Invitation to Dialogue: Connecting Black Muslims To Address The Challenge of Life At the Intersection of Islamophobia and Anti-Black Racism in CanadaWritten by Siham Rayale
Problem: The lack of awareness both within and outside the Muslim community in Canada regarding the reality of Black Muslim lives and its consequence for the ongoing struggle against anti-black racism and Islamophobia.
The seemingly never-ending incidents of Islamophobia and anti-black racism have raised public consciousness about the lived reality of Black Muslims in Canada. However, little to no attention has been paid to understanding the intersection of being both Black and Muslim. Given this reality, Black Muslims often feel that their unique perspectives are particularly marginalized within the Muslim community; further ostracizing their existence within an already stigmatized group.
And for those Black Muslims who hold their spiritual identity at the very forefront of their existence, these experiences can be disheartening and sadly, negatively impact their practice of Islam. Of course, none of this is new. The consequences of a lack of coherent engagement with these matters can be readily seen in various forms, including:
The lack of Black Muslim leadership within mainstream Islamic institutions here in Canada
The disengagement of the Muslim community from Black Social Justice advocacy in Canada
The lack of understanding within both the Black community and the wider society about the reality of Black Muslim existence in Canada
The lack of physical space and centres of Islamic learning that demonstrate an understanding of the unique realities of Black Muslim reverts' lives and experiences
The lack of awareness of the history of Black Muslims in North America long before the arrival of other Muslim groups
The lack of understanding of institutions, laws and policies and the need for them to address Anti-Black Racism and Islamophobia simultaneously
The lack of awareness of the hardships and challenges that are unique to Black Muslim girls and women in Canada
The lack of awareness of the hardships and challenges that are unique to Black Muslim boys and men in Canada
Proposal: Working alongside other Muslim organizations, we hope to launch a conversation within the Muslim community that will usher in action-oriented and concrete strategies to address the issues discussed above.
About the Organizers:
Kofi Achampong is a Ghanaian-Canadian who works as a Political and Strategic Advisor in the provincial government and received his JD at York University.
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Siham Rayale is a Somali-Canadian who completed her PhD in development studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University. She focuses on gender, peacebuilding and human security.
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