To be a Black. Convert Muslim. Female.

Hello everyone. My blog has been rescued from the depths of oblivion after I have read quite a few blogs for the “Convert Truths” blog carnival and felt compelled to contribute. (And yes, I’m way late…sue me). I wanted to share what my own personal experience has been like as a Black, convert Muslim, female living in the United States. Here goes:

I wish I could tell you about the beauty. I wish I could tell you that I took shahadah after being fascinated with Islam and seeing the goodness of Muslims. I wish I could tell you how I found a family, a community and a new place to exist. I really wish I could. And I wish that because I am quite aware of the fact that Muslims don’t want to hear my kind of story. It’s too painful and too much truth for one person to digest. The reality is my convert experience has been a rocky one. It has been, at times, fraught with doubt and confusion as to why I chose to be a part of this community and around these particular people. Once the initial convert zeal wore off, I found myself in a miserable circumstance.

Many of you are quite aware of my story. For those who aren’t I can give you the quick rundown. I converted to Islam when I was 17 years old. I was initially part of the predominately African-American masjid where I took shahadah but became distant from the community after it folded due to mismanagement, personal scandals and a failure to help new converts like myself navigate the pitfalls of the larger world around us. Unwittingly, I fell in with members of the Tablighi Jumat (though I never officially joined it) and eventually the Salafi movement (which I also never officially joined) because my Muslim friends and support were part of these movements. I was only able to maintain that level of Islam for a couple years before I found myself burnt out, tired and wanting more. I “took a break” from practicing Islam for several years. I eventually found my way back after I moved to South Florida and became part of a Caribbean Indian and Indo-Pak mixture community. That is where it all began…

If you ask me what it has been like to be a Black, convert, Muslim, female I will reiterate it has been rough. Having spent most of my Muslim experience in non-Black immigrant communities, I have faced a great deal of racism, sexism and colorism. Though I often heard how we are “all Muslim” and have been reminded of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) last sermon where he says, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action,” the reality amongst Muslims was and is far from the ideal. Beyond all the beautiful speeches given to me by my Indian, Pakistani, Caribbean Indian, and Arab brothers and sisters I realized that being Black, a woman and a convert made me less than. The litmus test was marriage. I watched as my fair-skinned Latina friends were repeatedly asked for their hand in marriage. I watched as the White female converts were held in high esteem and absorbed into immigrant Muslim families (their babies will be so fair, mashallah!) and I laughed inwardly at the sisters’ tales of being proposed to at the annual ISNA convention because that NEVER happened to me. Yet, I continued to subject myself to this mistreatment because I didn’t know what else I was supposed to do. It occurred to me that my presence was being tolerated. I was angry at myself because the Afrocentric movement was what had led me to Islam. Before becoming Muslim I was confident and proud of the color of my skin, the texture of my hair, the shape of my nose and of my slave ancestors. How did I move from that to being ashamed of taking off my hijab at sisters’ only events? How could I sit silently as people insulted my skin color or asked me if I was a convert or Muslim? What happened to me?

I eventually woke up. I divorced the Arab husband I was married to, left the masjid that I had been attending and rediscovered/reclaimed my identity. I was free and ready to reconnect with my people, Black people. One would think that moving to a predominately African-American Muslim community would’ve been better for me. I thought I would find myself welcomed into my local W.D. Muhammad masjid with full and open arms. I was coming home! However, from the moment I set foot in the masjid I immediately knew I was an outsider, not to be welcomed in. This time it wasn’t because of my skin color or cultural background. I was an outsider because I wasn’t part of the Nation of Islam experience and I didn’t have an entire family who was. I was also an outsider because I was attractive, single and a threat to the sisters. The fact that I wore abayas, full hijab and tended to be more conservative (due to the years I spent in immigrant Muslim communities) didn’t help either. Sure, I could come to Jumah, participate in community events or even help out with the tasks the masjid administration assigned to me but I got the message loud and clear: don’t think you’re going to come in here and change things or try to be a better Muslim than us. Nepotism was the order of the day and I had no family connections.

Outside of the Muslim community I found myself in a strange predicament. Before 9/11 people would assume that I was from the Nation of Islam. That’s what being Black and Muslim meant. However, after 9/11 I was suddenly “foreign” and from “over there.” People assumed I didn’t speak English, that I was passive and docile, and that someone was forcing me to cover my hair and body. The strangest part of all was that Black people no longer recognized me as Black. My light brown skin (once considered too dark in Arab and Indian/Pakistani communities) combined with my hijab made people assume I was East African or a “Black Arab.” There were no head nods, complicit glances, or casual words spoken to me from other Black people. Somehow, being Black meant you had to be Christian. To be anything else was to be a cultural apostate.

One may ask, why be Muslim then? Why don’t you just leave? Why subject yourself to this? After all, I have had so many negative experiences in the Muslim community. Best believe that I have asked myself these questions many times since I converted. To sit here and say that I haven’t would be a lie. So, why do it? Why remain here? I believe without a doubt or hesitation that there is no nothing or no one worthy of worship of worship except Allah (who has no partners, no equals, no sons) and that the Prophet Muhammad ibn Abdullah is his messenger and the seal of all Prophets. If I left Islam where would I go and who would I be? Despite the negative experiences I have had and continue to have, the Quran has offered me guidance and peace during these tumultuous times. After all, when I am focused, when I remind myself of my purpose, when I lay that rug out and face the kiblah, I remember that there is nothing and no one else in the world except me and Allah.

81 responses to “To be a Black. Convert Muslim. Female.

  1. Asalaamu Alaikum

    Masha Allah your last paragraph made me cry. I’m a white convert but still have yet to be accepted. I also married a Malaysian, double whammy, Malays are minorities here. We are left out of everything. Like you my belief is the only thing that keeps me holding on.

  2. SubhanAllah, it is truly a test for those up to the challenge.

  3. Pingback: To be a Black. Convert Muslim. Female. –LINK LOVE « Rolling Ruminations

  4. Powerful post. MashaAllah & Allah Akbar at the last paragraph, in the end it is what matters and what we will take to the grave. And I see totally what you mean about the racism etc you mentioned in immigrant communities. If you look at what all immigrant communities have in common is that no matter Asia, Middle East, Latin America, and even Africa (sadly), they have all been colonized by Europe. They may have gained physical freedom, but they are still enslaved mentally in how they view skin color, which is still evident today in being obsessed with lighter skin or with white people in general within the former colonized communities. It’s sad, but I guess we can only do our best within ourselves and in our inner circle to battle this mentality and truly follow our deen not just with our mouths but hearts and actions as well. InshaAllah all the best!

  5. Salaams Dear. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

  6. Thanks for sharing this story. I’m Black, female, and was raised Muslim, but still identify with a lot of what you experienced. I was raised in the WD Muhammad community, but as an adult I branched out. I still feel most “at home” at their masjids, but I’m still searching for that community that feels just right. It may not exist – maybe my expectations or standards are unrealistic – but I’ll continue to it seek out.

  7. Peace. I agree, from experience, that conversion is difficult. You lose all your affiliations from you previous incarnation only to be embraced with suspicion in the new. Stay strong and keep your heart focused on how you have decided to live your life.

  8. Masha Allah, may Allah continue to guide you.

    I say create your own group of people who are accepting. Maybe your local mosque will let you have a weekly hour for reverts? Mosques should be accessible to everyone. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for new comers. Sadly our mosque is not really a social place. We go there to pray or to listen to a talk and then we have our own lives/events outside the mosque. So there is no real ‘community’ thing going on.

  9. YAY you are blogging again! You left us hanging for a while girl,lol!

    But back to your actual post: I am glad you shared this. While the issues that you address were not the number one reason for me leaving Islam,they were certainly a contributing factor. And it is very frustrating to have Muslims tell me that all of things I witnessed in my brief sojourn into Islam are all figments of my imagination:
    ” There is NO RACISM in Islam, sister! No prejudice! Islam is always universal peace and brotherhood. There is no sexism either. Women are never mistreated and always honored. And if you believe otherwise then you have simply fallen victim to the Islamophobic/Zionist conspiracy to besmirch the good name of Islam.”

    RIIGHT. I guess these people believe that if they endlessly parrot this nonsense it will make it true. And people are so surprised that so many converts walk away…

  10. As Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullaah Uhkti !

    Thank you!!! :))

  11. Great post.

    I hear the same thing again and again from African American female converts about experiences in recent immigrant communities (and also from converts living with me in the Khaleej)…especially the part about proposals. The community racism is so visible in every corner, and so divisive, but we so frequently hear the rhetoric about ‘no racism in Islam.’ And unsurprisingly, one hears some of the same excuses to avoid discussions of internal racism that we hear from the mainstream white American community. “It is YOU who is bringing up race, you are sensitive, you have a problem.” What a huge shame—it is something would benefit the ummah so much if it were tackled.

    I think many of us converts find ourselves on a lonely road, and I am inspired by your solace in remaining as a Muslim, Mashallah despite whatever difficulties you face.

  12. Thank you everyone for your responses. I also failed to mention that my Caribbean background also alienates me as well. While there is no doubt that I am Black and am part of the Black community, I am also Jamaican. I have been surprised by the reaction I get sometimes from African-American Muslims when I tell them this. They start conjuring up all the stereotypes about Jamaicans and Jamaica- which is very annoying. More importantly than the stereotypes though, I am coming to realize the subtle ways that my Jamaicaness has influenced me and sometimes seperates me from African-Americans. I know that I often come across as formal and proper. My husband reminds me of this from time to time. After all, my old school Jamaican grandmother had an incredible amount of influence on me.

    For the sake of space I won’t go into detail but you check one of my older posts about the tensions between West Indians and African-Americans: http://jamericanmuslimah.wordpress.com/2008/03/28/black-west-indian-and-african-american-tension-my-two-cents/

    • Salaam Alaikum Sister…

      Your doing the right thing. When we face the hardest tribulations, I know it’s one of Allah’s tests of faith.

  13. Yet another interesting post about the West Indian vs. AA identity issue. Besides the spiritual and religious aspects of your conversion, have you ever thought about how taking on ‘Muslim’ as a solid identity (how it may have seemed at the time, obviously once u r a Muslim it is clearly more fluid than that) played into your younger issues with biculturality? I am white but my parents are religiously intermarried (Jewish-Catholic) and occasionally I come across convert narratives expressing similar ideas…I never would have said it at the time I converted, but in retrospect, being bicultural/product of interfaith marriage and choosing Islam are connected to how I felt neither here nor there. Just a thought…hope I am not reading in too much or over analyzing in an unwelcomed way.

    • You know luckyfatima, I have thought about it. However, that bicultural identity conflict was something I experienced when I was younger. I have made peace with my Jamaican and African-American identities and fully take my place as a “Jamerican.” As I mentioned in the post, West Indians and African-Americans enjoy a long, intertwined history that has at times been ignored. That also helped me to make peace between the two identities.

      By contrast, my inability to find a place in the Muslim community has more to due with the inflexible nature of most Muslim communities and their unwillingness to accept the diversity that exists within our community. (And by diversity I don’t just mean ethnic diversity. I also mean it in terms of how others choose to apply Islam to their lives and the rich life experience that a person may bring to the religion). To be quite honest, the tribal mentality that exists in the Muslim community is stronger than any I have ever experienced. And maybe that’s because people seem so comfortable in it. I don’t really know.

  14. Salaam,
    Masya’Allah, just found the answer I’ve been looking for, SubhanaLlah… you light my way…

  15. Salaamu Alaykum, reading your story I can relate to so much of what you said and I’m not a revert. I live in Minnesota and happen to be East African (Somali). When I first began really trying to practice the deen, I would go to the masjid (the one at Dar-al-Farooq). I’ve never seen so much division in my life, and it was shocking for me to realize that muslims are so divided! I was so naive to think muslims were somehow “better” than other people in the world. I remember in that masjid, the Somalis sit in one corner, the Arabs sit in another corner, and the reverts/lighter skin people who are more “American” sit in another corner. No one even says salaam to eachother if they’re not the same color. In fact, I stopped going to that masjid because I felt they looked down on me being I am a “immigrant” from Somalia who happens to be “black” also. I started going to a masjid that is predominately Somali, and although I love to see diversity in the masjid, I felt more accepted there. I also went to the masjid to make friends also, not just to pray. It’s sad that’s how muslims have to be today. I have noticed white revert sisters are more beloved among the Arabs/Pakistanis for some reason. I don’t think the Somalis could care less though. Anyways, good luck sister. Thanks for sharing your story. I love your blog!

    • Walaikum salaam. Sahra, I also live in Minnesota and also used to attend Dar-al-Farooq. I stopped going to that masjid for the same reasons you listed. I noticed what you’re talking about almost immediately (when I was new I accidentally sat in the ‘Arab corner’ and a Somali/Kenya sister ‘rescued’ me.) I continued going there only because my husband at the time loved it. Unfortunately for me, there is no other masjid in the Twin Cities that I feel comfortable joining- as in becoming a part of the community. I may go to Jumah but that’s about it. And you are so right, the White revert sisters (and brothers) are beloved by Arabs and Pakistanis here. I would have to add to a lesser extent by Somalis too. I am aware of how taboo it is for Somali sisters (especially) to marry outside but when they do, it seems to go over better if he is White.

      • sonyamazhar

        Salaam Alaikum Sisters Sahra and Boss Lady. I also live in MN. I too have a husband that likes Dar-al-Farooq. I have never actually been there myself. I also face my share of unacceptance in the muslim community. Although I am from here and am Caucasian and East Indian. My mother and Step-Father were Christian and I studied many different religions before choosing Islam. My husband is from Morocco and is Arab. Actually the Moroccan community has welcomed me with open arms, but for some reason I seem to receive mixed reactions from others. Yes even other Arab Muslims. I can definitely feel when it has do with race. It is very disappointing that this is an issue for any of us. The times that I have picked my husband up at Dar-al-Farooq, I have received terrible looks coming from the women there and it has made me feel so uncomfortable. Combined with the fact that I am just learning how to pray, (so that I really don’t know what I’m doing), that I have yet to go in. I am a person that doesn’t see MY color, doesn’t see OTHER people’s color, but I am acutely aware that the world around me does and I have a hard time swallowing that. I have spent many a night literally crying out loud at how sad I feel for our human race and what we are doing to each other. Not just in the Muslim community. And not just the subject of race. We create our own demise. This is the first time I have ever spoken to anyone about this matter. I guess you opened up the flood gates :) I normally spend my time doing and saying positive things with the people I come into contact with in this world on an everyday basis, so as to pass along the wisdom that I have learned from others before me. It’s the “Pay It Forward” system of philosophy I tend to live by everyday. But maybe it’s good that this subject is right on the table so that it may be addressed. Hopefully this conversation will inspire others to come forward and we can find some solution. You know what they say, communication is key! I thank you for posting this. And remember when our trials and tribulations are the hardest, it’s Allah’s test to our faith. Stay strong sisters. I’m sorry for your pain. Truly… May this not be an issue for any of us one day, Inshallah…

  16. Wow sister! We agree on everything! That is why when I “stumbled” on your blog, I was like “wow, this is exactly how I see things” haha. I guess this is a micro-cosm of why the “muslim” world is in this utter mess today. This is only the micro level which equals the big picture of the state of muslims today. Luckily, there are people like you and I who see this and don’t go that route, insha’Allah.

  17. Al salam Alaikom
    This very bad state of affairs of the Muslim communities in your part of the world is not unique. I live in the Middle East, and people stratify themselves into small prejudiced groups as well. It is so sadly ridiculous! The very important idea I want to get across is that we as Arab, Muslim-born Middle Eastern peolple also experiance prejudices from people who most “outwardly” resemble us, but no sister, you might be closer to me than than those people whom I encounter and daily interact with, in my own tribal region in the country I’m from. Do you know why? Because, we are sisters in Islam in the true sense of the word. The Islam with no racism. The proper understanding of Islam is the the strength that binds Muslims together even though we might live seas apart literally. I do get subject to “shunning” too, but I should try to be strong enough to guide people back to the proper understanding of Islam in my part of the world, and so should you in your part of the world. You seem to be strong charactered, so change the flow in those Muslim communities you go to. I lived in the States for nearly five years, and if you had sat next to me in one of the masjids then rest assured you would have found no prejudice nor racism on my part nor on the part of Muslims who carry in their hearts a true understanding of Islam. The prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi wa sallam) said: “It is enough evil for a Muslim to look down upon his (Muslim) brother.” {Narrated by Muslim}. This is the understanding of Islam that we, as true Muslims Inshallah, should teach others to have, in both parts of the world.

  18. As Salaamu Alaikum! Thank you so much for sharing this! Glad to see someone else saw and felt the same experiences as myself!

  19. @I am aware of how taboo it is for Somali sisters (especially) to marry outside but when they do, it seems to go over better if he is White.

    The reason here is cultural rather then race (black vs white) for Somalis. Unfortunately, I believe people relate African Americans/Black Americans (not blacks in general, only those from the Americas) with hip-hop/gangster/not family oriented (read: negative stereotypes seen in the media for black men), and even with Islam, people view generally that the baggage of that culture is still carried by the AA male convert. I stress the men, because this view is directed just at the men, not women as far as I know. Sisters, especially muhajaba’s regardless of race and background are seen as one for Somalis and that is why the difficulty is far more for a girl marrying an AA convert, people sadly give white’s a better standing, because of the influence of the media and popular culture etc. It’s still wrong, yes, but it has nothing to due with race-as in the color of skin.
    wa salaam

  20. As-salaamu ‘alaykum.
    I don’t want to scare anyone away, but I am an African-American muhajibah who is working on a book. I’m not sure when or if I will finish it, bi idhnillah, but would you mind if I included some of your thoughts? Would you like me to remove your identities, or would you like to wait til I’m done, in sha’ Allah, and let you decide based on what I write? Would you like to review my work anyway at some point? I’m not a writer by trade, I don’t blog, have rarely read any to date, and haven’t journaled in years.

  21. Nadirah Rasheed

    as salaamu alaikum my dear Sister
    i’m an older AA sister who reverted to Islam in 1972, and though my experience was not as tumultuous as yours i have witnessed in some shape or form all of what you have spoken about, and i can see that all of those experiences have made you stronger in your iman, which is what that was all about. those test were specifically designed for you by Allah so that you may strengthen your connection to and your relationship with Allah (swt). al Hamdulillah. because Muslims have been disobeying Allah for many many years we are faced with all of these issues of race, discrimination, oppression, wars etc. one of the things that i tell a young revert sister friend of mine is that all of us are tested continuously because Allah wants us to be better and we are all tested with something and we will continue to be tested with something until the day we return to Allah. so hang in there because despite all the bad experiences they were in reality good experiences because they brought you back to Allah. one last comment, i also tell my young revert sister friend that, if Islam was about the people i wouldn’t be Muslim, what would be the point with all the bad behavior of some of the Muslims. al Hamdulillah Allah loves you.

  22. Nadirah Rasheed

    comment complete

  23. Salam Alaikum,

    As others have also said, your last comment made me want to cry! I’d love to be your friend ;-)

    Born and raised in the USA, coming from both Arab and Latino parents, I find it difficult to live as a Muslim American when there is a predominantly Arab, African, and Southwest Asian Muslim community all around me. Although I had been in an Islamic School (surrounded by people of my faith) I never really connected with anyone of them. There was always a barrier separating me from the other girls. I have fair skin and although some may think its “easier” to connect with other people, esp Muslims, it isn’t. I tend to have much more Latina (non-Muslim) friends than anything else. I always tell my parents “I’m not Arab, I’m a Muslim-American”. I don’t care to join or be part of any Muslim community functions. I feel that the years I spent in Elementary, Middle & High School were enough integration with “those types of people.” I sometimes feel like i’m having an identity crisis. I love my religion with all my heart, but the majority of people who practice my religion don’t seem to connect with me on a personal level. My likes aren’t theres, what I enjoy doing on my spare time isn’t theres, etc.

    As you’ve mentioned, being covered up sometimes doesn’t help when we want to be married. I am now in my early 30s and every Muslim girl I know (older or younger) who is covered, isn’t married. The majority of girls getting married are either uncovered, or not practicing. I find that men who want a covered girl are not the types of men I want anywhere near me. haha

    I ask Allah to guide us in the straight path. I tend to pray in the middle of the night, especially an hour before Salat Al Fajer. My mom tells me to pray two raq’at (just for Allah) and then raise my hands towards the heavens and ask Allah for help~ whatever it may be. I ask Allah to help us in our lives and give us the strength to stay strong and patient, for his sake. May Allah grant us our wishes, whether it be in this life, or the next. Ameen.

    • Walaikum salaam. Thank you for responding to my post. I pray that Allah strengthen us and help us rid the ummah of this sickness.

    • Assalam waleikum warahmatullawabarakatu….. sis, mashallah your predicament on marriage is facing many of our sisters, but on the contrary we men tend to like covered ladies, but sorry for interjecting but i think your too choosy(forgive me if im wrong)……there is no perfect soul-mate,no prince charming sweeping you off-your feet, maybe the guys your ignoring look so holy-joe but within them their might be a romantic bone…….by the way im basing my argument on the assumption that your declining offers due to them looking unromantic(forgive me once again) marriage is a contract, a give-and-take. About prayers in the late hours of the night……mashallah……Allah loves it and inshallah may Allah guide us to the right spouses…….its a trial, Allah wants to see if we are patient enough, inshallah He will reward you here and hereafter……sorry if i sounded obnoxious…….

      • Walaikum salaam wa rahmatuallhi wa barakatu. I’m already married brother. I suppose you didn’t read any of my other posts…

  24. Paul Talib Carter

    Mashallah. Your post was very powerful, and I can relate to your story very well. I am white, I converted to Islam within the last year, I am engaged to a Somali woman, and I am hated among the Somali-Muslim community. I have tried to explain my case, and I am at the point now that I have no problem with expressing my views without acknowledging the ridicule I most often receive. My christian parents, and my non-religious friends are able to accept me for being Muslim, but the people I pray with, and share common beliefs with look down on me because of my skin color and heritage.
    Your last paragraph, is exactly what I would have written if I were writing this post, because although there is a lot of pain with being a Muslim in different communities, I cannot imagine a life without the guidance I have received from Allah (swt) and the Holy Quran.
    As-salaamu ‘alaykum

    • Paul, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’ve always wondered what the experience was like for White Muslims who intermarry into the Somali community. It so unforunate that we have to turn away from some of our own Muslim brothers and sisters in order to preserve our Islam. Some people have told me “just rely on Allah” and I really think that’s a cop out. At the core of Muslim life is community. Why should we have to go away? Why can’t the culprits be addressed?

    • Dear Talib, assalamu alaykum.
      First of all may Allaah bless you and protect you and your future wife. I’m an italian, born in Mogadishu, lived there since the civil war started the last day of december 1990. I also converted to Islaam in 1983 and sometime later married a beatiful somali girl, she became my wife and we have three children, alhamdulillaah. I can easily guess and know what’s your feeling, and in general the topic of this post, because it is the same I felt for a long time despite the fact that I speak somali very well and I can say that it is my second mother tongue. You can ask your future wife the meaning of the word “suusac” :-)). My simple and humble advice it is to take advantage of the resources you have. I mean you’re in the Us and alhamdulillaah it would be easy for you gaining some basic and correct islamic knowledge, there are a lot of good shuyuukh. The more you grow in the understanding of your religion, the sooner this loneliness will leave you, I assure you. Put your trust in Allaah and try to follow some seerah lessons, in a sane and healthy social environment, (physical or virtual). This is the miracle. Ilaahey ha idinla garab galo. Haddii aad doonto, waad ila soo xariirin kartaa. Sorry for my written english. Wa salaamu alaykum.

  25. Aslaamu Alaykum dear sister where is all of this coming from. I am a black sister myself and to a point i understand what you mean about the attempts of some to degrade me. But you have to understand that no matter who you are black or white there will always be that antagonist who tries to bully or stamp on you, unfortunately its human nature. I am not justfiying it but i bet you are probably better looking than half of the more “beloved” women you are talking about. Who cares if someone gets more proposals than you, perhaps you were at an predominantly asian or arab setting so naturally these women will be selected. You have to stop dwelling on trival matters such as these as everything is in Allah s.w.t hands. If you get up at night and ask Allah sincerly for a good husband who will love you inside out and is khair for you inshallah with time and paitience your wish will be granted. My mother who is also black got married to black and white men and she is over 40 years old. I guess the fact that she was stunning and practicing got her the deal and but mostly it was Allahs will. I have had experiences were people would try to pick on me due to my skin colour (i am not being arrogant but i was better looking aesthically than most of them i.e height body ,facial features etc). I am not trying to put down other non black sisters i have friends who are not black. What im trying to say is these ideologies about the fair wife and the ugly mistress is an old racist mentality that dispells all reality and is distorted in itself. Unfortunatley some weird backward muslims may have this mentality but if you have faith in Allah s.w.t then you should not care about these things at all.
    wasalaam sister

    • Walaikum salaam,

      For the record, I am already married to a wonderful man.

      However, I am not in agreement with you that I should just ignore or not “dwell” on these “trivial matters.” Someone has to speak up about what’s happening in the community. Our silence is complicity. The problem in many immigrant Muslim communities is that there is wonderful talk of us all being Muslim, brothers and sisters in Islam and how there is no racism in our religion. Meanwhile, privilege based on skin color reigns…

  26. Salams!

    A friend of mine pointed me to your post and I’m so happy! I’m a Caribbean-American sister who lived in Minnesota before moving to Seattle.
    I’m fortunate to attend a masjid that is committed to diversity (age, race, experience)– but I don’t think I’d go so much for social interactions. I’m half-convert/half born Muslim and in reasserting my faith, I knew that part of me, inshaAllah, would have to find my own space– one that wasn’t afraid to speak out on all oppression, who agreed with my values and valued me as a person. Much of the time that isn’t in a masjid, but it doesn’t relieve me from my obligation to follow Allah’s commands to fight against oppression wherever it is.
    I’m not sure what the point of my comment is other than to say that there are people out there working to realize the reality of Allah’s word and the Prophet’s guidance.

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  28. Salaam alaikum sis!
    I’m so late to this post. But I relate in so many ways. I had the hiatus from practice and struggled to find my way back. My conversion story is a tough one too. But the more and more I talk to sisters from the African Diaspora, the more I see the same pattern. I still have a lot of thoughts, so I’ll return as soon as I can catch my breath.

  29. MashaAllah this is really very inspiring. Exactly what I and many others needed to hear. Thank you!

  30. Assalamu ‘allayka sister,
    It’s been two years since I last read your blog. Jazakallah khair for sharing your revert story. I am sad to hear the tough part of you reverted life. I have a question though, have you not met any indo-pak or arab muslims that are attracted to black girls. I am south asian and most of my friends in middle and high school were black (carribeans) or east africans. I was very attracted to black girls at a young age. Facially, I find a lot of black girls and east africans. Brothers say that I just I’m attracted to pretty girls but I’m attracted to women with certain kind of facial features, so i dont find that many indo-pak girls attractive. Anyway, I have now got close to the east African community, one reason being that the ones I’m surrounded with are close to Quran and Sunnah and the way of the salaf, Mashallah. And also there’s something about them that brings ans warmth and comfort inside you. I feel very uncomfortable going all indo-pak masjids and I know someone else who is like that to with his own community. He is east african not Somali though. But, we’re the same. I was also very fond of the African-American Muslim community but there are very few of them in Canada. I heard some of the black poeple that fit the “African-American” classification are mainly in Nova Scotia. Or they first resided there. Anyway, I donno about other non black men. Black is beautiful to me. Beauty come in all color, shapes and sizes. But, Alhamdolillah, you clinged to the religion for the right reasons. May Allah Reward you. I hope your int he best health and Iman.

    • Walaikum salaam MK,

      Unfortunately, that has not been my experience with Indo-Pak or Arab women- for the most part. In my experience things worked well as long as I stayed in a subjugated position and did not bring up race, discrimination or prejudice too often. (Even if it was happening to me on a regular basis).

  31. Im sorry sister i didn’t know you were married. Surely the fact you are married highlights the different mentalities of people. Yes of course these issues should be addressed and its good your are speaking up but all im saying is that if these racists ignore quran and sunnah and practice racism then i doubt they will liesten to you or anyone else on that matter. There are more important things to consider than dwell and waste your time on racists beacause the non racist muslims outnumer the racist muslims . At the end of the day you are on this world to worship God its then you will find inner peace, people will never change move on

  32. As salaamu alaikum,

    You made me cry! But I totally identify with everything you have written! I grew up Muslim in NY (not far from NYC) and my father is an Imam, so as a child, I grew up going to all sorts of masjids on Friday evenings (Pakistani, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem, Masjid At-Taqwa in Brooklyn, Senegalese Jamme Masjid and many, many others in communities all over the east coast). I went to college in Atlanta, where I felt alienated in my encounters with W.D. Muhammed masjid-affiliated Muslims. Many were nice and I appreciated their organization, and there being an outlet for African Americans who would like to be Muslim while retaining some of their cultural identity, but I did not feel comfortable and did not see a path to “belonging” in their society.

    Your post brings to mind so many issues and personal experiences: Lots of racism, colorism, sexism, and people looking down on others, especially black and poor people, but also between groups such as Indian/Pakistani as well – very disappointing. Also, for converts/reverts, the whole issue of appropriating the dominant culture that comes along with the Muslims of whatever masjid they are attending, as if it was all a religious mandate, when a lot of it is actually un-Islamic. Or being superior/a better Muslim because you speak Arabic fluently. The institutionalized brothers and the sisters that (serially) marry them. Sister competition/drama…even though I understand it from the perspective of all the Muslim wives who went through having 6 kids with some difficult-to-live-with brother and he runs off to get with the newly converted 18-yr old sister, or brings a surprise wife back with him at the conclusion of religious studies in Yemen. And so much more…perhaps I’ll add to this when I get a chance to think about it more. I LOVE THIS POST!!! I am not alone. Jazakallah Khair! (Please note that I have also had many wonderful experiences with Muslims, particularly those who are of different ethnicities than my own. I do think that there is a lot of Islamic guidance that encourages and facilitates these beneficial interactions between Muslims. But…it is a struggle and sometimes we don’t think about the effects our actions or inactions have on other people.)

  33. “Islam began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings to the strangers.”

  34. Salam,
    I would like to thank you for posting this. This is so sad and it is a hard pill for some to swallow but it is the TRUTH. I am a new revert and I live in Richardson Texas. We have a very diverse community here and the people are welcoming for the most part. But I have experienced some of the things that you speak of. Although not to that extent but I have had my share of experiences none the less. At first I thought it was just me and that I was making something out of nothing. But it quickly became apparent that it was not my imagination and that this is how things are. I noticed that white sisters are the most sought after for marriage. I had a revert sister tell me this weekend how it is going to be very easy for her to marry off her daughters “because they have the look (blond hair and blue eyes) that all men want” Really? In Islam too? I thought I was escaping this mentality by becoming a Muslim. The diversity is the second thing that attracted me to the ummah. I had a sister tell me early on “don’t get caught up in the people. Yes, they are Muslims but they are still people”. Now I understand what she meant. Sister, I asked the same questions and came to the same conclusion! Alhamdulillah!!!!

  35. Great post sister Jamerica once again you keep it real about issues that are on the burner in our community.Like you my mother is from Barbados and my father is Africian Americian.Alot of people don’t know unless I tell them.It is really a shame that so many sisters have to go through so much pain in finding a masjid that they can feel comfortiable in.Many sisters are alientated after taking shahada.They have bad expierences with rude muslims who are either over zealouis in etnicity or religious extremism.When I mean religious extremism iI mean they don’t understand the context of the sources they are referencing.Racism in this ummah just unfortunely isn’t going away to many people are in denial.And they are quick to give a Islamic utopia speach in stead of dealing with the matter .Also the din is being water down by certain groups and they want us grass roots people to shut the hell up!Unfortunely to many of us shut up under the guise of protecing unveralism Islam.Somebody like you is deemed a trouble maker.As far W.D. Muhammad communties you have some revisionist who are trying to make him in some great leader.That communties problem with the Quran and Sunnag stemmed from him and many of his leadership who spoke aganist scholarship,hadith science,promoted W.D. Muhammad explantation of Quran.Acourse you would be alientated if you trying to follow Islam correctly.Unfortunely that community could have been a great benefit to BAM and the greater Afro Americian community and blew it.On the real side being black in where in the world you are subjacated by others for the color of your skin.We all know of the tragic stories of BAM who went abroad to study and there expierences.My good freind Imam Ramey Muhammad told me about the mess he expiernce in Syria!Racial,ethnic,and class chauvism is much of the reasons why we are trampled upon as muslims.These cancers we need to overcome if where going to have a real ummah!

  36. As salaamu alaikum wrwb
    Oh sis, i read your email and I am still crying as I write this. This year will be 7 years since I entered the deen and its still tough. Your story very familiar to me. I am British born with Caribbean parents living in the UK. I have spent time with different groups of muslims; Tablghis, Salafis, Hizbut Tahrir and my friends range from indo-Pakistani, Arab, Sudanese, Somalian and then my revert sisters. Wow, the problems you have face almost mirror my own. Its so true, non- Muslim black folk now see me as an outsider; the black- British population used to be the bottom of the social spectrum, that was however, until 9/11, now Muslims are the new social pariah and the Black community are just relieved not to be the least desirable group anymore. I seem to pose a threat to their new found security and I notice on almost a daily basis that people from my own race and culture try hard not to acknowledge my existence(on the whole although there are exceptions), they will not return a friendly smile or a knowing look in the supermarket for fear that they are in some way associated with me (‘the Muslim’), and thus get dragged down to the bottom of the heap again. LOL it does make me laugh but can be extremely isolating at the same time.
    As for offers of marriage, while my friends were offering their brothers, cousins and friends of the family in marriage to other sisters, I was never asked. They would say things like, ‘Oh, inshaAllah, you’ll find someone” and “your a great catch, any brother would be lucky to have you”. ..Yes, any brother just not your brother! LOL To be fair some sisters were honest enough to say that their families “weren’t practising enough” to accept someone of a different race, but that’s were the discussions ended. Dont even get me started on the state of the marriage hunt now that I’m a divorcee. I seem only fit to be a co-wife!! LOL When I describe the type of brother like to marry, I get reminded not to be ‘too fussy’- Im intending to raise a family and spend the rest of my life with this man, …what do you mean, too fussy??!! They have this look like, ‘hmmm, no offence sister but in your situation, you should just take what your given and give thanks!’ LOL
    As black female convert, who has had a very comfortable upbringing and a great education, mashaAllah, it still makes me smile when people expect my conversion story to be of one who was raised poor in a ghetto by a struggling single- mother who spent my days dodging bullets and crack-heads until i realised that islam was my only way out. Yes, that is one story of the Black Muslim convert, and as authentic as that is, its just not my story. Im tired of having to change the way I speak or the words I use to make myself more acceptable to the people around me. I don’t fit the image of what a black Caribbean woman is supposed to be (I seem to have missed the memo). 
    Im a very sociable person and have lots of friends, al hamdulillah, but the isolation I feel when I know that few, if any, really know and understand me- it’s hard. Im working hard to find myself again and feel comfortable with who I am , my race, my accent my hair LOL without feeling the need to be more like the people around me. I’m trying hard not to feel the need to apologise when I am in the presence of people who I know, only tolerate me because we share the same religion. I am also reclaiming my cultural identity, falling in love with it again even if my people no longer see me as one of them.
    Its a struggle and I take each day as it comes. Dont get me wrong, I love my deen and I am so thankful that Allah SWT chose me out of millions to become Muslim and get a chance of attaining Jannah. I pray that He keeps me on the straight path and remains my True Companion. Thanks you soo much for sharing you story, you have no idea how much it has helped me. JazakiAllahu Kahir, wa salaam.

    • Walaikum salaam wrwb,

      Thank you for sharing Just Abi. We do have a lot in common! You are on point about Black non-Muslims feeling relieved that they are no longer on the bottom of the social ladder. There’s a new “other” in town and that ‘other” is Muslims. As you noted, for those of us that are Black and Muslim we find ourselves in a paradoxical and frustrating situaiton- we’re not accepted by Black people because we’re Muslim and we’re not accepted by Muslims because we’re Black. As you noted, at minimum we are tolerated because we share the same religion as non-Black Muslims. However, that tolerance seems to be based on some level of subjugation on part….

      I completely feel you on not apologizing for who you are. I am not either. I find it interesting that other ethnic groups can take pride in their cultural background- Palestianians, Egyptians, Moroccans etc. but as soon as I, as a Black person, want to take pride in my cultural background them I’m cautioned against dividing the ummah and promoting nationalism. LOL. I was telling my husband the other day that it also seems like some of the immigrant Muslims we encounter seem taken aback that we’re not trying to validate or prove ourselves to them. We’re just being who we are without deference or apology to them.

      I also had to reclaim my identity. For a minute there I was lost and confused. Not anymore. Alhamdulillah!

  37. Mashallah sister thanks for this heartfelt post. May Allah swt continue to strengthen your iman and keep you holding tight to the deen… despite people’s craziness and failings…. Inshallah you are an inspiration for people to be aware of these issues and work to change them.

  38. Salam alaikum sister. Your post was powerful and brought tears to my eyes. I came across your blog by accident, but I’m glad I did. I can relate to this post, although not totally. No two experiences are the same.

    When I converted I expected a warm welcome, but the paki and turkish muslimahs in my college completely ignored me and did not even return my salaams. In fact, it was only the black brothers and sisters who were the friendly and helpful ones (I am white, btw). Actually, my atheist/agnostic friends were kinder to me than anyone else, they didn’t care that I was not from their culture or color.

    But I am adamant and truly believe there is no racism/tribalism in Islam. I decided not to judge Islam on what “muslims” do (or don’t do). I now make it a point to quote Quran and the Prophet’s (saw) last sermon whenever I get a racial confrontation, whether they be Muslim or not.

    Anyone who treats you badly does not deserve to be in your presence. Be proud of what you are and never let anyone make you feel left out, because there are millions of other people in this world you don’t even know who would love you just the way you are. :)

    May Allah make you successful in this life and the next and guide us all, ameen.

  39. Maybe I’m wrong here but I tend to see what we call racism in the West as something not quite the the same (but certainly not any better) in the rest of the world. There is a kind of tribalism that very often treats the “other” with what my Moroccan wife would refer to as “protocol”. This insincere etiquette passes, self-deceptively, as respect for other Muslims. The litmus test is marriage. Many will not marry or permit marriage outside of their own clan. There is very often a pseudo-Islamic justification for this in which they imagine themselves to be the best Muslims, and others are never quite up to their standards. They enjoy reminding themselves of the little set of things they do get right (often, sadly, not even genuinely Islamic things, and often all rather obsessive – this I suspect as much as anything a result of their in-breeding program). Any they enjoy reminding themselves of the failings of other Muslims nations and tribes.
    The solution, it would seem, would be to focus on the strengths of others, and the weaknesses of yourself.
    They are just there, and that’s it. Expect little or nothing from them. Don’t let them use you as a mascot. Be prepared to coldly remind them of a few home truths now and again.

  40. Salaam Sister!
    InshAllah you are well :) I just wanted to say that I loved and appreciated your post. I am a Latina college student convert, it has been about 5 months Alhamdulillah. I am so so so so happy to be a Muslim Alhamdulillah! However, it has been so discouraging to hear stories from other converts about the racism they endure. It really goes against the principles of Islam, Racism is so incredibly unIslamic!
    When I personally heard someone say something about Latinos that I found pretty offensive and when I had a friend and fellow convert tell me about a really disgusting comment she heard others make about African American Muslims, it REALLY hit home that our Ummah REALLY needs to work on this and talk about it because it is NOT okay at all.
    I am so happy that there are women talking about this and bringing it to the attention of the Muslim community! JAK Sister and keep up the good work!
    Amor y paz!

  41. Salaam Ailakum Jamerican,
    I could write a very long letter about how much I enjoy your writing and how Im thankful for stummbling upon it some years ago but Ill keep this short and sweet. I think you still have a lot to share and for young struggling muslimahs like myself you’re an inspiration with deen and also other aspects of life (work,love,friendship,men,women,family,identity, etc). Please continue to write because your voice and voices like yours are seriously needed. I’m sure you’re a very busy woman, but please continue to write about things that may plague you or help you b/c many of us can relate on some level. Also as a single person marriage advice is always appreciated b/c its a lil scary out here. It would be great if you and your husband shared insights on what to look for in a partner (you mentioned in your other post he was going to share some thoughts as well). Thank you. Sincerely yours, Searching Sister

  42. Petrisor Nicolae Hamza Abdullah

    As-salam aleykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu!

    i am a white man,convert to islam alhamdulilah. i am muslim since 2008,alhamdulilah. i am sorry to hear you had so much suffering, Allah strangthen you and protect you ameen.

    i faced racism also…by not being accepted by many sisters when i asked them for marriage,by being treated like a outsider by brothers,etc etc alhamdulilah.
    The most wellcoming among muslims i found to be the black muslims,alhamdulilah.

    i have allways preferred dark skin women,that is why i will marry a black muslima inshaAllah. So i am not a racist alhamdulilah. i do believe in the equality of the human beings alhamdulilah.

    Have faith my sister in islam, Allah is with those who have patience, Allah reward you for all your suffering and give you a pious husband ameen.

  43. Omg, this is so true. I finally feel like I’m not alone. I don’t talk about feeling this way with anyone, but I hate the fact that so many people talked to me about this so-called racial equality in Muslim communities and the bliss of becoming a part of Islam. These things are true about the RELIGION, Islam offers equality, love, acceptance, peace, blah blah blah. But the people and the communities are the opposite, and I don’t know any other black female converts all I know are hispanic and white converts and it’s totally true what you say, they do face some prejudice but (just like the rest of the world) Arab and Middle Eastern Muslims are intrigued by them because of their light skin.

    It’s like, I want to be a Muslim, I will always be a Muslim but I really just want to take off my scarf, live my life and practice Islam alone and marry whoever I want because I can’t take the rejection anymore.It’s already hard enough for converts, it’s already hard enough for dark-skinned black women in America, let me just put another layer on it.

    What hurts the most is that people don’t get it, they just think you’re complaining. Anyway, I already know I’m not gonna get married, and it’s ramadan but I don’t even want to be directly identified as a Muslim anymore. It’s too heartbreaking, it’s too lonely. I just want to put my life back together. I used to be out going, proud and beautiful, now I’m just an isolated, lonely, basketcase. Happy freakin Ramadan. I’m sick of showering myself with false optimism so others will find me more tolerable. This fucking sucks.

  44. Salaams it may sound quite contrite at best but know one thing for sure.
    Allah chose you to be Muslim. Regardless of what anyone else thinks or may feel about you. Remain steadfast and make dua for what you need.
    Allah is the best of knowers for sure.
    I didn’t come to Al-Islam through the Nation so I have had little understanding of it till I saw a film recently. I knew heads up that it was not for me. When you find your home you will know it and there will be little to no doubt about it. There is much needless pain we go through as Muslims in this country already and we should be above it all among our own ranks however that is not the case. We have to be aware of one thing for sure.
    That we are all human and we have likes and dislikes that are inborn in us.
    If we have not done the internal work required to be who we are and let the others go then we have done our ownselves a great disservice for real.
    I pray that all will end up well for you and that Allah will bless you with what you need and want.

  45. Salam Walaykum,

    Dear Sister,

    Your story is inspiring and motivative. I am going to through the same problem. I am a Cape Verdean convert that was very open to knew cultures, food, people and therefore learning about Islam was another adventure for me. I never thought that Islam held all the answers, answers I was looking for and even answer to questions I never thought about before. Alhamdulillah, I converted 3 years ago, immediatly after my conversion I entered this new community I was not aware of.

    As a light Cape Verdean I will say that my experience has been quite different than yours. I moved from looking like a “brazilian and hispanic” to looking an “Arab” specifically “Moroccan and Egyptian”. This came to a shock to me as people would approach me and speak in a foreign language unfamiliar to me. What came to more shock when I would reply “I don’t speak Arabic” to almost everyone that assumes that I am Arab, the hostile look they would give right after the end of the sentence. “Why, you dont speak Arabic?” they would ask and I would soon reply with my eyes faced down ashame of my answer, “because I am not an Arab”, “You are not an Arab? Are you Muslim?”. I felt devasted, angry, confused and to top at all I had lost my identity. I no longer felt part of my Cape Verdean Community nor could I identify with Arabs.
    I felt optimistic with your essay about your coversion because although we are blessed with this new knowledge and rightious path, it is not to say that it is an easy one. The self doubt that still have and I was hoping you can advice me on is not “Why I choose this religion” but the question that is always podering in the back of my head is “Should I wear the hijab”. The hijab has been the main reason to why my family has distance themselves from me and family is absolutely everything to me. My mother almost every day consistantly says she will never forgive that she wants me to go back to my roots. Honestly, I want to be in touch with my culture but not because I put my culture above from Allah but because that is what grounds me throughout the day and most importantly because I should be proud for what Allah has choosen for me. However, I often question is wearing a hijab worth sacraficing the distance of my family and the agony and sadness of my mother? I was wondering what advise you can offer for me.
    Thank you,
    Andrea

    • Walaikum salaam Andrea,

      I honestly can’t tell you yes or no about the hijab. It’s something you will have to decide. I say this because ultimately, you will have to deal with the consequences of whatever decision you make. I have worn hijab through some difficult circumstances but I knew it was going to be difficult and I wasn’t in the position where I was going to lose my family for doing so. I honestly pray that Allah make it easy for you and that he support you in your effort to cover. (Ameen).

    • Assalam aleikum warahmatullah,
      im a kenyan presently in Sudan, and my tribe has been for centuries muslim but the fact that the first time i came to Sudan i didnt speak arabic they were shocked and even doubted my islam,at first i was so irritated! when i told them im muslim, the second question was when did i revert to islam…..he he he……i stopped getting angry and saw humor in it :)
      About hijab, sis, i would highly recommend you don it, its a symbol of purity and modesty, people of knowledge have said its not allowed to seek pleasure of the creation while disobeying your creator, islam obliges us to be obidient to our parents seeking that smile on their faces…….but you can gently and assertively explain to them the role of the hijab……maybe tell them how Mary mother of Jesus used to don it give them example of nuns :) if you seek the pleasure of Allah, i swear by Allah, He will make it easy4u, inshallah may your parents warm-up to your new faith, masalam

  46. Asaalmu alaikum sister,

    As so many others have said, my experience as a white, male convert could be summarized in the words you have so eliquently used in your last paragraph. I do not fit in in my mosque, i only rarely am greeted or spoken to but I am commonly looked upon with suspicion as though am a government plant of some sort. Though I will not miss my prayers, I typically pray at home after attending prayers at my masjid for a year, it’s just easier. And as far as marriage goes, I do not believe that I will be married, only once in the last four years has the subject been brought up by a brother, but his choice was unsuitable for many reasons. I remind myself that those aspects of what appear to be islamic practice on the part of those with whom I pray are mostly not really Islamic, they are rather extensions of the many cultures of the almost entirely immigrant community which prays at my masjid. For them they have never known any other way, for me, all I have are the Qur’an and the sunnah. But I know that, if I approach life with prayer and patience, and I do the things I know I am supposed to to do as well as I am able, and avoid those things which I am meant to avoid I will be a Muslim brother to the greatest extent that it is possible for me to be. In the end that’s all that matters. May Allah (SWT) bless you, your husband, and your family, may your faith increase, and may your heath be constant.

    Salaam

  47. Asalaykum to the brother ameen and talib can you please send me an email im very intrested in your story im a somali girl who is living in the usa im 19 and very eager to here your stories poor guys it must have been really hard for your wives too. I know how mean they can get mail me il be waiting loveamino21@yahoo.com tnx

  48. i will say im late to the party lol. i glad i found this site and inshallah more topics related.im a new convert and while i am african american i am also seeking marriagr and i have had requests from arabs to south asians to other brothers for to speak with a wali of mine however its hard as anew convert becos all of my family is christian and my dad has never been in my life and i dont have any brters…how do i get married then? alot of these brothers that have proosed were from muslim marriage sites and race didnt seem an issue but more bexos im a convert.

  49. i would really like to speak wih more seasoned african american coverts especially that live in atlanta area to talk of their own experiences esp ones that are seeking marriage as new converts email me yummipanamena@yahoo

  50. Salams Sis,

    You said you suffered racism when it came to marriage proposals yet you were married to an arab? So he must not have cared about your race since he married you. I just found it interesting you talking about the racism you have faced, yet a non-black guy proposed to you. I am an African muslimah and I haven’t really faced much of what you faced thankfully. It is unfortunate that a lot of fair skinned muslims look down on dark skinned people. Maybe for me the fact that I am surrounded by a lot of other African immigrant families may be the reason why my experience is different.

    And also about the marriage proposals, were you looking for a guy who was not black? I am sure there are plenty of black muslim men looking for black wives. If you are looking at non-black muslim men, you might have a harder time since they are naturally going to prefer women from their culture and those that share a similar complexion. However, I do agree that there is an obsession with fair skin, but there are many black people guilty of the same mentality that they claim is the reason why they are being discriminated against.

    • Khadija, what is the point of your post? Is it to negate everything that I wrote? Does the fact that you have not shared my experience mean that mine is null and void? And since ONE ARAB guy was willing to marry me does that negate all of the experience I had with racism in the Muslim community? Wow. Furthermore, the point of my post wasn’t whether there were eligible Black men for me to marry but rather that the Arab and Indian Muslim communities that I was in claimed not to care but about race or ethnicity but when it came time for marriage it was clear that their “we are one” speeches were hollow.

      You cannot erase my experience simply because it makes you feel uncomfortable.

      • Another Khadija

        Salaam Aleikoum! (I am a different Khadija)
        Sorry I come very late on this post.
        I also feel like the fact that people don’t propose to a black woman doesn’t mean they are racist. It doesn’t constitute “mistreatment” either. Some people, even black people, happen to prefer fair-skinned people, others prefer dark-skinned people. It’s their right to be attracted by a certain type of physical traits without being labelled as racist.
        You will never find a community that fits you perfectly. You can take this from one community and that from another community. You need to accept to deal with judgmental people, racist people, nice people, generous people in the same masjid. I don’t remember the exact hadith but I heard that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us that we need to be indulgent towards each other. I also learned from my west-african culture that it is important to conceal the flaws of those we consider our brothers and sisters. This doesn’t exclude a critical discussion within the community but such attitude can only improve our hearts and reinforce our love for our brothers and sisters, thus also reinforce our love for God.
        However if exposing all the ordeals you have been through help you go through these then I have nothing to say about that.
        Salaam

  51. @ Poster:
    I just saw from your picture that you are fair skinned and don’t look like the typical brown black person. You seem to have a diverse ancestry.

  52. salams sis, jaz big time for the blog masha’Allah. Can you comment on how things are right now. I am British and have been Muslim for nearly 19 years now mashallah. And even though like you the color my skin I could be anything from Asian to East African, I am still not excepted. So it is not the shade of your skin its where you are from. I haven’t had time to read all the replies which I will for research purpose because my question to you my beautiful sis (masha’Allah) is what now??? What solutions have you come up with??? Its time for chance!!!! For me in the UK, any chance I get be it through my youth work or giving treatments to the sick i convey the message and try to break down the barriers. Keep strong as Allah hears and sees ALL. xxx

  53. Sorry I am also from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago x

  54. Assalamualaikum…i am a muslim girl of 19 yrs old lives in india..
    I have a complexion of black colour… U knw even if i ws born an islam,,my cmplxn made me suffr alot..nd still suffering.. Almost all oder membrs f ma family are white in colour and ma frnds olso….so evrybody (muslim brothers and sisters) avoided me and insulted me for being black… Vot did i do?? Is dat ma mstke?? Ma brthrs nd frnds olwys keep sayn dat u r nt at all pretty….n ol,,,,,as a gal,,hw shud i feel??
    Bt allah n quran givs me d courage … Its allah hu gve us d color blak….n nw i dnt evn gt bthrd by oders wrds..y shud i??!! Allah gve me d color and i am happy wth dat….keep blf n trst in allah…..he will gve d soln….keep us olwys happy……mashah allah!!!

  55. Frankly I never got why people converted to Islam anyway to be closer to *Africa*. Islam is just like Christianity only it has managed to disguise its history in Africa. People like to blame Arab views of blacks by blaming Europeans. Always forgetting that Arabs had their own little history with slaves aided and abetted by their black converts.

    I got my own tradition and believes and I don’t need to adopt European or Arab.

    Frankly you should look into West African indigenous religions. Just a tip.

  56. Fake name (sarah)

    Asalamu Alaykum sister,

    i am really sad about what is going on nowadays especially the treatment that some black reverts face and sometimes other reverts too. Racism is everywhere as a somali living in a predominantly asian area i was subjected to racism by someone who i thought was my close friend. I know that my experiene is probably nowhere as hard as people who converted into islam (forgive me if you disagree) as i have a somali community who will remind e that i am not alone in my situation when i get over emotional. But this is where the problem lies in the first place if the ummah was not divided then no muslim would feel alienated no matter their skin colour or orogin as the ummah would stand up and help them. I had friends who called a fellow somali in front of me ” nigger” i decided to forgive that individual because they said they were sorry, but here comes the worst part . someone from school who was non black asked me if i was happy being dark skinned and i desired to be lighter and i was naive enough to think they would be my friend i know i look back in disbelied at my dumbness but i know life you learn as you go by. Then th same individual asked me if i was jealous that someone she knew who was not somali had married a somali man (i don’t even know this guy never seen him before and i even gave that sister gifts because i was happy for them at that time) she went to explain how black somali sisters always gave them (the couple) evil stares because the new bride was not black. there is more but i don’t want to give the identity of that individual away (backbiting) i think we are guilty of that from time to time. I was abused as a little girl was told i was ugly/black along those lines. In highschool one of my non black friends i was still in the asian area drew a picture of me with hair that was striaght but had the odd strand of curls in them and i asked why she said thats when you striaghtened it (coz i am black i could never in her eyes as i intrepretated ever tame the afro which i love by the way alhamdulilaah although its hard to manage and i would like it stiaght so

  57. Fake name (sarah)

    sorry i ran out of space i love my hair but after the abuse and having no black friends there are times when my self esteem go down and i know i should be happy with what Allah has given me i fight this feeling everyday. You know fake frienship never lasts as i lost contact with that individual after highschool haven’t heard from her in nearly 2 years but there are times when i get so upset. She i think was better than me in terms of the religion Allah knows best. Everyone has weaknesses maybe that was hers. I feel sorry for you , i think black sisters should support each other and other reverts (without excludign or being mean to othes as thats unislamic) lol i do not want to endorse haraam behaivour. I saw as my freinds generallt abandoned me and kept in contact with each other on FB they would link arms and mutter in their langauge not bothering to translate what they were saying.. Grew up thinking i was unsocial or unable to make friends when all along i was in a group of people who just didn’t suit me. Don’t get me wrong i met another non black sister who was asian in uni ( i know hard to believe as i write so bad) who was the sweetest person ever she ust started learning about islam and hijaab as she told me. so i emphasise i know a few incidents don’t represent the whole but it should be highlighted as its a disease that needs to be cured in order to make the ummah better. Islam is perfect but muslims (human beings who believe in Allah and the messenger) sometimes fall short so we need to remind eachothers. I ask Allah to forgive all our major and minor sins and help us to become better muslims ameen.

  58. I’ve just come across this post and damn! I totally get where you’re coming from. Although I was born and raised a Muslim in the Pak community in a suburb of London I never fitted in due to not fitting the stereotype. I had interests in things outside of religion and outside of the community norms. When I got to university I joined the Islamic Society to gain a better understanding of Islam and everything you described in this post…well it happens in the UK too! Again I didn’t fit in the society and reasons for me not fitting in, one could argue were things such as not being Muslim enough. Such as talking and hanging out in mixed gender groups of friends outside of the Islamic Society. Wearing completely ‘western’ clothing and lisetning to music all deemed me a bit of an outsider. I did see everything going on in terms of racial divides and subtle prejudices against darkness/lightness of skin, only in relation to the women though.

  59. You can not depend on any one but Allah,.Be a leader and not a follower.Your belief and faith is yours alone.Between you and Allah.How can you expect and depend on other humans.
    http://justquraan.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/allah-is-sufficient-for-us-and-he-is-al-wakeel/

  60. 786

    The reality is that racism is a negative aspect of humanity that religion can never truely dissolve. I am a white male convert who has been Muslim (of varying flavours) for roughly 30 years. When I married my born Muslimah mixed race wife overseas (African and Indian), her relatives told me on our wedding day that she had gone up the evolutionary ladder while I stepped down. I found that to be the most bizarre thing to say.

    I have given up on finding acceptance in the US Muslim community. It is a hopeless and impossible task.

  61. Your story touched my heart. I was actually just about to write a post on racism that I have faced in the Ummah and decided to google it to read other stories. I like to research before I write my posts and I came across your post. My story is slightly different – but it all boils down to the color of your skin – what people define as beautiful – and the discrimination felt within the community. I really think this is such a major issue in the Muslim Ummah as a whole that should be widely discussed and tackled. I would love to see a conference where we can share these experiences, understand one anothers pain, and change for the better. I am in an inter-racial marriage…and this has really brought to light all the racist behavior I have tried to overlook all my life.

  62. Your sister in Islam

    Asalamalikum. Thank you for sharing. I understand your yearining, your quest for that ideal and perfect commuinty. Sadly, I have found myself in similar circumstances and I was born Muslim, African and Mexican American descent. My father is Muslim. And I witnessed him experience the same. I learned, finally, that you will find what you seek, If you expect to find Muslims behaving in such unIslamic ways, you will find that. And if you seek believers, you will find them, in every community,of every race. The funny thing is that I have learned that many immigrant Muslims feel the same. Many BELIEVERS find themselves being on the outside, marginalized, and viewed as strange, even among family and those of the same ethnicity, nationality. When I did what everyone else did, I was never short of companionship. As I grew and embraced Islam, submitted myself, I found myself very alone. It took time to understand what changed and alhamdulilah I have began viewing things differently. So to everyone, if what you see is negative and ugly, look to yourself first. A Muslim is the mirror of their Muslim companions. If you can not elevate yourself and others above the ugliness you see, then keep seeking and know you will find those who strive to seek Allah’s face. But make sure that you are as open as you want others to be of you. When I began seeking those in the masjid whose purpose was to worship Allah, I was never short of a beautiful and sweet exchange that believers experience, the sweetness Prophet Muhammad pbuh mentioned in hadith. And this sweetness wasen’t always between me and those of similar ages, backgrounds, races, status, etc. So dig deep and ask yourself what it is you are really seeking. Is it Islam or are you seeking a husband, a sister to hang with etc. Every one will have what they intend. Many enter Islam seeking everything but Allah, then wonder why they can’t find the peace they seek. Check your intentions. And know that in every generation, in every time there are those whose sole purpose is to live the belief that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger. This is the reality and I pray that everyone who seeks this sweetness will find it.

  63. Asalamu Alaykum every1,

    HAVING FAITH IN Z ABOVE EVERY SECOND!

    Am muslim frm Mauritius, an island in the indian ocean. My ancestors r frm India or pakistan, well before india broke into 2 parts as we knw now. am surprise at how people in developed countries c islam and religions as whole. Am sunni muslim and in mauritian culture religious values r important as all preach peace, honesty, happiness and willingness to make effort to learn.

    Islam and muslim are 2 different words for me. Islam is perfect and its a religion of peace which is against all discrimination or any bad actions. being muslim people however is same word as being christian, hindu, buddist, tamil, atheist etc..as we r all sinners and most of these people think they knw all and perfect and that others r z bad guys. We maybe born muslim or may have converted to muslim BUT TRUE MUSLIM OF ISLAM R Z 1s THAT STAND AGAINST ALL INJUSTICE OR BAD ACTIONS.

    We all expect happiness but facing problems and having difficulties are part of life..only ur faith in z mighty 1 will help u to go thru. Help may come thru various ways but never have doubts on z all mighty. Islam has gone thru various difficulties but still remains and will till judgement day. Islam cant b condemnd for errors done by people born muslim or converted and same applies for other religions as no religion preaches war or any injustice. Mankind r sinners but seek strength/guidance frm god …have faith in him/her. Know-how is acquired by reading, meditation and joining in discussions. Truth hurts but sooner or later it prevails.

    Being muslim is 1 thing but being muslim of islam is different. and only if we r honest towards ourself, if we accept we made mistakes and that we try to correct them only then we can start calling ourself muslim of islam. Thru trials n errors we learn and seeking knwledge n guidance n strength we try to keep on the right track and we need to make effort. Having doubts n being tempted by bad things are normal as god warned us and advised us to seek him/her wen facing such circumstances. Remember z all mighty every second even if u r being tempted or doing a bad thing as maybe this thought may stop u frm continuing as its a continuous battle and only on our last day we will knw if we b able to call ourself tru muslim of islam ……or if we can even call ourslf man as man seeks justice for all beings.

    I luv black,white, brown, yellow, blue(avatar),green, etc skinned people. Its beautiful having such diversity.

  64. Salaam Sister,
    I’m converted to Islam and being an Indian in Arab community, I faced the discrimination as well, all the time, not to mention my skin is way lighter, still many Arab women have always comments for me that my skin is darker and about my appearance. I had been humiliated all the time in front of that many people. So I stopped going in that community. The main thing is we stick to the Religion and stay steadfast to it until our death, not caring about the people who are not Religious. Because there are many people who will be in the lesson all the time, and they call themselves “Religious” but not always act “Religious”. I have also felt this “outsider” feelings. It’s just no matter how hard I try to be nice with them, they just don’t realize it. I can totally relate to you in many ways. I have one advise for you is, we do not say that “in this world only me and Allah is there”. Because, God exists without a place, and this world is a place, which does not occupy Allah. Just be careful whenever you speak. Because even a single word can put us (someone) out of Islam. May God help us to stay steadfast to the Religion until our death.

  65. Wow this really was a touching story. I can identify with you on sooo many levels I wish we could meet. I know this post is old though so inshallah by now you’ve found a nice Muslim community and masjid to attend. If you haven’t come to atlanta we’re thriving, diverse, none of that racism crap, and there are many carribean Muslimah’s that I know.

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