US Muslim community demands more inclusive spaces for black Muslims
A team of members of Edmonton’s Muslim community is working to address racism in religious spaces calling for more inclusive spaces for Black Muslims.
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The Anti-Racism Muslim Collaborative (AMC) conducted community engagement to better understand anti-black racism to solve the problem.
Hanan Attitalla, education coordinator at the advocacy group John Humphrey for Peace and Human Rights, facilitated the project, saying anti-black racism “is rampant in most spaces in our city.”
AMC released a report based on the community engagement sessions and points to areas for improvement to make Muslim spaces more inclusive, safe and welcoming to black Muslims.
Some of the issues identified in the report include the lack of space for black people in Muslim communities, inclusivity for non-Arabic speaking Muslims, and representation in Muslim leadership.
Black Muslims, particularly women, have been the target of hate-based violence and racist attacks in recent years.
Police-reported hate crimes against Muslims in Canada have risen from 84 incidents in 2020 to 144 incidents in 2021, Statistics Canada data shows.
The 23-page report identifies solutions to the problems facing community members.
During the community sessions held to create the report and accompanying data, participants were asked which Muslim spaces in Edmonton are considered the least inclusive or safe for Black Muslims.
Reporting participants recognized organizations working to address racism against Black Muslims, such as Black Women United, Sahaba Mosque, and the Canadian Somali Association.
Recommendations in the report include encouraging open discussion of racism, ensuring adequate translation during Friday prayers for non-Arabic speaking Muslims, and understanding the influence of colonialism on existing spaces.
Edmonton’s Muslim population is diverse, with many coming from East African and non-Arabic-speaking countries.