A Hip Hop View of Islam: Aesthetic “Rebels” 4 Anti-anti-Islamism and 4 Anti-anti-Arabism

By Souad Halila.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As the globalization, commodification, appropriation, hybridization, and indigenization of the originally African American Hip Hop Culture become conspicuous, so does one of its offshoots, Islamic Hip Hop and Muslim rap. Assessing and responding to this emergent art form, which oddly couples Islam and rap, is worth the endeavor to understand scores of today‘s enamored global youth of the five pillars of Islam and the five pillars of Hip Hop and their infectious appropriation of both the religion and the art form as an aesthetic alternative to fight anti-Arabism with Islamism and Anti-Islamism with
the Arabic language of the Quran, and engage in discourses against hegemony, racism, islamophobia, and reactionary traditionalism. This study is based on an assortment of Moslem rappers, bloggers, their fans and detractors, born or living in the US, Europe, and the Maghreb, who share normative commonalities and identity affinities.
It is couched in a postcolonial/postmodernist/ multicultural theoretical framework which posits that the new agency is in the inclusion of new voices previously kept silent; the affirmation and reclaiming of one’s identity; and the decolonization and healing of one’s mind through art and faith. As subordinate people, conscious Muslim rappers are using a theory of Islamic precepts to rap back to the center and the powers that be with diversified--both positive and negative but mainly Afrocentric and pan-Islamist messages and rebuttals to Eurocentric discourses and values. Moslem rappers are no longer
ashamed of their Moslem or Arab heritage and no longer feel the cultural cringe of viewing Eurocentric especially American achievements and values as necessarily better.

Keywords: Islam, Hip Hop Culture, Rap, Islamophobia, Racism, Globalism, Proselytism, Identity Politics, Youth Protest

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 10, pp.35-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 524.103KB).

Dr. Souad Halila

Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Sousse, Tunis, Tunisia

Souad Halila has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Southern California. She majored in American history and minored in US literature. Her Ph.D. thesis focused on the intellectual development and diplomatic career of African American Ralph J. Bunche. She taught English and literature for eleven years at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. From 1999 to the present, she has been teaching US and GB history and culture at the Universities of Tunis and Sousse, Tunisia. Her current interests are race relations, international relations, African American history, pop culture and multiculturalism, history of ideas, and Islam related issues. She lectured in the USA, Saudi Arabia, Spain, France, and Tunisia. In the fall of 2006, she was a senior Fulbright visiting specialist at Wilson College, Pennsylvania. She has a broad interest in environmental issues and green philosophy which she expresses in daily gardening.


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