Black Muslim Hip Hop Artists Take on “Agent Orange” at the Grammys

by Fatima Ahmed

In today’s politically charged climate, the Grammys found themselves becoming a platform for numerous stars to voice their political stances. From Paris Jackson and Laverne Cox shouting out important social movements like #NoDAPL and #IStandWithGavin to Adele admitting that Beyonce deserved the award for delivering the black anthem of the year, the Grammys quickly became controversial. However, one performance which did not get as much attention was A Tribe Called Quest, Anderson.Paak, and Busta Rhymes’ which powerfully called out the current federal administration.

Many people commended A Tribe Called Quest’s performance for tackling the injustices being carried out in the United States right now. With moving lyrics that focus on the attacks being perpetrated against different minority populations, the performance was fraught with the air of resistance. The imagery was just as impactful, featuring a wall that the performers tear down, a diverse group of people standing in solidarity with the performers, and protest signs that read “No Ban No Wall.” The performance ended with Q-Tip yelling the word “resist” over and over and over again.

“All you Black folks, you must go

All you Mexicans, you must go

And all you poor folks, you must go

Muslims and gays, boy, we hate your ways

So all you bad folks, you must go”

– We the People Lyrics

However, the nuances of the performance delivered on the Grammy stage by A Tribe Called Quest can easily be missed if you don’t realize that many of the black men standing on the stage are also Muslims themselves. Q-Tip, for one, converted to Islam in the mid-1990s and changed his name to Kamaal Ibn John Fareed. Of his religion, Q has said, “I read the Quran and it appealed to me. At the time, I was agnostic and it really breathed spirituality back into me. For me, it’s really a cushion.”

Ali Shaheed Muhammad, another member of A Tribe Called Quest, is also a practicing Muslim. He has used Islam as his inspiration and in the creation of his music. In fact, in the 90’s, he was responsible for creating a music production collective called “The Ummah” – named so because of its reference to a spiritual brotherhood.

Finally, Busta Rhymes is another proud Muslim who was performing with A Tribe Called Quest at the Grammys. When asked how he keeps himself grounded spiritually he referenced his faith in Allah and his spiritual connection with Islam. He has said “at the end of the day that’s [Islam is] pretty much what grounds me.”

These men are a few of the many Muslim men that litter the landscape of rap music, including DJ Khaled, French Montana, Ghostface Killa, Ice Cube, K’naan, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, and T-Pain. In fact, in the 80’s and 90’s, hip hop boasted a lot of Muslim artists with many being associated with Muslim organizations such as the Nation of Islam and the Five Percent Nation. From all accounts, black Muslim men have had significant impact on the hip hop and rap industries, creating for inspirational music.

So, while the performance of A Tribe Called Quest was praised for delivering their message of unity and resistance, it seems ignorant to not identify these men as the Muslims they are calling for their rights. When Busta Rhymes calls “President Agent Orange” out on the Muslim ban, he isn’t doing it as an outsider but a man being attacked by his country for his faith.

We cannot erase the identity of black Muslims in hip hop and rap, just as we cannot associate being Muslim with only being brown-skinned. It is important to remember that Muslims are part of a global religion and are a diverse community. Once we acknowledge the Muslim identities of men like Q-Tip, Muhammad, and Busta, the urgency of the message becomes clearer. Their performance takes on another meaning – one which is seeking for acceptance as much as it is asking for tolerance.

A New Kind of IT Advice

This is the shape of things to come…

Recently I came across a young man who had just got married. When I asked him how he is getting along with his bride, he replied “ She is alright but she is not very user friendly”. Read on:


A woman writes to the IT Technical support Guy

Dear Tech Support,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and I noticed a distinct slowdown in the overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewellery applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as  NEWS 5.0,   MONEY 3.0  and SOCCER 4.1 .

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and House cleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system.

Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5..3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?


DEAR  Madam,

First, keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system.

Please enter command: ithoughtyoulovedme. html and try to download Tears 6.2 and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update.

If that application works as designed, Husband1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5..

However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Silence 2.5.

Whatever you do, DO NOT under any circumstances install Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.)

In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly.

You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance.

We recommend:  Cooking 3.0 and  Hot Looks 7.7.

Good Luck Madam!



The Divine Language of Music

By Adil James, MMNS

Ann Arbor–December 15–Tuesday night there was an interfaith event designed to open common bonds of humanity through celebration of spiritual music.

Seven different performances of varying kinds were presented to an audience of about 250 people representing several different faiths at the combined syagogue and church–Temple Beth Emeth / St. Clare Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor.

The first performance of the evening was in Urdu, a song sung beautifully by Hera Abedi, called “Khuddi Ka Sir-e-nehan.”

After this there was choir music mixing Jewish songs with Christian ones, and with choir members from both  religious traditions in the choir of about 20 singers.

Then there was an adaptation of instrumental music designed to showcase the religious spirit of jazz performances of “Compassion” and “El is the Sound of Joy” by John Coltrane and Sun Ra, respectively.

There was a Hindu performance of very beautiful dancing.

Finally and most beautifully there was a beautiful recitation of the Shahada, Astaghfirullah, La ilaha illal Lah, Qasida Burdah, and beautiful English-language qasidas celebrating the Prophet Muhammad (s) by a group of Sufis demonstrating zikr, hadrah, and “whirling dervish” style whirling.

There was also a flute performance and a performance of Amazing Grace.


Muslim Sprinter Wins Olympic Sprint Dressed Head to Toe in a Hijab

2008-08-22T060349Z_01_OLYTS603_RTRMDNP_3_OLYMPICS-ATHLETICS Sprinters have long been squeezing their muscular frames into the most eye-wateringly skimpy, tight and revealing costumes imaginable. But one female athlete at this year’s Olympics is bucking the trend for bulging lycra and naked torsos.

In 2004, Bahrain’s Ruqaya Al Ghasara took part in the Olympics wearing hijab.

Al Ghasara won her heat of the women’s 200m sprint at the Bird’s Nest stadium – despite being clothed head to foot. Al Ghasara finished first followed by France’s Muriel Hurtis-Houairi and Sri Lanka’s Susanthika Jayasinghe.

Admittedly, Al Ghasara ‘s hijab is a rather sportier version of the traditional dress. Clinging to her body as she powers down the track the hijab completely covers her head, arms and legs.

Known as a Hijood – or hijab combined with a sports hood – the costume was specially designed for Al Ghasara by an Australian sports clothing company. It allows Muslim athletes to compete while still adhering to the strict modesty required of their faith.

Al Ghasara, who was the Bahrain flag-bearer at last week’s opening ceremony, said the Hijood has improved her performance. ‘It’s great to finally have a high performance outfit that allows me to combine my need for modesty with a design made from breathable, moisture-controlled fabric,” she said.

‘It’s definitely helped me to improve my times being able to wear something so comfortable and I’m sure it will help me to give my best performance at Beijing.
‘I hope that my wearing the hijood sports top will inspire other women to see that modesty or religious beliefs don’t have to be a barrier to participating in competitive sports.’

In 2004 Al Ghasara defied objections from fundamentalists in her village to take part in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, running in the 100 metres.? And in 2006 she won the women’s 200m final at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, making her the first Bahraini-born athlete to win a major international athletics gold medal.


Roqaya Al-Gassra of Bahrain celebrates winning her women’s 200m heat of the athletics competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National Stadium August 19, 2008. Behind Al-Gassra are Oludamola Osayomi (L) of Nigeria and Aleksandra Fedoriva of Russia.     

REUTERS/Dylan Martinez


MMN Research and Development

MMN has plans to conduct and commission research projects by scholars, think tanks, and by social, political and religious leaders on subjects of interest to our audiences. Through MMN R & D we will monitor the performance of our divisions by continuous interaction with the Muslim community. Based on this information, we will act to implement improvements and new ideas.