Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Puerto Rican Muslims Gotta Stop Reproducing Old Models
by, Khalil Al-Puerto Rikani
Alhumdulillah there are many Puerto Rican and other Latinos coming to Islam all the time. This is a great blessing from Allah. One thing I have noticed is that there seems to be a backlash against those Latinos who are seen as traitors to their culture from the non-Muslim Latinos. Ironically, Puerto Ricans whose culture has been the most corrupted and changed from its traditions have been the most vocal against Latino Muslims.

It has created a reaction from many Puerto Rican Muslims who feel the need to “prove” their puertorriquenidad (Puerto Ricanness). This has created a need to try and bridge the gap between ones Puerto Rican identity and Muslim identity. While I am all for the bridging of these identities, I think that the current models are not satisfactory. Most of the Puerto Rican Muslim models have been highly influenced by Puerto Rican nationalists. One group that had had a profound effect on the young Puerto Rican Muslims is the Young Lords Party (originally known as the Young Lords Organization) of the late 60s to late 70s. Therefore, Puerto Rican Muslims have become receivers and not generators or creators of culture.

One of the biggest problems with the Puerto Rican Muslims being “followers” as opposed to “leaders” is that Boricua Muslims are reproducing kufr ideas and ideologies such as nationalism, socialism, secularism, Western feminism, etc. Let us not forget that despite the fact that the Young Lords did do many great things in our communities, the group also helped to spread a culturally leftist model. Most of the leaders of the Young Lords were atheists and influenced by the White Left. It is unfortunate that none of the leaders and “movers and shakers” of the YLP became Muslim. There were however many of the grassroots of the YLP whom became Muslim. Unfortunately, there has never evolved charismatic leaders to help to spread Islam in the Puerto Rican community by leaps and bounds.

Puerto Rican Muslims have to stop having a complex about being Boricua and Muslim. You no not see other Latino Muslims having of of the issues that Puerto Rican Muslims have. What Puerto Rican Muslims have ot do is create new models of culture and produce leaders and intellectuals that will help define Puerto Ricanness based upon Islamic principles. Puerto Rican Muslims need to change people’s minds. We must be firm in our understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah. This means not just a rudimentary understanding, but a deep one that can draw on ayat and ahadith. They must have a high-level of knowledge and insight into the traditional sciences. Also with that, there must be some of those whom have this knowledge-based background who also have an understanding of how culture works. Culture is live and always changes. It is like a living creature. They must have insight and knowledge of Puerto Rican culture. Puerto Rican culture is not homogenous. There is no one Puerto Rican culture. These new leaders and scholars must be about the change the culture and Islamicize it. They must never perpetuate negative aspects of the culture.

It is only by creating such an environment that we can see a “golden age” and healthy growth of Islam in the Puerto Rican community and the wider community. Let us be leaders and not followers. PALANTE SIEMPRE. Go forward brothers and sisters. Don’t look backwards. The Young Lords have come and gone. Alianza Islamica has come and gone. At whom will the next generation be looking? Will we leave any legacy?


  1. salaam,

    I respect your opinion and think you definitely have a point. But at the same time, I would argue that Islamic economic principles could actually be classed as left-of-center (in the sense of putting restraints on free market capitalism). So I'm not terribly bothered by Muslims who might use the socialist label.

    I think what you say about Puerto Rican nationalism also makes sense, but it is also possible for Muslims (whether they are Puerto Rican or not) to be in support of Puerto Rican independence.

    But I definitely agree with your general point that it is better to be leaders and create new models for the future than simply look backwards to models which are no longer valid.

    what happened to ALianza Islamica?

  2. Assalamu `alaikum wa rahmtullahi wa barakatuh

    Thank you for you comments brother. I think the most harming part of accepting the White Left's model is that it tends the promote the Left's immoral position on social issues. There is where I think there is the most harm.

    In the this piece I wrote, I wanted to speak about how the "thinkers" and "intellectuals" of the Young Lords movement were highly influened by their a particular leftist postions that were/are prevelant amongst White people - more specialically Jews. The leftist movements of people of color were not carbon-copies of the White Left.

    One quick point in reference is the Young Lord's position on controception. The Black Panthers were against it. Another example is the Brown Berets did not give in to white femininism and were looking for a progressive machismo, where as the Young Lords took a stance totally against machismo.

    It is understandle that the "intellectuals" of the Young Lords were regurgitating what their Jewish professors were teaching them. Pablo "Yoruba" Guzman wrote a chapter in the Young Lord book, "Palante" about how homosexuals are oppressed.

    In the 60s and 70s the Young Lords, as many other people in the country were being part of the "Sexual Revolution." Instead of affirm Puerto Rican's traditional culture they helped to lead to the big problems in the Puerto Rican community of fornication, promiscuity, AIDS, and teenage pregnancies.

    Khalil Al-Puerto Rikani

    PS. On the point about independance there need to be new models as well that is in conformity with the Quran and Sunnah. One does not have to accept nationalism in order to be independentista.

  3. thank you for this beautiful article brother

  4. Anonymous,

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope to see you leave some more comments some times.

    Khalil Alpuerto Rikani