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The colour of Muslim mourning

bigotry is part of the human dna it seems – if it’s not race, then it’s ethnicity, or religion, or culture, or gender, or sexual orientation. humans are very attuned to being “average” (whatever that might mean in a specific context), which is crushingly boring and oppressive.

The one item Mattan did not share with Deah, Yusor and Razan was Arab identity. A commodity that seems to enhance the value of Muslim life; while blackness remains devalued. Critics will contend: “Mattan was Canadian, which explains why Muslims in the US were ignorant of his death.” However, following his murder in December 2014, the Muslim-American community and its institutions were relatively hush about Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein. Although the 15-year-old Kansas City teen of Somali origin was, like the victims in Chapel Hill, a target of a hate crime in the US. Unlike Mattan, Sheikh-Hussein was killed inside America’s heartland. Yet, like Mattan, young Sheikh-Hussein’s brutal murder was met with silence and neglect, with outrage largely confined inside the bounds of Somali mosques and community centres. The remainder of the Muslim community, particularly Arab and South Asian elements and organisations, did little. Despite a few vocal critics, Mattan’s erasure in the discussion of Islamophobia in North America is evident. The exclusion of Mattan and Sheikh-Hussein perpetuates a harmful hierarchy that privileges Arab narratives and excludes black/African Muslims. This racial stratification relegating black Muslim lives is evident as much in death as it is in life. More here.

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