Black Routes to Islam (Critical Black Studies) by Manning Marable, Hishaam D. Aidi

By Manning Marable, Hishaam D. Aidi

The severe Black experiences sequence celebrates its fourth quantity, Black Routes to Islam. The series, under the overall supervision of Manning Marable, features readers and anthologies studying not easy issues in the modern black experience--in the us, the Caribbean, Africa, and around the African Diaspora. Previously released within the sequence are Transnational Blackness, Racializing Justice, Disenfranchising Lives: The Racism, felony Justice, and legislation Reader (September 2007) and Seeking larger flooring: The storm Katrina challenge, Race, and Public coverage Reader (January 2008).

Celebrating the fourth quantity of


Series Editor: Manning Marable

The authors incorporated during this quantity discover varied dimensions of the greater than century-long interplay among Black the USA and Islam. beginning with the nineteenth century narratives of African American tourists to the Holy Land, the subsequent chapters probe Islam’s position in city social events, song and pop culture, gender dynamics, family members among African american citizens and Muslim immigrants, and the racial politics of yank Islam with the continued struggle in Iraq and the US’s deepening involvement within the Orient.

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For an excellent essay on Blyden’s fascination with Palestine, see Hilton Obenzinger, American Palestine: Melville, Twain, and the Holy Land Mania (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999). 10. Edward Wilmot Blyden, From West Africa to Palestine (London: T. J. Sawyer, 1873), 136, 141. 11. Teage was one of the founding fathers of Liberian independence that penned that country’s declaration of independence. 12. Blyden, The Jewish Question (Liverpool: Lionel Hart, 1898). 13. Ibid. For a discussion of postnationalist and internationalist African American politics, see Nikihl Singh, Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005).

As long as this remained the case, however, Black Orientalism existed only as a cry on the margins of Blackamerica. With the repeal of the National Origins Act in 1965, however, and the subsequent massive influx of Muslims from the Middle East and Asia, a new basis of religious authority was introduced into American Islam. The primary authenticators of Islam were no longer Black Religion nor Black Americans. They were now immigrants and the traditional Islamic religious sciences in whose name they ostensibly spoke.

Consider the following example. 13 Nothing would excuse the casual dismissal of such statements from white Americans or Europeans. Nor should their authors’ status as Muslim Orientals earn them any such exemption. Holding up such statements for comment, investigation and criticism is not Black Orientalism. On the contrary, it is responsible scholarship whose ultimate aim and effect should be to alert Muslims to the ways in which they have failed to live up to their religious ideals. Black Orientalism 39 Having said this much, we should note that critical references to statements and actions by Muslim Orientals can approach Black Orientalism, when they proceed on the uncritical assumption that casual expressions of race or color prejudice in a society that has a history fundamentally different from that of the United States must have the same meaning and implications that they would have in America.

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