Black Muslims stress unity in challenging time

By | April 17, 2017

In her job as a refugee case manager, Fatimah Farooq would come to work in a hijab and speak with her clients in Arabic. Nonetheless, she found herself being asked whether she was Muslim.

It’s not easy, Farooq says, navigating her dual identities as black and Muslim.

“I’m constantly trying to prove that I belong,” said Farooq, who now works in public health. “It’s really hard not to be an outsider in a community — especially today, in the current times.”

Many Muslims are reeling from a U.S. presidential administration that’s cracked down on immigrants, including through the introduction of a travel ban that suspends new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries and is now tied up in court. But black American-born Muslims say they have been pushed to the edges of the conversations — even by those who share the same religion.

They say they often feel discrimination on multiple fronts: for being black, for being Muslim and for being black and Muslim among a population of immigrant Muslims. Farooq, whose Sudanese parents came to the U.S. before she was born, said her own family used to attend a largely African-American mosque but then moved to a predominantly Arab one — yet in both cases still felt like “outsiders.” (South Bend Tribune)

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