Stockton University’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) hosted their Unspoken History banquet on Monday, February 21, 2022, from 6 to 8:30 PM. The event, which addressed the historical erasure of Black Muslims, was held in the Campus Center Event Room and featured guest speaker Imam Amin Muhammad, the Imam of Masjid Muhammad of Atlantic City.
When organizing this event, Stockton MSA collaborated with various local clubs and organizations, including the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Center, TogetHER, Stockton University’s Fashion & Beauty Club, NAACP, and the Unified Black Students Society.
During the event, Muhammad discussed the importance of addressing the global history of black Muslims, emphasizing that “history is advice and lessons that show us how we should live in the present and how to prepare for the future.”
Muhammad began by highlighting the accomplishments of Muslim Africans in the ancient world, whose civilizations valued education and were devoid of poverty. He claimed that the manuscripts contained in the University of Timbuktu, one of the world’s first universities, make the entirety of the modern era’s published works seem “as if [they were] nothing.”
Muhammad also referenced the reign of Mansa Musa, an African Muslim statesman, businessman, politician, and warrior whose sheer wealth altered entire economies just from him passing through during his travels. According to Muhammad, European colonizers weakened these societies by destroying their libraries and denying them their education.
He later discussed the erasure of black Muslim history in the modern era and how black Muslims were at the center of social justice movements from the era of slavery up through the present day. “
Black Muslims were the face of Muslim movements in the United States in the twentieth century. Now, it is the twenty-first century and it is as though nothing has happened,” said Muhammad.
Muhammad identifies historical whitewashing as a major contributing factor to the erasure of black Muslims in the United States, which he defines as the act of “protecting the sensitivities of the oppressors.”
In the latter half of the event, Stockton MSA held a poetry slam. Six students participated, presenting both self-written and popular poetry that covered topics like social justice, racism, Islamophobia, and feminism.
Four winners were selected; Shakila Riaz won first place, Kamarii Clerge won second place, and Britney Lopez and London Shields were tied for third place. Each winner received a gift basket containing a $75, $50, and $25 gift certificate, respectively.