Disclaimer: every article expressed in our opinions section is that of the writer.
We have once again witnessed the murder of a Black man at the hands of the police. Once again, we have been reminded of the sheer disregard for the lives of Black men, women, and children that characterizes this nation. And once again, non-Black Muslims, both in the United States and abroad, have remained deafeningly silent on this crucial issue.
The silence that has reverberated in the wake of George Floyd’s murder is symptomatic of a larger issue that plagues Muslim communities: anti-Blackness. For those who are unaware, the term anti-Blackness refers to a specific brand of racism, opposition, and hostility toward Black people. Despite what you may think, anti-Blackness is not an ideology solely espoused by White people. Rather, anti-Blackness is inherent to virtually every racial, ethnic, and cultural group. Anti-Blackness is endorsed through the movies and shows you watch, the products you use to bleach your skin, and the use of pejoratives such as “abeed.” Anti-blackness is your willingness to step on the backs of your Black brothers and sisters in order to gain proximity to whiteness. Anti-Blackness is your deadly silence in the face of injustice.
The myth of people of color solidarity has deluded non-Black Muslims into believing that our experiences with racism are the same. More dangerously, this myth has allowed non-Black people to ignore their role in upholding white supremacy. Tou Thao, the Hmong-American officer who stood by as Floyd was murdered, epitomizes the many ways in which non-Black people of color perpetuate and enable anti-Black violence.
The few non-Black Muslims who have spoken about these issues often equate Black peoples’ experiences with racism in America to the plight of the Palestinians, the Uyghurs, and other subjugated groups to explain why we should support anti-racist efforts in the United States.
While similarities do, in fact, exist between these various forms of oppression, it is shameful that the suffering of Black people can only be validated through its resemblance to the hardship of others. The need to draw parallels between oppressed groups in order to identify with the pain of Black people is an additional product of anti-Blackness. State-sanctioned violence against Black people deserves outrage, not because of its similitude to other forms of oppression, but because it is an injustice in itself.
As Muslims, we have no excuse to remain silent on issues of oppression. Our belief in Islam demands that we fight against injustice wherever and whenever we see it. If, as you are reading this, you are wondering what steps you can take to stand in solidarity with your Black brothers and sisters, here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Donate to the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund
2. Donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a nonprofit that pays bail for protestors who have been arrested
3. Educate yourself and others on Black history and resistance movements
4. Support organizations such as the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative
5. Interrogate your own anti-Black biases
6. Hold your communities to a higher standard by calling out anti-Blackness in all of its forms
As you conclude this article and reflect upon what I have written, remember that your silence is not just indicative of your contentment with the status quo, it is your complicity with a system that thrives on reigning terror upon Black people. Remember that your silence is dangerous, that it is deprived of humanity, and above all, that it is un-Islamic.
“And incline not towards those who do wrong, lest the Fire touches you, and you will not have any protectors, apart from Allah. And you will not be helped.” (Hud, 11:113)
JOIN THE TRIBE.
If you’ve been lurking around Muslim Twitter recently, there’s a good chance you’ve noticed tweets circulating around a Turkish show Dirilis: Ertugrul and a warrior named Erutugrul. At first glance, it may seem like another foreign Netflix show. However, among the global Muslim population, this show represents an unprecedented hype.
As reported by the Daily Sabah, the show has amassed over 21 million viewers while streaming across 70 countries. Countless social media stan accounts, especially from Pakistan, caused the show to become an overnight sensation that exploded during the month of Ramadan. With its recent Urdu-dubbed version on PTV and YouTube, Dirilis: Ertugrul has received record breaking numbers. It took over five years for the Turkish market to see 240 million views of the show whereas in Pakistan, over four million subscribers and 344 million views occurred in the month of May alone.
It was originally produced by Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) in 2014 with three seasons, but was broken down into a total of five seasons for its recent release on Netflix with English subtitles. With around 70-100 episodes per season, there is no shortage of amazing acting, complex storylines, and Islamic content, but certain episodes can seem long at times, so if you like a good binge-watch session, this show is perfect for you.
Ertuğrul has 5 season with 150 episodes & each episode is about 2 hours long. Did they actually start shooting since 13th century with real life characters or what?!— Sherjeel مرزہ (@Dhinchak_launda) May 27, 2020
Ive been watching Ertugrul for a couple of weeks now and im still on episode 7. This is the longest show I've ever watched. Every episode is 2 hours Long. I cant be asked anymore, im never gonna finish it.— samuel Edward (@SamEdwardd) May 14, 2020
Many of the Turkish actors are industry leaders of theater, movies, and music who crossed over to create a sensational production that has millions of loyal fans waiting for episodes each week. The plot lines are full of multiple cliff-hangers and unexpected twists that are different than traditionally redundant Turkish, Arab, and Pakistani shows that focus on just marriage, gossip, or evil neighbors.
The drama is set in 1280 and revolves around the life and history of Ertugrul Ghazi, son of Suleman Shah, and leader of the Kayi Tribe. The Kayi tribe was a Muslim Turkish tribe that fought the Mongols, Templars, and Byzantine empire to create a foundation that ultimately led to the creation of the Ottoman empire. Ertugrul’s son, Osman, would become the first Sultan of the Ottoman empire and his descendants would rule much of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia for over 600 years.
Ertugrul is played by Engin Altan Düzyatan, who has won over the hearts of millions. The other characters include Halime Sultan, Turgut Alp, Bamsi Bey, Selcan Hatun, Gundogdu Bey, ibn Arabi, and Abdur Rehman. These were not just historical figures who supported Ertugrul on his quests, but they also provided a viewpoint on family struggles, hand to hand combat, and the value of loyalty in the face of overwhelming odds.
Many Americans have compared the show to Game of Thrones based on the stunning wardrobes, historical conflicts, and deaths of main characters with surprise twists. Others have compared it to a new age in Islamic drama production by focusing on the role of religion and faith in Allah instead of superheroes, technology, and money.
The popularity of this show has expanded across the globe with fans showing their love and appreciation of Ertugrul with dedicated fans, artwork and events.
After the fifth season of Ertugral, the demand from audiences spilled over and a new series was produced – Kuruluş: Osman. Some of the characters from Ertugral stay in the new series for continuity and provide two more seasons of similar content with new characters, plot lines, and excitement.
Many of the names and handshakes have become popular among teens and families. Children address their fathers as Bey. Friends greet each other in hallways and playgrounds with chest-fist bumps like the Alps. Countless plastic, wooden and metal swords, shields, and axes have been ordered online by people wanting to be like the Alps or Templar Knights. Kayi flags and symbols are being displayed proudly in offices, cars, and living rooms of people who are not even turkish in a sign of solidarity.
Fans have even made Pinterest boards dedicated to the fashion and style of characters, and some have even gone as far as to convert to Islam entirely:
Those who have not watched the show are definitely missing out. Many fans are urging their friends and family to watch episodes on Netflix, PTV and YouTube.
If anybody wants a REALLY good show to watch on Netflix please watch Ertugrul it is literally so good and it’s got me, my mom, and sister HOOKED and it’s based on a true story, only thing is that it’s VEEERY long so watch at your own risk 😂— #North Kabob 🧚🏻♀️💫✨ (@sadlilkabob) May 26, 2020
My dad has watched all the Urdu dubbed episodes of Ertugrul and has now moved on to watching in Turkish with English subtitles. He keeps pausing and rewinding every time he misses a line I feel like this is gonna be a long night.— Sa(a)d (@Saad__H) May 13, 2020