Article Op-Ed

Reuniting the African American and the Immigrant Community

Reuniting the African American and the Immigrant Community

Author Ayub Basufyaan by

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To see the three C’s: Three characteristics that will bring together all parts of the Muslim Community.

The Muslim community in the West in general, and in Atlanta specifically may be broken into two main categories; indigenous (convert to Islam or offspring of converts) and immigrant. Since the late Imam W.D. Muhammad turned the direction of the NIO (Nation of Islam) toward mainstream Islam 40 years ago, there has been a slow and often neglectful relationship between these two communities. I am an indigenous Muslim convert and I currently serve both communities, therefore; I write from my personal experiences and observations. I must say that after serving the immigrant Muslim community for many years now, I certainly see them in a position of strength, from which, their collaboration with indigenous Muslim communities would be most instrumental. As an educator I see that every problem has its solution just as every sickness has its cure. I am honored to share with you -the reader- three qualities you must harness in order to mend this tear in the clothing of humanity.

The first C stands for consideration. What is consideration? Consideration in regards to personal assessment would be for us to think deeply of the circumstances of the other. Just as you are thirsty then so are your brother and sister. Just as you are hungry then so are your brother and sister. Just as you are considerate of your child’s education and safety, consider that your counterparts may be suffering from broken, to no families, poor educational services, and danger lurking around every corner. Just as your local Mosque needs to be expanded or made into a marvelous spectacle, the Mosques of your counterparts are often crippled and may not afford simple, dire repairs. Certain cultures have integrated the concept of consideration as far as serving friends before they before they ate or drank such as the Yemenis of Hadramout.

The second C stands for care. What does it mean to care? As a noun it may be defined as provision for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something. As a community we must first care then provide care. We have to care that it is normal for the indigenous Muslim to live most of their life without the comfort of a supportive family. We should care that most indigenous Muslims don’t feel welcome at Mosques served by the immigrant communities. We must care that in many of the the inner-cities, hearing gunshots is as normal as hearing birds chirp, and indigenous Muslims there have adapted to that normality. We will then feel the need to provide the necessary care to accommodate and welcome our counterparts. I experienced from the Yemenis of Hadramout such genuine hospitality that I would visit them unannounced late after Isha and find a warm, loving welcome.

The third C is for concern. What is concern? Concern for one another will only come after consideration and care. You’ve probably felt concerned after your children zoomed into a room followed by a loud crash and a cry for help. You’ve also probably felt concern after you heard a thump in the toilet, and then the lid close, after you toddler took your phone. Shouldn’t we be concerned that the first priority of the indigenous Muslim after Shahada (formally entering Islam) is finding a well paying job or a stable home? Shouldn’t we be concerned that the indigenous Muslim may have to choose between a bad decision and a worse one just to satisfy their basic needs? The Yemenis of Hadramout had a practice called “rannah”. That is when your friend crosses your mind, and to show that you are thinking of them and concerned about them, you call them until the phone rings, and then you hang up before they answer.

The Prophet of Islam (PBUH) was in service of his people before he received prophethood. He was there for those in need to the extent of his capacity. He was careful of the feelings of everyone he came across and all admired him for that. Finally when he and the Immigrants (Muhajiroon) migrated to Madinah he assigned brothers between them and the Supporters (Ansar), so that those who had businesses and homes welcomed and supported their brothers in faith, salvaging their dignity by not giving their counterparts a chance to ask. These three characteristics: consideration, care, and concern are actions of the heart that must mix with the blood of every believer, because without them we may never be inspired to provide the practical solutions to our real problems. Look into yourself and tell me, do you see the three C’s? “Serving the nation for generations to come”.

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