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?