Black Dawah Network Launches Online Course: Challenging Black Orientalism.

The Black Dawah Network will be launching the online African-American Dawah Academy. This online academy will offer courses that will give our students  the tools to neutralize anti-Islamic discourses from sectors within the Black community as well as educate students on ways of articulating the relevancy of Islam to
\African-Americans. Our first online course will be titled: Challenging Black Orientalism. 

In this course we will expose the errancy of the anti-Muslim manifestations of Afrocentrism among the Black conscious- community. The course will deconstruct statements by Molefi Kete Asante, John Henrik Clarke, Chancellor Williams, and Youssef Ben Jochannan as regards to Islam and Black Americans. We will critically assess today’s  Black conscious-community using their statements and track record. After the course one will grasp Black Orientalism’s primary arguments against Islam and how most effectively to respond.

The online course will enable the student to:
1. Refute their claims that Islam spread to Africa through the Arab slave trade, Africans were converted to Islam by force, Islam is Arab imperialism, and that Black people should adopt traditional African religions. To do this the historicity of each of will examined in detail to separate fact from fiction. The student will be able to articulate the information in a highly polemical environment using rhetorical methods that have proven highly effective.

2. Deconstruct their claim that Africa was spiritual and not religious. That religion was brought by Arabs and Europeans. This is a central myth of Afrocentrism and the conscious-community that is integral to their critique on Islam and claims to authenticity. The student will leave the course with the framework for understanding their use of the term “African spirituality,” motives for this false language, and how to articulate Africa’s religious heritage that does not play into their false dichotomy of African versus Islamic.

3. Account for their fictionalizing of ancient Egypt and its role in black political thought. Their “Kemet” is anachronistic and is an illegitimate barometer for measuring Africanity and for judging Islam.

4. Trace the Eurocentric origins and highlight the Eurocentric elements of Afrocentrism and the conscious-community. These ideations are African only in appearance. The student will see that their view of Africanity is predicated on a Western concepts of African religion and West’s  antipathy for Islam. This is Orientalism that is the basis for Black Orientalism.

5. Comprehend historiography. The student will leave with a grasp of sources to have a sound understanding of the history of the history. The history of the history details the evolution of the perspective and theory.

Why You Should Enroll in African-American Dawah Academy

The Afrocentric and Black conscious-community have exhibited jealousy over the impact that Islam has had in the black community. For the past several decades they have employed intellectually dishonest tactics to undermine the efforts of black Muslims. These anti-Muslim tropes have earned them the label Black Orientalists because they lazily rehash the pro-colonial propaganda of the white supremacist academic structure.

Orientalism is a term that describes the West’s stereotyping of the East, especially of the Arab Muslim world. Edward Said describes it as part of the European colonizer attempt at controlling the narrative about the Muslim world. Black Orientalism refers to the same anti-Islamic indulgences of culturally zealous black people who feel threatened by the growth and popularity of Islam among African- Americans but emphasize the Arab slave trade, Arab anti-black racism, and what they feel is cultural adulteration by black Muslim converts.

Afrocentrism emerged in the late 80s to counter the racism inherent in the narrative about Africa. It sought to highlight the contributions of Africa and Africans to the world. During the late 80s and early 90s four names rang out the most when one mentioned Afrocentrism: Chancellor Williams, Molefi Kete Asante, John Henrik Clark, and Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannan, also known as Dr. Ben. There was an anti-Islamic tone in their work that began to overpower the more scholarly side of their writing. As time went on the focus of Afrocentrism went more towards combating the spread of Islam among African-Americans than Eurocentric lies about Africa’s inferiority. Their perspective on Africa was that Islam was an Arab Trojan Horse for cultural domination of Africa and that Islam has been nothing more than a tool of Arab imperialism.

As “classical” Afrocentrism waned and was replaced with what has been termed the Black conscious- community in the early 2000s there was a de-emphasis on historiography. Personalities big on flamboyancy and antics and low on research have dominated the thought landscape. Social media has become the dominant medium displacing research and books with message threads and YouTube videos. Unfortunately, this is the level of access for many black people. The Nation of Islam was successful in their outreach because their message was accessible to the people. The Muhammad Speaks and today’s The Final Call gave black people in the hood direct exposure to the teachings of that organization because it was put in streets.

Here at the Black Dawah Network we believe that if the message of Islam is to combat not just the physical and spiritual ills within black communities but the intellectual toxins pumped into our shared discourse by pseudo-intellectual charlatans then Islam must become intellectual capital by circulating through the hood with all of the negative influences.

Obviously, Afrocentrism and the Black conscious-community are not threats poised to extinguish Islam in black communities. In fact, they have all but imploded completely. They lack organization, structure, coherency, and overall, discipline. They are more of a nuisance. Yet, their rhetoric as it relates to Islam
has had a toxic effect on the perception of Islam by some members of the African-American community of Islam as a liberating force and must be challenged.  The course will also discuss the adab (manner, decorum) that is suited for engaging the members of this faction.

The course will be co-taught by Professor Shareef Muhammad and brother Hakeem Muhammad. Professor Shareef Muhammad has taught Islamic Studies & African-American Studies  at the historically Black college of Spelman University. Hakeem Muhammad has served as a lecturer in debate/argumentation/ and philosophy for seminars at Harvard University, U.C Berkeley, and Michigan State.

God-Wiling, The African-American Dawah Academy’s first online course: Responding To Black Orientalism will be available for enrollment  Feb, 22. 2020.

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