This Is What It’s Like to Be #BlackInMSA

  • Amal

    I’m glad I read this. It was heartbroken and extremely unexpected from MSAs around the world. This has to stop. We can’t expect people to tolerate us and accept us if we can’t even do this in our own respective communities. We are in 2015, it’s about time that we leave all this crap behind us and just embrace people, not matter their skin colour, their religious practices or if they memorized Qu’ran or not…

    • Visitor

      We didn’t have this “crap” before, it’s the new generation of 2015.
      During my undergrad we had Desis, Arabs, Blacks, Whites, and others as
      members. No one spoke in their native tongue unless they were alone.
      Everyone spoke English and everyone treated everyone good.

  • Daayiee Abdullah

    Amal, agreed, Muslims must confront their racism, period, no other results can be the solution. But not for Black folks in this country and the civil rights movement, the laws others take for granted would not exist…all y’all cannot pass for white now can you??? Truth has to be upfront and told, then the ummah must take steps to confront it. If not, it’s not based on Quranic ethics…assessed by one’s good deeds. Otherwise, it ends up being culture over faith, not the other way around.

  • Hauwa

    The unfortunate truth …felt it first hand -_-

  • Ayesha

    Aw.. I didn’t know black people had to go through this! Glad you guys posted this. At least it’s not about an Arab or Desi, because Black people make up a good percentage of Muslims in America.

  • El Cid

    If you are color and race conscious then you need to work on being a Muslim. Muslims are expected by Allah to be above all such divisive things. Unfortunately many a so called Muslims tend to be racist, especially against the white races.

    You forget that Prophet Muhammad was white while the first open Azan was by a black person…yet they were equal in the fold of Islam as Muslims. Muslims come in all colors of humanity. Color is not their distinguishing attribute. So get over it if you indeed are Muslims.

    Till you can figure that out, internalize it, refrain from calling yourselves Muslims. Hypocrites may have great time wallowing in this self pity inferiority and herd complexes but they have no status before Allah.

    • WiFi

      Wow, just when I thought the deranged fantasies couldn’t possibly get any worse !

    • Visitor

      The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was not white. He was an Arab, so darker colored than white people. Don’t try to make him white just as the Christians have made the non-white Christ into a white Jesus.

      • El Cid

        You need to read his last sermon…partly based on certain Arab tribes being racists because of their white color. The whitest girl I ever knew was a Muslim Arab. Platinum blond. Her name was Salma. Knew the Quran. Never met a more innocent more beautiful wholesome accomplished girl in my life.

        You need to read the Quran. Many Arabs are white. Some are whiter then Europeans. The Hashmites are white. You need to travel some. Live in different cultures. Know different people. Many people in North of Pakistan are white. Blond to platinum to red hair, blue and green eyes. In the South Pakistan, most are of Hindoo decent from South Asia, they are dark brown, scrawny.

        Jesus and Moses were on the brown side. Syrians tend to be white. American South has darker skins compared to the North where German and Nordic people have settled.You sound racist to me. Color means nothing in Islam. Character is all before Allah.

  • kshak

    It’s kind of messed up to read and heart breaking. Even I, as a native
    Arabic speaker, never felt comfortable going to MSA at my pretty
    well-known public university in Northern California. It was controlled
    by people speaking Urdu and I felt even more segregated there–not
    because of the language, but because it was “Hey, where you from?” look
    and the whole “Oh okay…” response. I have never felt welcome there.
    Similarly, I go to a masjid which is predominantly Urdu speaking; and I
    have never, not even once, felt comfortable there in the three or four
    years I’ve been going to it. Every interaction feels like ‘the other’
    x10. Messed up. Sorry for my black brothers and sisters who had to go
    through this, but it’s no surprise. I guess the only way to try to amend
    this is not to react, but to understand the roots of anti-blackness in
    our community. I hope this won’t segregate brothers and sisters on
    campuses even more. We’re ultimately a product of our environments.

    • Visitor

      The roots of anti-blackness in Eastern Asian cultures comes from White Colonialists who showed themselves as superior and dark skinned people as inferior.

      • vernon

        Angi blackness existed in Eastern Asian cultures way before white colonialists showed up what are you talking about??

  • WiFi

    A mere few sentences in and already the corrupting and twisting of the facts begin. It is estimated that – yeah right. The FIRST slave owners were muslims, The ONLY existing Black SLAVE OWNERS in the world to this day are MUSLIMS. They despise the black people. However, they love to put useful idiots to work to further their cause. They dont care if you are a clueless white liberal or a militant black liberal, they are gonna use you before they destroy you.
    Muslims were kidnapping European Christians Whites for Slavery, before Christians got into slavery. The Christian crusades THEN as NOW were in response to 400 years of Muslim aggression. They killed the Christians in their own lands and forced the rest of the people to accept Islam. This is the exact same pattern that is happening in Iraq/Syria Today. Christians didn’t force blacks to become Christians.Furhermore it was a combination of white eurpeans and white americans who fought their own people either to their political destruction (UK) or to death in the US. So if you are gonna talk about being left out and/or marginalised or left out by the muslims in the US. You should at least stop spreading the lies that they have taught you,and be intelligent enough to know who is still enslaving , murdering, raping and dismembering your ‘Umma’ in the world and using you as fools on college campuses. Meanwhile you might also spare a thank you for the white europeans and americans who went further and gave you every advantage that your muslim overlords never did.

    • Ruhel Ahmed

      Warning: Troll Alert.

      • El Cid

        No question about that. These anti-Islam trolls are proliferating everywhere. Muslims should always point them out as you did. Don’t respond to their hate mongering.

      • WiFi


  • Leno

    MSAs are dominated by arabs and pakistanis and they make every other minority ethnic group feel judged and unwelcome.

    Unless you are lucky enough to have a fellow who belongs to the same group as you (in my case (tan coloured) average looking maldivian) or are pretty and fair skinned you will be ignored ,sidelined and pretty much invisible to everyone.

    To be specific I feel like it is a matter of the skin colour and the arabs and pakistanis assume we are muslims who don’t practice islam properly. I never feel welcome in the prayer rooms. Only 1 in 5 will return your smile or salam. Yes I have kept count. I feel so judged and isolated. The main reason I visit the MSA is to make friends and to be part of the muslim community, to feel like I belong but I have had better outcomes hanging out at the local coffee shops with non muslims.

    • Madison Bee

      Wow . amazing. They don’t return your slam. Why so ? Do they consider you kafir??

      • Hosin Omrani


        • Madison Bee


  • Sara

    As a white muslim, I’ve found my experience with mosques and the MSA to be less of a religious and spiritual experience, and more so of cultural gathering for Arabs and Desis in the community. Of course this is somewhat expected, as they do compose the majority of Muslim communities in the US. However, I can recall several occasions when I was made to feel that I am not a real Muslim because I am white. Quite honestly, I felt the only way I could “prove” my “muslimness” was to wear the hijab. I used to regularly attend MSA meetings and events at the mosque, however, due to this sense of not belonging, I have resorted to practicing Islam in quiet. This problem extended on my stay in a muslim majority country, I was met with responses by hijab-wearing women “why are you wearing that?” in reference to the hijab I was wearing at the time. While the majority of the muslims in that country were ecstatic of my status as a white muslim woman, a select sum were disgruntled that a non-Arab was practicing “their religion.” Islam belongs neither to Arabs, South Asians, Blacks, Whites…..it is a religion that our beloved Prophet (s.a.w) brought to all people on this Earth. May the Muslim communities across the US and world be more welcoming and accepting to our brothers and sisters in Islam, regardless of our differences. Amin.

    • http://dak4.com/ David Kearns

      According to Pew, and I don’t think it’s changed that much, only 16% of American Muslims were born in South Asia – http://www.people-press.org/2011/08/30/section-1-a-demographic-portrait-of-muslim-americans/ – And 37% born in the US. If Urdu is dominating the discourse, it’s not because they compose anything close to a majority.

    • El Cid

      Well said. Many brown skinned American Muslims are racist and do not accept those who may not match their racial attributes. Many of them are from South Asia. They form cliques, blogs and coteries…circle the wagons and ostracize other Muslims as if untouchables or not Muslim enough. Their Islam is only skin deep. Sad but true.

  • Sara

    What does MSA stand for? I’m sorry I probably sound really dumb.
    And I’m really glad hat I read this, I had no idea what it was like for Black Muslims. It’s hard because they also face discrimination from their fellow Muslims as well as racism because of skin colour. We really need to overlook petty differences such as skin colour. They are as much Muslims as Desi/Arab Muslims are.

    • Visitor

      MSA stands for Muslim Student Association. It’s a fraternity like “club” at universities in the US. In Europe and Australia they’re known as “Islamic Societies”.

      Although you are seeing only negative stories here, know that they are all not negative experiences for black Muslims in MSA. It’s the same way with mosques.

      Non-Muslims have similar issues also among them…

  • Faten Husni Odeh

    I’m going to be real honest here, I never noticed this. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I was blind but honestly I love all of my brothers and sisters. The diversity we have, the fact that I have brothers and sisters of all different colors and ethnicities makes me so proud to be Muslim, ilhamdulilah. I have even said that in front of an audience when I spoke on a panel. I’m really sorry that my brothers and sisters feel this way, I hope I never contributed to that.