The American Muslim: The 21st Century House Slave
It is hard to imagine, during the slavery era in America, in the shade of the most violent and cruel slave trade in the history of the world, there were some slaves who refused to revolt. Understandably, some refused because of fear. Others, on the other hand, had become so content under the whip of the slave master that they desired no other position. Harriet Tubman, famous for her underground railroad that guided many slaves to freedom, said, “I freed 300 slaves, I could have freed 10,000 only if they knew they were slaves.” Because of total submissiveness to the slave master’s command, some of the slaves worked in the house and received better treatment than the more defiant slaves that worked in the field. The meek and eager slaves had no desires for rebellion; they had grown too comfortable in their master’s house. They could not grasp the injustice of oppression and felt no need to change their existing condition. Malcolm X (Hajj Malik Shabazz) referred to this phenomenon as the house slave/field slave paradigm.
It has become obvious that America has raised its sword to defeat, conquer and subjugate the Middle East, the heart of Islam on Earth. The holiest land in Islam, the Arabian Peninsula, has already been reduced to a monarchy of American agents whose domestic and foreign policy ignores public opinion and instead aligns itself with American interest whatever the cost to their own citizens. With America’s invasion of Afghanistan, its “shock and awe” (read: blitzkrieg) in Iraq and its disclosure of Iran and Syria as the next probable targets, it is clear that if Bush & Co gets what it wants America will control the wealth and policies of the entire Muslim world.
Although the American Muslims are witnessing the American military wage the bloodiest, grandest empire building campaign in the Muslim world since the British of the 19th century trampled through the region, the Muslims in America have not shown any defiance in defense of their Muslim brothers or Muslim lands. They idly stand by and watch, with no unified protest to speak of. Since this open imperialism is apparent, why is there no substantial public opposition from the American Muslim community? Frankly, the American Muslims, the modern day house slaves, have grown too comfortable in Master’s house.
In America, the slave master’s of southern plantations had a different way of handling the problems within his house than the problem he had in the field. Similarly, America’s domestic policy towards Muslims and its foreign policy in the Muslim world are stark in their differences. Within America, Muslims are free to visit the Masjid, pray and fast. The President of the United States, Master himself, will even give a public greeting to the Muslims to begin and end the holy month of Ramadan. It is quite a sight to see the house Muslims bask in the light of Master’s acknowledgments. Never mind the irony of last year’s Ramadan greetings coinciding with Bush’s commanding his troops in the Afghan conflict which claimed more than twice the civilian lives of the World Trade Center bombings.
Not to mention, America left Afghanistan in such a state of utter poverty, lawlessness, and uncertainty that many Afghans have become nostalgic of Taliban rule. The scene is surreal; the President of the United States sitting amongst smiling, shining American Muslim children speaking so eloquently about their blessed month, glowing like a reincarnation of Mr. Rogers. While earlier that morning, he was surrounded by his advisors to drop hundreds of thousands of high-powered explosives upon the freezing, starving Muslim children of Afghanistan. The President’s actions were no secret, his hypocrisy apparent; nonetheless, the American Muslims bought in. They zipped their lips, averted their eyes and pasted American flags on their SUVs. Why can’t all Muslims be as moderate? It would make imperialism so much easier.
The American Muslims lamented and apologized constantly for the WTC bombings (although proofs against Bin Laden and others were held back from public scrutiny). The house Muslims were on TV and holding local public forums all over the plantation apologizing and separating themselves from their brother Muslims in the field. But when the beloved President of the United States crushed Afghanistan under tons of the most deadly explosives in human history and the civilian death toll towered over the death toll of the atrocity in New York, most house Muslims were silent; not many local public forums, no big marches, no press conferences. The house Muslims went along doing their daily chores with his fingers in his ears so he could forget the crack of the whip on the backs of his brothers in the field.
Common Muslims in places like Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan cannot forget the whip because they and their families bleed beneath its crack everyday. The Palestinians feel Master’s whip of daily invasions, demolition, murders and curfews all done with the money, weapons and silent approval of America. In the field of Iraq, the Muslims there have endured 11 years of Allied bombing. Even during “peace time” (Dec. 1998-Sept. 1999), 20 million pounds of explosives were dropped on Iraq. They have been under the weight of insane sanctions for 12 years. These US-led, UN sanctions have already claimed the lives of millions of Iraq children due to starvation and lack of medical supplies that the UN sanction prevent from entering the country.
The American Muslim in Master’s house has only the courage to occasionally gaze out of the window of Master’s basement to see his brothers beaten and his sisters raped. But when the field slaves like Nat Turner or Osama bin Laden call for the destruction of Masters authority, the American Muslim will remain silent or even fight against his brother in bonds to defend the property, honor and authority of his Master. The house Muslim cannot straighten his back because he has spent years bowing to the will of his oppressor. The house Muslim cannot allow any revolt against Master because he has attached his body, mind, heart, and soul to the Master in such a way that any attack against the Master is an attack against himself.
The Muslims everywhere, especially in America, must re-evaluate their decision to side with Master, and meet Master’s fate, or align themselves with their brothers and sister in faith to fight against the tyranny of their common foe, Master.
By: Amir Sulaiman
Submitted by a Mujahid