Amir Sulaiman on pretending that we have the disease

O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. (Pickthall) 49:13

This assessment of what i call internalized ethnocentrism is very well put.  As a convert to Islam i have witnessed the shift that happens with some converts.  They are taking on someone else’s irrelevant cultural baggage that has nothing to do with Islam.  Instead of taking advantage of the ability to view and interact with Islam objectively, some run the risk of reproducing issues that emerge from “mixing truth with falsehood” or problematic cultural practices with the religion of Islam.

What elements contribute to an environment that makes some converts feel like they have to be Pakistani, Egyptian, Saudi etc. in order to authenticate their practice of Islam even when it is seemingly self imposed?  What can we do as a community to address issues of culture, race, and ethnocentrism within the Ummah so that we can be a more spiritually and psychologically sound community?  May Allah guide us in this regard.

Further Reading:

New Muslim Series: After Shahada

Believing  as Ourselves by J. Lynn Jones

Even Angels Ask: A Journey to Islam in America by Dr Jeffrey Lang

Struggling to Surrender: Some Impressions of an American Convert to Islam by Dr. Jeffrey Lang

Losing My Religion: A Call For Help by Dr. Jeffrey Lang

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