Unique challenges faced by black muslim community warrant better understanding, attention


Black Muslims in Canada face combined oppressions of anti-Black racism and Islamophobia

This column is an opinion by Nimao Ali, a social justice activist who has advised law enforcement and government on cultural awareness. She is a board member of Somerset West Community Health Centre, the Muslim Chaplain at Carleton University, and is the principal of the Muslim Association of Canada Abraar School in Ottawa. For more information about CBC's Opinion section, please see the FAQ.

Heritage Canada designates February as Black History Month to focus on recognizing the legacy of Black Canadians, both in the past and present. While it's a celebration of contributions to society which simultaneously highlights resilience, excellence and history, it is also an opportunity to reflect on learnings that include the narratives of unique Black communities.

One such community, Black Muslims, today accounts for more than 9 per cent of this country's Muslim population and 0.3 per cent of all Canadians.

Despite its size, the community's impact is profound, particularly while negotiating the compounded oppressions of anti-Black racism and Islamophobia.

For Black Muslims in Canada, multiple layers of identity intersect and create a very complex reality that makes it difficult to define oneself by any one thing. Even more challenging are the barriers faced regarding unique achievements of Black Muslim communities, in terms of their recognition and celebration.

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