Islam Equated with Race

I attended a lecture today at the masjid. It was about raising Muslim children. For the most part I really enjoyed it. The turn out was pretty good. It was just for young mothers, and I felt pretty comfortable and felt that the other sisters were friendly and welcoming. I think Baby enjoyed dragging Mommy around by the hand the entire lecture.

The speaker did something I think she may not even have been aware she was doing. I didn’t even register it too much at the time. I mean I understood whatever points she was trying to make, but it must have left an impression on me because I was thinking about it later. Basically she referred to “white Americans” as if this were the opposite of Islam.

She was talking at first about what children watch on TV or on computers, even programs made for children, and how it affects their behavior. She mentioned some cartoon about a pig or something, that she used to think was really cute, but she noticed that her children were sticking their tongues out and being disrespectful to the parents, and then she looked it up online and found that other parents had the same problem. When she watched the show more closely, she saw that that was how the character behaved. When she described it to us, she said that the children were “behaving like white Americans.”

In another instance she was discussing how we behave as parents, and she said, “Your children are going to think you are crazy. They aren’t going to think their white teacher is crazy.”

The American Muslim community is one of the most diverse in the world, and she was brought up in it. I didn’t really register the racial identities of the other ladies present. Perhaps I was the only “white American.” But I know there are plenty of white Americans in the American Muslim community. I don’t think being either white or American makes us less Muslim or our behavior or values less in line with Islamic values. I think that Allah made a portion of believers out of every racial group, and our race and ethnicity do not reflect our Islam.


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