The BAMs vs. the IMMs! Tribalism within US Muslim community?

Since I’ve written on several occasions lately about black Americans having conflicts with black refugees in communities where the volags apparently placed the refugees—assuming the black ‘African’ brothers would bond, I don’t think I am going too far afield to discuss this very fascinating post I came across yesterday.    It is written at a blog called Muslim Matters and is entitled “The Scourge of ‘Internet Tribalism'”.

This article is also relevant because we are bringing large numbers of Muslim immigrants to the US through the Refugee Resettlement program, so things could get still uglier in the Ummah.

There has been a recent uptick in phenomenon, which for lack of better terminology, I will refer to as “Internet Tribalism”.

This tribalism is pitting black brothers, who I will refer to as BAMs*, against immigrants and their progeny, who we will simply abbreviate as IMMs.

Wow (or Woe)!  I had no idea that Black American Muslims (BAM’s) are suspicious of Immigrant Muslims (IMM’s).   We have been told it’s all peace and love among all of Islam’s brothers and sisters.   But, this article and the comments that follow suggest there is much going on under the surface which the author, Amad (an IMM), is desperately trying to resolve by discussing openly. 

If you are interested in this, and you should be as we continue to bring in Muslim refugees, I encourage you to read the whole post and the comments there.     It is a lot to absorb, so I’ll just pull out a couple of things that interested me.

I guess we may need to add a new category at some point, the BIMMs—Black Immigrant Muslims—-hmm, wonder where they will fit in the mix? 

Anyway, back to the tribalism which Amad describes and then says this, which is apparently one of the things “hate-mongering” BAM bloggers are discussing:

Before I move on, there is a fundamental question that needs to be addressed: Is this social gap between IMMs and BAMs a result of CONSPIRACY, involving a series of deliberate actions by the IMMs to keep the BAMs down and away from the circles of influence and wealth? Or is it that just how history played out where each community was engrossed in its own priorities and issues that it did not stop and think about the other? Or as a third option, does the truth lie somewhere in the middle?

As an IMM who has been active in the Muslim community for nearly 15 years, I would like to believe the following: There is no conspiracy at hand and that there was/is no plan to keep our BAM brothers “down”. But I cannot deny that affluence and authoritarian attitudes of the immigrant community have played a role in silencing and stunting the growth of the BAM community, inadvertent as it may have been. So, while there is no conspiracy, the result has been similar – the BAM community has been kept “down”.

Regardless, conspiracy it is not. And this strange belief of the all-powerful “Immigrant Syndicate” is part of the increasing internet nationalism that has reared its ugly head,

Also, Amad is very concerned about how the “Islamophobes” will use this information.  Apparently the blog Little Green Footballs had already at one point seized on this racist rift. 

As a result of this “internet tribalism”, we saw the formation of new blogs along similar lines of hate-mongering against IMMs. In fact, the Islamophobic community, sensing an opportunity to exacerbate disunity among Muslims, found the posts so appealing that two of them were prominently linked on the most notorious anti-Muslim, right-wing vitriolic site called LGF- (whose members appropriately refer to themselves as lizards). While singularvoice (link) has mysteriously gone offline, the two posts can still be found on (google singularvoice).

Perhaps there is something to the BAM’s concerns, maybe they know their history and know that it was the Arab traders who enslaved Africans in the first place.    Although American ‘whites’ get the blame, we fought a Civil War and many Americans died to free the slaves here.   Islam still tolerates slavery of certain people and slavery of Africans by lighter skinned Muslims is still going on according to this account at wikipedia (scroll down to Slavery in the Muslim World).

Amad says its a wild insinuation that modern Muslim activist groups in the US are suppressing BAM’s and seeks to dispel that notion in a section that begins:

The wild insinuation that “I.S.N.A, Q.S.S., C.A.I.R., M.A.S., I.I.I.T, [Muslim activist groups in the US] etc, clandestinely subscribe to this noxious belief that Arabs are Master Race, and that this “fact” has led them to suppress BAMs.

But, one commenter, Abu Noor Al-Irlandee, makes an interesting point by saying that if the Muslim Brotherhood is behind most of the Muslim activist groups in the US, that needs to be discussed or suspicion will continue to grow among the BAM’s.    

I know no one wants to play into talking points of our Islamophobic enemies, but if all the major Muslim organizations really were originally founded by people associated with or sympathetic to various branches of the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon [Muslim Brotherhood], then we should not try to hide that fact but should explore what the real truth of those associations was. And if such groups are now led by people completely independent from those organizations and even by people who do not subscribe to the methodologies of those organizations then we should be clear about that as well. Covering up such issues will always lead to conspiracy theories and to the idea prevalent in many immigrant led masjids for a variety of reasons (some related to this, some not) that there is a true inner circle of the masjid that outsiders cannot really reach or understand and that what is said in private is different from what is said in public. Even if this is for good reasons, this leads inevitably to “suspicion” and then people are uneasy about what is said publicly even when nothing is being hidden. Of course, post 9/11 persecution of Muslim charities and organizations for foreign affiliations has made this problem a more difficult one.

For what its worth, I believe there is an “inner circle.”    See my earlier mention of the Muslim Brotherhood in this post:   Muslim Mayors coming to a city near you.


Spread the love

Leave a Reply