by Roy Kerridge
Were it not for West Indians, West Africans and the new generation of Black British, many city churches in Britain would have to close. Sad to say, the white English are abandoning the faith of their fathers.
Forty years ago, Commonwealth immigrants were sometimes snubbed in Anglican churches. Nowadays, they and their descendants keep churches open and ministers happy! The so-called “black” Pentecostal churches welcome white people with open arms.
“Black militants”, along with “white racists”, tend to frown on racial harmony. Advocates of “Black Pride” have often urged young Caribbean church-goers to abandon “the white man’s god”. Since white people are forsaking and forgetting Christianity by the score, such militants are a bit behind the times — unless the “god” they refer to is television.
Moslems, like most people, do not regard God as belonging to any one race. Yet the new breed of Black Moslems, resurrected in Britain by Spike Lee’s Malcolm X film, urge black people to worship a “black man’s god”, Allah. In Trinidad, the traditional Moslems of Indian descent and the Black Moslems have nothing to do with one another. The latter, in their white robes, consist mostly of young men who enjoy being different, superior and outrageous. Like Rastafarians before them, they have taken politics and some selected bits of the Bible, and scraped together a new religion.
To some extent, Black Moslems form a protest movement against Christianity and white people, and often confuse the two. As I write, such Moslems are a new phenomenon in Britain. Unless a few famous reggae singers join them, I cannot see them rising to the brief but giddy heights of Rastafarianism. I first heard of the New Black Moslems among excitedly chattering schoolboys of West Indian descent, but their appeal extends to women of a type who might once have been involved in militant politics.
Two such women set up a Black Moslem Bookstall on Kilburn High Road, London, only a few yards away from a similar stall set up by traditional Mosque-going Moslems. Two young men, drunk on words and ideas, stood at the Black Moslem stall roaring incoherently about “oppression.” They had an outraged sense of injustice, and urged white people to change their ways. In calm, reasoned tones, horrible to hear, the women sought to assure them that “White men have to be evil. It’s their nature!”
I joined the traditional Moslems, who seemed very upset by the newcomers. A young man of Arabian appearance assured me that all who accept the teachings of Mohammed can become Moslems : “Race is nothing to do with it. Black man – white man – all my brother, under one God!”
A few days later, an open air meeting of Church of God brethren at Brixton was interrupted by two different but equally angry Black Moslem girls. They had been on their way to a party, but stopped to argue with the Christians, all people of Caribbean descent.
“Jesus was white, you know!” one of the girls shouted, while the other stood and glared. They seemed to imply that this would finish Jesus.
“We don’t mind what colour He is, so long as He loves us!” a big church girl replied with equal vehemence.
“You people are mentally enslaved! We are Black Moslems and we know that the white man is the devil! Mohammed is the Comforter promised by Jesus in the Bible!”
The big Church of God girl, outraged at hearing her beloved Comforter, the Holy Ghost, confused with a man, even one like Mohammed, grabbed hold of me and pulled me into the ring.
“This man isn’t the devil — he’s my brother!” she shouted, to my embarrassment.
Luckily the two Black Moslem girls left for their party, and I was released! I noticed that, like most of their counterparts in America, the Black Moslems sought for wisdom not in the Koran, but in the Bible….
The very latest “Black Pride” movement in Britain is not Moslem, although its members, mostly young Londoners of West Indian descent, refer to one another as “Nubians”. Regarding themselves as Africans and having chosen Nubia, in the North Sudan, as their spiritual home, they have a magazine, The Alarm, as their mouthpiece. Fiercely prejudiced against both white people and the Pentecostal church, The Alarm is going from strength to strength. Already the “Alarm Movement” are holding political meetings, advertised in Willesden Green Library as being “For Africans Only”.
When West Indians and Black British call themselves “Africans”, they intend a rejection of Western civilisation. Few of them take the trouble to find out much about Africa. Beneath their bravado, they have a certain pathos about them, as if they are saying to England, “We are rejecting you, you are not rejecting us!” Many are rebelling against over-strict or dogmatic Christian parents.
Race, like politics, has no place in religion. Christians should oppose Black Pride… Black can be Beautiful, but Pride is a deadly sin.