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Representing African American Muslims

The NAACP partnered with the Muslim Student Association to host a panel about African American Muslims. Photos by Morgan Patrick.

The student center ballroom was filled with all races and religious backgrounds, eager to learn more about African Americans in the Muslim community.

In the spirit of Black History Month, for the first time, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) collaborated with the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP).

The NAACP and the MSA hosted a panel discussion about African Americans in Islam on Wednesday. The event was designed as a moderated discussion about the experience of black American Muslims, their history and the contributions of Muslims in the black community. The event was titled “In Their Footsteps: An African American Muslim Journey.

“We felt like it was important to talk about their journeys because it’s kind of hidden under the rug or masked by Islamophobia in our culture today,” Kory Turner, junior

public health major and NAACP president said. “In order to debunk that stigma behind black Muslims, we just wanted to show their journey, their footsteps.”

The stigma Turner referenced included people associating Muslims with terrorism. Other stigmas addressed included female oppression and male dominance within the Muslim community. Both subjects were debunked during the panel.

Celeste Thompson, vice president of the NAACP and junior pre-med, sociology and psychology double major, felt recognizing black Muslims was a necessary step.

“I think it’s important to highlight the differences in the diversity that black people have, especially during Black History Month,” Thompson said. “Black Muslims are not well represented in the black community, so we felt it was important to bring light to their story.”

Fatima Farooqi, the president of MSA and senior civil engineering major, despite being non-black, wanted to ensure African American Muslims received representation during Black History Month.

“Muslims comprise of a lot of different backgrounds, we’re from all over the place,” Farooqi said. “We wanted to show representation [and] show that Islam represents different types of people. Many of them have had made lots of impact in the American history and society and I just wanted to bring that to light and inform people.”

Farooqi noted two well-known activists who shaped the culture, Muhammad Ali and Malcom X.

One of the panelists, NAACP secretary and MSA member, Haleemah Na’Allah was excited for the event because of its inclusion of African Americans and its ability to inform non-Muslims who are black.

“It’s a necessary conversation because black people get left out of everything … so I’m happy that we’re able to talk about black Muslims specifically,” Na’Allah, junior political science and philosophy double major, said. “It’s always better to learn about all these different spaces that we occupy.”

Despite this being the first time the MSA and NAACP collaborated for an event, both organizations feel that working together was beneficial to both communities and look forward to collaborating again.

The Bradley Muslim Student Association can be reached at bradleymsa@gmail.com,

and Bradley’s NAACP chapter can be reached through Celeste Thompson at cnthompson@mail. bradley.edu.

One Comment

  1. Abdul Aziz Brohi Abdul Aziz Brohi February 29, 2020

    I am interested in your News paper in order to get more information and knowledge about the Muslims of African and American. Although am free and religious minded not conservative . Yours news papers will furnish me a lot of knowledge thru internet/ I am a Pakistani old man and living in Pakistan. I am Muslim broad minded person.

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