I know a bunch of Rednecks. They live in my neighborhood and gather at my family functions. Their language is unique, something like Ebonics but with a twang. There are not many Muslims around Northwest Missouri – or at least they don’t publicly admit to their faith. About a hundred years ago regular Catholics did not openly admit their faith either – but that was back when the KKK proudly wore their pointy dunce caps that hung all the way down to their collar bone – they had to cut holes in their hats to see where they were going. People around here act like the old KKK toward Muslims today. And with some cause, I suppose, but I don’t exactly get it.
I was down in Saint Joseph, Missouri, the other day and I saw that some folks there are building an Islamic Mosque. It is located on Messanie Street – long the main drag of the local African-American community. I am not insinuating anything with that comment because I suspect most of the Muslim population in Saint Joseph lives in the upscale neighborhood affectionately called “The Lake of Twelve Doctors.” That is because most of the Muslims in Saint Joseph are imported physicians with specialty practices centered around the one hospital in town.
The funny thing about the Mosque in Saint Joseph centers on the building materials and the construction workers. The shell of the building is up and one can readily see that the dome is built with prefabricated pressed board – or plywood to the rednecks – genuine American building materials. The other thing is that the construction workers are all regular local white Rednecks. I think two local taverns had to be opened in the neighborhood to satisfy the Redneck construction workers. The Rednecks building the mosque don’t like Muslims – but no one told them what they are building so they don’t mind the work.
The most telling observation about this whole Mosque affair is the people who intend to occupy the Mosque. We don’t see any of the physicians from the Lake of Twelve Doctors driving their Lexus’ down to that god-forsaken neighborhood (that statement should get me in some trouble). What we see over on Messanie Street are some eighth generation African Americans walking around with towels wrapped around their heads. I don’t know if these folks are regular Muslims or are of the Nation of Islam variety. Malcolm X was a Nation of Islam Muslim until he traveled to Mecca and converted to real Islam. Then someone shot him. Go figure.
There are very few white people in Saint Joseph who call themselves Muslim. I don’t know of any. My notion is that a bunch of the Black Rednecks are the core group of religious converts. Rednecks are like that – Independent. They don’t like to be told what to do – they are generally self sufficient. There are a bunch of black folks who grew up in Northwest Missouri attending either the Baptist Church or the AME. Independent Black Baptist churches let it all hang out, they chant amen and encourage the preacher with shouts of ‘you got that right brother.’ The AME church is more reserved. The black Baptists say that the black people who attend the AME church are just trying to act like white people – and they want nothing of it. The AME folks say the black Baptists are acting like their uncivilized ancestors back in Africa. None of the people say these things publicly – just to each other – I have been down that road and I heard it myself.
The Redneck Black Muslims in Saint Joe take their anti-white person mentality another step. They see the Christian faith as being a white man’s faith. Islam represents people of color – that is how it started and that is how is works today. I should qualify that not all Black Rednecks in Saint Joe are Muslim – they spread out and can generally be found just about anywhere. There is no such thing as organized Rednecks – we can see that truth in the Tea Party. You might be a Muslim Redneck if you prefer to pray outside your trailer. This topic requires a good sense of humor.
It seems like there are three kinds of Muslims in America – those that brought their faith with them to medical school, those that have searched for religious truth and found it in Islam, and the Rednecks who resist anything that resembles authority over their choices.
It seems to me like the dangerous sort of religious person, whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or Wacko, is the person who joined their faith out of resentment toward something else. Or they use their religion to justify resentment toward others. I know more white religious wackos than black religious wackos. Race has not much to do with being wacko.
It all comes down to this: Using religion to justify resentment is wrong. Resentment of others is the opposite of faith in any of the dominant world religions – including Christianity and Islam. This is not about Redneck ideology, but some Rednecks just do goofy things all by themselves.
From ProgressiveIslam.org Please visit their site for all 52 conditions.
You might be a redneck Muslim…
1. If you say “Assalam Alaiykum ya’ll.”
2. If you tip you hat when you say “Assalam Alaiykum ya’ll.”
3. If you put your boots back on after salat.
4. If your thobe or kufi is a camouflage color.
5. If you hunt between magrib and Isha.
6. If you fish, swim, bath, and perform wudu in the same body of water.
7. If you prefer to pray outside your trailer.
8. If you think the greatest jihad is praying magrib during WWF Wrestling.
9. If you think the greatest jihad consists of spraypainting “Allah Akbar” on a water tower.
10. If you ever wonder why the Jerry Springer Show hasn’t called you yet.