Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Not Resegregation.

So today I read that the Supreme Court of the US has decided that race cannot be the sole factor in assigning students to public schools.
Yay.

Really. This is good news. It is unfortunate that the decision was due to two white parents in Kentucky and Washington who were upset that they could not move their children to another school. However; this is a great decision and underscores my long standing position that the 1954 Brown V. Board of Ed of Topeka Kansas was fatally flawed. For those unfamiliar with the Brown V. Ed. decision, it basically ruled that legal segregation, that is having laws on the books that says blacks can't go to school here, or there, was unconstitutional. No problem with that. The problem was that the wording of the text was SO obnoxious that any self respecting black person ought to wretch upon reading it. In that decision it was claimed that black children were mentally damaged by not being able to share a school room with white children.

Bullshit.

That commentary was nothing less than the usual White Supremacy talk that holds that black people are in need of white people in order to make it. That our ability to strive was dependent upon the good influence of white people.

Right.

So that was my love hate relationship with Brown V. Board. Glad the whole legal thing was taken apart, but hated the language. This brings us to the current decision. Talking heads of various Head Negroes in Charge organizations are grabbing microphones and standing in front of waiting TV cameras to wail and moan about the return of segregation. Ummm..No. The decision says that school boards/districts cannot use race as the sole reason to send a student off on a two hour bus ride to another school. There's nothing in the decision that says where students cannot go based on their race. Important distinction.

Most importantly though, the Head Negroes in Charge and their white counterparts, have not been caught on camera noting that so called "segregated" schools all ready exist. The fact is that by having assigned school zones, the local schools are already reflective of the demographics of a given community. Therefore if said community is 99% white such as, oh Upper Saddle River, NJ, then you can bet that the student population there is, yes you guessed it, white. Similarly in say, Bushwick Brooklyn, NY, you will find that 90% of the students are black, same as the neighborhood.

The problem, which I have said to anyone who would listen was not who was sitting in the seats it was the funding of the schools. Schools are funded based on the property taxes generated by the neighborhood. Clearly a flawed system, since the poorer the neighborhood the worse the funding for a school. Therefore, this decision is a great opportunity for concerned black folks to speak out for a change in the funding system for schooling. If greedy white suburbanites don't want their taxes going to other school districts, then they ought to be reminded of the cost to the taxpayer to house those who the educational system fails, read: jail.

So don't pay attention to the talking heads wailing about the return to the plantation. Not happening. If only because corporate agriculture has been importing new slave labour from Mexico. Black folk in America have been trained to think that greater education is directly proportional to the proximity of white people. No doubt that there has been truth to that, but now is an opportunity to break that chain.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

I'm a Mac

This has been stewing in me for a while now. I was tempted to start another blog for my non-political/religious stuff, but decided against it for reasons I don't quite remember. When I feel strongly enough about something technical I usually post a comment on some of the other tech websites such as Macintouch, MacNN, ArsTechnica, etc. If you can't tell, I use a Macintosh and yes, I own an iPod; two actually. But something has been bothering me about Apple ads of late and I need to let it out. I'm not entirely sure if this is "accidental" or research based, but I'm pretty annoyed at the presence of black folk in Apple advertising.

I've been listening to Talaam Acey's "Market 4 Niggaz" remix track and the general theme has been reverberating in my mind. That theme is that so long as black folks are entertaining everything is cool. I've been mentally going over the Mac ads I have seen and I'm seeing a pattern. See there are recognizable black folk in the iPod advertising. First we had the Black Eye Peas, and then the silhouetted iPod dancers, who I'm sure are of various races, but feature folks who you "know" are black. We've even had Wynton Marsalis do a piece. Then we had an Apple event where Kanye West made an appearance at the end of the show doing his then chart topping "Gold digger" track (I hesitate to call it a song but...). There was some buzz on the net about his performance but when the web video showed up, Kanye was removed. That annoyed me. Invisible, silhouetted blacks= good, actual real life black MC's on stage= Bad. Alllrighty then.

Then the infamous "I'm a Mac" advertising came out. I enjoy most of them really I do. At first it was just white man PC and white man Mac. BUt then came the extra characters such as the lovely Asian camera, The white female Mac Genius. The serious white male security guard who stated "You are having a sad realization". Yes folks, black silhouetted dancers = Good. Now there WAS a black character at the "Vista" party, a minor character, oh yes there was the black dead PC guy. Yeah OK.

Now we have iPhone commercials abound and yet again not a Negro to be found. Now given that in large parts of the markets where Apple does its sales, there are HUGE "minority" populations why is there such a lack of lead black, latin or Asian characters in Apple advertising? I can't think this is accidental since whenever I see pictures of Apple's core team of decision makers there isn't a black face to be found. Now that means that either there aren't enough black executives to go around, or black people just aren't bright enough to work at Apple or the marketing departments of both Apple and TBWA \ Chiat \ Day have come to the conclusion that white faces sell better than black ones and therefore black faces (or hands) are bad for Apple marketing. I kinda hope it's the latter since it would make economic sense (not agreeing with it but it's logical). It could also be possible that no one thought of it, though I seriously doubt that not a single black person auditioned for either part.

Now personally I thought that with the advent of the black Macbook, that a nice I'm a Mac ad with a black character would have been forthcoming. I mean there are SOOOOO many directions that ad could go in, and on a side note I'm a huge fan of the Geico caveman ads.
Any way you cut it, I think there is a serious issue with Apple's advertising, which may or may not reflect the company or it's dealing with the social reality in America, but I'm glad I got that off my chest.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Greetings From Charleston South Carolina

Today we are in Charleston South Carolina, home of the infamous Telemaque (Denmark Vesey) and Gullah Jack. get up on your Denmark Vesey history, get the DVD

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Report From Jamestown

So today the temperatures in Williamsburg VA reached 100 degrees. Heat index is somewhere about 104. Not fun. Glad I decided to stay. It will be much cooler tomorrow when we get to......Charleston South Carolina. I haven't gone to the Colonial Williamsburg because something told my spirit to go to Jamestown. The museum out here has a heavy African presence. It appears that Africans, commonly referred to as "slaves" were from the Kongo region of Africa. At first I was somewhat annoyed at the fixation on the Kongo, After all there were far more "advanced" states in Africa at that time, but realized that it had historical reference. The other thing that annoyed me was the presentation on the Kongo and Nzinga. By the presentation you would think that the Africans had no belief system until the Europeans arrived. There was a lot of discussion of Christianity's influence on art etc. yet no discussion on the Kongolese beliefs themselves. They mentioned that Nzinga became a Christian but then reverted back to.. Oh yes not mentioned. There is a lot of information on the Religion of the Kongo people so I was disappointed to not see it, though not entirely surprised. This stands in stark contrast to the Native American museum where the traditional beliefs of the various nations were discussed and highlighted. I really think this has much to do with the shame that Africans in America have towards traditional African religions.



There was a replica of a "slave quarter" which stood in stark contrast to what the colonists were living, even though by today's standards the colonists weren't exactly living large. But the contrast is very apparent. Now the reason I suppose that I was drawn to Jamestown was pretty clear when I got on one of the ships. They had full size replicas of three ships that landed in Jamestown. What's pretty important about this, at least to me, was that these ships were also reflective of what it was like to be in a hold. I was pretty overwhelmed when I got below deck and saw just how small a space and how hot it was down there. The experience made it pretty clear to me that our ancestors who survived the trip across the Atlantic without dying or losing their minds were truly the strongest of the strong. If, as a black person you've ever been ashamed of the slave trade (and there are many people who are), you take in a sight like the hold of a ship and realize you are the descendants of the toughest of the tough. So that's what I needed to see.


Ok so onto other things. Over at Planet Grenada we have a link to a fatwah on pan-arab racism by ex Black Panther Dhoruba Bin-Wahad, which is an interesting read and provides more data on my issue of Islam and Africa.

he historical high water mark of Arab penetration of Africa after the middle-ages is today an East – West fault line of genocide, violence, brutal skirmishes committed by Arabized Muslims (from the north) against non-Arabized African Muslims, and Black Africans (from the central and Southeast regions of the continent). Never before has the contrast and conflict between Arabized North Africa and Sub-Saharan Black Africa been so sharp and clear. Across the face of Africa Arabized militias and Roving Rebel Bands kill, rape, and slaughter entire villages, population centers, and lay waste to Black African lands supported by governments who are members of the Pan-Arabist organizations like the “Arab League," nations such as Sudan, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, and especially Saudi Arabia, quietly acquiesce to the Arab dominated government of Sudan's slaughter of Black African's while passing numerous resolutions and proposals to world bodies on the Palestinian – Israeli conflict or resoluion of the Lebonese crisis.

I have a few issues with Bin-Wahad, but can't argue too much with the general sentiments.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Garvey's Ghost from Colonial Williamsburg

Yes folks, Sondjata is making a road trip! Garvey's Ghost will be travelling from the New Jeru (That's New Jersey) to Miami Florida. Right now we are in a hotel room in Colonial Williamsburg. It is 97 Degrees as of 4:23 PM and we've been driving top down. I fully expect to lose 10 pound from the heat alone this trip. But enough about the driving. Why are we in Colonial Williamsburg? Well I keep seeing ads for the place with clean, happy looking Negroes. So I wanted to see why the Negroes were so happy in Colonial Williamsburg. After all VA is home to one of the "bloodiest" African uprisings in American history. So perhaps I'll see some monument to Nat Turner. Not. But really, I did want to see what the deal was and I'll report on the goods tomorrow.

Today however; I stopped at the Native American museum in Washington DC. Let me say at the outset that the architecture of the building is excellent. When they said no squares they meant it. The place is curvaliscious (not a word). For those who have not been, there are two floors of exhibits and a few theatres. You can park on the street for 3 hours for no charge, should you be able to find a parking spot. Olodumare and the Ancestors were kind to me and I got a spot straight away (musta known I was on a time crunch). One can definitely see how Africans and Native Americans would have gotten along. Many of the worldviews are complementary. In fact a couple of nations have color schemes in common with the Yoruba.

Off the trip tip, I must continue with my commentary on the Palestinian situation. It is now public knowledge that the US and Europe are looking to back the Fatah government while simultaneously doing all they can to make the Hamas government on the strip fail. When people ask why fools fly planes into buildings and such, these things must be brought up. The US, Europe and Israel have no business trying to topple governemnts. If all Hamas wants to do is gun play, then the people of Palestine will deal with them appropriately. But as it stands Fatah will be seen as a puppet government of "The West" and rightfully so. They will get things done not because they are demonstrably better than Hamas, but because the US, Europe and Israel have decided to support it.

Oh yeah, I must comment on another thing. This trip has fully reminded me as to why obesity is a problem in the US. I'm trying to find a meal here in Williamsburg and decided to go to a buffet place. Now, every buffet place I've been too has had Chinese food, so I can eat well but not heavy. This joint had "southern" food. Grease galore. I swear that I had to be the slimmest black person in the place. Well of the few that were there. In fact, I'll say that I was one of the few slim people in the building. So the food is "well seasoned" and the folks next to me who were apparently from North Carolina, were busy putting MORE salt on the food. Now since I felt that I had paid way too much for what I considered to be glorified junk food, I had two helpings of food ( I found some nice dirty rice, grilled chicken and veggies in the back). Would you know that the waitress, who was very, very nice to me, kept putting out new plates. I think she wants me to gain weight. Then when I got up to leave, the NC folks felt the need to urge to let me know that I had neglected to have dessert. I actually had 2 chocolate chip cookies. But I'm saying though, Folks can't be eating like that and expect to be healthy. Seriously.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Chaos in Palestine

I must point out to all watchers that while the direct actors in the latest "civil war" in Palestine are Hamas and Fatah, the blame for sparking this event lies squarely with Israel and the United States. The US, who claims that they want "Democracy" in Palestine and elsewhere (something we're just not going to discuss at this time), decided that it was not acceptable that the Palestinian people would, in a free and fair election, vote in Hamas. Perhaps it is the Bush administration's confusion about the actual voted for winner actually taking office, that makes such an event in Palestine so distasteful. The US along with Israel decided (you know, that whole "decider" thing) that the Palestinians cannot vote for Hamas and therefor lead a campaign of economic and political terrorism against the Palestinian people by asking world governments to not recognize the new government and by withholding funds from the Palestinian government.

It would have been better if Hamas had taken it's rightful place in the Palestinian government and been forced to deal with being an insider actually responsible for providing services to the Palestinians. The whole "must accept Israel's right to exist" thing is way over blown. There's so much to be done in Palestine that such a platform is all but useless anyway.

The results were obvious to anyone with 2 functioning brain cells. Clearly by rejecting the results of the free election, the US and Israel played it's hand (like we didn't know it already). That hand was that it wasn't about elections it was about US and Israeli interests. So by Hamas deciding to take over is a clear rejection of US interference in Palestinian affairs. It is a clear, we did it your way, now we do it ours. On the other hand I'm concerned about this fighting. For a people that have been fighting for what seems to be generation now, there is the danger of fighting becoming a way of life.

We shall see.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Death of Black Politics As We Know It?

Over at the Black Agenda Report we find an article entitled: Why Barack Obama Needs a Whuppin’: Honest Abe, He Ain’t

While I'm in agreement on the general thesis of the article, I must disagree with the following statement:

Barack Obama is the antithesis of Black Power, a man who promises with every word he speaks, with every nuance of phrase and body language, and through his voting record as a U.S. Senator, that he personifies the definitive end of Black organized struggle in the United States - a unilateral surrender to white racism.

If one wants to keep the focus on the black struggle within the US. then I would say that the most recent nail in the coffin of black politics was the demonization and abandonment of Cynthia McKinney. While Don Imus got ejected for calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "Nappy Headed Hos." We must remember that Cynthia McKinney was called "Bitch" on the floor of the US Congress. The perp in that case was Rep. Cass Ballenger (R-NC). The CBC was dead ass silent on that event. It was pretty clear that calling black women out of their names, in a public forum was acceptable.

Next, shortly after the DC police incident which was purportedly caused by McKinney's then new hairdo, Radio pundit Neal Boortz, said, on air that McKinney looked like a "Ghetto Slut." This too went without so much as a peep out of the CBC or other so called Black leaders. I have no doubt that since McKinney has the infamous "Black woman backbone" the spineless black men inhabiting the CBC were unable to muster up the guts to put these crackers in line.

Since it was OK to publicly insult and degrade a strong, outspoken black woman such as Cynthia McKinney, it should have come as no surprise to any of us that the women of the Rutgers team would receive "equal treatment". After the defeat of McKinney (which she and her colleagues has a serious hand in), I wrote that her defeat represented the death of black oppositional and protest politics. The current generation of the black middle class, which incidentally are the early edges of the Hip Hop generation, is only interested in a few things: money and access. As with the rest of us in this generation, we learned all to well that rocking the boat and talking that "black shit" was an expressway to being marginalized and a "promotion killer". If we can't go natural, speak our minds and wear "um-foo-foo" shit, then no way we are going to allow McKinney to mess us up.*

Much of Obama's institutional money comes out of the black middle and upper class. Our wealthy, talented tenth, many of whom would probably lynch Al Sharpton for the Klan if they could make a business deal out of it. They want to see a black president that represents them and their values. Their value is in anything that de-racializes their existences. They are professionals who "happen to be black" rather than black professionals. And believe me, by mind and by culture the descriptor "happen to be black" is very relevant. This is what the white population wants from a "black candidate". Black enough to appease white guilt, but not black enough to bring up those fears.

So no, I disagree that Obama is the definitive end of black organized struggle. I believe that Obama represents the results of an already ended organized black struggle. Obama is the result of a compromised movement from decades ago.

Anthony Martin Retiring

I just read what I assume to be the latest issue of Diverse Issues in Higher Education and found out that Dr. Anthony Martin the author of Race First (required reading on our list) will be retiring from his position at Wellesley College at the end of this month. I attempted to e-mail him, but apparently Dr. Martin has not been keeping up with his e-mail and his mailbox is full. He has a new book on Amy Ashwood Garvey, Marcus Garvey's first wife which I need to pick up. So if you get a chance, try and send Martin a line thanking him for his excellent scholarship on Marcus Garvey.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

"Western Religions"

Brother Abdul Halim from Planet Grenada posted a question in my blog entry that was in response to a post he made on his blog. Specifically he asked whether I considered Christianity to be a European religion. It was a good question which I thought deserved it's own blog post.

If I took a stroll down memory lane I will recall the first time a "Dr. Ben" book landed in my lap. The book was the infamous "African Origins of the Major Western Religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam)." That book was true to Dr. Ben form: repetitive and chock full of information and intimidatingly long. But being the somewhat social outcast that I was, finished that book, among many others that summer, in no time at all.

Of course it hadn't quite dawned on me that the title of the book was in fact very misleading. While it did in fact place ancient Khemet in it's proper place as the mother of these religions, it was mistaken to refer to these religions as "Western". Indeed it would be completely wrong to say that Islam is a western religion. It would be equally wrong to refer to Judaism as "western" as well. I do understand that in terms of Judaism, the prevailing face of the religion is that of a European, but that wouldn't make Judaism itself a "Western" religion. Similarly, though Asians make up the largest body of Muslims, it would be incorrect to say that Islam is an "Asian" religion.

This "face of" issue is pretty important when confronting religion in terms of Nationalism and Pan-Africanism and specifically when answering the question posed. I am on record, with supporting data, showing that the "big three" religions are derived in large part from Khemet. The operative word being "derived." I freely admit and allow space for the fact that cultures embrace religions within their own historical and cultural context. So while Allat became Allah and the Ka'aba move from the 'pagan' realm and into the "holy" of the new religion, all the while ending prayers in reference to Amen-Ra, or the great "I am" becomes the Yahweh, as former Haribu declare themselves the chosen people, while building temples based on the temples of Egypt and rebuilding Arks of Covenants, they each formulate their specific religion to address the wants and needs of that group.

The single important thing that the "big three" have in common that is most relevant to this blog enntry is the nationalist element that each co-opting group developed. for Judaism, it became a means of separating out themselves from the people around them, and religiously justifying warfare on other groups (who, no doubt, used their own religions for the same purposes), in order to establish the Jewish nation. Islam was similarly used in such a manner. Christianity which really ought to be referred to as Christendom, was similarly appropriated by the Roman empire and later the rest of Europe. Christianity, outside of Ethiopia and the Middle-East, would be the new organizing and unifying thought behind Europe as Islam would be later among Arabs. Specifically dealing with Mr. Halim's question though, Christianity became Europeanized when did things such as canonizing Latin as the "official" language of the "holy scripture". When it placed Rome at it's center of authority and decided to mess with the texts (an issue Muslims often bring up in criticism of Christianity/Christendom). In essence, under European "tuteledge", Christianity became a European religion. Of course all the splinters that happened with the protestant "reformation" continued to put a European stamp on the religion.

So in essence I consider "lay Christianity" as a European religion in that it centers it's thoughts and ideas from Europe, via the latin. It centralizes Greco-Roman culture and language as it's root (see all the discussion of "Agape") and sees it's foundation at Judaism, itself a derivative of Khemetic religion. In order for Christianity to return to it's true roots it would have to move beyond it's lock into the Judeo-Roman, ideas and return to it's Khemetic roots. But doing so would upset much of what is "common sense" among common Christians such as the demonizing of Egypt, a complete rejection of the Exodus and the complete re-understanding of the Christ figure. Most, but not all Christians are not willing to do this necessary reconfiguration, and their institutions, modeled on European model of Christianity, are also not interested in such changes.

So as a matter of history and of intellectual discussion I can say that Christianity is an African based religion, much as how Dr. Ben. says. But in terms of its current functional practiced state, it is very much a "Western" Europe based religion.

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Discussing Darfur

Over at the The Bro log we find a good writeup and link to Minister Faust's radio show, on Darfur.

The popularity of the “Save Darfur” campaign among groups traditionally indifferent to Afrikan suffering is more easily understood when scanning for anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias among the organisers. By their own descriptions, Sudan is a struggle of so-called Arabs against what they describe as “Black Africans."

Yet 99% of Sudanese would be called “Black” or “Africans” if they stepped foot in North America. When spoken by Sudanese, the term “Arab” may mean “Arabic-speaker,” “influenced by Arab culture,” or even “affluent.” And even though anti-Muslim bias is clear among many of the Darfur activists in the West, both sides in the Darfur conflict are Muslim.

Isn’t it strange that organisations and activists with limited or zero history in campaigns designed to end Sudanese or Muslim suffering have taken such a strong interest in Sudan now? After all, Afrikan suffering is far greater in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the suffering of Afrikan Muslims includes actual slavery in Mauritania.


Check it out.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Alien Nature of Islam in Africa

Yesterday I happened upon a posting on Planet Grenada (see link on side) entitled: sufi mujahideen . It is a wonderful thing to expose oneself to people who hold ideologies that are different from your own. Mr. Halim and myself have gone back and forth on the subject of Afrocentricity and Islam, of which there are a number of blog entries dealing with the subject. One of his bone's of contention with me is that I, among others, hold that by and large Islam is "alien" to Africa. That is Islam has it's general origins outside of Africa. Specifically though the argument is best made in relation to West Africa, which is practically the farthest west one can go from the geographic origins of Islam, without crossing water.

I use the terms "general" in reference to Islam's origins because as detailed in my blog post "Abrahamic What?" I show that Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all have a common ancestor in the Khemetic "mystery system" Therefore the specific "alien" nature to which I refer is the Arabic cultural phenom that gave rise to the specific religious expression we refer to as Islam. That said, I want to get back to the blog post that inspired this post. In his piece, Mr. Halim writes (quoting scholars):

In Morocco, the Shadhili tariqa was the forefront opponent of the Portuguese in the 15th century, the most notable of the Sufis being al-Jazuli.33 Shaykh ‘Uthman Dan Fodio (1754 – 1817) was a Maliki scholar of the Qadiri order who vigorously spoke out against the innovations that had become dominant in his time, particularly the mixing of Islamic and pagan beliefs. He eventually performed hegira, established an Islamic state, and engaged in jihad to unite the region under the Shariah.34

Now I found this statement to be "interesting" to say the least. Morocco is where? Yes that's right. And why would Uthman Dan Fodio be concerned with the "mixing of Islamic and Pagan" beliefs? and Why the judgement of native religions as being of lesser value than Islam? Ifg this sounds all too familiar then you are not nuts. This "concern" is no different from the concerns of Christian missionaries who shared the same disdain for the native religions of the peoples that they came into contact with.

But what is more interesting, is how this paragraph underscores a second point made in the "Afrocentricity and Islam" series, which was that Muslim rulers were engaging in warfare against their non-Muslim neighbors and that conflict weakened West Africa and fueled the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It also undermines the entire argument of peaceful conversion of the natives.

If we continue we read:

Al-Hajj ‘Umar Tal was a Tijani sheikh from northern Senegal who fought jihad against both the French and pagans of Guinea, Senegal, and Mali. After performing his second pilgrimage, he traveled across various cities in Africa starting in Cairo and eventually coming to Sokoto, Nigeria, where he studied with Muhammad Bello, the son of Shaykh ‘Uthman Dan Fodio, in the field of military sciences and administration. Upon his return to his homeland, he fought mainly against the pagans of Karta and Segu. ‘Umar was a staunch advocate of the Shariah and after one victory against the polytheists, he destroyed the idols of the pagans with his own hands using an iron mace.35

What can I say? I don't think the "Idolators" were none to happy to have been waged war against, nor having their religious symbols broken. But then again, this all sounds pretty familiar doesn't it? Of course, those of us familiar with the history of Christianity in Africa, know that the Christian missionaries, and their converts did the same thing; disrespecting and destroying religious icons of the "idolators".

In a comment sent to Planet Grenada I mistakenly accorded the text to Mr. Halim, but his post was an excerpt of an article he had read. WHat is important here is that the article itself lends support to the claims made by Afrocentric scholars in that:
a) Islam is in fact "alien" to Africa.
b) The Jihads in Africa served to destabilize West Africa.
and lastly:
c) The introduction of Islam in Africa was not entirely peaceful as is presented by certain Muslims.

The truth always comes up to the surface.

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