We Must be the Forerunners
In Erasing Racism from the World
curriculum, Muslim School books, has intentionally used numerous stories
that reflect the diversity of races within our ummah as well as the notable
contributions of black and brown people within our ummah. The intention in
writing these particular stories was to subtly help our Muslim youth to
disassociate black and brown people with the undesirable associations that we are
all so often exposed to through media and literature. We wanted to introduce a
new narrative for our youth in kindergarten through 6th grade
(formative years) that skin color, hair texture, and other attributes of many black
and brown people are positive characteristics—as Allah says in Quran The Fig
95:4: “We have created the human being in the best form.”
In our phonics books, you will find images of not
only the Kaba, masjids and hijabs, but also a natural pick, which is a
distinctive hair comb that is used for many people of African descent who have
tight curly textured hair.
*You will find characters described as having an
afro, or copper skin.
*You will find the story of a famous author,
Rukhsana Khan, and the racism she experienced while growing up, due to her rich
brown color and Pakistani ethnic background.
*You will find stories about Malcolm X’s wife--Betty
Shabazz, Muhammad Ali, Ahmed Muhammad
(Clock Boy), Mahmoud Abdul Rauf (basketball player and civil rights leader),
*You will find a story about Mustapha Akkad, the
producer of The Message and Lion of the Dessert. We highlight his
attempt at presenting a just racial society through both his movies and his
personal actions on the movie set.
*You will find the contributions of Muslims in
Africa during the Islamic Golden Age with stories about the Mali Empire,
Timbuktu, and Mansa Musa.
All of these stories were strategically written to allow our Muslim
children to grow up with a set of Islamic reading texts that celebrate the
contributions of notable Muslims with diverse backgrounds from the present and
past. Within this dynamic, the hope is that our youth will develop the true
understanding of our Prophet’s (saw) words during his last sermon:
. . . Every Muslim is the brother of another
Muslim. 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 a white – except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a
brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.
Your Sister in Islam,
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