Black, American and Muslim: One identity too many?

#Culture

Black Muslims join campaign to highlight the struggles over their identity

Muhammad Ali: Black, Muslim and proud (AFP)
Nadine Dahan's picture
Last update: 
Thursday 16 February 2017 16:35 UTC
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Can black American Muslims overcome the racism and discrimination that divides them from their co-religionists in America? That was the topic of a debate on black and Muslim unity that kicked off on Twitter on Tuesday.

The Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC) held its fourth annual #BeingBlackAndMuslim conversation to debate what being Black and Muslim meant to them, and the discrimination they face.

Join us later today at 2 pm EST for the 4th annual #BeingBlackandMuslim convo on Twitter! pic.twitter.com/3ztj1CGabl

— MuslimARC (@MuslimARC) February 14, 2017

Muslims are viewed as predominantly Arabs or south Asians. However Islam is the largest religion in Africa and only 20 percent of Muslims are Arabs. According to Pew Research Centre's Religious Landscape Study, 28 percent of Muslims in the US are black.

The 'being black and Muslim' campaign 

Black Muslims said they faced two problems in the United States: Islamophobia from their black communities, and racism from their Muslim ones.

Some of the most famous black American figures, including boxer Muhammed Ali and political leader Malcolm X were Muslim:

Black and Muslim: what does that mean?

MuslimARC's conversation on the Twitter hashtag #BeingBlackandMuslim gave a platform for black Muslims to share both their struggles, and unique experiences.

Some highlighted the sidelining of black Muslims from the important discussions.

The hashtag highlighted an ignored identity.

Other users brought up the disparities between Islam in theory, which does not differentiate between people based on race, and in practice:

File #BeingBlackAndMuslim

Others shared messages of solidarity with black Muslims:

And others used the platform to show that both identities fit together:

MuslimARC put together a list of the top 20 tweets from Tuesday’s Twitter campaign.