Are We Guilty of Racializing Islam?

Written by Theresa Corbin

Originally published on Al Jumuah.

You will never be like them, no matter how hard you try. So a relative told me soon after I converted to Islam, thinking my conversion was an attempt to become an Arab.

You know you won’t go to heaven. So a heritage Muslim wrote in an email to me, saying that because I am white that Jannah is not open to me.

Go back to your country. So a passerby shouts as I cross a street which generations of my family have crossed before me. Memes splashed across the internet extol the “hilarious differences” between Muslims and white people.

You are a trader [i.e., traitor] to your race – Anonymous. So the Twitter troll tweets at me. (“Anonymous” reads “coward,” by the way.)

The message is clear. I can’t be Muslim because I am White.


It’s strange, though, how I have been reading Quran, praying, fasting Ramadan, saving for Hajj, and saying the shahadah daily since 2001. But I am precluded from Muslim-ness because I have French and English ancestors. It’s strange indeed.

But in truth, racializing Islam is a gross forgery. The Prophet said in his final speech, a sermon in which he emphasized something which he knew his nation, a nation based on faith, would lose sight of:

All mankind is from Adam and 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. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.(Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)

Islam is a brotherhood based on shared faith. It is a nation and an identity which teaches that we are all from the same source, that we are one race of people, from One God. 

Continue reading here to find out why some, Muslims and non-Muslims, racialize Islam.  It might surprise you where they get this attitude.

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8 thoughts on “Are We Guilty of Racializing Islam?

  1. Heart felt post from your side with a strong message to all communities against the pitfalls of indulging in this.
    P.S: I feel that Muslim Ummah should firstly also exhibit the ‘oneness’ for the world to see!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely agree. Part of the reason why Islamophobia is so pervasive in this world is because many Muslims give a terrible example of Islam. 😦 P.S. There is a young Pakistani sister who emailed me looking for help. I answered her questions about women’s rights in Islam, but also referred her to you for more info about being behind the lines of female empowerment in Pakistan. I hope that was OK. Her name is Mariam.
      In solidarity!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, and for that alone the ones not doing so have to work harder in order to correct the bad image. Absolutely, thank you very much for being so generous to her, I will surely look out for her email! In solidarity always!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is extremely interest because I’m an ethnic Tigray, thus making me Habesha, and I’ve been treated by other Muslims as if I’m lesser or even a faux Muslim because Habeshas are associated mostly with orthodox Christianity. Even though my ancestors have been Muslim on my paternal side since well, the Hijra to Aksum. The majority of the discrimination has been from South Asians, but nonetheless there’s even other Africans who think such things as well. This article is definitely needed

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading. I am sorry to hear about your people’s struggles. It is really a shame that ignorant Muslims keep trying to put their two cents in on others’ identities. But thank GOD it is not up to them to say who is Muslim and who is not! May Allah guide us all the the Truth.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Racializing Islam is racist & an erasure of converts. White converts have their share of hardships, but we black converts face a tremendous amount of vicious anti-black racism from non-black Muslim POC. Many white converts (especially if they are straight, cis and toe the conservative line) are lauded & applauded, which simply doesn’t happen that way with us. Jumu3a mubaraka.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel you my sister in deen…. keep in striving… keep in writing…. keep on letting other sisters know they r not alone in the struggle….

    I love the fact the u speak of a topic which people avoid because it’s the truth… in shaa Allah my recently started blog will also have alot of those topic… They are needed…. we need to face the truth…

    Follow me @ruqiyajannathi



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