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Anti-Black Racism in the Muslim Community

Within Muslim communities there often exists a hierarchy, whereby some Muslim communities may be overlooked or forgotten. Often, this includes Black Muslim communities who face intersecting oppression by virtue of their race and their religion.

Impacts of colonialism continue to have an effect not only on countries’ economies and governance, but on cultural and social views. Living in and being colonised by countries that have been part of the slave trade, it is embedded in our social systems to consider blackness morally and socially inferior.

Anti-blackness can be see when we make assumption of others’ level of education, morality, beauty and worth simply by the colour of their skin. 

In many parts of the world today, the darker someone’s skin, the less value and beauty it is considered to have, which is why in many predominantly racialised countries, it is still common to find skin bleaching products widely used. But anti-blackness is more than simply about the skin tone, and anti-blackness within the Muslim community pre-date Western colonialism. In the 9th Century Muslims that were moving from Medina to Baghdad enslaved East Africans for instance. 

Black Muslims make up a large and important segment of the global Muslim population, and while they are a smaller group in the UK, they still make up approximately 10% of the Muslim population. It is important that we recognise their distinct experiences of being Black Muslims in the U.K. and stand in solidarity with them to challenge institutional racism. In parallel to this, we must recognise our own anti-Black attitudes and understand where they come from. By taking these steps, we are supporting our Black Muslim sisters and brothers by sending the message we are one Ummah (Arabic word for community).


When non-black Muslims refer to the contribution of black people in Islam, they speak about servitude, of lowly figures who rose out of their abject poverty to become ‘honourable’ Muslims. It’s almost a back-handed compliment.

-Habeeb Akande

“…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 black nor does a black have any superiority over a white except by piety and good action.” 



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