Native Deen Rapping Against Islamophobia

Native Deen battles stereotypes with an uplifting message of Islam.

“These kinds of things don’t slow us down, it propels us.”

This is what Native Deen rapper Naeem Muhammed has to say about Donald Trump’s intolerant speeches against Islam..

Echoing the voice of all of America’s Muslims, Muhammed asserts that attempts to give a bad name to the community and harassing them will not discourage them. On the other hand, Muslims will continue living their daily life, just as the constitution allows them to, undaunted and unafraid of any attempts to bring them down.

For 16 years now, Joshua Salaam, Abdul-Malik Ahmad and Naeem Muhammad who together form the group Native Deen, have been trying to battle rising Islamophobia through rap. Their aim is to merge their Muslim faith with the popular hip-hop culture to clear up the misunderstandings that people have about Islam by spreading “an uplifting message of Islam.”

The group, which won the Al-Mahabba awards in 2006, says that the Muslim youth in America are facing an identity crisis as they are finding it hard to combine their faith with American culture. In such a scenario, their music, the say, comes as a perfect way for young Muslims to find their faith while fitting into the current times.

Though the group is African-American, they say that their message has a broad impact and reflects the feelings of all Muslims. After the 9/11 attacks, Muslims have been the victims of Islamophobia. The Muslim youth are finding it hard to place themselves in society due to a serious identity crisis which is worsened by the misunderstandings other communities have towards Islam. These misunderstandings of Islam make Americans look at Muslims with suspicious eyes. As such, a number of crimes linked to Islamophobia have been registered in the nation.

Native Deen composes songs that directly challenge these faulty beliefs. They seek to clear up the vague and ambiguous ways in which Americans look at Islam. At a time when anti-Islamic campaigns are on the rise, with Trump on the forefront, Native Deen believes that their music can remind Americans of the country's foundations on democracy and equality. The group believes that the only way hate campaigns can be stopped and democracy saved is if the common people rise up against the perpetrators. In a language that they believe all Americans, especially the youth will understand, Native Deen is hopeful that their message of peace and appeal for equality will get through.

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