Department of Anthropology College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Religious Studies presents Siddiqi Lecture: Islam, Race, and Social Justice: Historical and Qur’anic Perspectives on Black Freedom Struggle.
October 11 @ 9:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Siddiqi LecturennTitle: Islam, Race, and Social Justice: Historical and Qur’anic Perspectives on Black Freedom Struggle.nnButch Ware (UC-Santa Barbara)nnCo-sponsors: nnDepartments of Africana Studies, History, Political SciencennInterdisciplinary Program in Middle East StudiesnnHaslam College of BusinessnnBio: Professor Ware, Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is a historian of Africa and Islam. He is the author of The Walking Qur’an Islamic Education, Embodied Knowledge, and History in West Africa (UNC Press, 2014) and co-author of Jihad of the Pen: Sufi Thought in West Africa (American University in Cairo Press, 2018).nnAbstract: nnThe Qur’an, though Arabic in language, is largely a book about black people, with most of its named characters living in and around the ancient Nile Valley. This is often overlooked by scholars of Islamic thought (from within the tradition and without) because the Qur’an is – in fact – a colorblind Book. There are no mentions of skin color or hair texture associated with any of the Qur’an’s human characters. The partial exception to this rule, is the name Adam, which meant black-skinned in ancient Arabic.nnThough it is without racial marking, the Qur’an offers powerful material for reflection on racism and racial justice. In its telling of the timeless cosmological drama, Satan is the first creature to claim superiority on the basis of bodily composition and lineage origin. The devil becomes the first racist in the moment where he refuses to bow to Adam. In this space of reflection, racism is a spiritual sickness, thrust upon humanity by an avowed enemy who causes us to see one another with the same contempt which he has for all.nnBlack Muslims – in the continent and diaspora have mined Islamic sources of reflection on race and justice to make powerful spiritual and social interventions. In this talk, I will focus on three interrelated moments in the Afro-Islamic struggle against white supremacy. nn1. The Muslim anti-slavery movements of late 18th century West Africa and the Diasporann2. The Sufi anti-imperialist movements of late 19th century West Africann3. The mid twentieth century racial justice ideology formulated by Malcolm X.