Combatting Racism in Muslim Spaces

December 5, 2020

Salaam alaikum and greetings of peace,

We hope you’re doing well under the current circumstances of our country and world. As we begin planning for the New Year, remember to include calls to action that are based on our heightened awareness of racism in this country by continuing to combat it at home, in our own Muslim American communities.

To that end, I want to bring to your attention the transcript of a webinar we held in the fall where African American Muslim scholars and activists offered concrete suggestions for countering internalized racism in our Muslim American communities. The speakers included the following esteemed guests.

  • Imam Muhammad Ali (Chaplain at Bucknell University, Co-Director of a mentoring program for underrepresented students at the university)
  • Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin (Resident Imam of the San Francisco Muslim Community Center for the last 30 years)
  • Sr. Amelah El-Amin (Muslim African American human rights activist, co-founder of the nonprofit Mu’eed that serves elders and families in Oakland, CA)
  • Dr. Jamillah Karim (Former Professor of Religion at Spelman College, author, speaker, and blogger with specialties in Islam and Muslims in the United States and Islamic Feminism, Race, and Ethnicity)
  • Dr. Mansa Bilal King (Senior Diversity Consultant at Yardstick Management, and Associate Professor at Morehouse College for 13 years)
  • Imam Zaid Shakir (Co-Founder of Zaytuna College, renowned Muslim author and speaker)
  • Imam Faheem Shuaibe (Resident Imam of Masjidul Waritheen in Oakland, CA for 36 years)

The series of webinars are also listed below for your convenience. The transcripts above are for the webinar titled: Part V – Calls to Action – Countering Internalized Racism.

Support African American Muslim Organizations

As part of your commitment to combating racism in Muslim spaces, we call on immigrant Muslim communities to donate to your local African American Muslim organizations. The following three national organizations are just a few that are offering vital services to the Muslim American community at large, which deserve our support.

MANA: Muslim Alliance in North America

A national network of mosques and Muslim organizations and individuals committed to working together to address certain issues of urgent concern. Visit their Facebook page here.

Join Imam Zaid Shakir, Amir of MANA, Ieasha Prime, and other prominent scholars on Saturday, December 5th, at 9PM EST for MANA RE:CHARGE on Facebook live.

Lamppost Education Initiative

An initiative offering courses on Islam, Muslims, and the socio-cultural dynamics of American society. Visit their site here.


An initiative focused on raising awareness and training Muslim communities on issues of racial justice. Visit their site here.

ING Series on
Educating Ourselves on African American Muslim Experiences

Part I – A History of Muslims in America

This webinar features two notable scholars discussing the long history of African American Muslims in the United States, beginning with their presence before and after the founding of the nation. Outline and timestamp of the webinar are here.

Part II – Muslim African American Communities Today

This webinar features notable imams and academics who provide an overview of Muslim African American communities in the United States, including their major institutions and their many contributions to America, Islam, and Muslim communities everywhere. Outline and timestamp of the webinar are here.

Part III – Roots and Impact of Racism in the United States

This webinar features speakers from various ethnic backgrounds addressing the history of the formation of narratives about colonized peoples which have led to what we today call “implicit bias” and how these narratives became embedded in American society, leading to institutional racism that functions differently for each non-white group. Outline and timestamp of the webinar are here. Call to Action handout is here.

Part IV – Racism in Muslim American Communities:
San Francisco Bay Area Example

This webinar features notable African American imams and activists discussing some of the different types of racism they have encountered in the larger Muslim community as well as the general ignorance about the long history of African Americans in America, the normalization of American Islam as an “immigrant experience,” and factors behind the separation of immigrant and African American mosques and communities.

Part V- Calls to Action – Countering Internalized Racism

This webinar features imams, scholars, and activists who provide strategies and resources for countering internalized racism individually as well as in our Muslim American institutions. Outline and timestamp of the webinar are here.