[News] Why African Americans Should Stand with Muslims and Arabs

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 17 11:21:45 EST 2015


    *Why African Americans Should Stand with Muslims and Arabs*


      *by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka*

12/16/2015
*http://blackagendareport.com/node/4859*

“/*The lack of concern for the human rights of Arabs and Muslims 
reflects the fact that their lives, like the lives of black people, 
don’t really matter.”*/

It’s been a sad and pathetic spectacle: Muslim and Arab spokespersons 
summoned to examination by a new Christian inquisition. This time, 
however, the grand inquisitors are the members of the corporate media 
who force the beleaguered spokespersons to defend their communities 
while simultaneously proclaiming their loyalty to the idea of “America.”

The inquisitors questioned them with authentic incredulousness on their 
effort to stem the radicalization of members of their communities and 
_lecture them 
<http://www.amazon.com/Muslims-Are-Coming-Islamophobia-Extremism-ebook/dp/B00EGMBJZI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=>_ 
on the need for their communities to be even more obsequious, even as 
their communities face escalating violence and police state 
intimidation. The obvious contradiction between the supposed American 
values of tolerance, freedom of religion, individual rights and 
non-discrimination and the demand that the spokespersons surrender those 
rights in order to prove loyalty is lost on the inquisitors and the 
audience who have come to expect members of minority communities to 
perform humiliating rituals for the psychological comfort of the majority.

The consequences of Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiments have been 
dramatic, infecting the whole culture and all sectors of the population.

Even in the African American communities anti-Muslim sentiments are 
increasingly voiced, which is particularly interesting because until 
recently African Americans made up the largest and oldest Muslim 
population in the country. There are comments about the “A-rabs” and 
Muslims exploiting black people and some have even gone so far as to 
give support to the social discrimination and governmental monitoring of 
Muslims by state authorities.

“/*The de-valuation of Arab and Muslim lives has been an operative 
principle of U.S. policies in the Middle-East since it became the 
hegemonic power in the region.”*/

Individuals who hold those views don’t quite understand that calls for 
more monitoring, control and curtailment of the rights of Muslims on the 
part of the state is no more than the “niggerization” of these 
communities. What this means is that, if accepted and normalized, it 
only increases the certainty that repression in black communities will 
continue to intensify as we are also increasingly identified as a 
“radicalized” internal enemy.

When Muslims and Arabs are de-humanized and reduced to a distorted 
figment of the national imagery, Guantanamo gulags, drone strikes, 
torture, mass surveillance, social exclusion and national destruction by 
the military apparatus and national security state are the appropriate 
and even expected responses demanded by the public to the Muslim “threat.”

That is why the hypocrisy of political leaders in the U.S. is so 
galling. The de-valuation of Arab and Muslim lives has been an operative 
principle of U.S. policies in the Middle-East since it became the 
hegemonic power in the region.**

There is not much space between Hillary Clinton’s joke about the murder 
of Muammar Gaddafy – “We came, we saw, he died” – which of course took 
place during a murderous NATO assault on Libya that by conservative 
estimates killed tens of thousands, and the positions of various 
governors on the issue of Syrian refugees and even with Donald Trump’s 
latest proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigration.

Yet we are supposed to believe that these leaders are now outraged about 
Trump’s comments.

What African Americans must remember is that before the post-9/11 
criminalization of Arab and Muslim communities, the playbook for how to 
police and repress a captured community was written in our communities.

“/*Calls for more monitoring, control and curtailment of the rights of 
Muslims on the part of the state is no more than the “niggerization” of 
these communities.”*/

Before the registration of young Arab and Muslim students after 9/11, 
local police forces compiled massive biographical databases of young 
African Americans as a means of monitoring so-called gangs and 
controlling crime. Stop and Frisk, mass incarceration, police 
executions, torture, governmental infiltration of our organizations, 
raids, house to house searches, were perfected and normalized in our 
communities.

The systematic state terrorism being carried out in Muslim communities 
in France today under their state of emergency and the criminalization, 
social ostracism, violence and official discrimination directed at 
Muslims in the U.S. today will be most certainly directed at black 
activists and our communities tomorrow when the state and public opinion 
turns against the latest expressions of black opposition popularly 
characterized as the black lives matter movement.

That is the terrible reality that we know is coming our way. And those 
of us who will maintain an unrelenting critique of this sick society and 
the oppressive apparatus will be labeled as the “radicalizers” of this 
black opposition.

What was once labeled as racist demagoguery in the short liberal 
post-war period has now been rehabilitated and given a new 
respectability in relationship to Muslims and Arabs. Since the attacks 
in Paris and San Bernardino, individual Muslims have been assaulted, 
mosques firebombed and threats sent to Muslim community and civic 
organizations with almost no coverage from the corporate press.

This lack of concern for the human rights of Arabs and Muslims reflects 
the fact that their lives, like the lives of black people, don’t really 
matter. Is there any other way to explain the still overwhelming support 
for Israel and even the dismissal of Bernie Sanders commitment to 
continue Obama’s drone terror program even though it is clear that 
thousands of non-white innocents have lost their lives as a result?

We must have no illusions.

“/*We should reach out to Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. to share with 
them our experiences surviving racial totalitarianism, so that we both 
can learn and survive together.”*/

The _“orientalist” 
<http://www.greatissuesforum.org/pdfs/said_orientalism.pdf>_ 
construction of the Arab that occupies the consciousness of Westerners 
as blood-thirsty, violent, irrational with a strange sexist religion is 
just the flip side of the racist colonialist coin in which global 
anti-blackness is on the other. Both constructions make the Arab-Muslim 
and the black “killable.” And when you are both black and Muslim, it is 
a deadly combination that can end up in a situation that _Iman Luqman 
Abdullah 
<http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2015/07/26/imam-luqman-abdullah-shooting-lawsuit/30619475/>_ 
faced in Detroit when he was murdered by FBI agents.

Totalitarianism applied to specific peoples can exist side by side with 
the current practices of liberal democracy especially when the majority 
is unaware, silent or both. Like the Palestinians who reached out to the 
resisters in Ferguson to counsel them on how to deal with the Israeli 
trained police forces, we can and should reach out to Arabs and Muslims 
in the U.S. to share with them our experiences surviving racial 
totalitarianism, so that we both can learn and survive together.

But collective self-interest is not the main motivation for why African 
Americans should oppose the growing neo-fascist sentiments and 
legislative policies directed at Arabs and Muslims.

Opposing efforts that expand the repressive power of the state and 
undermine the fundamental human rights of individuals and groups is 
consistent with our history and principles. This stance represents the 
foundational principles of the black radical tradition. Opposition to 
all forms of individual and collective oppression is the mandatory call 
to action for this tradition and serves as the basis for attempting to 
establish relations of solidarity, even if that solidarity is not returned.

So in the face of the growing repression of this community, we must 
stand with our Arab and Muslim brothers and sisters. We know from our 
painful history that within the dark corners of the imagination of the 
racist settler-colonialist, Muslims are today’s Native “savages” and 
rebellious niggers that are both feared and hated as an existential threat.


          /*Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and
          geo-political analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the
          Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and
          editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report.
          He is a contributor to “Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of
          American Violence” (Counterpunch Books, 2014). He can be
          reached at */_/*www.AjamuBaraka.com*/
          <http://www.AjamuBaraka.com/>_

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://freedomarchives.org/pipermail/news_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20151217/93d2a312/attachment.html>


More information about the News mailing list