#BlackMuslimRamadan Twitter campaign launched

On June 17th, a white man shot and killed nine people at a bible study at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. It also happened to be the first day of Ramadan, and that tragedy struck a chord with many in the black Muslim community. Following the tragedy there were fires at predominantly black churches, which prompted several Muslim American organizations to join together and raise funds to help rebuild those churches. Donna Auston, a Rutgers University Ph.D. student and black Muslim activist initiated the #BlackMuslimRamadan Twitter campaign on Wednesday, July 15 to illuminate the issues of racism among Muslims and celebrate the heritage of African-American Muslims. In speaking to the Huffington Post, Donna Auston said, "Thinking about the value of black sacred life and black sacred spaces when in this moment they're so heavily under attack made me want to talk about this right now." The Muslim community itself is very integrated, as most cities have one main mosque where Muslims of all ethnicities attend prayers. "I've had way more integrated worship experiences [as a Muslim] than I ever did as a Christian," said Auston. Racism continues to be an ongoing problem, and Auston said she's never seen families refuse potential marriage partners for their children if the chosen mate is black. Kameelah Rashad, a therapist and Muslim chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania said, "The assumption is that all Black Muslims have been pivotal in the establishment of Islam in America for over a century." America's first Muslims were brought to the country as slaves, and scholars now believe that roughly 20 percent of enslaved Africans in the United States were Muslims. In regards to today, nearly a third of Muslim Americans are black, and Auston says the hashtag is meant to uplift and celebrate their culture. Brother Ali, an MC from Wisconsin, has spoken on behalf of Muslims many times, and has taken to twitter saying, "I've also been a Muslim for over 20 years and am called upon to teach and speak to/for Muslim Americans from time to time." For those unfamiliar with Ramadan it's the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. By Devon Pyne for RAPstation.com