Rise Against

From an old-ish piece by Eboo Patel

The message was clear – Muslims need to place themselves at the heart of what is happening here and now, to conceive of themselves as citizens who contribute to matters at the center of things, not people who pass through on the margins.

In other words, it is time for the narrative to shift. American Muslims can no longer see themselves as primarily an immigrant group. We have to see ourselves as a community indigenous to America, a contributing member of a pluralist society.

It is a story that has the added benefit of being true. A significant number of the African slaves brought to America’s shores were Muslim. (See Unity Productions excellent film A Prince Among Slaves). Approximately 25 % of the American Muslim community today is African American, not immigrant, and includes some (actually, most) of American Islam’s most prominent members – Congressman Keith Ellison, comedian Dave Chappelle, hip hop artist Mos Def, and former boxer Muhammad Ali. And the children of the immigrant generation are coming of age, taking our places in professional life, buying homes, raising our own children. We have no dreams of returning to India or Indonesia. We are American. And Muslim.


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