The division between Muslims of African-American background and those from South Asian and Middle Eastern background may be narrowing as the concern for civil rights has become a concern of Islamic communities after 9/11. African Americans say they have been marginalized in mosques and Islamic organizations by South Asian and Middle Eastern Muslim immigrants.
Concerns about surveillance, wiretaps and other potential civil rights abuses has become a going concern of Muslim organizations, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). They have started consulting African-American Muslims and such black groups as the NAACP who experienced similar monitoring during the civil rights movement. “With their civil rights experience and knowledge of American society to offer, more African-American Muslims are slowly filling leadership roles in mosques and advocacy groups,” reports the article from the Pew Forum (May 16).
One such Muslim, Mahdi Bray, head of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, has risen to prominence, in part for his oratory skills and ability to articulate common concerns faced by blacks and American Muslims, such as profiling. Yet one critic maintains that the new cooperation does not go very deep and is mainly about immigrants protecting their economic status in the U.S.