CAIR NY, a New York Chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations, has strongly supported the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Body, which is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, has expressed its determination to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
In the wake of the George Floyd’s murder and so many others at the hands of law enforcement agencies across the country, CAIR-NY launched an effort to better educate the community, and ask to counter systemic and cultural racism in our everyday life.
CAIR-NY is uplifting the voices of brothers and sisters of African descent who are calling upon community to stop using the Arabic word “abeed” or “abed,” as it is offensive.
The word literally means “slave(s)” in Arabic, and should only be used appropriately when referring to any and all worshippers or servants of God (“Abeed Allah”).
Unfortunately, it has been commonly and informally used by Arabic speakers to describe a person who is Black.
Dr. Mika’il Abdullah Deveaux, Acting Imam of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc. in New York City reported in his last sermon that Prophet Muhmmad (PBUH) said, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black, nor a black has any superiority over white, except by piety and good action.”
The use of this term is hurtful and offensive, and should stop.
Imam Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR-Michigan, explains from his post that humans are not “abeed”
“Calling a black person a ‘abed’ (abeed in plural) is offensive.
“The term has been used for so long in certain segments of the Arab World that many people have become desensitized to its meaning.
“I know that all people do not use the term with overtly malicious intent; however, the word is disturbing, nonetheless,” he said.
He added that Abed’ is a term that, at one time, had a general meaning of slave, then became a specific term, referring to blacks, who were viewed as subservient.
Walid maintained that it is disingenuous to say that it is a good word, because excellent worshippers of God are “abeed.”
He further said that when people use that term, it is not because they are saying that black people are the best worshippers, nor do they call lighter skin persons, or their own pious family members, “abeed.”
Sheikh Dr. Hamud Alsilwi, Imam of the Bronx Muslim Center said that the term “abeed” or “abed” should never be used “to describe our brothers and sisters of African descent solely because of their color.