10:15 – 11:25 pm
1st Panel: “A Conversation with Los Angeles’ Gatekeepers”
Over the years, change in the Black American Muslim community has been affected by several events: the assassinations and deaths of several luminaries; transitioning from a movement to a masjid model, and from centralized to localized autonomous leadership; greater exposure to classical as well as academic Islamic literature; mass incarceration; and a reemergence of black consciousness. Reflecting on these changes, this panel endeavors to showcase the insights of a few of Los Angeles’ notable elders whose who many view as local “gatekeepers.” What lessons can be gathered from these changes, and what affect might they have on the future direction of the Black American Muslim community?
Moderator: Jihad Saafir
Panelists: Ayman Abdul Mujeeb, Naim Shah Sr., Amin Omar
1130 – 1:00 pm
2nd Panel: “Brain Drain: Have Our Leaders Abandoned Us?”
The black economic success who leaves the community never to look back or contribute to the improvement of his people is a popular trope in the black American community. The same stigma exists regarding the black educational success who leaves the “hood” to work for the “immigrants.” What is it that makes them leave? Is it the mere pursuit of money? Is it a hatred and disdain for one’s own people? Is it possible that the masses themselves contribute to their flight?
Moderator: Sulaiman Hamed
Panelists: Talib Abdur-Rashid, Ieasha Prime, Aisha Adawiya, Abu Qadir al-Amin
1:00 – 2:30 Zuhr and Lunch
2:30 – 3:55
3rd Panel: “Marriage, Family & Relationships: Making Peace Between the Sexes”
Black American women, more than any other race, have the greatest chance of reaching their 30’s and 40’s without being married. Black men are more susceptible to being killed, incarcerated, or arrested by the age of 20 than any other race of men in the US. Black women proportionally achieve more economically and educationally than black men. These factors are believed to contribute greatly to the rifts between the sexes. The insights of womanism further strain male-female relations in the black American community. But, abuse, abandonment, and exploitation by black men also bear accountability for lighting the fuse of black feminism. Why are so many black women viewed to be so undesirable? How have black men contributed to this stereotype? Is it possible to reestablish trust where it has been lost?
Moderator: Ubaydullah Evans
Panelists: Zaynab Ansari, Jamillah Abdul-Karim, Jihad Saafir
6:45 – 7:15 Break & Maghrib
7:15 – 8:30
4th Panel: “Faith, Practice, and the Spiritual Path”
Much of the African American religious experience in America has contained elements of social activism and the fight against various forms of racism. Despite many legal successes, the black American has not always boded well under integration, especially with respect to the health of the black family. With the removal of legal barriers to black social ascendancy, why do so many black Americans continue to struggle to live a dignified existence? Is racism or other extrinsic factors to blame black American underachievement and disenfranchisement? What role might a personal commitment to spirituality and moral rectitude play in improving our plight? Whose spiritual remedies are the most effective in healing the wounds created by centuries of oppression and demoralization?
Moderator: Zaynab Ansari
Panel: Dawud Walid, Bilal Ware, Ieasha Prime, Dawood Yasin
7:45 – 8:30 Break
8:30 – 9:00 Arrival & Registration
9:00 – 10:15
1st Panel: “Islam & Black American Identity: Our Problems, but Whose Solutions?”
Most Muslims would agree that the race doctrine of the Nation of Islam under the leadership of Elijah Muhammad contravened the Prophetic teachings, while acknowledging the many benefits produced by their social program of uplift crafted specifically for the socioeconomically challenged members of the black community. Many have suggested adopting similar methods employed by the NOI to help heal the black American family and to improve psychological health. Some have taken a colorblind approach to matters of racial import, and look to the Middle East for determining what is most meaningful in the lives of black Americans. Others have attempted to reconnect with Sub-Saharan African Muslim spiritual and mystical traditions to solve their problem. And, another group gravitates to the historical legacy of liberal black protest to achieve a sense of empowerment. How does one remain dedicated to any ideological perspective and avoid contravening the prophetic mandate? What is the prophetic mandate? And when does one know that his/her commitment to “blackness” is being given priority to one’s Islam?
Moderator: Dawud Walid
Panelists: Jamillah Karim, Aisha Adawiyah, Faheem Shuaibe, Marc Manley
10:15 – 11:30
2nd Panel: “Crime, Sin, and Inclusion: Making Space for Social Outcasts”
Black Americans constitute a very small percentage of the American population, but make a larger percentage of incarcerated persons in US prisons than other races. Many of these people are Muslims. And, upon their release they often struggle to reintegrate into the community. What are some of the success stories of recovery? And what can we learn from their lives and experiences?
Moderator: Abdullah bin Hamid Ali
Panelists: Abu Qadir Al-Amin, Amin Rafiq, Sundiata Rashid, Faheem Shuaibe
12:20 – 12:45 Aminah McCloud (Recorded Message)
12:45 – 2:15 Zuhr and Lunch
2:15 – 3:30
3rd Panel: “Our Bodies or Our Souls? Negotiating Space Between Moral Conservatism & Liberalism”
If conservatives represent threats to the physical security of Muslims, their places of worship, and their freedom of movement within the borders of the country, it appears that liberals represent a spiritual threat to Muslim faith. That notwithstanding, many Muslims have joined a coalition of people on the left who pressure Muslims to advocate for morals that conflict with the Prophetic teachings. What degree of compromise is tolerable and acceptable by Islamic standards? What impact will such compromises have on the national community and the future of Islam? Is it ever permissible for Muslims to advocate for the right of others to act on their non-Islamic morals?
Moderator: Marc Manley
Panelists: Sherman Jackson, Bilal Ware, Zaid Shakir
Panelists: Margari Azizah, Sundiata Rashid, Ubaydullah Evans, Jamilah Karim
6:00 pm Closing Remarks (Abdullah bin Hamid Ali) & Dua (Ieasha Prime)