A Review of the book Defining Legends – Patch.com

Posted By on June 26, 2020

I just finished a book giving to me by a dear Muslim brother. ( To protect his identity, I am going to keep his name anonymous. He is one of the most respected community activists and community organizers in the NJ and NYC area. And a committed supporter of Black political prisoners and New Afrikan prisoners of War. I have nothing but love, respect, and admiration for this brother. I am honored that the brother wanted me to review the book.) It is called Defining Legends: An Analysis of Afrocentric Writings Against Islam. The book is written by an English born western and Saudi Arabia educated Ghanaian named Dr. Abdul Haq al Ashanti. His book was published in 2019. In my navet, I thought Defining Legends was going to offer a balanced critique of Afrocentricity written by a Black scholar. Unfortunately, I was completely wrong. From start to finish, his "scholarship" clearly demonstrates that Dr. al Ashanti is a Arabized self hating Afrikan. (Arabized Afrikan is a term describing a Black person who firmly believes that the authenticity of the religion of Al-Islam is founded on Arab culture. The majority of Black Muslims do not follow this thinking. Not all Black Muslims in the Islamic world are Arabized Afrikans. Many Black Muslim are pro-Black. However, Arabized Afrikans do exist in the world. Arabized Afrikans are against Blackness and anything that promotes Blackness. Arabism is a racist belief that Arab history, culture, and language are superior to all non-Arab civilizations.) He has a deep religious problem with Afrocentricity. Dr. al Ashanti's writings are absolutely committed to helping to destroy Black people's path to Black liberation using Afrocentricity.

Unfortunately, his book comes in the same line of Dr. Mary Lefkowitz's work 'Not Out of Africa: How "Afrocentrism" Became An Excuse To Teach Myth As History.' Dr. Lefkowitz used White supremacy to create racist "scholarship" to attempt to debunk the validity of Afrocentricity.

It was published in 1996. Not Out of Africa was produced in response to the popular and massive Afrocentric movement taking place amongst Black people in America and in the world in the late 1980s to the mid 1990s. She argues that Kemet (Egypt) did not play any role in the development of Greek culture and civilization.

The late Cornell University scholar and professor Dr. Martin Bernal, a internationally respected writer of European classics, wrote Black Athena. His important anti-racist work was published back in 1987. His book argues that Kemet (Egypt) payed a major role in helping to create Greek philosophical, scientific, religious, liturgical cultural traditions. He once participated in a huge debate in New York City with Professor Lefkowitz. The debate also included, Professors Guy Maclean Rogers (Black Athena Revisited), and John Henrick Clark (Afrikana Studies). It was moderated by legendary journalist Utrice Leid ( WBAI ) in 1996. At the debate, Dr. Bernal said, "Not Out of Africa is an extremely provocative book."

Dr. Bernal, who was White, wrote a review of the book Not Out of Africa, in the London Review of Books dated on December 12, 1996 titled, "Whose Greece." He wrote, "Mary Lefkowitz's concern, or obsession, with Afrocentrism emerged suddenly in 1991, when she wrote a review of my book Black Athena for the New Republic. As a professor of classics, she was appalled to discover that people were writing books and teaching that Greek civilisation had derived or even been 'stolen' from Egypt, and claiming that the Ancient Egyptians were black, as were Socrates and Cleopatra. The Afrocentrists maintained that Greece had been invaded from Africa in the middle of the second millennium, that Greek religion and the mysteries were based on Egyptian prototypes, and that what was called 'Greek' philosophy was in fact the secret wisdom of Egyptian Masonry."

Dr. Bernal went on to say, "For this reason, she has published a series of overlapping articles denouncing these Afrocentrist 'myths'. Not Out of Africa is a compilation of these pieces, along with some added material and new arguments. The blurb on the back of the book proclaims it to be 'a thoughtful inquiry', 'detailed, carefully researched and fully documented'. In fact, this is not an argument conducted with the Afrocentrists, but an attempt to finish them off."(https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-pape)

The background information on Professor Lefkowitz is very interesting. Mary Lefkowitz, a White Jewish professor, is financed and supported well by ultra right-wing conservative groups. He said, "She has found powerful helpers on the far right. In her preface she thanks the Bradley and John M. Olin Foundations for their grants. These bodies are among the most generous contributors to right-wing organisations such as the National Review, the Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Scholars. Lefkowitz sits on the advisory board of the last and plays an active role on its journal, Academic Questions. The concern of these organisations and journals is to turn back what their members and contributors see as the tides of liberalism that have engulfed not only American society but also education and the highbrow media."(ibid)

Dr. Martin Bernal comes from many White intellectuals and scientists that presented the real facts on Black people, Afrikan History, Afrikan culture, and Afrikan spirituality, European History, world history, and American History. White scholars such as Herodotus, JeanFrancois Champollion, Basil Davidson, Count C.F. Volney, Charles Darwin, Dr. Louis S. B. Leaky, Dr. Donald Johanson, E. A. Wallis-Budge, Gerald Massey, and Leo Frobenius, to name a few. Unfortunately, their works are not presented in the main stream.

Afrocentricity is an Afrikan centered intellectual movement challenging White supremacist and racist notions about Black people, Afrika, Afrikan History, Afrikan culture, Afrikan spirituality, Black people, World History, Caribbean History, western religions, and American History. Some of Its leaders consists of the following scholars: Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop, Dr. John Henrick Clarke, Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannan, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Dr. Asa Hilliard, Professor Jacob Carruthers, Professor Ashra Kwesi, Tony Browder, Professor Dr. Runoko Rashidi, Professor James Smalls, Dr. Naim Akbar, Dr. Lenard Jeffries, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, Dr. Marimba Ani, Dr. Charshee McIntyre, Dr. Amos Wilson, Dr. Maulana Karenga, and Dr. Molefe Kete Asante.

But unlike Dr. Lefkowitz, who uses skewed secular scholarship to obliterate Afrocentricity, Dr. al Ashanti uses only religious books, such as Qur'an and Hadith, as the only cited credible texts and sources to try to discredit Afrocentric ideology.

His efforts are clear to the reader: to undermine Black people's struggle to look at the world from their own Afrikan -centered perspective. He believes in his mind that Afrocentricity is the threat to Al-Islam. Dr. al Ashanti does not see Afrocentricity as the proper and natural vehicle for Black people to liberated ourselves from centuries of world-wide White supremacy and systematic institutionalized racist oppression.

Dr. al Ashanti writes page 19, "since the 1960s there has been a rapid and phenomenal increase of people in the West embracing Islam and the majority of those in the West who are turning to Islam are people of African origin in the UK and the USA. At the same time, Afrocentric ideology has also spread in the West which has, since the 1970s, argued that Islam itself was a religion of Arab conquerers that plundered Africa to the detriment of the African people themselves and this (Kemet Afrocentricity, various Hebrew Israelite cults or 'black Orientalism has emerged to counter this growth of people of African origin turning to Islam." In other words, Dr al Ashanti believes Afrocentricity, not White hegemony, is a threat to the existence of Al-Islam and Muslims. He throws away his western educated methodology and scholarship to analyze Afrocentricity. He instead uses the biased religious lenses of his Saudi Arabian Islamic centered scholarship to distort and misrepresent Afrocentricity.

Dr al Ashante argues that the religion Al-Islam is the only way of life for Black people in the world. Dr. al Ashanti writes on page 20 his book, "Defining legends will critically evaluate mainstream Black Orientalism and extremist Afrocentric claims about Islam and being new evidence to challenge their false assumptions."

In conclusion, this is very disturbingly dangerous and problematic book to Afrika, Black people, and the Afrikan world community. Like White hegemony, as well as some religious leaders of the world; see a danger in Black people challenging the world's Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Euro, and Arab centered versions of history and culture. The world's powers do want Black people to rescue reconstruct, restore, embrace, and accept our own history, culture, languages, and spiritual traditions as vehicles for Black liberation. Although mother Afrika is the origin of the world's civilizations and religions, she is consistently disrespected. Afrika, and Black people, have been under attack for nearly 500 years, some say thousands of years, through invasions, by White supremacy, systematic institutionalization of racism, colorism, classism, enslavement by Europeans and Arabs, colonialism, segregation, US Cointelpro (counter intelligence program), Black self-hatred, Afrikan ethnic and religious divisions, and police violence. They, the world's powers, have worked, and will continue to work, night and day, to maintain its dominance over Black people using all resources (i.e. media, cable tv, traditional tv, movies, films, rap music, R&B music, rock music, political parties, class divisions, policing agencies, scholars, racism, economics, money, religion, the synagogue, the church, the masjid, minsters, pastors, Imams, etc) including our own people, to keep us at the bottom of every society on the planet earth for the sole purpose of the oppression and exploitation of Black humanity. Therefore, If Black lives are going to matter in America, and in the world, then we as Black people must continue to push the world to rid itself, and even some of our own people, of bigotry and disdain for Black people, for our own Afrikan history, for our own Afrikan culture, and for our own Afrikan spirituality.


Asante sana (Kiswahili for thank you very much) for reading my commentary.

O Dabo (Yoruba for go with God until we meet again)!!!

-Bashir Muhammad Akinyele is a History Teacher, Black Studies Teacher, Community Activist, Chairperson of Weequahic High School's Black History Month Committee in Newark, NJ, commentary writer, and Co-Producer and Co-Host of the All Politics Are Local, the number #1 political Hip Hip radio show in America.

Note: Spelling Afrika with a k is not a typo. Using the k in Afrika is the Kiswahili way of writing Africa. Kiswahili is a Pan -Afrikan language. It is spoken in many countries in Afrika. Kiswahili is the language used in Kwanzaa. The holiday of Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 to January 1.


See the article here:

A Review of the book Defining Legends - Patch.com

Related Post


Comments are closed.