Originally published in Hartford Courant
February is Black History Month and a time to reassess our commitment to racial equality. The subjugation of Africans to slavery in America is one of the biggest stains on our nation. Sadly, some slave owners went so far as to use an account in the Bible about Noah’s genealogy to legitimize the maltreatment of Africans.
Religion should bring people together in love, not tear them apart in hatred. As a Muslim, I revere the Bible and reject any such interpretation that arbitrarily damns an entire group. Fourteen hundred years ago, the Prophet Muhammad taught that all races are equal; in his Farewell Address, he emphasized that “a white person has no preference over a black person, nor a black person over a white person.”
So this month, as we celebrate the achievements of our African American role models and attempt to wash off a mark from our past, let us, as religious leaders, come together to reaffirm our belief in one fraternity among all people.