Seeing this a lot recently. A Muslim non-Black POC points to having a Somali or African imam/leader as proof there's no anti-Black racism in their community. Let me say this as a child of Sudanese immigrants: there's a diff between anti-Black racism & anti-*Black American* racism
In the US almost all African diaspora Muslims deal with microaggressions & racism, subtle & unsubtle from our non-Black co-religionists. But it's nowhere near the level of racism, condescension, animosity, & ignorance heaped at our African American sisters & brothers.
That is bc while non-Black Muslims may not be happy if their kid comes home with a Somali fiance, they'll brag about the local Somali students winning tajweed competitions. Anti-Blackness affects diaspora African Muslims, but our Islam is generally considered legitimate.
There's a reason why the three Black former presidents of a national (immigrant-serving) Muslim org are all Sudanese immigrants. Nobody (least of all them!) ignores their Blackness, but they are - like nearly all the rest of the leadership there - immigrants.
This is not to say that diaspora African Muslims are immune to anti-Black American Muslim animosity. We are not. It exists, and I hear it a lot, esp among first-gen, or recent immigrants. That's another conversation that must be had, offline, within our communities.
Back to non-Black Muslims in the US. They often assume that AA Muslims have a faulty understanding of, and shaky connection to, Islam. That AA Muslims are all converts, "too new" to be considered legitimate Muslims. They don't assume these about diaspora African Muslims.
This is anecdotal, but when I was growing up, the only AA imams I saw regularly at national immigrant conferences/spaces were Imam Siraj Wahhaj & Imam Zaid Shakir. Other AA Muslims regularly invited were entertainers and athletes. African diaspora invitees? Were imams & scholars.
Adding here: my experiences are in Sunni communities. I'm not sure how experiences will differ in Shia communities.
There's [always] more to say on this topic, but I'll pause for now.
Oh, and! Bc to most people I "present" as South Asian or Yemeni, you'd best believe I've heard a LOT of anti-Black comments throughout my life. Heard - not overheard - bc folks don't think they have to hide their anti-Black racism from me.
When I hear Arabs say the "A" word and call them out on it, I sometimes say I'm Black. I used to always hear, "Oh we don't mean you, we mean the Americans." As if I was going to say, "Oh, ok then! Carry on with your racism since it's not about me!" 😒
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