Friday, 21 June 2013

Racist Things Your Fellow Muslims Say to Each Other



     Oh, this is awkward...

     We're one big beautiful homogeneous ummah aren't we? Perhaps the word racism is much too strong. No Muslim is racist, right? We just have some dislikes for things is all.

     Sure, I mean you can choose to believe that being a Muslim is your one way ticket to Utopia whereby everyone is looked upon equally for their character before their race. But you mustn't deny that forming that rosy image in your mind is silence and complicity. Nothing is ever stationary, things are constantly happening around us. 

    Your silence is oppression.

     So, why do we deny racism in the Muslim community? 

     Perhaps it's because we wish to maintain the colonial mentality where only white folk can truly be racist against Muslims and the idea of shedding light on racism in Islam disperses us and makes us look weaker as an ummah. Or maybe we don't want to evaluate our racism in everyday life and put people we love in a negative light. Racist people in the past were labelled as Nazis among other things and no one wants to be grouped into that category. Or perhaps we're afraid of critical self-evaluation where our faults are exposed to the world and open to monopolization by mainstream forces and other Muslims around us. Or God forbid, the worst case scenario; we assume that our discrimination comes about as a natural product of one's race and has nothing to do with our perception.

     But lack of confrontation of a problem does not mean it doesn't exist.

    Our strength as an ummah should not lie with our ability to overlook certain aspects of our lifestyles and to "focus on the positive" but it should lie with our willingness to detect problems and choose to label them as such. Once we label an issue, we must take concrete steps to find ways to raise awareness and diminish the problem.

     I am going to make this image super clear in the next few minutes while you're reading. It's going to hurt and it might make you sad. But I'm sure it will hit home. This list is real.

Here are some racist things your fellow Muslims have said:

1. "We don't marry outside our sect"

2. "I don't hate brown people. They just annoy me"

3. "Brown people are wanna-be-Arabs"

4. "That's not our mosque"

5. "You're so whitewashed"

6. "She's pretty for a black girl"

7. "I feel like pissing off my parents and marrying a brown guy"

8. "I went to their house, and they were like the civilized type of Pakis, they don't smell or anything."
9. "Hes so religious, he would even marry a black girl and not care"
10. "Your husband must have really cultured you"
11. "For an Arab girl, you really aren't like the usual racist Arabs."

12. "I'm so tanned, I'm gonna get mistaken for Somali"
13. "I hate when people guess I'm from Pakistan."
14. "Abeed (slave)" "urdud ( monkeys)"
15. "Couldn't we get an Arab to teach them the Quran"
16. "Arab guys are so controlling and close minded. Hello white converts..."
17. "Somalian people have too many children"
18. [at Juma] "why doesn't he talk Arabic. We're all Arab here anyway"
19. "Obviously the MSA is being run by Arab for Arab"
20. "Not that I'm racist, but..."
21. "Brown people are too religious"
22. "You don't even act black, you're so well spoken" 
23. "Mashallah our shiekh is Saudi, this is gonna be a good Ramadan"
24. "Why don't you read Quran? Even Brown people read more than you"
25. "Why have a Pakistani imam when there are Arab brothers available?"
25. "Arab girls are party girls"

26. "All that Arabs do is belly dance and smoke shisha"

    Oh, you didn't think any of these statements were racist? Let us revise the definition of racism shall we?

Racism: a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural 
or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to
 rule others. (source)

I wrote previously about arrogance:

"Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “No one who has the weight of a mustard seed of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” Someone said, “Indeed, a man loves to have beautiful clothes and shoes.” So the Prophet said, “Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.

   A mustard seed?! That could be one look down on your mother, or a child, or a homeless person or a disabled individual. It would be a shame to come so close to the doors of heaven only to have them shut in front of you because you believed once that you were better than anyone else. Keep in mind that arrogance does not pertain to one's dress. Although the prophet (peace be upon him) used to be indistinguishable from the companions that even foreigners had a hard time locating him. 

But, how do we become nonjudgmental and more modest? 

   During the prophet's (peace be upon him) time, there was one man who used to appear drunk to the public in the daytime and the companions at one point wanted to issue him a punishment. The prophet (peace be upon him) addressed them and said "Do not curse him, for I swear by Allah, if you only knew just how very much indeed he loves Allah and His Messenger." 
He then added:
"Do not help Satan against your brother."(Al-Bukhari)

  Let us realize that Allah's mercy is vast and never ending. Only He has the power to conceal our faults and forgive us on the day of judgement. Some of us who judge others for sinning have put themselves at a high status, thinking that they are fairer than Allah (subhanahu wa ta'laa). When we judge, we judge others for their exposed sins while we ourselves have hidden sins that would shame us if they were to ever be exposed to the world. Always thank Allah for his mercy on us and always have mercy on others. Leave the judging to Him." (source)


“O mankind, We have created you all from a single (pair of a) male and female and made you nations and tribes so that you get to know one another; verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most mindful of Him. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” Quran: 49:13

The prophet, peace be upon him's last sermon addressed racism:

“O mankind, there is no superiority for an Arab man/woman over a non-Arab man/woman, or for a non-Arab man/woman over an Arab man/woman, or for white man/woman over a black man/woman, or for a black man/woman over a white man/woman. All of you are descended from Adam and Adam has been created from dust of the ground.”

I can't find concluding words better than the words of Allah and the prophet (pbuh). We've still got a long way to go before I can conclude on racism.


  1. Great post, MashaAllah, it has been a great idea to adress this issue, May Allah forgive us if we have ever looked down any human being.

    1. Jazaki Allah khair for reading. Yeah the point is to provoke discussion and shed light on subtle hints of racism. Ameen

  2. Of course all these things are racist... the fact that people need ayaat to prove how racist they're being (i.e they don't even realise what they're saying is racist) is proof of how far things have come


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