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In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate

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Our duty in Islam is prayer, is fasting, is charity, our contribution to the wellbeing of society.  It is our responsibility to care for our families, our neighbors, the less privileged, the traveler, the one who has lost the way.  It is our Islamic duty to seek knowledge and share it with others.  Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him salvation, said:  “Striving for the sake of Allah from dawn until sunset is better than all the possessions and pleasures of this life.”

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A new member in the family of Islam:  Erika taking her shahadah on Sunday, Nov. 18.  Alhamdulillah!

LALMA present at ‘ISLAH LA Fall Food Festival’ on Sunday, Nov. 11. 

UPCOMING LALMA CLASSES:

  • Sunday, Dec. 2, 10:30am – 1:00pm.  Masjid Umar ibn al-Khattab, Los Angeles.  Class with Dr. Syed Rizwan
  • Sunday, Dec. 9, 10:30 am – 1:00pm.  Masjid Umar ibn al-Khattab, Los Angeles.  Class with Sheikh Abdul Hafiz and Alejandro Hernández
  • Sunday, Dec. 16, 10:30 – 1:00pm.  Indonesian Muslim Center, Los Angeles.  Class with Imam César Domínguez

“O people, behold.  We have created you of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another.  Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one most conscious of Him.  Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware”

 

(Qur’an 49:13).

LALMA and the African American Muslim Community

 by Marta Khadija

 

Two of the most representative minorities in the USA are the African American and the Latino-Hispanic Community; both have the highest numbers of new Muslims. There has been a large history of non-friendly relationship among Hispanics and African American non-Muslims; but the demographics in South Los Angeles have been changing rapidly.  At present both ethnic groups live side by side.

 

LALMA has built a good relationship of collaboration and support with African American Muslims and some of their organizations, such as the ILM Foundation (Intellect, Love and Mercy) and ISLAH LA Academy, serving the inner-city community of South Los Angeles.  ILM Executive Director, Umar Hakim, and ISLAH LA Director, Imam Jihad Saafir, have been long-time friends and partners of LALMA. 

 

As Latino Muslims, we know that Islam has the answer and the cure for enmity and racial discrimination. We have so many similitudes with the African American community, more than we may think we know. 

 

African Americans possess Muslim roots. The presence of Muslims has been part of the American landscape since pre-Columbian times. Early explorers used maps that were derived from the work of Muslims, with their geographical and navigational information, much advanced for that time.

 

Many West African Muslims were kidnapped and taken as slaves to the “New World” by European colonizers (mainly Spaniards, Portuguese, English and French). Over the course of more than three-hundred years, millions of Africans died crossing the Atlantic during the infamous “middle passage.” Some estimate that between 10 and 20% of slaves brought over from Africa were Muslims.

 

African slaves were brought to the Americas because they were more immune to European diseases than Native Americans. Africans eventually became a majority in the Caribbean islands due to the decline in the Native American population. About 95% of African slaves were brought to Latin America, where their descendants have created a unique and hybrid culture, which combines African, Native American and European customs and traditions.

 

Latino-Hispanic people also possess Muslim roots from the pre-Columbian era. In her book Africa versus America, Luisa Isabel Álvarez de Toledo, Duchess of Medina Sidonia, has demonstrated the presence of Muslims before Columbus. Her research is based on multiple documents that support the thesis that some merchants and sailors discovered a “Guinea of Gold” in Central and South America. They most likely departed from the Andalusian ports. Navigators from Portugal and the Maghreb knew the route to that “Guinea of Gold”, which was not in Africa but in the new land. That is why merchants that brought products from the American continent to the Iberian Peninsula (Spain) were found in the year 1200. Therefore, eight-hundred years of Muslim existence in Spain were transported to the “New World” and evolved into the Hispanic-Latin culture and people that we know today. 

 

When Columbus brought back slaves to Spain (natives), he also caused the question of slavery in the ‘New World’ to be aired openly, and Queen Isabella decided that her new subjects could not be enslaved; unfortunately, they would be treated as slaves in the new colonies. In that period, Christianity was enforced to both Africans and indigenous people of the ‘New World.’ The Islamic architecture in churches, museums, houses and multiple government buildings in Latin America is a sign of our Islamic heritage, including our food and other cultural aspects as well.

 

Although the conquest and colonization of the ‘New World’ turned out to be devastating for the its natives, one can only guess how much worse it might have been if Isabella had allowed slavery in her new lands!

 

According to this past and the present we live now, forming coalitions with our African American Muslim brothers and sisters is a mandatory and moral duty. Latino-Hispanics and African Americans both represent the largest minority in the USA and still claim for equal civil rights, good-quality education through high school and access to higher education.

 

 

Taking this concept in mind, LALMA has participated in a number of civic engagement activities, immigration worshops and voter registration and awareness campaigns, alongside our African American brothers and sisters.  

“Oh, Allah, I ask you for guidance, fearful awareness, honesty and Independence”

 

Words of Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

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