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Victims or Victors: The Challenges of Launching a Black American Muslim Conference

TitleVictims or Victors: The Challenges of Launching a Black American Muslim Conference
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsLatif, J
JournalBlack Theology

This study combines participant observation and textual analysis
conducted over a multi-year period. It analyzes the Black
American Muslim Conference’s (BAMC) establishment of an
annual forum for addressing issues pertinent to the descendants
of African slaves in the United States practicing normative Sunni
Islam. When announced, it faced backlash for its delimitations of
Black American Muslims as an imagined community inheriting an
ethnographically distinct theological legacy. A flood of
contestations appeared on social media claiming the conference
was divisive, irreligious, and racist. Repeatedly challenged on
what bound them as an imagined community, organisers were
compelled into clarifying the conference’s scope in exchanges on
social media while maintaining their expressed inclusivity. The
successive conferences have repeatedly struggled to gain wide
support from Muslim organisations. Recurring panels have
navigated polarisation by balancing individualist and collectivist
themes while maintaining weariness towards endorsing
victimhood or Uncle Tom narratives.