dealing with racism within the community while they preach "One Ummah" and never address the racsim that goes on— (@sadiaxmohamed) February 15, 2017
#BeingBlackAndMuslim means watching non-Black Muslims debate whether to support the BLM movement but supporting Palestine is a given.— fadumo (@faaaadumo) February 14, 2017
It is not just in the West that black Muslims face racist attitudes. Many Arab countries have high levels of intolerance with regard to people of different ethnic origins, including black African migrants. In fact, the Middle East has its very own history of selling Africans into slavery.
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