Young Black Muslim Mother-To-Be Shot Dead In Maryland

Both CAIR and the Howard County Police are offering separate rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the suspect.

A young Black pregnant Muslim woman was fatally shot in her home July 31  in Columbia, Maryland on Eid weekend, according to local authorities. The woman, Rabiah Ahmad, was a hairstylist with her own brand, House of Kiyomi. Her baby girl, Ajha, was delivered but is in critical condition. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the woman’s killer.

On August 6, an update to a GoFundMe campaign organized by Ahmad’s cousin revealed that Ajha also died. 

Howard County Police say that officers responded to the 6600 block of Dovecote Drive for a report of several shots fired around 11 p.m. on Friday. Multiple bullets were fired into the residence from the outside, and one of which struck Rabiah Ahmad, who was 30.

The victim was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where she died. Ahmad was 28 weeks pregnant. At first doctors were able to save and deliver the baby girl, Ahja, but unfortunately she passed away just days later on August 5.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball addressed the horrific tragedy and offered condolences to Ahmad’s friends and relatives in a statement:

“It is an unimaginable and unacceptable tragedy which took place in our community overnight. Our condolences and prayers go out to the family and friends of Ms. Ahmad and to our entire Howard County Muslim community who are shocked and saddened by the incident which occurred on Eid al-Adha, the Day of Sacrifice.”

At this time, the motive for the shooting is unknown.

“The Howard County police department is working diligently on this case and my office has been in touch with leaders within the Muslim community to offer our support and resources where needed to help those impacted,” Ball added.

Zainab Chaudry, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations office in Maryland, made the following statement:

“Our hearts go out to the victim’s loved ones, and especially to the infant in critical condition. We urge anyone with information about this horrific crime to contact authorities and help bring justice for this family. At this point, there are too many unanswered questions, and the community’s help can make a tremendous difference.”

Both CAIR and the Howard County Police are offering separate rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the suspect. Anyone with any information at all is urged to contact CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry, zchaudry@cair.com, 410-971-6062.

READ MORE: First Two Muslim-American Women Elected To Congress Won Their Re-Election Primaries

Black Muslim Immigrant Has Spent Three Years In ICE Custody Despite Being Granted A Pardon

Attorneys believe Ousman Darboe has been held by ICE longer than any immigrant in New York City.

Black Muslim Immigrant Has Spent Three Years In ICE Custody Despite Being Granted A Pardon

Attorneys believe Ousman Darboe has been held by ICE longer than any immigrant in New York City.

By

Sara S. & Zainab Damji

Photo of Ousman Darboe

Ousman Darboe has spent three years in an ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) facility – that’s three years of missed birthdays and anniversaries, three Ramadans, and watching his two-year old daughter grow up through glass windows.

The 26-year-old Gambian immigrant has been in ICE detention since 2017 and is now in Bergen County Jail, New Jersey. 

Governor Cuomo pardoned Ousman of his one charge as an adult of robbery, which according to Gothamist he says he didn’t do. 

This pardon was intended to secure his release. Yet it hasn’t.

Despite being granted the rare pardon six months ago, multiple immigration and federal judges have refused to release him, even on bond.

The conditions at the Bergen County Jail are known to be inhumane and pose as health risks to the inmates at the facility. “You wake up like someone poured a bucket of water on you,” he told The Gothamist.And there’s no windows in the cells. You’re just compacted in a room with four walls and a vent, no air coming in or out, so you’re just stuck.”

The Gothamist reported that to pass the time, Ousman, as a Muslim, prays five times a day. He reads self-help books and is currently reading “Midnight” by Sister Souljah, about a Black Sudanese Muslim immigrant in Brooklyn. Ousman also said that he is “planning for the future”.

Follow this link to call ICE Field Office Director Thomas Decker, Deputy Field Office Director Darius Reeves, and ICE SDDO Hector Medina to demand Darboe’s release. #FreeOusman

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter Is Not A ‘Feel-Good’ Instagram Challenge

Aint Afraid Ain’t Your Average Rap Duo

Meet the twins who are absolutely killing it.

Aint Afraid Ain’t Your Average Rap Duo

Meet the twins who are absolutely killing it.

By

Elizabeth Aziz
Photo self shot by Aint Afraid / Art - Shayma Al-shiri

On a hot, sunny Wednesday morning in Los Angeles, I woke up bright and early at 7:45 a.m. to hit the streets for my signature drink – an oat milk mocha with an extra shot of espresso – ready for my 9 a.m. call with Aint Afraid, a pair of Black hijabi musical artists, that just so happen to be twins. I’d spent the few days before listening to all of their songs and watching a bubbly Q&A they’d just recently dropped. When the time came, I got back in the house, turned the A/C wayyyy up, and got situated. At 9:01 on the dot, I answered my phone to the sound of not one, but two refreshingly enthusiastic voices. 

It was already afternoon for Straingth and Wizdumb, who were already a few hours ahead of me time zone-wise. Their exuberant energy and joyful laughter quickly shook any bit of sleep out of me that might have survived the mocha I’d just downed. Although they prefer to keep personal details private, I had to at LEAST know their sign. “LEO!!” they yelled into the phone simultaneously with the correct amount of pride one would expect from the sign of the lioness. It’s only right.

When asked about their main musical influences, the first person who comes up is their mother, also an artist, who they say taught them the importance of artistic expression, whether musically or visually, from a young age. They pointed out that more than anything, their daily lives and the emotions they experience are the true source of inspiration for their music – but how long it takes to create differs each time.

Aint Afraid recording at the studio. / Photo - Aint Afraid for Muslim

Art has always been all our life, so we don’t have a process, it just kind of happens. A line will come in our heads and boom we’ll start making a piece. Once we get a piece or a line, it just flows, it just falls out, one after the other. Like literally, God is inspiring the piece through us. Most times, it’s not like let me sit down and write something about this. So we’ll have a conversation about something. Let’s say perhaps we’re talking about the Black Panthers, which is a real life example – we’re learning more about the Black Panther movement at the moment. As we have conversations, we’ll say a line or a sentence or something, and it’ll start something in us, and then from that it’s like oooh, this could be a piece. A lot of people are like oh my god you guys come out with something like every week, you’re just so talented, I’m like yo, this is something I’ve been working on for three years or sometimes three minutes. It’s always different.” 


One of the girls’ latest singles, the beautifully powerful anthem “We Will Breathe”, is a perfect example of how their musical influences and artistic process play off of each other. The chorus incorporates the line “by any means necessary,” a nod to the sentiment popularized by Malcolm X and the Black Panthers about Black liberation in the United States.

I asked the duo if there were any specific artists they look up to, to which they replied, “Just good music. Lauryn Hill, Whitney Houston … one of the highlight songs growing up was ‘We Are The World’ (a charity single from 1985 written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie featuring some of the biggest stars of the time).”

 

Having had various artistic personas over the years and performing locally all over the girls were already used to being spotted out by fans in their community. Now with over 125k followers on Instagram, I was curious to find out what it’s been like for them being in the spotlight and sharing it as twin sisters.

The girls said, “Allah has blessed us with a well-known reputation, people know us for the good work that we do, alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah. All of our life we’ve kind of shared that. It’s always been that way. It feels like a team. For us, it’s not fame, it’s impact, you know? I don’t ever want to put myself in a place of feeling self-important, I never want to do that. But what I will say is that success is  really good, because I’m reaching so many people with my good messages.”

Despite their wide reach and impact, like so many young Black Muslim women in the United States and around the world, they’ve endured a lifetime of pushback simply for being who they are. Whether it be from members of the Muslim community for being Black, from the Black community for being Muslim, or either one for being women, their layered identities leave them on the fringe of each group: 

“The religion is not anti-Black… Some people choose to be anti-Black, and we’ve lived this all our lives. For me, it’s really hard being a Black Muslim woman, and a Black Muslim person, but especially a Black Muslim woman because all the communities you identify with end up not supporting you totally, or they’re against you in some way and you never find acceptance. Just as a child in elementary school, people were telling us we couldn’t be Muslim because we were Black… or they would ask are we converts. The only reason they would do that is because we were Black. Even the Black community, when they see me, they first see me as a Muslim, they don’t even see me as a Black person. I can keep going… even in the women’s community, they’re like ‘if you’re about women’s rights, take the scarf off!!’”

Photo self shot by Aint Afraid for Muslim / Art - Shayma Al-shiri

Thankfully, the stress of being pressured to fit in a box has not dimmed the light of these incredible young women in the slightest. “We’ve always been pushed out but that has not made us bitter people, as you can see. I love the world. I love the people. Alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, Allah has given us a space, a platform, where now we can educate the world and open people’s minds. There are even people in Africa and other places now that feel represented because of our platform.” 

In fact, Aint Afraid now has an additional connection to Africa that goes beyond having fans in the continent – the twins are spearheading an effort to build a school in Gambia. In collaboration with the SPOT Project, they are currently raising funds between now and September 4, 2020 to build an academy that will provide free education to local girls aged 6-15 years old. This instance of activism is just one of many ways the girls seek to make an impact. Much of their work offline centers around building community, addressing local gentrification, and helping make connections between the arts and political strategy.

What else are the girls up to when they’re not making anthems and learning? Lately, they’ve been trying to cultivate a more sustainable diet. They said, “We were already exposed to corruption in the food industry and whatever ’cause our mother taught us about it growing up, but we decided to take our own journey to understanding more about what’s in our food, and what the human body needs.” Although they’re not totally vegan and don’t say they necessarily want to pressure others to take it on, they spoke about the power of implementing more whole, plant-based foods into one’s diet – especially for vulnerable people. “Just starting from changing our diet in the Black community, our community can thrive,” they said.

 

 

Aint Afraid’s latest release, “When I Praise Him,” honors Allah through carefully crafted raps and beautiful vocals. Between their thoughtful songs and amazing projects, the duo is an unstoppable force.  

It’s so hard to sit and talk to these girls without walking away feeling like, okay, there’s hope. We’ve all encountered people who know exactly what they’re worth and are very sure of themselves and it can be intimidating. The twins, however, are so grounded in their purpose as artists and leaders, you can’t help but think mashallah. The girls of Aint Afraid are very, very impressive and we here at Muslim can’t wait to see what lies in store for them in the coming years.

Aint Afraid’s latest song “When I Praise Him” is available to download and stream on all online music services. Watch their video here, and follow the sisters’ fresh come up on Instagram and Twitter.

Black Lives Matter Protests Aren’t Over, And They Won’t Be Anytime Soon

Media may have died down with covering protests, but they're still happening, and they're still relevant.

Black Lives Matter Protests Aren’t Over, And They Won’t Be Anytime Soon

Media may have died down with covering protests, but they’re still happening, and they’re still relevant.

By

Nawal Qadir
Photo of activist Alaa Massri protesting in Florida.

Following George Floyd’s murder in May, cities across America erupted in protests, calling for an end to a system that singles out and brutalizes Black people, indigenous people, and people of color. In the weeks following, these protests garnered multinational media attention, with major news networks constantly reporting on the “dangerous and destructive tactics” of many cities. 

 

 

As the protests continued week after week, however, they fell out of major network news. But even without the constant media attention, protesters are still going, and they’re getting more dangerous for protesters. 

In the recent weeks, videos emerged on social media of protesters in Los Angeles, CA being violently beaten by LAPD, namely one of a man in a wheelchair being thrown to the ground. These types of violent encounters have been shrouding these protests since the beginning, but they’ve increased exponentially since mass media’s attention has been turned in other directions. 

“The LAPD has been rebuked for the same tactics so many times before…that their continued use [of force] ‘indicates an intentional refusal to preserve the constitutional rights’ of protesters,” says a recent LA Times article that investigates the LAPD’s long history of brutality.

But the brutality faced by LA’s protesters pales in comparison to that of Portland, Oregon. 

Portland, like many other American cities, has been protesting every night since May 29, but two weeks ago marked the arrival of federal officers in the city. These officers, sent into the city by The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on order of President Trump, have been dressed in camouflage and tactical gear, armed with tear gas, and arresting protesters nightly. 

Protesters have since reported, and recorded videos of, federal agents throwing protesters into unmarked vans, presumably arresting them. 

Portland’s mayor Ted Wheeler has said that the federal agents aren’t welcome in the city, and was recently tear-gassed alongside protesters in a rally Wednesday night. 

Much like Portland’s own mayor demonstrated, the people aren’t backing down. They’ve continued to take to the streets, night after night, with mother’s forming walls around protesting bodies and chanting the words “Feds stay clear. Moms are here.” 

These are just two examples of the continuing protests, but they’ve been happening all over the country – like New York City, who protested even in the middle of pouring rain. While it may seem pointless, given the lack of attention surrounding them, the continued protests despite the increasing danger towards protesters themselves is the people, very loudly, letting government officials know that they won’t stand for small bills of reformed action. People want systemic change and they won’t stop until they get, regardless of media attention.

READ MORE: Who Is Stealing From Whom? Contextualizing The Protests

Muhammad Muhaymin: Bodycam Footage Reveals Detailed Death By Police

“I can’t breathe,” said Muhaymin before he died in custody of the Phoenix police.

Muhammad Muhaymin: Bodycam Footage Reveals Detailed Death By Police

“I can’t breathe,” said Muhaymin before he died in custody of the Phoenix police.

By

Sara S. & Zainab Damji

Photo of Muhammad Muhaymin

MUSLIM.CO HAS PUT TOGETHER A PETITION TO SEEK JUSTICE FOR MUHAMMAD MUHAYMIN THAT CAN BE SIGNED HERE.

In the midst of a movement demanding change and reform, the Black community fights for justice once again as they are reminded of the loss of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. 

Muhaymin died in custody of the Phoenix Police on January 4, 2017 after he tried to take his emotional support dog into a public restroom with him at a community center. Muhaymin is reported to have suffered from schizophrenia, anxiety and intermittent homelessness.

The manager present at the center prevented Muhaymin from entering the restroom and asked him to leave his dog outside, which resulted in an argument between the two. The manager then directed an employee to call 911, and in minutes  several Phoenix police officers arrived at the scene.

They attempted to alleviate the situation by allowing Muhaymin to use the restroom only to tackle him to the ground minutes later after a background check was done on Muhaymin and a warrant for his arrest was found on his record due to his failure to appear in court over a misdemeanor charge for possession of a marijuana pipe. 

Muhaymin was tackled to the ground outside the facility with four officers on top of him. 

Bodycam footage shows Muhaymin crying out “I can’t breathe” multiple times. 

Muhaymin was tackled to the ground outside the facility with four officers on top of him. In his last eight minutes before he took his final breath, body-cam footage shows Muhaymin crying out “Please Allah” and one of the officers who was trying to place him in cuffs responding, “Allah? He’s not going to help you now, just relax.”

Muhaymin’s shrieks and utterances became groans. His body went limp, and moments later, an officer can be heard saying “He’s dead.”

The circumstances of the deaths of George Floyd and Muhammad Muhaymin are similar. However, while the four officers involved in Floyd’s death were terminated and are now facing criminal charges, in Muhaymin’s case, none of the officers who responded to the call faced any discipline or consequences for their actions.

CNN reports that all of them remain on the force and one is now a detective.

Several petitions have been put together to demand justice for Muhammad Muhaymin including discipline and conviction of the officers involved. You can sign the petition for Muhammad Muhaymin here.

Three Men Indicted On Murder Charges For Killing Of Ahmaud Arbery

Ahmaud Arbery’s death and trial has reached global attention and is one of the most recent racially-motivated murder cases to fuel anti-racism protests in the US and abroad.

A grand jury in the US state of Georgia has indicted three white men on nine separate counts, including felony murder, in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

“This is another positive step, another great step for finding justice for Ahmaud, for finding justice for this family and the community beyond,” District Attorney Joyette Holmes said following the jury’s announcement.

The accused – Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and their neighbour William Bryan – were arrested last month in connection to Arbery’s death, following a cell phone video of the shooting being leaked online.

The video had been taken by Mr Bryan who was giving chase to Arbery alongside the McMichaels, and shows Travis McMichael shooting Arbery with his shotgun following a struggle between the two men. Arbery was unarmed. Earlier this month, it was alleged by a state investigator that Travis McMichael was heard saying a racial slur as he stood over Arbery, moments after shooting him dead.

Gregory McMichael has claimed he suspected Arbery of burglary and had attacked his son Travis before being shot.

 

 

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The incident took place on Feb. 23, 2020 in Brunswick’s Satilla Shores, a predominantly white neighbourhood, where Arbery was jogging. After spotting Arbery on their CCTV, the McMichaels armed themselves with a pistol and shotgun pursued him in their pickup truck. 

A testimony from a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent explained how Arbery ended up in a fight with Travis McMichael.

“I believe Mr. Arbery was being pursued, and he ran ‘till he couldn’t run anymore, and it was turn his back to a man with a shotgun or fight with his bare hands against the man with the shotgun. He chose to fight,” Special Agent in Charge Richard Dial said.

William Bryan had followed the McMichaels in his own vehicle soon after. An arrest warrant for Bryan stated that he “utilized his vehicle on multiple occasions” in an illegal attempt to “confine and detain” Arbery in the lead up to his death. 

Mr Bryan’s lawyer, Kevin Gough, has repeatedly stated that his client was merely a witness. “We’re disappointed that the district attorney chose to indict Mr. Bryan,” he said. “But at the same time we’ve been demanding a speedy trial from day one. The presentation of this case to the grand jury brings us one step closer to our day in court.”

Ahmaud Arbery’s death and trial has reached global attention and is one of the most recent racially-motivated murder cases to fuel anti-racism protests in the US and abroad.

Reacting to the jury’s indictment, Mr Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told NBC Nightly News: “At this point I do believe the case is moving in the right direction.

“This just empowers us to fight. This is just the first steps of it – we still have a long way to go.”

READ MORE: What They Did To Ahmaud Arbery Was A Modern Day Lynching

The U.S. Education System Fails To Teach Black History

We are tired.

Authors – Nabeeha Asim & Najaha Nauf

The American Education system has made us believe we know everything we need to know – but this is far from the truth. We have learned more in the past week than we have in the past twelve years of the American public schooling system. It’s a shame that we weren’t taught about history in a more visceral and contextual manner. The fact that our education system has left loose ends about our relevant histories untied, and has created a supposedly seamless timeline that banks over movements of racial injustice and human rights is not necessarily astonishing but should very well be persecuted against. But who do we hold accountable when the whole world has suffered? 

In certain states in the U.S., the school system and board of education within that state creates the curriculum according to their desires of what they want the students to be learning. More often than not these states, “lose sight of the connection between what students learn in history and the civic ideals and values” that must actually be taught. Thus, there is more of an emphasis on the history of America rather than civics courses that are at most 1 year long. This disrupts both the teachings of actual relevant humanitarian crises’ in full context as well as the current system being delved into rather than just skimming over what students need to know. 

Our education system lacks the integral parts: students are meant to be learning something of value, enough to share their views and discuss them with their family and friends. Instead we’ve seen a near detrimental cycle of regurgitation of information, where lessons are only a pathway to examination questions and information is lost almost as soon as it is acquired. How many of us remember the specifics of what we learned when we were in high school, all the historical dates and lengthy names we spent our nights memorizing? A bit of a “polly want a cracker” situation, don’t you think? Like parakeets that mimic the common man.

Most of the things we have learned within our history classes categorize people by class, religion, race, sex, gender, and ethnicity but what we were never taught was that beyond all the titles and labels, we are all just humans.  

We are tired. Tired of learning about the same scot-free white history. Tired of learning about the Boston Tea Party. Tired of learning about Lee and Grant. Tired of learning about things that don’t matter beyond the four walls of our classrooms. History class did not tell us about the civil rights movement: our black neighbors did. History class did not tell us about Nelson Mandela’s years in prison: the non-fiction books no one touched in the library did. History class did not tell us about the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.: an article on the origin of the Black Lives Matter movement did. 

We’ve been thrust into the world with barely any knowledge, minds filled with the names of kings and queens who don’t matter in a land governed by men to whom we don’t matter. 

But if history class has taught us anything, it’s that revolutions usually mean something unjust is happening. It means that there’s something being withheld from us, something that’s worth fighting for. It means we’re on the winning side if people in power are hiding in bunkers. 

We are a generation fed on historically inaccurate facts and knowledge that has little to no worth outside classrooms and examination halls. As for the couple dozen things we did learn that’s proven useful, credits are due to our curiosity and not the messy ordeal the government’s made of our education. We have passionate teachers and passionate learners to give credit to for the bare minimum knowledge we do carry around. The credit goes to the Internet for answering “not-related-to-the-curriculum” questions we asked our teachers but never got answers in return. The credit goes to the books, articles and people who actually cared to delve into and write about major issues within our societies. 

We come from culturally rich lands abundant with histories of their own, yet we are subjected to stories of white men who gained fame through theft of those very lands. Imagine sitting in a classroom where you are a minority, listening to an educator brood on about the great conquering of Asia by the British colonies. Imagine having to memorize paragraphs and witty one-liners about blood treaties: the very blood that happens to be running in your own veins as you recite each word. Chances are, you don’t have to imagine it. You’ve lived through it. We all have. 

Why couldn’t they teach us about the truth behind every revolution? About the Jim Crow Laws and how they paved the way for radical racism? Why do our history textbooks glorify the white man? 

“Until the lion learns to write, every story glorifies the hunter,” says an African proverb and it couldn’t be more relevant. Textbooks that glorify white men were written by white men and we’ve been taught these very stories to instill the idea that we are a people who must be “conquered” and “civilized” because of course, the white man brought civilization with him, right? 

We are being told deliberate lies. Vital information is being taken away from us. They’ve stolen our lands, taken hold of our cultures, and now they’re taking knowledge away from us.

We were never taught that the pictures from the Civil Rights Movement were, in fact, not taken in black and white, but in color. How many of you know that the first colored photograph was taken in 1861?  

By withholding information within their system, they ensure that we believe these movements occurred centuries ago when in fact, the Civil Rights Movement began in the 1940s. Our parents were alive during this movement yet our parents were just as unaware as we are. This is hoodwinking at its best: by concealing the time frames, they’ve managed to create a generation of people who have no sense of time. Had we not done our research, had the BLM movement not become a part of our own lives, would we have known? Chances are, we wouldn’t have.

We need to hold the boards of education and our teachers accountable (because, in case you didn’t know, we are allowed to do that).  We are allowed to fight for the right to learn what we believe is not being taught. We are allowed to stand up for our education. Yet, we have never been able to in the “land of the free”. 

We can change this. By signing petitions and calling our boards of education to make changes in our system, we can make them with the click of a button. Because if our education system allowed us to pay attention to the grave mistakes we have made – and keep making- as a society, we could make so much more progress than we have in the last few centuries. When a child takes home vital information that changes the views of their parents, that is when we know we have made a difference within our society.

READ MORE: Stop Posting Selfies, Start Posting #BlackLivesMatter Resources

This Is How I Educated My Parents About Racism

There comes a time when enough is enough. Generational gaps and desi mentality/mindsets need to be broken.

This Is How I Educated My Parents About Racism

There comes a time when enough is enough. Generational gaps and desi mentality/mindsets need to be broken.

By

Nabeeha Asim
Photo - Getty Images/ Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

 

In many brown families us kids know we are not allowed to talk about certain topics in our households. Sometimes if we do we are seen as disrespectful, badtameez, a brat, or even someone who cannot control their tongue. In some desi and brown households, if not all, politics is one topic that should be left unscathed for many reasons. Either your parents are too stubborn about their own stances or simply dismiss the discussions and tell us to quietly make dua. Although dua and supplication is a huge anchor to change, there is action that needs to take place. 

You can’t leave your camel in the street and ask Allah for it to not wander away, you must tie your camel down and then ask Allah to protect it, and in this case you have taken the action, intent, and supplication route to a better outcome. We cannot just put faith and trust in Allah we have to do our part to educate ourselves and then take action upon our intentions. 

There comes a time when enough is enough. Generational gaps and desi mentality/mindsets need to be broken. Here is a guide on how to have a conversation with your parents or relatives:

 

 

1. Start the conversation.

It all starts off with actually initiating that conversation. I know it can be uncomfortable and anxious to talk about these things with your parents who have grown up in a completely different mindset but be open to the conversation and they will be too. Don’t negate or overpower their thoughts and opinions. 

By starting the conversation you may be seen as loud or too opinionated or to your family you may seem like you are arguing but actually initiating the conversation shows them how much of an adult you are. Relax, take a deep breath and say Bismillah and know that what you are about to do is for the betterment of this dunya and our akhira.

 

2. Debunk the cultural myths

We know our parents and family members have innate and fixated opinions on matters that seem too political, however, we need to debunk the false claims and accusations that take place. Don’t insult them and their Whatsapp groups because they see that as their main source of factual evidence. Introduce them to your sources. Your sources are not necessarily more accurate but it might just be that they are more credible. Ask them what they think about your sources and maybe even compare backgrounds of sources. Sometimes fighting disinformation can be an uphill battle especially when false information starts making convincing stories and headlines. We need to be able to stop the false information from spreading. 

It is important to show them not all perspectives and stances they have grown up with are correct and necessarily still relevant. Times have changed and so should they. 

 

3. Bring in Quranic Hadiths and Ayahs

Do your research beforehand. Don’t scramble on sight trying to find links, ayahs, and hadiths to prove to them that Islam stands for Justice. Our easiest factual support is our Quran. We see examples such as: 

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, acquainted.”

[Surat An-Nisā’ (4:135)]

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do”

[Surat Al-Ma’idah (5:8)]

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.”

[Surat Al-Mumtahanah (60:8)]

And hadiths such as:

“whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart- and that is the weakest of faith.”

Our parents will become proud of the fact that we know and listen to our Quran with the evidence we use to support our stances. 

 

4. Have an open ear to what they have to say

Listen with the intent to follow up with questions or facts that could maybe help show them what they think versus what is actually right. There are always opinions that are too stubborn to change and that’s fine as long as you listen to what they have to say, they feel appreciated nonetheless. 

It’s also important to show them you care about their opinion and you don’t just want to give them a lesson about human rights. It gets a little tricky here because you have to make sure you don’t over-do it. However, if you do get a little carried away allow yourself and your family members to step away from the discussion and come back to it at a later time. It’s important to match your body language with your tone of voice so that you are able to have a clear-cut conversation in which you civilly come to a conclusion or solution. But don’t forget when you do walk away from the conversation you should try your best to always come back to it as it will show them just how important it is to you. 

 

5. Have an honest and open discussion about why you think it’s important to talk about such topics

For me, personally, I have always been passionate about politics and I stress this to my parents on a daily basis. Every job, a nurse, journalist, news anchor, engineer, doctor, business man, social workers, lawyer, social media influencers, etc., will have to encounter human rights. Express to your family and your relatives that your job as a human being is even more invoking of standing up for your basic human rights. Me becoming a journalist is my passion and my dream and that is why it’s important to have open conversations that involve change to your own households. 

 

6. Make it clear that Islam talks about action, consequence, and intention within the chains of justice and mercy.

Make sure you relay to your family that in Islam we seek our actions with our intentions and if our intentions are set and clear then we must take a call to action. We have to actively strive to make a change and put that change into motion by incorporating Islamic teachings into our day to day lives. Just making dua is not enough and our Quran teaches us that as well. Islam is a religion of peace, yes, but it is also a religion of mercy, justice, and action. 

 

READ MORE: Who Is Stealing From Whom? Contextualizing The Protests

Who Is Stealing From Whom? Contextualizing The Protests

"..you’re accusing a captive population who has been robbed of everything of looting. I think it’s obscene.” – James Baldwin

Who Is Stealing From Whom? Contextualizing The Protests

“..you’re accusing a captive population who has been robbed of everything of looting. I think it’s obscene.” – James Baldwin

By

Haider Syed
Photo of George Floyd mural in Minnesota.

Disclaimer: every article expressed in our opinions section is that of the writer.

“Who is looting whom? Grabbing off the TV set? He doesn’t really want the TV set. He’s saying  screw you…He wants to let you know he’s there….you’re accusing a captive population who has been robbed of everything of looting. I think it’s obscene.” – James Baldwin 

“When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.” – Frantz Fanon 

We didn’t just watch George Floyd die, we watched him being murdered. We all did. There is something absolutely harrowing beyond adequate expression about this moment that we are living through. George Floyd’s murder is symbolic of the plight of Blackness during our time. 

Floyd was suffocated to death by the knee of Derek Chauvin. As the first wave of protestors marched in Minneapolis, the police threw tear gas at the predominantly Black crowd, stifling their ability to breathe. This occurred amid a pandemic where the coronavirus (COVID-19) unrelentingly targets the lungs – and has killed three times as many Black people than White, in America. 

I recalled how in our Islamic theological tradition we’re told of a time before we came into this world when every soul found themselves in the presence of God in the sea of souls; where Allah breathed a part of his Ruh into us – Nafas Ar Rahman – the Breath of the All Merciful.

It was said that we were in distress in our state of non-existence and the Breath of the Divine bought us relief by bringing us forth into this dunya, bearing witness to his Oneness as we were entrusted with that part of Him inside of us. This sets us on the path towards birth and our coming into this realm, where we ourselves take that first breath still sustained and dependent on what was blown into us. Which is renewed with every breath we then ever take. 

And yet George Floyd had that breath choked out of him in every sense. His haunting last words of “I can’t breathe” still ring in the ears of so many; a phrase ever-demonstrative of the reality of being Black in America – of suffocation. 

 

The way in which the officer kept his knee pressed against Floyd’s neck makes you wonder what sickness of the heart blinded him to the point where he couldn’t hear a man’s gasps or pleas. How is it that he couldn’t see the excruciating pain he subjugated another life to? How was he so devoid of any compassion? That a grown father screamed out for his own mother – that is an anguish that is indescribable. How much hatred do you have inside of you that you can just rob another life with such disdain? As incidents of police brutality always do, Floyd’s murder speaks volumes of a larger phenomenon that goes beyond hashtags and isolated incidents. 

Suppressed and unable to breathe under the onset of violent policing and systematic brutalization from the state, Black people are not given permission to even merely live. Blackness itself is constantly scrutinized. Malcolm X once, when urging the necessity of revolt by any means, described the condition of Black America vis-a-vis the analogy of the foot of the oppressor on their necks. He was disturbingly correct.

READ MORE: George Floyd: Murder Of Unarmed Black Man Sparks Ongoing Protests In Minneapolis

Fifty years later and in fact nothing has really changed. This isn’t just about the past few days; it’s about the past 500 years. It’s about George Floyd but also about what is nothing more than an established practice in America. It’s about identifying and coming to terms with the socio-cultural roots of anti-Blackness and an apparatus that was built specifically to restrict Black freedom. And even more pressingly, an interweaving network of structures designed to sustain the privileges of whiteness.

You can’t separate the events of the past few weeks from the mythology of America. These are not instances taking place in a vacuum. The very idea of America cannot be separated from the toil and blood which assured that whiteness would ensure its superiority no matter what – built on the backs of Black slaves. A people who were never truly emancipated despite the many Black faces that have reached imperious positions in upper echelons of power. Slavery was not abolished, it was clearly reformed.

As the literal terror of slavery could no longer be practiced, a system just the same, to parallel that power dynamic of racial domination, was constructed. From chain gangs, convict leasing, and Jim Crow to the largest prison population in the world- America’s past is entrenched in its current reality and nationalist imagination. 

We have again seen the same sight of murder, protest, outrage and then eventual dissipation as we have every single time. Uproar and then calm. Until it happens again. Another name memorialized and a life summed up inside of a hashtag.

This narrative has become cyclical and repetitive because those same structures that were built to preserve the supremacy of whiteness are still intact today. Some were lauding the fact that the one of the officers in question was detained and charged within four days, yet this like much of the mainstream coverage- it diverges attention away from actually addressing the issues at hand. At the moment all four officers including those who watched their colleague commit murder have been charged. But what will this actually achieve? One of those guilty, has already posted bail despite it being set in excess of $1 million. He was able to crow-fund his release on bail even when it was set so high.

 

It’s no longer about violent policing; it’s about the institution of policing itself. Arrests and charges being laid have happened before, and in the past some of those guilty beyond belief have still gotten off scot-free despite the evidence at hand. Our mentality as a society still being grounded in seeing these as isolated incidents means we don’t actually address it as an institutional problem, but as a case of a few bad apples. We see it as a need for improved training and further reforms; legislation to be passed and a few promises to be made. That there are some good amongst them because they kneel with protestors (moments before they attack them). Yet the very institution of policing has to be called into question just as the whole of the carceral state has to as well. 

When such institutions are inherently racist by default, reform becomes a facilitator of continuing oppression and not it’s eradicator. 

The systemic manifestations of dehumanization and racism denigrate and humiliate Black lives, expressing themselves in these “moments”. We should rightfully honor those who pass, but the fixation on individuals takes away from the fact that that moment of engagement between an officer and a civilian is the end-product of a whole system and culture in motion. 

These moments are the product of not only legacies of hate and vilification at work but the subtle microaggressions and causal racism we often overlook, ignore, and bypass as harmless. Hence complete abolition becomes a necessity, when policing is fixated in a clearly discriminatory attitude. Those patrols and night watches that surveilled and restrained slaves became modern day police forces, and the carceral state and the judicial system all collaborated efficiently to debilitate communities of color and the marginalized in a multitude of ways for decades.

As we live through this moment, America should know that it never actually held to account the wounds it carved. It merely forgave itself for its past rather than healing those wounds. And because it never truly acknowledged what it had done, it hasn’t accepted the actual progress it requires. Hundreds of billions of dollars a year on jailing and policing vulnerable populations is not progress. True progress means it can no longer rely on the same institutions that monopolize such logistics of brutality, marrying terror with anti-Blackness and mirroring policing techniques rooted in enslavement. Within this dynamic, how can it grow a conscience to its own brutality?

READ MORE: Non-Black Muslims Must Care About Black Liberation

The conversation shouldn’t be about banning chokeholds, de-escalation or interventionary practices anymore. 

You cannot expect a system designed to oppress a whole subsection of society to also heal itself through those same mechanisms. You can’t think that the legal machinery put into place to preserve the interests of the white and wealthy while depriving the rights of others to now hold those same individuals rightfully accountable. You can’t depend on a broken moral compass to suddenly guide you. You can’t look at the same match that lit the flame, to now put it out. 

What America – by which I mean privileged, white, middle America that dictates and is serviced by the mainstream – is encountering, is a reckoning that has brought it face to face with the same past it distorts in order to forget the injustice it commits. To overlook the truth, which allows for it to cloak itself in the language of democracy and equality. 

Even where justice seems to be delivered, where verdicts are cheered and legislation is championed – the same violence is ever-recurring – Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Mike Brown and countless others.

The occurrence of police oppression is clearly beyond the realm of individualist actions but that of a disease that plagues the entire framework that produces these individuals. The very ideology that is allowed to fester and be given a chance to thrive as a normative and acceptable way to think, and to see others in a certain light and to act accordingly. That is what has to be confronted. It is as systematic as it is psychological. 

The way a woman clutches her purse when she sees a Black man approaching, the way a white person persistently asks you where you are from, the way some ascribe to “not seeing color” – these are the products of subtle assumptions that predominantly White people carry and project upon minorities, particularly upon Black people. Of suspicion and alarm. To let a person of color know that they are different, domineering to inhibit feelings of shame that allow for them to feel inferior. And these are the types of preconceived notions produced by dominant narratives that otherize minorities, which fuel these feelings of fear and paranoia – which lead to white women calling the police on a Black man bird watching or a shopkeeper to suspect a Black customer as he enters his store.

It’s all about the roles we are expected to play and the boxes that others put us in. They end up getting Black people killed. It’s about the policing we ourselves carry out on each other, rather than looking out for one another. Ultimately, as Malcolm X concluded after his trip to Mecca, racism can only be cured by addressing the diseases within our hearts.

Moments like these are a devastating reminder of the often-invisible structural violence which can become visibilized so suddenly. Floyd was brutally murdered in broad daylight. His execution was publicized, it was recorded and went viral. A dastardly rekindling of public lynchings in the Jim Crow South come to mind. Humiliating and brutal- for everyone to gawk and see. The world witnessed the horror. Had it not been filmed what would the response have been then? There are layers upon layers of intricately designed invisible violence consistently functioning, suffocating and killing Black people daily which the rest of us usually never see despite its persistence. 

What makes this such a critical moment is where it allows for us to go from here. When we speak of defunding police departments or abolishing policing as a whole,  it extends far beyond past reforms such as implementing body cameras on on-duty cops or demanding better training. It’s about reimagining a radically different and new world. It is about confronting the world we have inherited and undoing the lived traumas that many are forced to contend with. Abolishment isn’t about harm reduction, it’s about creating a properly equitable society.

 

 

By defunding police departments and closing down prisons, those resources and budgets that spiral into the hundreds of billions, can be repurposed towards addressing societal inequality and systemic discrepancies in the form of universal basic income, healthcare, free education, and providing community care to build better living conditions rather than endlessly investing in repressive policies and drastic militarization. The abandonment people experience from the state in the first place is what primarily drives the powerless and vulnerable to take matters into their own hands. To not only fend for themselves in order to survive or seek avenues out of the pain and poverty which engulfs them, but to express the rage of discontent. 

To foster systems predicated on care and compassion instead is of paramount importance. We must finally move away from furthering militarial expansion overseas, domestic surveillance and aggression, which only breed poverty and the hostility that divisive ideologies thrive upon. This must open up larger conversations exploring the interdependencies between capitalist modes of production that prioritizes profits over life and well-being.

The same faculties could be better applied to prioritizing low-cost mental health resources or investing in building mutual aid networks within communities based on accountability, de-escalation and conflict resolution instead of punishment and harassing the most vulnerable amongst us. 

Our broader perception of public safety has to change, in a way that doesn’t revolve around terror. What we define as good or bad, as criminality itself- must change. Locking people in cages doesn’t address or resolve the multi-plex forms of continuous oppression and exploitation people were victim to. Because they are extracted and removed from society, doesn’t mean the problem is gone too. Justice isn’t defined by time served. We must get to the root of what necessitates people’s behavior in the first place, in order to uproot it. A society that prioritizes supporting and caring for one another, where no one is left alone or behind, is not impossible despite what we are led to believe. 

Yet within the mainstream, the conversation around the structural violence Black and marginalized people are victim to, is rarely presented through the lens of poverty and incarceration. It is decontextualized and narrativized around disorder and absurdity. . 

And as we watched large parts of the US endowed in what has been no more than an uprising, we should hold the mainstream media and political establishment accountable for having the nerve to bring up orderly conduct now. To have the audacity to speak of rule of law, of tone and to urge calm over people expressing their frustrations after decades of being unheard and every peaceful offering proving futile. 

Did the officer who turned judge, jury and executioner give any semblance of regard to the tone in George Floyd’s voice as he pleaded? Rubber bullets which cause terminal brain damage shot at the heads of protestors or tear gas fired into massive crowds which can cause severe long term respiratory ailment – was that not violence? 

What of the violence of corporations accumulating obscene amounts of capital and resources at the disposal of workers everyday? Those refused a living wage or humane working conditions. What of the violence of landlords who refuse to cancel rent in the middle of a pandemic? What of the criminalization of those who can’t afford to ride public transit but still have places to reach? What about those left hungry and desperate out on the streets? The fact that more people are in jail in the United States than the entire population of Philadelphia says it all. The U.S. spends $182 billion a year to keep millions in cages. The criminalization of poverty and color. That is violence. $750+ billion on national defense in a country where 13 million children don’t have enough food to eat and not one to provide them with it. That is violence.

And let’s not pretend as if America hasn’t been on fire, at war with itself since the moment it bought the first African in shackles onto its shores. As if merchandise and shop windows are worth more than the lives that were taken? In a place where for millions of people, their existence is informed by the inheritance of the trauma of their ancestors being commodified and chastised on that very land? Where for many their lives are made absolute hell every day just because of the color of their skin? 

On land that itself was stolen. Where every day there are those stranded on reservations without clean water? Where is the 24/7 media fixation for them, where is the moral outcry from pundits to alleviate their plight? It seems disingenuous for many to scream ‘All Lives Matter’ when America is a story of constant abandonment. 

Nothing is more despicable than the fact that the mainstream defines poor and marginalized people solely through their rightful retaliation to the systemic violence which they are subjugated to every day. No one bothers to ever contextualize or humanize Black suffering in particular. Because that would legitimize it. It is painted as barbarism and senseless lunacy but it is the full disclosure of the hurt and pain that Black America is told to bottle up and contend with. But when people lay carnage to monuments of those who trampled over their ancestors and destroy the tools of oppression that terrorize them, they are speaking to all of us about just how necessary their liberation is. How unbearable their condition has become.

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter Is Not A ‘Feel-Good’ Instagram Challenge

Here Are 18 Black Muslims You Need To Follow On Social Media

Does your Instagram feed reflect those posts you share on your Stories?

Here Are 18 Black Muslims You Need To Follow On Social Media

Does your Instagram feed reflect those posts you share on your Stories?

By

Mareena Emran & Zainab Damji

(From Left to Right) @villageauntie, @mustafabriggs, @ayesha.sow, @mustafathepoet, @shahdbatal

In the wake of support for the Black community on social media, we compiled a list of some of the most influential Black Muslims you should follow on Instagram and other social media sites. From beauty vloggers, songwriters, athletes and more, here is a growing list of Black Muslims you need on your feed:

 

Angelica Lindsey-Ali @villageauntie – Sexual Health Educator

How often is it that you see a sex health expert in the Muslim world? Intimacy and relationships expert Angelica Lindsey-Ali is one we should all look up to. With sex being a traditionally taboo subject in conversation, Ali’s mission is to educate young and old Muslims alike about topics surrounding relationships.

“My mission is to reclaim them (connections with elders). We owe it to ourselves, our sisters, our daughters. I am striving to be a guide back to the ways of our foremothers,” (Muslim Wellness).

 

Amina Hassan @blackish.gold – Content Creator

From the dynamic text posts, to her wonderfully aesthetic travel photos, Amina Hassan’s feed is full of power. If you’re ever feeling down, Hassan knows just the right words to get your spirits lifted once again, she shared in a tweet:

i used to be afraid of changing my mind bc i thought it’d make me look weak & inconsistent but i’m actually just so much better off admitting that yesterday me was trash & that she doesn’t have to exist tomorrow”

Hassan’s activism has spoken volumes across the black community, with her Instagram profile amassing over 72k followers, and she’s even got some black revolutionary texts linked in her bio.

 

Mustafa Ahmed @mustafathepoet – Poet, Singer, Songwriter

If you’ve streamed songs by the Weeknd or Camilla Cabello recently, there’s a good chance that some of those songs were written by Mustafa the Poet. Canadian songwriter Mustafa Ahmed began his rise to fame back in 2014 after a string of recognition of his poems, where he gained national attention after Drake reposted some of his work. Since then, Mustafa the Poet has been writing for some of the best in the industry. 

Not only is his work notable in the music industry, but he’s also had a history in filmmaking, producing and releasing Remember Me, Toronto in early 2019. The film revolves around the hip hop industry in Canada, discussing hard topics of social class and gun violence.

Mustafa the Poet continues posting his written work on his Instagram page, with his most recent pieces touching on his personal life. 

 

Jibreel Salaam and Mohammad Hassan @youngnmuslim – Podcasters

Jibreel Salaam and Mohammad Hassan are here to share dope Muslim stories through their podcast series “The Young and Muslim.” With their mission of inspiring Muslim culture, community and growth, their content encourages self care through strengthening faith.

“If there’s something that COVID-19 & Ramadan has taught us, it is to be in the moment & appreciate the fact that you are here today – Alive. Remember, somebody wants to be where you’re at. So appreciate what you got, until it’s gone,” Salaam shared one in an Instagram post.

 

Neelam @neelam_ – Rapper

Neelam Hakeem isn’t your everyday female rapper. The multitalented 33-year-old started off as a modest fashion influencer, but quickly expanded her horizons as she dived headfirst into the world of Rap. Receiving praise from those along the likes of Diddy and Will Smith, Hakeem has been a fierce advocate for women’s rights and social injustice through her music.

Hakeem’s advocacy remains steadfast to this day, with her speaking out on her Instagram feed, stories, and IGTV to document her support for the Black Lives Matter movement through self-recorded talks and sharing relevant videos. Hakeem also recently dropped an Instagram post with snippets of her 2019 music video for her song ‘Mass Incarceration’ alongside anti-racism graphics.

 

Shahd Batal @shahdbatal – Sudanese-American Fashion Influencer

Hijabi beauty vlogger and face of ASOS’ Ramadan campaign, Shahd Batal is a 23-year-old taking the world by storm. What started off as a secret YouTube channel during her first year in college has now amassed a large following of 277K subscribers.

Batal’s following extends across multiple platforms as she sits at 379K followers on Instagram, using it as a forum to share daily fashion and beauty inspo to the masses. Speaking to Cosmopolitan Middle East, Batal describes her style as “versatile, comfortable, and elevated.”

 

Husain Abdullah @habdullah39 – Former Football Player

Hussain Abdullah, former football player for the Kansas City Chiefs, has dedicated his feed to all things football and family. His posts range from wholesome photos of his time with his children, to throwback photos on the field. With his active presence on the platform, he takes the time to reflect on his life as a Muslim through occasional text posts and poems.

In an interview with The Players’ Tribune, Abdullah said, “I am a devout Muslim. As such, I am required to be a benefit to society. Being a good husband to my wife and a good father to my children — these acts are my responsibility as a Muslim.”

His life in retirement has been a journey to self improvement. After accumulating five concussions during his career, he had to make the hard decision to quit the sport that he loved, but continued to speak on his experiences on Instagram.

 

Aysha Sow @aysha.sow – Model

Aysha Sow is the jack of all trades – the NYC based Guinean model and natural hair blogger has curated the picture-perfect (pun intended) Instagram feed complete with different natural hair looks, the occasional golden-hour, dewy skin selfie and more. 

Despite her niche being natural hair styling, Sow dips her toes in fashion, beauty, and skincare ever so often. More recently, Sow has also used her Instagram platform to speak about the Black Lives Matter movement and share resources. 

Looking back at an interview she did in 2019, Sow has always been a vocal advocate for Black folks. When speaking to SHEER about ways the different ways the beauty industry can be more inclusive and diverse, Sow said “HIRE MORE BLACK ARTISTS, MORE BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS, MORE BLACK MODELS, MORE BLACK DIRECTORS, MORE BLACK PRODUCERS, MORE BLACK WRITERS. HIRE MORE BLACK ARTISTS PERIOD.”

Sakinah and Zakiyyah Rahman @aint.afraid – Artists

Sakinah and Zakiyyah Rahman are the duo you won’t want to miss. This “multi-talented double dose of dopeness” are artists and activists who aren’t afraid to do their thing, and their music revolves around topics of empowerment and religion.

We are one of many beautiful, spiritual, cultural faces of this country,” the duo shared in an Instagram post.

 

Aysha Harun @ayshahuranBeauty Vlogger

Canadian beauty vlogger Aysha Harun’s page is exactly what everyone’s feed needs: flare! From makeup tutorials to skincare routines, and even fashion tips and tricks, Harun does it all. In a piece published by On the Dot Woman, “she decided to fill the void, representing as one of the very first hijab-wearing, dark-skinned Muslim gals to take the online video world by storm.”

Not only is Harun an amazing makeup artist, she is also a lifestyle content creator. When scrolling through her page, you’ll find that she loves posting with her husband, and can rock loungewear like no other.

 

Yasin Osman @yescene – Cartoonist

Toronto-based Yasin Osman is a photographer, cartoonist, and early childhood educator whose creative projects know no end! Quite the storyteller, Osman has used his skills and passion for youth empowerment and visual media to found #ShootForPeace — a photography program where he sits down with the children of Regent Park in Toronto every Sunday to explore self-expression and the art of photography. 

Osman recently self-published his webcomic “Grandpa Ali & Friends” into a comic book which is expected to be released sometime this month.

 

Hakeemah Cummings @hakeemahcmb – Stylist

Modest Fashion stylist Hakeemah Cummings created the first modest fashion styling service in the USA. Talking to Haute Hijab, Cummings says her interest in styling piqued when she attended the Haute and Modesty Show for D.C. Fashion Week in 2013.

Cummings has collaborated with over 50 brands to date to provide her styling services spread across different mediums such as for fashion shows or photoshoots. 

Cummings’ business is called “Cover me Beautiful” and the inspiration behind the name is shared on her website, where she says “because being covered is beautiful.”

 

Ikram Abdi Omar @ikramabdi – Fashion Model

British model Kiram Abdi Omar has made strides in the fashion world. From being the first hijabi model to feature on the cover of Vogue, to starring in the Nike hijabi swimwear campaign, Omar is an influencer you absolutely can’t miss. Omar’s list of covers also includes Burberry, Hello! Magazine, Dazed Digital and many more.

Her multifaceted career isn’t limited to just her modeling. As seen in an array of published pieces, Omar is a budding chef, henna artist,” and even a YouTube stylist.”

 

Manal Chinutay @chinutay – YouTuber/ Influencer

YouTuber Manal Chinutay does everything from lifestyle content to makeup tutorials, and when it comes to her Instagram page, you’ll find the most adorable photos of her son Adam. With a combined following of over 600k on Instagram and YouTube, she’s taken over the world of modest hijabi fashion.

Not only does she have a personal page, but she also runs a shop page with a wide variety of beautiful scarves and a page dedicated to her house where she covers all things home and interior.

 

Mustafa Briggs @mustafabriggs – Writer and Lecturer

University of Westminster alum Mustafa Briggs is an all round master of storytelling. From reading, writing, speaking, travelling and even translating, Briggs has taken his career abroad to, “explore and uncover the deep rooted relationship between Islam and Black History,” (Sacred Footsteps).

Briggs rose to international acclaim for his lecture series, “Beyond Bilal: Black History in Islam” in 2019, and has explored spiritualism through his work on Sacred Footsteps. His most recent online lecture explores the tradition of female scholarship within Islam, serving as, “as an inspiring blueprint for Muslim communities the world over.” 

Through his Instagram feed, Briggs documents his worldly travels alongside his wife, Yasmina, and continues enlightening the crowd with his inspiring captions. 

 

Najma Sharif @overdramatique – Writer

Somali-American writer Najma Sharif is the master of all. With her work being published on networks including NBC, Paper Magazine, and even Vice, Sharif has published over 30 dynamic articles across numerous platforms. 

Her website describes her as someone who “is dedicated to telling stories that amplify the most marginalized people.” It also says “she’s interested in creating challenging work that complicates how we think about and navigate the world. Her writing and public speaking centers Black Muslims from the diaspora, technology, fashion and Black womanhood.”

Sharif’s feed is a colorful blend of far too relatable memes and super cute selfies, but she’ll always keep it real with her insightful commentary and reporting on worldly issues.

 

Alhassan Umar @ally_deen – Public Speaker

Alhassan Umar, better known as Ally Deen, “is a spoken word artist and motivational speaker with the aim of spreading the true image of Islam and enlightening people on life issues.” His poetry is seen all over his page, expanding on topics of self contemplation and worldly affairs. 

At the recent wake of the BLM activism, Ally Deen took the time to reflect on society during this time. “I live in a place where the unfortunate stick together, where the oppressors continue to scramble, continue to find ways to make mice run for cheese. But little do they know that mice want more than cheese.”

His constant words of encouragement will inspire anyone to get up and make a change in the world.

 

Youssef Kromah @youssef.kromah – Author

Award winning author and poet Youssef Kromah has touched the hearts of many with his uplifting and motivational posts. With his posts framing inspirational quotes and lighthearted photos, Kromah has expanded beyond Instagram to enlighten his followers of spirituality.