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Black History Month from a Muslim perspective

MUSLIM CONVERT: Civil rights activist Malcolm X

A MUSLIM community group will be hosting two Black History Month events next week where speakers will discuss the role of black people in Islamic history.

A host of speakers and organisations from various backgrounds will come together as part of One Community’s ‘Against Racism, Against Hatred’ campaign to discuss the role of black people in Islamic history, share experiences of being black and Muslim, and explain Islam’s solution to racism.

Organisers hope this exciting initiative will help tackle prejudice and discrimination, and promote greater understanding between people from different communities.

One Community project manager Abu Tayeb said: “This event is long overdue. The relationship between Islam and black history is a rich one that should be celebrated. We hope that, by drawing attention to this overlooked chapter in human history, we can focus on shared values and build bridges between people of various faiths and none.”

SPEAKER: Anti Youth Violence founder Raymond Douglas

The first Islam and Black History event will take place in Newcastle on Wednesday, October 28, and will feature talks and presentations from Anti Youth Violence founder Raymond Douglas, councillor Alyas Karmani from Street UK and Jamal Richards from Deen Riders - a Muslim biker gang.

While growing up Richards learned a lot about Black history and in his teens he studied the story of Malcolm X. It was this that put him on the path to find Islam. Then in his late teens, a few of his friends became Muslims and taught him about the religion. Since a young age, Richards has been interested in empowering people. Following the trend of his hero, Malcolm X, Richards finally realised that taking a radical approach is not necessary and has continually sought to be proactive and find ways to give back to society.

He remembers with great feeling the story of Roots and how many African American and British people have discovered that their ancestors were Muslims. “It is important that we take pride in who we are,” observed Richards.

It is this way of thinking that has led him to seek innovative ways to empower the Muslim community with faith and solidarity while integrating with the mainstream society and building bridges between the two.

The second Islam and Black History event will take place on Friday October 30 in Smethwick. It will include talks, presentations and politically conscious poetry from Abdul Karim.

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