Dr Basiyr Rodney, USA
Alarm about the killing of Black Americans over the last century has boiled over with the police killing of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis in 2020. He was killed by asphyxiation caused by a police officer planting his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight and a half minutes while he had already been subdued and lay face down on the street, handcuffed. His pleas of ‘I can’t breathe’ and his calls for his dead mother were ignored. He died after eight and a half minutes in this position while surrounded by police officers. Those who were supposed to ‘serve and protect’ him took Floyd’s life. He was guilty of no crime. The world observed all of this via a viral mobile phone video.
Breonna Taylor, an EMT specialist, was in her home watching television. She was alarmed by a violent forced entry of her apartment by Louisville Police who used a battering ram to break down her apartment door. The police made no announcement prior to their forced entry. Taylor’s boyfriend who was in the apartment fired upon the perceived intruders. In response, the police fired more than 20 shots into the apartment. Taylor was shot 8 times and died at the scene.
These events set the world ablaze, in a figurative sense. There have been mass protests in every major US city. People of all colors, races, religions and backgrounds have come out to protest the heinous murders of Floyd and Taylor.
In the period following their deaths we have all debated valid questions of the utility of protest, civil disobedience and violence as means of liberation. Admittedly we know that the ongoing injustice of police brutality against Black Americans is directly linked to historical injustices that are rooted in slavery and capitalist exploitation. Both have defined Black life in the Americas. Slavery and capitalist exploitation have profoundly served to segregate Blacks into Ghettos, limit opportunities for social mobility and ultimately shorten African-American lives.
In this think-piece I offer a comparative analysis of the ways in which Islamic philosophy articulates how one struggles against oppression. I juxtapose Islamic philosophy with a classic approach to Liberation pedagogy, based on dialectical materialism, as is extant in the work of Paulo Friere. Furthermore, I suggest a path forward for current struggles of racial equity based on Islamic teachings on absolute justice.
Before proceeding, I must state at the outset three key assumptions of the paper: First, as a Black man living in an urban context within the US, there is a way in which I understand police interactions as emotionally fraught and deadly. Although I have this understanding, I am well aware that there is an even deeper understanding that my African-American brothers who are born in the US have. Our shared frame is that of those who are born of the formerly enslaved in the Americas. I walk in the tradition of a long line of Caribbean thinkers, scholars and social justice activists like Marcus Garvey, CLR James, Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) and others who recognized that the struggle for Black liberation is a universal African struggle. In the Americas, the enslavers did not see us as distinct because we were born in the ‘Islands’ or because we were born in what would become the United States. The enslavers wiped out the original African languages of our ancestors many of whom came from one of the hundreds of ethnic groups in West and Central Africa. They forced their European languages and culture on our foreparents. Transgenerational Africans born in the Americas whether English speaking, French speaking, Spanish speaking Portuguese, or Dutch speaking, share the crucible of capture, trafficking and enslavement now lodged in our DNA. Our forefathers were brought to the Americas as enslaved peoples. Through no choice of their own between the 1490’sand 1838 over 20 million of our African progenitors were subject to European ‘chattel’ slavery in the Americas. It is through this lens that I view our condition in the Americas. We, their children, are all destined to continue the struggle for liberation from the yolk of racist European capitalism and its remnant.
My second assumption is that regardless of how empathetic other non-Black people try to be, there is a level of understanding that they cannot claim. They cannot understand the palpable fear we hold: that any interaction with the police or with white supremist hierarchies can immediately result in our death. A non-Black person who did not grow up or experience these colonized and racist spaces cannot understand why or how we have come to learn that no neighborhood, school, park, government office, or other institution is safe for us. Simply because of the color of our skin any moment of reprieve is often snatched away through routine and systemic violence. This for us is a truism – there is no space in America where a ‘Black American can be fully free’.
An examination of the Universal Negro Improvement Association’s Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World (Declaration of Rights) (1920) reveals that this struggle for equity has been a profound part of the transplanted African experience in the west. The preamble contains 11 points of protest that document discrimination in all facets of American and world society. Many of these facets including discrimination in hiring, education and social segregation, remain extant today. The Declaration provides 54 affirmative points that articulate the inherent ‘inalienable’ rights of ‘The Negro’ (sic). One of these rights (No. 3) clearly points to the idea that African peoples have inherent value and worth. It reads:
3. That we believe the Negro, like any other race, should be governed by the ethics of civilization, and therefore should not be deprived of any of those rights or privileges common to other human beings.
This declared the right of Africans to be free and to maintain dignity as well as control over land and resources. It was not just a sign of protest but represented a new way of perceiving Black peoples in the world. This document retains relevance today because it clearly underscores a historical and systemic perspective of Africans. A perspective that has been used to shape life outcomes and opportunities for formerly enslaved Africans in America and Africans elsewhere.
The third and final assumption is that after more than 400 years of slavery and domination in the Americas, our humanity demands that we, children of the enslaved, must readily accept and affirm that ‘Black Lives Matter.’ This for us, is a statement of our inherent humanity, our non-Black colleagues or co-religionists cannot feel that human call in the same way. They have not borne the physical nor psychological nor spiritual scars of white supremacy. For them, ‘Black Lives Matter is a call that is glibly construed as a political statement. For us, it is beyond a political statement; it is a truism. A simple and clear assertion of our essential humanity. For us, being able to hear, call and repeat the statement ‘Black Lives Matter’ is like learning to breathe. And since we are human and must somehow breathe regardless of the knee in our neck, we must therefore affirm that, Black Lives Matter!
The Aspiration to Value Common Humanity
The educational theorist Paulo Freire’s seminal work Pedagogy of the Oppressed(1968) was written in response to similar global social unrest as of today. The racial anti-capitalist struggle for freedom was such that he theorized—the aspiration to value the common humanity in each person was an ‘inescapable concern’ (p.43). He wrote that, from a theoretical standpoint, ‘humanization has always been humankind’s central problem’ (p.43). Freire further argues that the global youth revolts of the 1960’s underscored the fact that this quest for humanity had caused the youth to rise up in protest. Today we are witnessing a similar global uprising. I believe Friere’s analysis has much to offer in helping the lovers of supreme justice to understand the current reality.
Islamic Philosophy of Absolute Justice
An authentic Islamic philosophy of absolute justice and liberation can extend Friereian constructs. Islamic philosophy suggests a way forward based on the divine principle of absolute justice. The forgoing interpretation of Islamic philosophy is grounded in the Holy Qur’an as interpreted by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) of Arabia and his spiritual manifestation in these latter days, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. The writings and statements of the Caliphs of Ahmad (as) are also an important aspect of this emergent Islamic philosophy of justice and liberation.
Friere applied a marxist framework to his analysis of society. As a result he was able to observe the ways in which education systems that were rooted in colonization and capitalism, lead to political and economic inequality and social injustice. This ‘banking system of education’ as Friere called it relied on the oppressor forcing upon the oppressed, the tools of their perpetual oppression. To break this system Friere argued for a tripartite ‘instructional’ process to affirm the inherent freedom and humanity of the oppressed. This instructional process or method, Friere called, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. This method was defined by a process of raising awareness and consciousness which he called conscientization; It also involved an approach he called the praxis. Lastly, pedagogy of the oppressed included a level of group advocacy and solidarity that presented the oppressed as participants in the intentional act of working towards their own freedom. This work as Friere conceptualized it, would ultimately liberate not only the oppressed but the oppressor as well. The key tools in the repertoire of Pedagogy are critical dialog, reflection and action.
An Islamic philosophy of liberation has some key similarities to Frierian humanistic discourse. As in dialectical reasoning, the goal to become more human is one central pursuit of the Qur’an. In the Surah Ash Shams(chapter 91 of the Holy Qur’an), Allah calls this notion to the foreground, ‘And by the Soul and Its Perfection’ (91:8). This is similar to Freire’s idea of human affirmation being the key pursuit of existence. It recognizes each human’s inherent worth and his ability to strive for his own development. This is an Islamic principle – that every individual is free in their person to strive for his actualizing needs.
However in Qur’anic parlance, rather than relying on dialectical reasoning, the need to follow divine revelation and spiritual guides are elevated as key tools. These tools define the ways in which the individual seeks freedom to pursue soul-perfection. This is akin to Freire’s ‘praxis.’ Praxis suggests individual action and reflection in order to promote social change. Frierian pedagogy also suggests a limited reliance on an ‘enlightened secular authority’ (Macedo in, Friere, p.25). In the Qur’an this illumination, rests in an enlightened recognition of God Almighty (Khan, p.19). This realization is rooted in believers acknowledging the Messenger who is sent to inform mankind about the signs of God and to purify human beings. The Qur’an states:
‘Verily, Allah has conferred a favour on the believers by raising among them a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His Signs, and purifies them and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom’ (6:165).
In this regard, each human being has agency to locate, identify and accept this messenger. No secular ‘revolutionary party’ is needed to teach or inform people how to transform reality. God’s guidance (his favour), human intuition and reason based on hearing the signs as well as observing the messenger are enough to lead people towards acceptance of the Qur’anic message. The acceptance of the Message will result in the purification of human beings and the applications of this divine message. People so favoured will transform themselves and society through individual action.
As a divinely revealed scripture, the Qur’an intends to break the chains of oppression for both the oppressed and the oppressor. In this instance it recognizes that freedom from oppression is not just theoretical and dialectical. It is a practical development that through human agency can find realization in the world. In this vein Islamic philosophy is similar again to dialectical materialism because it affirms a practical purpose in the real world. In the Qur’an a series of commands are given that define clear strategies for attacking oppression. One important statement is:
‘O ye who believe! be strict in observing justice, and be witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or against parents and kindred. Whether he be rich or poor, Allah is more regardful of them both than you are. Therefore follow not low desires so that you may be able to act equitably. And if you conceal the truth or evade it, then remember that Allah is well aware of what you do.’ (4:136)
The Qur’an here is making a number of theoretical observations about oppressive systems and dismantling oppressive social arrangements like white supremacy. In the first instance, it recognizes that oppression in a society is often a systematic and institutional arrangement that impacts the victimized. Yet oppressive hierarchies are directed by a privileged elite and a number of supporters or collaborators who benefit from the oppressive system. From a Qur’anic perspective for oppressive systems to be dismantled, both those collaborators who are close to the oppressor as well as the victimized oppressed must stand against oppression. Islam also outlines for us the most effective manner for one to stand against oppression. In a way, this is a very simple pathway to raising consciousness as is similar to Freire’s dialectical materialism.
Giving Truthful Testimony
A first strategic imperative in the Qur’an is the suggestion that an individual who observes a situation of inequity, does not have to wait for someone else to give permission to offer testimony of the victimization. Where necessary, allies of the oppressed must be able to give truthful testimony against the oppressor even if they are closely aligned with the oppressor. In a Qur’anic perspective, being truthful to the oppressor and about victimization is not simply a humanistic imperative – it is a moral one. The Qur’an goes as far as to say that speaking the truth for justice is critical even if the allies or the oppressed are related to the oppressor. The Fifth Calph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community explains this verse in this way:
‘The key requirement to fulfilling this primary goal [of achieving social peace] is absolute justice and fairness in all matters. The Holy Qur’an, in Chapter 4, Verse 136, has given us a golden principle and lesson, guiding us about this. It states that as a means to fulfil the requirements of justice, even if you have to bear witness and testify against yourself, your parents or your closest relatives and friends, then you must do so.’ (Peace Symposium, 2012)
We are currently seeing an emergence of this type of consciousness within the global Black Lives Matter Movement. Many of the loudest voices on the front line of the peaceful protests as well as the pundits in the media are themselves recipients of white privilege. A vast group of the vocal majority who are raising voices, protesting and funding activism are white and non-Black people.
Other groups who traditionally seek closeness to white status structures in the US and Europe should learn from this teaching in the Qur’an. Arabs, Asians and African groups have a spiritual and moral obligation to raise their voice against police misconduct and other oppressive aspects of white supremacy. Even with the difficulty this might pose to perceived positions of comfort and social aspiration, all social groups should call out oppression. Even as many non-African-American minorities seek closeness to aspects of white elite hierarchy, they must recognize that many of the groups that they seek to emulate are themselves taking a truthful stance against their own structures of privilege.
The Holy Prophet (sa) of Islam when asked how Muslims should deal with oppression re-affirms this Qur’anic position. He stated that Muslims should, ‘help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is oppressed.’ When asked how to help both the oppressor and the oppressed, the Holy Prophet (sa) responded, ‘hold the oppressor’s hand’ (i.e. restrain him from his oppression).The term ‘brother’ used here does not just apply to Muslims but to non-Muslims as well.
Being Supportive and Forgiving
Another strategy through which the Qur’anic message supports engagement against oppressive systems is to recognize that the victimized have a right to speak out. And in this regard the strategy is for believing and ethical people to be supportive and forgiving of struggle. It may appear here that the Qur’an is stating the obvious. However for many generations religious books and communities have used scripture to justify enslavement and to preserve racist oppressive structures. For example, during the period of American slavery which lasted over 150 years, slaveholders and their allies, including the clergy, used the Bible to justify slavery. They made the argument that Black people, as descendants of Canaan through his father Ham, were destined to be slaves (Rae, 2018). The relevant verses are found in Genesis 9:18-27, ‘…and Ham is the father of Canaan. Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.’
Similarly, enslaved people were encouraged to serve their masters and be obedient. In the books of Ephesians (6:5-7) and Colossians (3:22-25), Paul wrote that ‘Servants should be obedient to their masters’ ‘knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.’
The Qur’anic message recognizes however that the oppressed have a right to raise their voice. In Chapter 4, Al Nisa God says:
‘Allah likes not the uttering of unseemly speech in public, except on the part of one who is being wronged. Verily, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.’ (4:149)
This underscores the fact that the oppressed can be forgiven or pardoned for speaking in an indelicate or impolite way. It is often the case that when a person or a whole class of persons ‘is being wronged’ public outcry is the only recourse. The powerful structures in the society are already arrayed against the victimized. In this era of ongoing police brutality and misconduct, as well as denial of opportunity and agency, Black citizens and their allies in the US are fully aware that to simply return to a corrupt, white privileged politics cannot be the standard solution. As a people, African-Amercans have always had to find creative solutions to raise public outcry. At the center of this resistance has always been creative non-violence. As Dr. Martin Luther King reminded in his Letter from Birmingham Jail….
‘Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with.’
Today, the application of street protests, die-ins, ‘taking-a-knee’ and call-and-response remain critical aspects of the public speech process which I would argue are reflective of the Qur’an’s teachings of one being allowed to express their voice. In nations where the right to free speech is normalized it is an imperative for the oppressed to raise their voice. In the US context even more so. We live in the most wealthy and powerful nation on earth. Yet some 14% of the population live in fear from police and legal apparatus of the state. Substandard housing, lack of employment opportunities and the wholesale denial of social mobility represent an ongoing wrong that must be spoken out against. A knee on the neck has become both a reality and a symbol of where Black people in America find themselves.
Helping Against ‘Downpression’
The Qur’an sums up this sentiment in a very profound way, in Chapter 93 it states, ‘So the orphan oppress not, And he who seeks thy help, chide not’. (93:10-11). Here it is telling the believers not to victimize and downpress the most vulnerable in the community. And where help is being sought against downpression, believing people should not ‘chide’ such a person. Even as the Black Lives Matter movement rages, many believing people have not stopped to take a look at their own relationship and interaction with the downtrodden amongst them. Many African-Americans join Islamic communities in the US seeking a sense of family and wholeness. The larger society has ‘orphaned’ them. Yet many of these Muslim communities are silent on the issue. Similarly, as African Americans we repeatedly seek help through the raising of our voice in the face of virulently oppressive systems. Our Muslim co-religionists often ‘chide’ this raising of our voices as the spreading of disorder or the failure to take advantage of America’s ‘opportunities’. Yet here Allah is telling us in the Qur’an, do not oppress the orphan and do not chide those who are asking for help. Muslim and larger ethical responses need to be examined in order to see where we as individuals and communities stand.
The Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) has affirmed this Qur’anic position in his ongoing discourses. In a recent speech he raises the following point about how the Ahmadis perceive the struggle against injustice and a pathway to greater peace.
‘…we cannot and must not give up our efforts. If we stop raising our voices against cruelty and injustice, then we will become amongst those who have no moral values or standards whatsoever.’
Importance of Diverse Representation
Another important strategic approach to fighting injustice is to recognize that diverse representation is important in our circles and institutions. This self and whole group awareness recognizes that a community is whole only when its constituent parts are identifiable, represented and whole. From the Islamic framework, an important aspect of self-knowledge is the awareness that (a) all humans have the inherent right to reflect God’s attributes and to aspire to the highest level of individual, social and spiritual aspiration. (b) Human diversity has value, the fact that cultural, linguistic and national groups exist is a sign from God. These should be acknowledged for their beauty and inherent value not for any sense of superiority or inferiority. The Holy Qur’an says:
‘And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your tongues and colours. In that surely are Signs for those who possess knowledge.’ (30:23)
‘And We have made you into tribes and sub-tribes that you may recognize one another.’ (49:14)
Once humans understand that diversity is a divine construct; then the recognition of each cultural group is not seen as a threat. In fact the presence of all groups within our circles and communities are perceived as a benefit. Just people see the absence of any one group ‘at the table’ as illegitimate. All lives and voices must be valued in a community of righteous and ethical people.
When we examine the many roles of African Americans in US society for example, one area that stands out is morality. Despite the historical horrors of racism and denial in America, African-Americans people have generally maintained high levels of restraint. They maintain a belief in the possibility of an America that can live up to its democratic and humanistic ideals. In the main, Black ‘creative protests’ have never pulled the nation into chaos or civil war. In keeping with the ideals of Dr. King and other civil rights leaders, Black people have displayed ‘dignity and discipline’ in the face of virulently oppressive structures and policies. This conscious awareness of diversity therefore helps Muslims to not be oppressive in their own dealings because the Qur’an directs people against oppression, it says:
‘Avoid oppression, for God loves not oppression, and do not by oppression create disturbance in the earth after peace has been established therein.’ (Translation of 7:56-57)
Mirroring God’s Relationship with Man
Islam argues that the human-to-human experience should be a mirror image of God’s relationship to man. In the God to man relationship, Allah is Al Rahman(The Gracious). In this framing he provides a world of mercy in which the human need for self-actualization, opportunity and possibility are equitably provided even before humans are aware that their need exists.As a result Allah’s mercy extends over all things.
Allah does not sanction oppression and domination of humans over each other. In one Qur’anic verse, Allah describes persecution (oppression) of a people as worse than killing or slaughter (2:192). This concept heightens the importance of seeing oppression as a grave sin. In a classic discussion on the subject of oppression Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) connects the struggle against oppression to a right of citizenship. The Second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community viewed struggling against oppression as not unpatriotic. He writes ‘The world must realize that patriotism and love of humanity are not compatible with each other.’In this one sentence the human victimization — the humanity aspect of oppression is centralized. To even clarify further, the Second Caliph writes:
‘When a man tries to prevent his own people or government from acting unjustly, his conduct cannot be described as unpatriotic. It is not true patriotism to support one’s government even in unjustifiable aggression; it consists rather in saving it from a course which is unjust.’
This important statement recognizes that oppression is not without victims. Principally the victims are the oppressed, however the national identity is itself scarred. Ahmad sahib is pointing out that Islam is not silent on the issue of how Muslims should percieve oppression. To attempt neutrality or silence is to fail the victim, the oppressor and the society.
A society organized on Islamic principles does not perceive Black lives (or any other life) as inconsequential or disposable. As we are coming to learn, it is often the victimized who through their activism, expose the injustices in society. Through this act they drive all of society towards greater equity and truth. Those who struggle against oppression are the real ‘heroes’ of a nation because they draw the nation towards accomplishing its highest and noblest ideals.
Islamic philosophy is not silent on the role of the Muslim in a society where oppression exists. In fact it presents a practical approach to struggle for liberation that highlights human agency under Qur’anic guidance. This approach has similarities to other approaches to understanding oppression like Frierian thought which relies on dialectical materialism. Islam for example recognizes that the world can be observed and transformed. And that human action can make a new world. However Islam recognizes that successful struggle against oppression is not just a secular effort. It requires divine support and engagement through Qur’anic teaching. The lessons of Qur’an provides a basis for not practicing oppression and at the same time resisting if and when it arises at the human level.
In this sense the Qur’anic principle is highly humanistic because it recognizes the inherent worth of human beings and in effect presents this as the ‘default’ human state that must be encouraged. Human beings should be free to engage with God and their conscience. Anything that detracts from that is against Islamic values.
About the Author: Dr Basiyr Rodney is the Chair of the Department of Teacher Education and is an Associate Professor in Education at Webster University. Dr Rodney holds degrees in History and Government from the University of the West Indies at Mona Jamaica. And degrees in Education Technology and Curriculum from Florida Atlantic University. He continues to write and comment on the history of the Caribbean, American History, African Slavery in the Atlantic World, International Politics and American Education history and policy. His publications have appeared in the Journal of the Philosophy and History of Education (JOPHE), and Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes. He is also a board member of the Webster Center for Creativity and Innovation in Geneva and also serves as President of the Pan African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association USA.
The idea that history (as an overarching construct) is shaped by a series of conflicts or tensions involving actions and reactions to these actions. These conflicts are rooted in material causes such as social inequalities and the interactions between ruling classes, elites and individual citizens (masses). Dialectical materialism argues that the objective reality can be observed, experienced and shaped by human action. Individuals can see ‘the world’ and then shape it based on their thought and action.. See other explanations in the Review of Religions e.g. Dr. Qazi Muhammad Barkatullah’s Islam and Russia. Review of Religions Vol. 82 No. 10 1987.
Africans were enslaved in the Americas by the Spaniards from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the 1490’s (Ponti, History Stories August 2019).
Ponti Crystal (2019). America’s History of Slavery Began Long Before Jamestown. History Stories The History Channel. August 14, 2019. https://www.history.com/news/american-slavery-before-jamestown-1619
The first recorded revolt against slavery by enslaved Africans is recorded in 1521 in Hispaniola (CUNY).
City University of New York (CUNY). (n.d.). A century between resistance and adaptation. Web Site. First Blacks in the Americas: The African Presence in the Dominican Republic. http://firstblacks.org/en/
Ross, June 3 (2020). NBC
Hill Robert, (1983). UNIA Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World, New York, August 13, 1920. Reprinted in Robert Hill, ed., The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Papers, vol. 2 (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1983), 571–580. http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5122/
The term Black Lives matter is credited to Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi and is distributed by a social media hashtag #blacklivesmatter. It currently represents a global social movement for racial justice. However since Bartolome De Las Casas the Spanish Roman Catholic priest made the case for African enslavement in the Americas, Africans ‘both at home and abroad’ have had to make a continuing case that African people and their descendants have human worth, value and dignity. In one of the most profound articulations of this principle, The UNIA in 1920 crafts a Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World this document is meant to define the principles of justice and terms treatment for African people and thier descendants within the US and the world. Many of these principles and terms reflect the humanistic definitions advanced by the Black Lives Matter of today.
Ahmad, Mirza Tahir (2008). Absolute Justice, Kindness and Kinship. Islam International Publications. LTD. https://www.alislam.org/library/books/AbsoluteJustice.pdf
The concept of Absolute Justice finds its origins in the Qur’anic commentary of Mirza Tahir Ahmad, The Fourth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. In a text called Absolute Justice Kindness and Kinship (2008), Ahmad articulates a holistic explanation of Absolute Justice as a biological, social and spiritually creative principle.
In his writings Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) explains that he is a Buruz or Spiritual Manifestation of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the last days. See the book A Misconception Removed.
see article by Abid Khan for further reading
Goldmacher, Shane June 14, (2020). The New York Times. Black Lives Matter and Other Groups Flooded with Millions in Donations. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/14/us/politics/black-lives-matter-racism-donations.html
Ahmad, Bashir (2016). 40 Gems of Beauty. P.58-61. Commentary on Bukhari, Vol. 3, #624.https://www.alislam.org/library/books/Forty_Gems_of_Beauty.pdf
King, Martin Luther (1963). Letter from a Birmingham Jail. April 16, 1963. https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html
Downpress is a word derived from the prefix ‘down’ and the transitive verb ‘press’. It was constructed by Jamaican Rastafarians as a way to express through visualization and linguistic criticism the way in which hardship caused by domination is a force that is exerted from above. And is placed on top of a person or people. The Oxford English Dictionary indicates the meaning thus: transitive. To press down on (a person or thing) (literal and figurative); (in later use) esp. to keep (a person or group) in a position of subjection and hardship; to oppress.
OED Online. Entry: ‘downpress, v.’. June 2020. Oxford University Press.
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Ahmad, Mirza Masroor (2012). The Devastating Consequences of a Nuclear War and the Critical Need for Absolute Justice. Keynote Address at the 9th Annual Peace Symposium, 2012. Review of Religions.
King, Martin Luther (1963). Letter from a Birmingham Jail. April 16, 1963. https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html
Ahmad, Mirza Ghulam (2007). A Misconception Removed. Islam International Productions LTD. https://www.alislam.org/library/books/A-Misconception-Removed.pdf
Ahmad Bashiruddin Mahmoud (2007). Ahmadiyyat or the True Islam. Trans. Ch. Muhammad Zafrullah Khan. Islam International Publications. Ltd. https://www.alislam.org/library/books/Ahmadiyyat-or-The-True-Islam.pdf