I couldn’t help but take notice yesterday of Ethelbert Miller’s comment on his E-Notes. African Americans and Islam is a topic threaded through E-Notes along with baseball stats, articles and books to read, shout outs from and to literary friends, poetic post-its etc.

My head is spinning a bit on this one — the subject of encounters — particularly after the shooting of two military recruiters at a Little Rock, Arkansas Army Career Center: one was killed, the other wounded. The suspect in custody, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad — a 23-year-old Little Rock resident formerly known as Carlos Bledsoe, is reported as being charged with first-degree murder and 16 counts of engaging in a terrorist act. Muhammad is described as a convert to Islam.

Ethelbert’s post raises some interesting thoughts on the matter of African Americans and Islam – and there’s sure to be more questions coming down the pike. First encounters of the religious kind can be mind-blowing experiences for better or for worse. Seems everyone’s looking for some kind of “spirit armor” to go into battle with the material world and their personal demons.

June 1, 2009

With the recent shooting at the Army Navy Career Center in Arkansas, look for more attention to be given to African Americans and Islam. Anybody going from Harlem to Yemen these days is going to be watched. I’m certain African Americans departing from prisons with prayer rugs are going to increase some one’s data base too. Islam is a worldwide religion. The last time I looked gravity was operating inside the black community too. You will know how serious things are becoming when you find a group of African Americans calling for the end of jazz as well as pork. Who would ever want to ban A LOVE SUPREME? Talk to the Big Buddha in Afghanistan.

Black women walking behind their men again? What year is this? What year do you want it to be? I have no problems with prayers five times a day. I just worry about what people are praying for. One God or just one way of looking at the world? Where is the Jihad for love? How do we struggle to find the goodness in our hearts? Any faith that encourages someone to harm another -is the wrong faith for this world. Don’t just change your name, change the world. Make it a better place. IMAGINE.