Tuesday night, I made my way to Red Emma’s Bookshop, a free thinking and political cafe where people can gather to not just eat but to have deep discussions on topics like politics, human communication, economy, gender roles, racial issues, environmental safety, etc.
A lecture and workshop was being held in a private room hosted by the up and coming duo, StrVange Encounters. Salsabeel Abdelhamid and Aayesha Aijaz. Two young Muslim women working together to bring awareness and progressive-critical thinking to the masses on Islam in America. StrVnge Encounters will be hosting a series of workshops throughout the month of August.
Their first workshop was on Intersectionalities Within the Muslim Identity.
Of course, I attended. Not only did I want to hear what other’s thought and share my own experience at my local mosque, I wanted to meet other young Muslims. Something I struggle with is that I don’t have many Muslim friends because of the difficulty of acceptance that I face. I am considered to be too Western for some folks and we cannot relate to one another. This workshop aimed to address problems like that. During the workshop, we observed several Black Muslim men and women speak up about the prejudices they face in their communities and how rejected they feel.
Muslim communities are full of diversity but we do come into obstacles regarding racial and cultural clashes. One culture may not agree with another. Some races do not regard the other as equal, which is an absolute shame. Islam, of course, is all inclusive. However, due to cultures influenced by the notion that dark skin is considered undesirable, some groups of people are left out. The sub-movement #BlackMuslimLivesMatter has been growing. This is a clear sign that the Islamic world is slacking. Are we placing Asian and Arab Muslims on a pedestal over Black Muslims now, while quoting Malcolm X on Facebook and Twitter?
The most important thing that came out of Tuesday’s workshop was that voices were heard and taken into account that we, the Muslim communities, need to address such issues.
Abdelhamid and Aijaz are bringing Muslims together to start on the long journey of intersectionality.
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