On November 15, 2017, Yahoo News published a pictorial collage entitled, “Hate in America: A look under the hood”. The presentation implied that American hatred began prior to its official establishment and has been a continuous occurrence ever since. The current rise in racial and religious intolerance is nothing new according to the article writers, rather a spike in the reality that has both highs and lows.
The earliest representation of Ku Klux Klan violence dates back to August 12, 1864 when soldiers of the Confederacy led by the first Grand Wizard, Nathan B. Forest were killing African American Union soldiers that had surrendered and were unarmed at Fort Pillow in Tennessee. The Ku Klux Klan continued to expand throughout the United States, particularly in southern states that fought to maintain slavery. On September 21, 1923, Klan members paraded through Tulsa, Oklahoma brandishing the American flag that was and is supposed to represent liberty and justice for all, freedom of religion, and peace.
Race and racial injustice continued in spite of what some would define as positive inroads to conciliation and coexistence. Although African American Elizabeth Eckford was the victim of racial slurs, yells and screams by Caucasian Americans, she along with 8 other African American students, gallantly faced the abusive crowds as they entered Little Rock, Arkansas’ Central High School, following the federal court ruling forcing integration in 1957.
African Americans believed that the Supreme Court win by the NAACP in Brown vs. the Board of Education would be the beginning of desegregation and the start of racial acceptance and equality. Yet six years later, the vicious attack upon a 17 year- old African American male by police dogs was photographed during a civil rights demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama. It was clear that the struggle for freedom, equality and justice was still elusive in African American communities.
Fast forward to the present, as Americans continue to march for justice and freedom, and against tyranny in America, and the Klu Klux Klan continues to have members and groups that support their racist agenda. The KKK, neo-Nazis and the alt-right rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017. They clashed with counter protesters at Emancipation Park which turned deadly. Twenty year-old terrorist James Fields was charged with the second degree, hit-and-run murder of Heather Heyer. Fields is a confessed white nationalist sympathizer.
These atrocities, racial injustices, social grievances, etc. are addressed in Islam. The Holy Last Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) not only gave the world the Holy Quran as a guide, but also his life through Hadith (his sayings and teachings) as a practical example. His last sermon is an additional gem to humanity and offers a cure to society’s ailments. All one has to do is accept and implement them in daily life.
In the 49th chapter (Al-Hujurat) of Holy Quran, line 13, the Almighty Lord states: “O people! Verily we created (you) from a male and a female, and have made you different branches and different tribes, so that you may recognize one another. Surely the most honored of you in the presence of Allah is he who is the most pious of you. Surely Allah is the All Knowing, the All Aware.” This line is clear. Our Creator did not make one human being superior to another by color or nationality.
Allah’s Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) addressed this issue of racial division during his last sermon due to its widespread destructive force on society and humanity’s moral code. In relation to this matter, he said:
“Remember, one day you will appear before ALLAH and answer for your deeds. So beware. Do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone. 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 (taqwa) and good action.”
This powerful message offers justice, peace and equality to humanity. It eliminates any belief of superiority as being permissible by the Almighty, His messengers, or people of faith and conscience.
Racism and racial superiority are societal evils. They have no basis or foundation in religious scripture or faith. Rather, it is human ego and haughtiness that Satan uses to encourage divisiveness among people to act as though they are superior to others. This has been a struggle since the creation of man.
America is at a crossroads. Racism is an inferno engulfing our country and charring everything in its path. Americans must decide between good and evil, heaven and hell. Everyone has the power to do something. Affirming this point is a Hadith narrated by Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree (May Allah bless him) who said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) say: Whoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith.” It is time to recognize that Islam’s perspective on racism is the cure for America’s malady, which continues to spread like a deadly plague.