In 2015 we have commemorated the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X/Al Hajj Malik El Shabazz and will be marching for Justice or Else. We have witnessed the questionable killing of an African-American Muslim by the federal government and school officials criminalize Black Muslim genius. That same Black Muslim genius got an invite to the White House by the first Black president of the United States, who is also a Christian, while another African-American Christian politician took it upon himself to declare that a Muslim does not have a right to the highest office in the land. In this complex and charged political landscape Sapelo Square’s second special feature takes a look at the Black Muslim political imagination, past and present. Political imagination refers to the different ways African American Muslims have imagined—envisioned and understood—their relationship to the nation and as a nation, and the various efforts to make that imagination a reality.
In acknowledgement of the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, we feature an article that speaks to the spiritual imperative to demand justice and a reflective piece on why attending the March is crucial. From a different vantage point, we offer a selection of Imam W. Deen Mohammed’s guidance on “a healthy patriotism” and some rules for engagement for Muslims in the United States from Sheikh Usama Abdul Ghani, an American born, Caribbean descended Shia scholar. We look back to the Black Muslim political future through documents of early Black Sunni movements and photos of present-day Black Muslim protest. Further, because Black American Muslims are always global, we also include a reflection on what it means to be Black, Muslim and American, elsewhere. Culture is central the Black Muslim political imagination and to that end we offer some“anthems” and footage from a 2001 benefit conference for Imam Jamil Al-Amin, as well as some early recipes from the Nation of Islam as a reminder that political transformation requires mind, body and soul. This collection of posts is by no means exhaustive but are more like points of entry to begin a conversation on Sapelo Square, and elsewhere, about the past, present and future of being Black and Muslim in the United States.
To view our previous special feature commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, click here.