It's been a hard series of years and many communities are grieving the impact of hate-based crime. That being said, doors have been opened for sincere soul searching from many angles. For about 5 years I have been lecturing and educating Muslim community organizations about black history and anti-black racism. In all these conversations, I encourage the audience to reflect on the good, the triumphant, but also engage the bad; some of which come from within ourselves. I expect people to be challenged spiritually and intellectually, especially when talking about race because it's an issue that affects the human heart and is usually met with some measure of defensiveness from those who are hearing the discussion for the first time.
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, there has been increased interest in Muslim communities to discuss issues of anti-Black racism within society.
Muslim Link has written and published stories aimed at addressing anti-Black racism in Muslim communities over the last eight years. The following recommendations are informed by this work, our experience receiving media requests for Muslim speakers, our regular reading of coverage of Muslim communities by mainstream and Muslim media, and our observations publishing thousands of Muslim community events from across Canada over several years.
“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”- Ijeomo Oluo, African American anti-racism activist
In honour of Black History Month, Muslim Link has invited Tunisian journalist Huda Mzioudet, the co-founder of the Black Tunisian women's organization "Anbar", to discuss her experiences as a Black Tunisian growing up in Tunisia, doing investigative journalism in Libya, and now conducting academic research in Quebec.
Black Muslim Women in Quebec (Femmes Noires Musulmanes au Québec) is a new initiative that was launched on Saturday, October 20 in Montreal at Espace Mushagalusa. The initiative is funded by the Inspirit Foundation and supported by DESTA Black Youth Network.
Black Panther has taken the world by storm, experiencing box office success across North America, Europe, Africa and, to many in Hollywood’s surprise given a long history of rejecting films with Black leads, Asia.
Furthermore, a Blockbuster Hollywood film that centralizes Black characters and their narratives in authentic ways both in front of and behind the camera, and that also weaves in discussions about colonialism and slavery, is groundbreaking within the current socio-political context; it’s also deeply needed.
Despite this, online comments about Black Panther have been accusing it of Islamophobia, with some even going as far as to tell Muslims to boycott the film.
I am a diaspora Somali Canadian based in Toronto, Ontario. I am an educator, researcher with a focus on diversity and inclusion, curriculum development, public engagement, immigration, and Criminal Justice System working with underserved and underemployed Black youth in Toronto. As a co-founder of the Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law (CAMWL) I have organized public education forums and co-authored a paper exploring issues of Islamophobia and anti-Black racism and how they intersect in the lives of Black Muslim Canadians.
Somali Canadian student Sahra Jama lives in Vancouver and is new to organizing demonstrations. But when she learned about the exploitation of African migrants in Libya she felt she had to act. With the support of Black Lives Matter Vancouver, she was able to mobilize around 100 supporters for a demonstration in solidarity with African migrants in Libya which took place on December 16th in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Muslim Link interviewed Sahra about her initiative, the African migrant crisis, and why she hopes more Muslim Canadians will speak out about what is happening to African migrants in Libya.
Somali Canadian Yasmine Mo is pursuing a Master’s in sociology at the Université de Montréal. Her thesis explores the social realities of Black Muslim women living in Montreal, the contributions of these women to Quebec society. The intersection of anti-Black racism, sexism and Islamophobia are at the centre of her studies.
Yasmine Mo spoke at a demonstration organized on November 18th by African Canadians in Montreal in the wake of recent reports that have hit mainstream media about the abuse, exploitaiton and in some cases enslavement experienced by African migrants in Libya, as situation that Amnesty International has described as "horrific".