In this blog post, I continue the previous post (Parts 1 and 2), which I started when I wondered what stereotype I fit that would cause someone to think that I would welcome anti-Muslim emails. That email stimulated me to do some research and give substantive answers to the questions that were asked. Investigating a topic gives me inspiration for writing, as my research about lynchings in 1907 led to my novel Well Considered.
[Continuing: the anti-Muslim email questions are on the left, and my responses are indented and italicized on the right. These questions followed a Barack Obama Cairo speech quote, “I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s history.”]
(Part 3) Civil Rights and Women’s Suffrage
Where were Muslims during the Civil Rights era? Not present. There are no pictures or media accounts of Muslims walking side by side with Martin Luther King, Jr. or helping to advance the cause of Civil Rights.
While researching these answers, I found that someone else had already answered the questions in this email, and you may find those answers at: http://mediamattersaction.org/emailchecker/200912150003. Some of our answers were the same. They have supplied the picture you requested.
- “Where were Muslims during the Civil Rights era? The picture above shows El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, also known as Malcolm X, alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. Indeed, Malcolm X was and still is a a very controversial person, but there is not doubt that he was both a devout Muslim and a strong supporter of the Civil Rights movement.”
Malcolm X’s wife Betty Shabazz was also an important Civil Rights leader. Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali, along with Martin Luther King, protested against the Vietnam War.
Many African Americans converted to Islam from other religions during the Civil Rights era. [“Native-born American Muslims are mainly African Americans who make up about a quarter of the total Muslim population. Many of these have converted to Islam during the last seventy years.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_the_United_States.]
One of these conversions is a good friend of ours who grew up Southern Baptist but converted to Islam.
Where were Muslims during this country’s Woman’s Suffrage era? Again, not present. In fact, devout Muslims demand that women are subservient to men in the Islamic culture. So much so, that often they are beaten for not wearing the ‘hajib’ or for talking to a man who is not a direct family member or their husband. Yep, the Muslims are all for women’s rights, aren’t they?
My wife quips, “Where were men?” (during the Woman’s Suffrage era).
Regarding suffrage, Wikipedia lists six majority-Muslim countries where dates for first women’s suffrage came in the same decade as the U.S. (1920) and two prior to the U.S. They specifically note that the seeming belatedness of women’s suffrage in other majority-Muslim countries was often due, not to Islamic politics, but because they were colonies of European empires and thus had NO suffrage for anyone until winning national independence.
As far as beatings go, physical and mental spouse abuse is widespread in this country among non-Muslims. Recent cases include a prominent sports figure knocking out his fiancé in an elevator.
Moreover, in many non-Muslim religious traditions in the United States, the man is head of the family and the woman is subservient. Fundamentalist Christians like to point to Ephesians 5:21-33 in the Bible, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
NEXT: (Part 4) Muslim Hospital, Orchestra, Charity, Girl Scouts, etc.