Month: June 2018

BlogPolitics

Love is at the Root of Our Resistance

By Sapelo Square

And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?” 4:75

Colin Kaepernick, received the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience awardcolin k on April 21.  The Ambassador of Conscience Award celebrates individuals and groups who have furthered the cause of human rights through acts of conscience, confronting injustice and using their talents to inspire others.

The organization celebrated Colin Kaepernick’s spirit of activism and exceptional courage when he initiated a protest by NFL players against police brutality by taking a knee while the national anthem played during the 2016 NFL season.

His bravery shined a light on racism and allowed him to use his voice against oppression.  He has continued to stand to against injustice including the injustice of losing his job, and remaining unsigned by the NFL.

His bravery shined a light on racism and allowed him to use his voice against oppression.  He has continued to stand to against injustice including the injustice of losing his job, and remaining unsigned by the NFL.

“Just like the Ambassadors of Conscience before him, Colin Kaepernick chooses to speak out and inspire others despite the professional and personal risks. When high profile people choose to take a stand for human rights, it emboldens many others in their struggles against injustice. Colin Kaepernick’s commitment is all the more remarkable colin's wordsbecause of the alarming levels of vitriol it has attracted from those in power,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

 

Colin Kaepernick’s actions of protest have been inspired by many, including Malcolm X.  We share his entire moving acceptance speech at Amnesty International because love is also at the root of our work.  Colin Kaepernick’s Remarks


 

 

 

 

BlogHistory

Muhammad Ali Loved Africa and Africa Loved Ali

From Ebony Magazine, September 1964

Captions like “[w]ildly cheering crowds in Kumasi, Ghana,” and “military guard assigned to keep Clay fans from getting out of hand” give us an idea of the adoration Ali received.

Today’s post continues our series exploring Ebony Magazine’s coverage of Black Muslims during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. In a 1964 article entitled “Champ’s African Love Affair,” Ebony chronicles Muhammad Ali’s first tour of Africa less than a year after joining the Nation of Islam and becoming the heavyweight champion of the world. The editorial portion of the article is only one page long. The five subsequent pages contain powerful photographs of the champ in the various countries he visited, which included Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Egypt. Unfortunately no pictures are shown from his stop in Senegal, leaving us to wonder about Ali’s experience there. Still, the pictures presented are captivating. They demonstrate the love and esteem that Ali enjoyed from people on the continent.

Captions like “[w]ildly cheering crowds in Kumasi, Ghana,” and “military guard assigned to keep Clay fans from getting out of hand” give us an idea of the adoration Ali received. And Ali’s reflection that “[e]very black man in America should see Africa, because that’s where home really is” reveals something of his own thoughts during the historic trip.

The caption of one picture of Ali entering a beautiful mosque in Cairo reads “[w]ith solemn face — an unusual expression for exuberant Louisville Lip.”

While most of the pictures depict Ali receiving honors or being celebrated by fans, a few of the pictures from his time in Egypt display a different side of this renowned Black Muslim world traveler. The caption of one picture of Ali entering a beautiful mosque in Cairo reads “[w]ith solemn face — an unusual expression for exuberant Louisville Lip.” In another, he glares at a sculpture of an ancient Egyptian queen which appears to have had its nose damaged, like so many statues depicting rulers of the African cradle of civilization. Perhaps Ali was searching for other African features and lamenting that it was been defaced. Or perhaps he remembered Malcolm X’s comments about the Black women and men depicted by such structures.

He called President Kwame Nkrumah his ‘personal hero,’ undoubtedly due to Nkrumah’s Pan-Africanism and opposition to Western colonialism.

Ali served as an ambassador for both Black folks and Muslims from the United States. He was celebrated as a symbol of dignity by Black and Brown people and Muslims the world over. But in some ways, he exhibited the same hopes, concerns and expectations as many Black American Muslims who engaged Africa, whether through travel or by exploring its history and culture. Ali envisioned a familial relationship with Africans remarking,  “I want to see Africa and meet my brothers and sisters.”

He called President Kwame Nkrumah his ‘personal hero,’ undoubtedly due to Nkrumah’s Pan-Africanism and opposition to Western colonialism. Ali also appeared open to the thought of repatriation, expressing an interest in building a home on land he was given in Ghana. And he took note of the chasm between Africa’s reality and its depictions in the West, exclaiming, “[t]hey never told us about your beautiful flowers, magnificent hotels, beautiful houses, beaches, great hospitals, schools, and universities.” Enjoy these images of Muhammad Ali experiencing the beauty of Africa, its peoples, and its cultures.

Arts&CultureBlogRamadanRamadan 2018Resources

#BlackMuslimKidsRead

by Narjis Abdul-Majid

Just in time for Eid.  #BlackMuslimKidsRead. A list of books that every Black Muslim family should own.

 

Nanni’s Hijab by: Khadijah Abdulhaqq

What Am I? by: Papatia Feauxzar*

Muhiima’s Quest by: Rahma Rodaah

Bashirah and The Amazing Bean Pie: A Celebration of African American Muslim CultureThere Is Greatness In Me by: Ameenah Muhammad-Diggins 

Jennah’s First Hijab by Halimah DeOliveira

Zaynab’s Enchanted Scarf/ You are Beautiful by: Robyn Abdusamad*

Mommy’s Khimar by: Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

Hind’s Hands by: Umm Juwayriyah

Hijab-ista by: Jamila Mapp

Islamic Phonics Readers: From Adam to Zamzam by: Jamila Alqarnain/Karemah Al hark*

Ngozi’s Little Brown Princess Tea Party by: Asiyah Muhsin-Thomas Salaam Waajid Thomas 

Jariya Jar by: Aisha Mohammed

The Beauty of My Hijab by: Fatimah Ashaela Moore Ibrahim

 

*This author has multiple children’s publications.
**By no means is this list exhaustive. If you know of other Black Muslim Reads for kids email us at info@sapelosquare.com

 

________________________________________________________________
Narjis Abdul-MajidNarjis Nichole Abdul-Majid is a part-time lecturer in the departments of Pan African Studies and Humanities at the University of Louisville and Philosophy Department at Indiana University Southeast. Her research interests focus on the African American and Native American Islamic experiences (Slavery-Melungeons-20th Century Islamic Movements-Present Day) with emphasis on minority voices.

 

BlogRamadan 2018Religion

Ramadan 1439/2018: Black Muslims Reflect on the Qur’an – Juz’ 30

By Salihah Aakil

In the morning some of them won’t be here. Some of them will be somewhere between consciousness and dreaming, some of them will be well on their way to a better place and some, some will be long gone. In the morning none of us will cry because they moved on and we will see them again some day,

the sky won’t turn red when the sun sets some day.

So you and I hold out hope.

In the morning some of them will have to leave, some of them have a people to protect and they’ll promise to remember us. And with our hands on our hearts we swear to remember that they honor every promise.

In the morning some of us will die here but we’ll remember that some of our people learned to fly when the angel of death lent them it’s wings.

That’s when they were truly free.

Exploring the things we could only comprehend as stars but turned out to be shining miracles. Shimmering, spinning, glowing, shining miracles, and some of us will dance the way constellations do.

In the morning some of us will rise with the sun to greet the Lord and the dawn as it comes and we won’t forget how much we love morning time.

 

This poem was, in part, inspired by the first ayat of Surah Falaq that says,

“Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn”

I chose to base this poem around the phrase “In the morning” because in Surah Falaq Allah tells us to seek refuge in Him as the Creator of the sun and light. The Creator of the day that He intended for us to worship Him in. In Surah Falaq Allah also tells us to seek protection from the night and the evil He created in it and yet there is still hope in Him; and what He has made for us. I tried to mimic the hope and warning that is shown in Surah Falaq in this poem, as well as depict an image of faithful people who will always believe.

 

 

Sapelo Square is proud to support Believers Bail Out, a community-led effort to bail out Muslims in pretrial incarceration. During these last ten days of Ramadan give what you can to restore justice and free our people. Donate and join us on the steep road!

Support the Believers Bail Out campaign.  Donate today.

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Salihah Aakil is a 15 year old, African American Muslim, Writer, Artist, and co-founder of Salvage, a non profit organization. She is a two time DC Youth Poet Laureate finalist and an outspoken advocate for social justice. She found writing at the age of ten and hasn’t stopped using it, words are her weapon, wonder, and shelter.