Dear United States of America

It seems that the United States is fighting a two front war; on Blacks and Muslims, and unfortunately for myself and many others, my very existence on this planet is intertwined in being Black and being Muslim. When I flip open my laptop and hear the Republican Presidential nominee calling for a ban of all Muslims and have people cheer him, I get confused. There is no conceivable way this government could ban all Muslims without breaking away from the fundamental freedoms we pretend this country was founded on. I have written in in length on the Black Muslim Slave experience, from highlighting the life of Omar ibn Said to detailing on Black enslaved Muslims celebrated Ramadan. The United States of America has never existed without Muslims, do not forget that. Muslims were brought to the United States in chain, forced to labor, and exploited. The narrative that Islam promotes violence and intolerance yet thousands of Black Muslims were enslaved in the United States, I ask how?

The most militant the US has ever seen Muslims came in the form of the Nation of Islam. Even then, one can say many things about the Nation of Islam but, people stop short at calling them terrorists. Think of it this way, if a Black Muslim entered a KKK rally and killed everyone, and said he was motivated by Islam, who would believe him? Who would think it was only Islam? Even if this person did not openly mention generations of racial violence perpetrated by the KKK, everyone would know it was at the crux of the incident. When it comes to todays narrative of Islam, usually the narrative begins with foreign Muslims who are the “problem.” There is a lack of sophistication and nuance when speaking about terrorism coming from Muslims which makes it difficult, damn near impossible, to come to a solution.  The problem is not social or political when talking about Palestine, its simply, Islam. The fact is majority of people know nothing on the plight of Palestinians or Islam.

Many have to deal with seeing the KKK on television, saying that they have changed their ways, they are less violent. I wonder what is the next level of violence below, hanging women and children from a tree with their hands tied behind their back? Perhaps, shooting them in broad daylight while wearing a badge? I am not sure. Pardon me if I refuse to believe the KKK can suddenly come to the conclusion that anything not white has a reason for living.

Those people who opposed abolishing slavery, reconstruction, voting rights, civil rights, these people did not change their minds in the process about black people. They opposed the equality of black people at every angle. After the 13th amendment was signed into law, southern states quickly passed Jim Crow laws which bared blacks from many public spaces. The interesting thing to note is while all of this was happening these public spaces were being funded by black tax money. During the George Wallace’s 1963 inauguration speech as Governor of Alabama, not only paying tribute to Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy, with a Confederate flag draped over the podium

“Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”

And black people had to stand and watch. Stand and watch while the governor of the state they lived in swore a pledge to segregation. That was 1963 though. Things are better. We just have a presidential nominee calling for a wall to be built along the Mexican border and all Muslims to bared from the country. We can witness a citizen being shot six times by a police officer and quickly defend this as reasonable on behalf of the police officer.

As the Qur’an reminds me, it is the heart that needs to change before one true healing can occur. When a society can use a mug shot of a murdered man, ask a woman “what were you wearing?”, and write songs about a murdered child, the heart that society is truly diseased.  Is there solution, press the reset button and start again? This society seems to need a dose of empathy; the ability to to understand and share the feelings of others. In this case, not just the feelings of a person but, an entire demographic. So much time has passed between the time Fredrick Douglass wrote his autobiography and since Malcolm X wrote his but they’re saying the same thing.

Something isn’t right with this country. 

      - Amir M. Webb 

Published by Amir Webb