Ever since I suggested some weeks ago the idea of an Islamic Salon, many brothers and sisters have expressed a desire to initiate something like this in their own city. Here in Washington, D.C., the idea has taken hold of the people and has ignited a Muslim intellectual movement that is both robust and confident. African-American Muslims are finally beginning to think, speak, and act for themselves without apologies or any slavish reference to some shaykh somewhere.
One such group that I lead, THE MAJLIS, is meeting this weekend in the home of sister Bathsheba Philpott to discuss what lessons to take away from the movie The Great Debaters. This film, which celebrates the life of the mind and the rich intellectual tradition of African American people, will provide I’m sure some fertile ground for discussion and debate. So many themes were touched upon in the film; 1) Historically Black colleges and universities, 2) the power of out thinking your opponent, 3) the role of women in shaping ideas, 4) the history of “lynching” in America 5) Harlem Renaissance, 6) Blacks in the Communist Movement, and any number of other topics I’m sure I’ve missed.
In truth, I have never seen anything like this new awakening in the Blackamerican Muslim community. It is gratifying to see this process of maturity taking place, a trend we hope will continue (inshallah). As the day of the discussion nears my phone is ringing off the hook, and it is at the point where some are going to be turned away. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some pictures up, but I can’t promise.
By the way, currently I am working on another historical piece which explains how we came up with the “I’m just a Muslim“, self-abasing madness. This will drop in a day or two (inshallah). Please be patient, it will be worth it.