A couple of days ago I found something unexpected in my mailbox. I initially dismissed it as one of the local freebie papers that appear every once in a while. Then I looked a little closer.
It was a newspaper, but not one of our locals. It was called ‘The Final Call’. A quick glace at the cover made me think it was a religious paper. A deeper look made me realize it was a ‘black’ paper.
Every article in it was about black people, whether African-America (as it was a U.S.-based paper), or from elsewhere in the world. I had no problem with the concept (why would I?), though there was a little too much religious content for my tastes.
Then I saw the last article. It appeared to be written by ‘The Honorable Elijah Muhammad’ (sic). The article claimed to tell me ‘what the Muslim wants’ and ‘what the Muslim believes’.
Those are very grand statements, as they claim to speak for a great deal of people. According to the 1st Islamic Web resource that is somewhere in the vicinity of 1.5 Billion people worldwide. To try to claim to speak for all of them is certainly presumptuous if nothing else. (And I feel quite confident that the Muslims that I count as friends and acquaintances would disagree with a lot of it.)
Many of the things listed were quite reasonable and I was in full agreement with them. They asked for the right to justice no matter what colour of skin or religious choice of those accused. Who could be against that?
Then I got to the section where Elijah Muhammad claimed that all black people in America should be given their own territory where they can have self-rule. He claims all Muslims want pure segregation. (There are some side points in there about white America paying for all of this, even after they are split into a separate country, but that gets into a philosophical argument about generational debt, which I don’t want to get into here. Sufficed to say that I disagree with segregation but agree with the idea of a debt that crosses generations.)
Didn’t human rights activists fight AGAINST segregation?
Then it got worse.
He wanted marriages between the races to be outlawed.
When we were trying to figure out why we got this paper in our mailbox (since nobody else in the area seemed to get it), we wondered if they were targeting the family next door. After reading that, I suppose not, since they are a ‘mixed’ family. (Ugh… I even hate the term.)
I am really trying to wrap my head around the idea that separation and segregation can ever be a desirable state. Anybody?