New investigative report on H. Rap Brown

The digital news outlet that serves American Muslims Illume has just published an exhaustive and thought-provoking investigative report by Obaid H. Siddiqui on the disturbing case of Imam Jamil Al-Amin (a.k.a. H. Rap Brown). It chronicles the persecution of this civil rights icon, now imprisoned.The procedural irregularities and demonstrated bias by the authorities during his trial and incarceration remind me of the internationally acclaimed political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal. Something's … [Read more...]

Essay on Malcolm X in Claremont Review

There's a very interesting essay on Malcolm X in the conservative Claremont Review of Books.Among other things, it gives you a taste of the political and cultural milieu from which Malcolm X emerged.There's much to comment on, of course, but I was most struck by the examples provided of his and Elijah Muhammad's tactical cooperation with none other than the Ku Klux Klan. For all their vast differences, the Klan and the Nation of Islam shared a vital overarching objective: both were … [Read more...]

My essay on Martin Luther King, Jr.

I'm pleased to report that a 2008 essay I wrote for Religion Dispatches on the occasion of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday has been published in a collection of short essays on the issues involved in his assassination and legacy. The book in question is The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. , edited by Noah Berlatsky and published by Greenhaven Press this year. It's part of their "Perspectives on Modern World History" series, which I think is geared … [Read more...]

Against the Grain Interview on California’s long history of “genteel Apartheid”

This interview is a fascinating and eye-opening overview of the Golden State's little known history of virulent de facto racial segregation (called "genteel Apartheid" by one sociologist in as far back as 1960). This is important work. We as a society will never be able to have a fair, factually-grounded discussion about social policy so long as we labor under all these Disney-esque misconceptions about the origins of poverty, racism and marginalization in contemporary … [Read more...]

Rabbis speaking out against Islamophobia

These public statements are really inspiring. If you're Muslim, please spread the word about this, too. Muslims need to know about the many Jews and members of other faith traditions (including none) who are taking a stand against this campaign of hate. From Stand Together: Rabbis Speak out against Islamophobia (Rabbis for Human Rights), via Joshua Stanton at Tikkun Daily:Ever since the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States, hatred and discrimination against Muslim Americans … [Read more...]

“Black Like Me” in Germany

It's a very serious matter, but I must say that I came near to wetting myself from laughter at this pic (lifted from the Danish newspaper Politiken) of Günter Wallraff,  a famous German investigative reporter who went undercover as a Somali immigrant in painfully unconvincing blackface. He has written a book and created a film about the open racism he encountered at every turn in daily life. I'm reminded as an American of the famous experiment carried out by a Texan … [Read more...]

A touching tribute and a much needed plea for humility

Islamic comedian (and, no, that's not an oxymoron, or at least shouldn't be) Azhar Usman wrote a powerful, soul-searching tribute to Imam W.D. Mohammed after attending the great man's funeral. It lays bare the indignities and neglect that African-American Muslims have all too often endured at the hands of upwardly mobile and status-conscious immigrant (and Caucasian--see below) Muslims in North America. Here is an excerpt from Br. Azhar's touching and much needed jeremiad … [Read more...]

Round-up of coverage of Imam W.D. Mohammed’s passing

Here are, in no particular order, some recent blog postings and articles in the MSM on the death and/or moving funeral of Imam W.D. Mohammed. (In a one or two cases, the post was very short, so I linked more for the comments.)Islamosphere:Zahed Amanullah. "The Imam Cares" (alt.muslim)Seeker's Digest: "Passing of Imam WD Mohammed - The Death of a Great Leader of Islam in the West"Islamicate: "Warith Dean Mohammed is Dead"SaqibSaab at Muslim Matters: … [Read more...]