Event Title

Islam, Blackness, and Racial Justice

Start Date

8-3-2022 7:00 PM

Location

OWS Auditorium, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus (click here for map)

Admission

free and open to the public (click here for visitor parking information)

Registration

optional (click this link to register)

Description

A program of the Encountering Islam Initiative, the Department of Theology presents the fourth annual Terence Nichols Memorial Symposium. Dr. Fuad Naeem will introduce Dr. Rudolph Ware, associate professor of History at the University of Santa Barbara. Dr. Ware is a historian of Africa and Islam. He earned his Ph.D. in 2004 from the University of Pennsylvania. His teaching and research focuses on Islamic thought, anti-slavery movements in West Africa and the African Diaspora, and the broader intersection of Race, Religion, and Revolutionary Thought.

The Qur’an, though Arabic in language, is largely a book about Africans. Most of its stories take place in and around Ancient Egypt, home of the first of the Prophets to teach by the pen, Idris – Enoch in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. The tales of Hagar & Hawa, Abraham & Adam, Joseph & Jesus, Moses & Mary, Solomon & Sheba, all lead us back to Africa, the birthplace of humanity, and especially to Egypt, realm of mysteries, fount of sacred knowledge.

This is often overlooked by scholars of Islamic thought (from within the tradition and without) because the Qur’an is – in fact – a colorblind Book. There are no mentions of skin color or hair texture associated with any of the Qur’an’s human characters. The partial exception to this rule, is the name Adam, which meant black-skinned or dark-brown skinned, in ancient Arabic.

Though it is without racial marking, the Qur’an offers powerful material for reflection on racism. In its telling of the timeless cosmological drama, Iblis, the devil, is the first to claim superiority on the basis of bodily composition and lineage origin. The devil becomes the first racist in the moment where he refuses to bow to Adam. In this space of reflection, racism is a spiritual sickness, thrust upon humanity by an avowed enemy who causes us to see one another with the same contempt which he has for all.

This talk will elaborate these Islamic scriptural and theological sources on the relationship of Islam, Blackness, and racism, and discuss how Black Muslims – in the continent and diaspora have mined these sources of reflection to make powerful spiritual and social interventions.

Registration is helpful but not required. All are welcome.

Sponsored and Organized by the Encountering Islam Initiative of the Theology Department in collaboration with the Jay Phillips Center for Interreligious Studies and the University of St. Thomas

Event Website

https://stthomas.force.com/applicantportal/USTEventRegister?instanceID=a345b000003EwluAAC#_ga

Contact

  • For questions please contact the Theology Department at theology@stthomas.edu or 651-962-5300.
  • To make an accessibility request, call Disability Resources at (651) 962-6315.

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Event Location

 
COinS

Rudolph Ware, Ph.D

 
Mar 8th, 7:00 PM

Islam, Blackness, and Racial Justice

OWS Auditorium, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus (click here for map)

A program of the Encountering Islam Initiative, the Department of Theology presents the fourth annual Terence Nichols Memorial Symposium. Dr. Fuad Naeem will introduce Dr. Rudolph Ware, associate professor of History at the University of Santa Barbara. Dr. Ware is a historian of Africa and Islam. He earned his Ph.D. in 2004 from the University of Pennsylvania. His teaching and research focuses on Islamic thought, anti-slavery movements in West Africa and the African Diaspora, and the broader intersection of Race, Religion, and Revolutionary Thought.

The Qur’an, though Arabic in language, is largely a book about Africans. Most of its stories take place in and around Ancient Egypt, home of the first of the Prophets to teach by the pen, Idris – Enoch in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. The tales of Hagar & Hawa, Abraham & Adam, Joseph & Jesus, Moses & Mary, Solomon & Sheba, all lead us back to Africa, the birthplace of humanity, and especially to Egypt, realm of mysteries, fount of sacred knowledge.

This is often overlooked by scholars of Islamic thought (from within the tradition and without) because the Qur’an is – in fact – a colorblind Book. There are no mentions of skin color or hair texture associated with any of the Qur’an’s human characters. The partial exception to this rule, is the name Adam, which meant black-skinned or dark-brown skinned, in ancient Arabic.

Though it is without racial marking, the Qur’an offers powerful material for reflection on racism. In its telling of the timeless cosmological drama, Iblis, the devil, is the first to claim superiority on the basis of bodily composition and lineage origin. The devil becomes the first racist in the moment where he refuses to bow to Adam. In this space of reflection, racism is a spiritual sickness, thrust upon humanity by an avowed enemy who causes us to see one another with the same contempt which he has for all.

This talk will elaborate these Islamic scriptural and theological sources on the relationship of Islam, Blackness, and racism, and discuss how Black Muslims – in the continent and diaspora have mined these sources of reflection to make powerful spiritual and social interventions.

Registration is helpful but not required. All are welcome.

Sponsored and Organized by the Encountering Islam Initiative of the Theology Department in collaboration with the Jay Phillips Center for Interreligious Studies and the University of St. Thomas

https://ir.stthomas.edu/cas_jpc_programs/events/2022/4