The American scholar has been promoting the ethics of Islam by bringing vivid examples from Prophet Muhammad’s accounts and the Quran.
Rabat – The teachings of Islam have throughout the years inspired American scholar Craig Considine, who shared with his social media followers how the religion and its ethics condemn racism and racial discrimination.
On May 31, the scholar took an extract from Malcolm Little, better known as Malcolm X, an American civil rights activist and minister who invited his countrymen to better understand Islam.
Considine shared a saying from Malcolm X’s writings during his visit to Mecca in 1964, reading: “America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.”
Considine said the black Muslim activist was encouraging Americans to consider the “farewell sermon of Prophet Muhammad” on racial equality.
Writing during his visit to Mecca in 1964, Malcolm X said:
“America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.”
Why did he say that?
Consider the Farewell Sermon of Prophet Muhammad. Racial equality is featured. pic.twitter.com/sL5zSbwWHo
— Dr. Craig Considine (@CraigCons) May 31, 2020
“All mankind is from Adam & 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 passage reads.
In a tweet on May 29, Considine said: “Rooted in both ignorance & arrogance, racism has plagued civilization since the advent of man. Prophet Muhammad addressed this disease of the heart & [mind] from its root cause.”
The scholar, who has authored books and articles on Christian-Muslim relations, explained that the prophet actively defended his companion Bilal ibn Rabah, described in Islam as a man of color who was subject to racism.
Considine recalled that Prophet Muhammad described racists as “people stuck in jahiliya (the state of ignorance).”
Bilal was one of the most trusted and loyal Sahabah, or companions of Muhammad, and is also considered to have been the first muezzin, the person who summons worshipers to prayer five times a day.
“[The prophet] even elevated Bilal to the high position of muezzin (…) this is anti-racism in action,” the American scholar said.
Considine’s sharing of the prophet’s anti-racist vision and actions comes after the brutal and violent murder of George Floyd, a black man whose death beneath the knee of a white police officer sparked outrage and protests across the United States and inspired demonstrations across the Atlantic.
Ten of thousands of people in the US, London, and other countries took to the streets in solidarity, demanding justice for Floyd.
Some protests have culminated in riots, looting, and clashes between demonstrators and the police, while other cities have seen police expressing their solidarity with the movement.
Floyd’s case revived anger over racially-charged police brutality and the injustice black Americans have long faced at the hands of the system meant to “protect and serve.”
Racism in the US in numbers
More than four in ten people say the US has not made progress towards true racial equality, according to the Pew Research Center.
A 2019 survey from the center said that there is still some “skepticism, particularly among blacks, that black people will ever have equal rights with whites.”
The study shows that 58% of Americans believe race relations in the US are poor.
Meanwhile, 56% think President Donald Trump has made race relations worse. Only 15% say he has improved race relations, and another 13% say he has “tried but failed to make progress on this issue.”
The survey explains that approximately two-thirds of Americans believe it has become more “common for people to express racist views since Trump became president,” and about 45% of the country’s citizens believe that racism has become “more acceptable.”
President Trump angered those denouncing the murder of George Floyd after he took to Twitter on May 28 to criticize demonstrators.
The president acknowledged that the killing was tragic but essentially gave the green light for police to shoot unarmed demonstrators.
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and I told him the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shootings starts,” he tweeted.
Prophet Muhammaded actively defended Bilal, an Abyssinian, from racism.
Muhammad described racists as people stuck in jahiliya (the state of ignorance).
He even elevated Bilal to the high position of muezzin, the person who calls Muslims to pray.
This is anti-racism in action.
— Dr. Craig Considine (@CraigCons) May 28, 2020
Twitter flagged the president’s tweet for inciting violence.
He said he will not stand back to watch what is happening in the “great American City, Minneapolis,” criticizing the city’s officials and describing the situation as the result of a “total lack of leadership.”
“Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right…..” Trump wrote.
Activists pointed out that when white supremacists rioted with torches in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, Trump said, “You also had some very fine people on both sides.”
On May 1, as white Americans took up arms in front of government buildings to protest the lockdown, Trump tweeted, “These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.”
The stark imbalance in Trump’s rhetoric when responding to grievances from his white citizens versus those of black Americans has further fanned the flames of social unrest. While the police officer who killed Floyd has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, protestors show little sign of slowing down until the other three officers involved in Floyd’s death are brought to justice and until hope for systemic reform is tangible.