African American Muslim Leaders Come Together On Park 51 Project
By Masood Rab, MMNS
This is the beauty of Islamic belief system; when there is an aggression on the Muslim ideals and Islamic operations on one segment of the Muslim Community the Divine Plan opens other avenues for countering the aggression!
In a very bold move the Black American Muslim leadership in America came together to join hands and support the Park 51 Project (Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan), infamously dubbed a Ground Zero Mosque. It was a rare show of solidarity of indigenous Muslims with the immigrant Muslims in America! Black American Muslim leaders appeared as a united force by holding a press conference on September 2, 2010, in National Press Club, Washington, DC, to decry anti-Islam climate in U.S. and to on the call on the country to reject historic hatreds and bigotry. Professor Sherman Jackson was very instrumental in having the press conference arranged at very short notice, though he couldnâ€™t make it.
The Coalition of African American Muslims, a group formed within the last month, sees offering solutions to these problems and giving a voice to the growing number of Blacks in America who are followers of Islam as part of its mission. The coalition said it was willing to work across racial, ethnic, religious and other divisions to combat rising hatred in America and help steer the country onto a proper course.
The members of the Coalition of African American Muslims at the press conference included Minister Louis Farrakhan, Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam Siraj Wahaj, Imam Mahdi Bray, Asma Hanif, Nisa Islam Muhammad, Imam Abdul Malik, Abdul Jalil Muhammad, and Akbar Muhammad. In their turn at the podium, each urged a rejection of anti-Islam hatred and religious intolerance, while connecting the disdain for their faith to Americaâ€™s old history of hate and bigotry. But, they said, out of the negative attacks on a beautiful way of life comes an opportunity to teach and spread the truthâ€”despite severe opposition.
Coupled with Americaâ€™s legacy of racism, slavery and Jim Crow laws, Blacks have undergone an experience that has prepared them for leadership roles in a society still suffering from bigotry, racism and inequality present at the birth of the nation, said the Muslim leaders.
â€œThis world is not ignorant to the beauty of Islam,â€ said Minister Farrakhan. â€œThe fear is that Islam will change the religion of the slave that they took it from and make him a bright light of a brand new civilization,â€ he said. Minister Farrakhan pointed out that in close proximity to where the Islamic center is to be built, there are sex shops, peep shows, strip clubs and other immoral activities not being protested by those who say the Islamic center will violate hallowed ground and disrespect the memories of who died in Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Minister Farrakhan said the world is looking to America for leadership, and watching to see how America handles this particular religious issue. A nationâ€™s highways, bridges and roads do not determine its greatness; a nationâ€™s greatness is determined by its righteousness, he observed. If Black people rise above emotion into Godâ€™s thinking, they will see persecution was preparation for a future mission and duty to humanity after trial in the furnace of affliction, the Minister said.
Nisa Islam Muhammad, who has spearheaded outreach and education efforts regarding the religion of Islam and was one of the lead coordinators of the press conference, said its time has come. â€œItâ€™s a great day to be a Muslim,â€ said Nisa Muhammad.