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MUHAMMAD: Civil Rights Scorecard — Muslims 0, Bigots 30

Askia Muhammad | 9/4/2013, 3 p.m.
Much ado was made over the fact that no national Republican elected officials participated in the 50th anniversary commemoration of ...
Askia Muhammad

Much ado was made over the fact that no national Republican elected officials participated in the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Even the lone African American serving in the U.S. Senate – Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina – declined an invitation to speak as did all the White Republican leaders of both the Senate and the House.

Nothing, however, was said, either from the dais, or in the volumes of news reports on even the most arcane minutiae of the last 50 years, from or about Muslims, this despite the fact that there is hardly a single African-American family in America which does not have a Muslim relative. So it’s not like Muslims are strangers at the table, so to speak.

Indeed, there are two (count them) long-standing members of Congress – Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.) – who are Muslim, so why did neither of them participate? Who “blackballed” the invitations to those two members of the Congressional Black Caucus?

Or was this just a “members only” event, with membership limited to Black Christians, Jews, Latinos, women (who were denied a speaking role at the 1963 March), LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, whose plight was on the lips of practically every speaker at the 50th anniversary celebration); why even a group of Maori dancers from Australia were prominent performers; as was a White Country & Western singer (and we all know how partial White race-haters were to Country music 50 years ago); all of those members of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described as the “beloved community” were prominent participants in this year’s commemoration; but there were absolutely no Muslims, and only one mention of Islamic believers in the Aug. 28, 2013 speeches, and that was inadvertently made by President Barack Hussein Obama, who is believed by a sizeable portion of the U.S. White population, to himself be a Muslim and a Socialist.

At the 20th anniversary commemoration of the March in 1983, Minister Louis Farrakhan was a keynote speaker. But 10 years later at the 30th anniversary March, Minister Farrakhan was blocked from appearing by a prominent Jewish leader – Rabbi David Saperstein – who wrote to the Atlanta Civil Rights leaders at the Martin Luther King Center and to those in other prominent positions, complaining about the Muslim leader’s role. A copy of Rabbi Saperstein’s letter was obtained by a Farrakhan supporter and leaked to reporters at the rally. Since then, the conspiracy against Muslims has been unspoken and unbroken. This, despite the fact that 18 years ago Minister Farrakhan organized the Million Man March, the largest gathering ever at the U.S. Capitol, with more than 2 million mostly Black men, in attendance, and not a single crime committed in Washington that day, and not a speck of trash left behind on the National Mall.

This year the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a congratulatory statement on the anniversary of the March on Washington, even though 50 years ago, the Islamic community that makes up CAIR’s core constituency could not have care less about the well being of America’s dark ghettos, except as they were the most loyal customers of the little stores they had begun to operate in Black neighborhoods, selling poor Black people pork and liquor which their religion prohibits them from consuming. But it was OK for them to sell these divinely prohibited products to Black folks, taking their ill-gotten profits and enriching their neighborhoods far from the inner cities.

The Muslim Democratic Caucus of Washington, D.C. was mostly silent about their non-inclusion in the grand reunion.

So much for an all-inclusive, Civil Rights Movement “big tent.” The tent is not yet big enough for the Muslim “Brothers and Sisters” (or, should I say “Cousins?”).

Maybe Muslims were officially persona non grata because President Obama and the key members of his administration’s foreign policy/military team were busy drawing up plans to wage war on Syria, yet another Muslim country. Dr. King’s “Dream” was indeed the focus of attention, no one wanted to discuss his condemnation of the Vietnam War or of the United States as “the greatest purveyor of violence” on the Planet Earth.

After all, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, Syria is yet another Muslim country to be targeted by the U.S. war machine. So, anyone talking about Muslims at all, or Dr. King’s opposition to war would have been so-o-o out of place at this year’s March on Washington commemoration, and this silent bigotry has prevailed in the Civil Rights community now, for 30 years.