Home / Islamic education / A Revert Struggle With Racism

A Revert Struggle With Racism

American Shia convert becomes victim of Islamophobia


Westfield, North Carolina

By Shia News

September 11, 2001 changed the lives of thousands of people. This is the story of Kalil Malek Rafi Muhammad, a black American Shia convert who is a Vietnam veteran. Kalil lives in Westfield, North Carolina.

Recurrent injustice often leaves a deep scar on a person’s soul. By publishing Kalil’s story we hope that all of us would work towards the creation of a global society where people from all races and religions would have equal rights. We also hope that the American government puts an end to the current Islamophobia being fanned by its law enforcing agencies and media. InshaAllah.

Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omer ordered the Taliban to exterminate thousands of Shia Muslims in Afghanistan. Kalil, A Shia Muslims since 1993, has been accused of being a friend of Osama Bin Laden and also being invloved in the 9/11 attacks. Lets hear it from Kalil.

As salaamualaikum

My name is Kalil Malek Rafi Muhammad. I am a 50 year-old black American citizen. In 1993 I converted to Shia Islam from Salafi (Wahabi) after talking to a beloved brother from Iran, Imam Mahmoud Shahbandy who lives in West Virginia. It was the first time I heard the complete truth because the Salafis do not want Muslims to know the past when Islam started. They also told me that blacks can not be Imams (Imam at Mosque) in the Shia faith. This is one reason many blacks have converted to Salafi Islam in the United States of America.

Some people will tell us that we “perceive” that we’re persecuted because of our color or religion. However, those people have never walked in our shoes or worn our Islamic attire around town.

Kalil Malek Rafi Muhammad

During the Gulf War, many black Muslims refused to fight against Iraq. America will not tell this. I am a Vietnam veteran myself and served on a destroyer in the US Navy. My father, Sergeant Walter, fought in World War II and my grandfather fought in World War I. My father told me things about the US army when he was in service. He told me that black soldiers were forced to give their seats to German Prisoners of War plus a lot of other Jim Crow laws. If some white soldiers got in trouble, they would come to the black camp with white MP’s, pick out some black soldiers and shoot them like animals. A letter would be sent to their parents saying they were Missing In Action or Killed In Action.

In WW I or WW II there were no black marines. The reason for this was that they were thought not to be tough enough. Then a company of white marines was pinned down and who did they send to get them? Black Soldiers! My father told me that when they got the white marines out of harm’s way, they kicked them every step back, speaking this to them: “Big bad white marines you thought we were not tough or good enough to be marines. Now look who had to rescue you.

General Patton told the president that if you want to win this war, you must send me more black troops. Look it up for your self. The 92nd, 99th and 555 (Tripple) Nickle and Supply saved America.

When I was in service black people were still under attack. The V.C used to say to us black men or soil brothers “Why are you over here killing us when you are not free in your own homeland?” One reason Muhammad Ali did not join or refused to go in the army is that he said that atleast the Vietnam Cong did not call him Nigger.

Now what about today? Why does President Bush still allow black people to be dragged in chains? In Texas, wheres he is from, he sent many blacks to die in prison.

Although I have been going through many injustices throughout my life and presently, I still love my country and remain loyal to her. I encouraged my own son, who joined the US Navy five years ago, to continue his service to the US military as well.
Kalil Malek Rafi Muhammad

When I was a boy, at the tender age of five, one day I wanted a hot dog. This was in G.C Murphy’s in Mullens, West Virginia. My mom said I’d get you one at the bus station. Not understanding, I asked why because I could see a little white boy sitting and eating. And I know it hurt my mom when she had to tell me that black people were not allowed to sit and eat in that place and if they bought food from there, they had to stand outside and eat. My mom told me that she would buy me a hot dog but I must eat it at the bus station. I agreed and said I would like to buy it from where I can sit in and eat.

There were seperate water fountains for blacks and whites. Signs posted on each fountain, which were next to each other, Blacks. Whites. This looked pretty stupid to me. There were signs that read “Niggers And Dogs Keep Off The Grass” and “Niggers! Read And Run. If You Cannot Read Run Anyway”

Did you know that black police officers could not carry a gun or arrest a white person in the U.S.A. during the fifties? If a white person committed a crime, black police had to radio the white police officers and tell them about the crime committed.

In the sixties, there were lots of race wars. Blacks marched without police protection. Black men, women and children were beaten and hoised by fire fighters.

Last week, Sheriff Connie Watson of Surry County, North Carolina said referring to the Allison tree–site of an 1892 lynching, that a young 22 year-old black male should be hung in the court yard like they used to hang run-away slaves. I think the sherriff is very stupid for saying this. What was wrong with slaves running away from rape, murder and torture? What was wrong with their desire for freedom? The sherrif later apologised for his racist remarks according to the Mt. Airy newspaper.

Every since I was a child, I have dealt and tried to cope with racism in America. It is somewhat better, but I don’t believe there will ever be such a thing as equality for blacks, Muslims, anyone of color, or any other religion besides the White American. Some people will tell us that we “perceive” that we’re persecuted because of our color or religion. However, those people have never walked in our shoes or worn our Islamic attire around town.

It seems the hatred for blacks wasn’t enough damaging for America so now anyone who is Muslim has also become a target. Two months after the 9/11 so called surprise attacks, I was arrested. They thought I was from the Middle East.

Before continuing, I would like to take you back into April 2000 when my wife and I were treated rudely at a local bank (Branch Banking & Trust) at the drive-thru window. We went inside to make a complaint. We talked to a bank supervisor. While we were making our complaint to the supervisor (at least 30 minutes), she was inquisitive about our religion. So we talked about that some also. My wife and I thought that everything was okay after we talked to the supervisor, since she promised that the bank teller would be reprimanded and that she would contact us later in the week as to how the complaint was handled.

By the end of the week, the bank supervisor had reported to the police that I had threatened her and the bank employees. Our bank account was also closed. My wife and I believe that the bank supervisor falsely accused me because she used me as an escape-goat just in case we were thinking about taking legal action against the bank. We also believe that the supervisor made the false accusation against me only because I’m a very tall black man with a heavy voice, and she would be more believable if she accused me.

American history will tell you of all the black men who have been accused of raping, beating, touching, or even looking at white women actually refused to bow down to the injustices. Many black men have lost their lives for this reason. It doesn’t seem to have changed much; the only difference is that the black man has a right to a trial.

My wife wrote several letters to various organizations to complain about the false accusations which came from the bank supervisor. None of which were helpful.

At the end of October 2001, I was arrested for communicating threats (a misdemeanor) to the bank. I had no idea that a warrant had been issued for my arrest until the day I was arrested. I know the police had been seeing my wife and me all the time, because we are always dressed in Muslim attire. However, I was never stopped and arrested until about a month and a half after September 11. After the arrest I was released without paying a bond.

The first court date was in the middle of December 2001. Assistant District Attorney, Mr. Tom Langan, told the judge that I needed to be remanded to jail because I was a FLIGHT RISK and was involved in the World Trade Center attacks and a friend of Bin Ladin. All of this was said by the D. A. after I had requested to seek an attorney. I was not put in jail by the judge, but my trial was continued so that I could obtain council. I hired an attorney, Mr. Carroll Gardner, in the same town as the bank. He talked really good at first.

The second court date was in January 2002. The District Attorney once again tried to harass me. He and a detective at the Mt. Airy, NC police department had come up with a very long rap sheet of a man in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by the name of Khalil or Khalid A. Muhammad (AKA Lloyd and Floyd Fields). This man’s charges included: rape, drugs, assault, etc. I told my attorney that this other man was not me.

Mr. Gardner made a suggestion to the D. A. that I get fingerprints done to see if I was this other man. I told my him that I had fingerprints done the year before to become a foster parent. I could not have passed the FBI check to become a foster parent if I had had a criminal record like that.

Mr. Gardner acted as though he was assisting the D. A. to send me to prison for something I wasn’t guilty of. He also acted as if he believed the bank employees over me. He said the bank employees were afraid that I could get “a Muslim organization to do violent things for me.” He also told my wife and me that we should consider moving to another state, because “the less different we are from the people around us, the better off we’ll be.”

I didn’t go in for fingerprints because I was wary of the officials. We dismissed Mr. Gardner and hired David Crawford of Winston-Salem, NC.

The third court date was in February 2002. Meanwhile, the D.A and police detective, A. Freeman, had gotten a more complete file on the man from Philadelphia, and they realized it wasn’t me but were still insisting on getting my fingerprints. So my wife and I were wondering why they still wanted my fingerprints. Besides, in the state of NC, fingerprints are not required on a misdemeanor charge.

To try to sum this up: Mr. Crawford is a good attorney, and he suggested a continued judgement to be dismissed after one year, as long as I comply with the conditions. Mr. Crawford said that in light of the September 11 attacks, it would have been difficult to get me a straight dismissal from Judge Oliver at that time. The conditions of the continued judgement included fingerprinting by the Mt. Airy police department. I still have not gotten the fingerprints yet, but they have to be done by February 2003.

It’s not that I have anything to hide; I just don’t think that I should have to get fingerprints taken for a misdemeanor when no one else does. I spoke to someone at the Department of Justice in NC, and I was told that I had to do the fingerprints since Judge Oliver ordered them to be done. I will get them when it gets close to trial time 2003, because I don’t want to give these people time to plant my fingerprints somewhere before trial time.

The judge entered a “PJC” (Prayer for Judgement Continued). I will have to go back to court in February, 2003, and hopefully, the charge will be dismissed. I would like to make an appeal to anyone who is able to make a monetary donation, I would be so grateful. I spent almost $2000.00 this year in attorney fees. When I go back to court in February, 2003, I will need to pay my attorney again. I know it will not be wise for me to try to tackle the unjust court system on my own.

I hope you can understand the conflict I am in, here in the FREE United States of America. If you know of anyone who can seek civil justice for me for the false accusations by the bank and the false arrest from the police department, please let me know. And I hope you can let the world know what is happening in a country which thinks that some other countries, besides herself, are so evil.

Although I have been going through many injustices throughout my life and presently, I still love my country and remain loyal to her. I encouraged my own son, who joined the US Navy five years ago, to continue his service to the US military as well. My own son is a Petty Officer third class.

I have had the continual support of my wife, a Shia Muslim friend, and one Caucasian friend.

I will bring this to a close now. Remember this, the next time anyone speaks bad about Muslim countries, thats coming from America, tell them to clean up their African-American problem first and let the person speak on it that has no voice in the U.S.A.

Check Also

How Often do Muslims Pray?

How often do Muslims pray?   There are five daily obligatory prayers. These are the ...