by Donna Auston
As Muslims, most likely we are already very familiar with this verse from Surah Hujurat, as well as the related texts that extol the virtues of human diversity and universal brotherhood. The ummah is meant to be united, and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, made it clear that there was no inherent superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, and that piety and character are the defining characteristics of a believer. Despite this, Muslims can be racist towards one another.
Fifty years ago, Malcolm X performed the hajj, and his now famous words about his generous treatment at the hands of Muslims from across the racial spectrum are still powerful: “Never before have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient holy land,” he wrote. That potential for uniting with fellow human beings under the umbrella of shared belief in Allah is still a powerful draw for converts to Islam.