First Place


SURE Program

Date of Award



Islamic Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies

Description or Abstract

Within the fractured systems and institutions that plague the US, two groups in particular have fallen through the cracks: Black and South Asian Muslims. According to a 2015 report published by human rights organization Muslim Anti Racism Collaborative, over 3.4 million Muslims currently live in the United States. Black Muslims and South Asian Muslims constitute about 20% and 60% of that population, respectively; however, both groups are disregarded and misrepresented in US discourse and media. In 1619, Black Muslim slaves were the first to bring Islam to the US and played a foundational role in the development of Islam in the Americas; yet, they are erased from Islamic and US historical memory. Similarly, South Asian Muslims have resided in the US since the 1700s, but it was not until 9/11 that they entered mainstream discourse as hostile terrorists who were criminalized and subjugated to state-sanctioned harassment and surveillance. Today, both groups are targets of counter-terrorism iniatives which shape their racial formations, racialized narratives, and intra-Muslim interactions. White supremacy and Islamophobia additionally serve as opportunities for connection as both groups come to understand their specific contexts of racism, xenophobia, citizenship, state violence, and criminalization. While overcoming their individual and distinct issues regarding racism, discrimination, and injustice, both groups have found pathways towards solidarity and allyship.

This research paper examines the relationship between Black and South Asian Muslims, analyzes the differential impact of societal and state violence and hyper surveillance, and explores strategies for cross-racial solidarity.