Over the last 30 or 40 years, another phenomenon has emerged: the arrival of a large number of Muslims in Europe and North America. In addition to the raw racism and discrimination they face, the post-911 environment has made life much worse. Every Muslim is now regarded as a potential terrorist, such racism being promoted by Western governments as well as academia and the media, which never tire of lecturing others about democracy, freedom and equality. While most Muslims are appalled at such blatant racism, there is a tiny group among them that can never show enough gratitude for being allowed to live in the West. The more they are insulted, the lower they stoop; they display what the late Malcolm X (El-Haj Malik Shabazz) called the ‘House Slave’ mentality, identifying completely with the slave master. He distinguishes this state from that of the ‘Field Slave’, the quintessential rebel forever trying to escape. As Malcolm X put it: “When the master is sick, the House Slave says, ‘What’s the matter master, are we sick?’ while the Field Slave prays for his death.” The house-slave mentality is now also displayed by the small breed of Muslims trying to ingratiate themselves with the colonial masters in Europe and North America.
These modern-day house slaves, however, ignore a simple historical fact: colonialists have no permanent friends, only permanent interests; they have little use for such a slave mentality, especially when they know that the house slaves are a tiny minority of the colonized peoples. Despite their undoubtedly hard life in the West today, Muslims will not achieve anything by means of subservience. If they are to achieve any degree of respect in the West, they will have to do it in the manner of other political movements, such as the movements for women’s and workers’ rights in the early twentieth century. There can be no substitute for hard work to secure a life and status of dignity and respect.
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Also read a Living Traditions Blog article on Slave Mentality in the American Umma