“You're Black. You're from Africa. You can't be the Principal”: Limited Leadership in Islamic Institutions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work examines how leadership in U.S. Islamic institutions is impacted by anti-Blackness. During this ethnographic project, I interviewed 15 participants who identified as part of the Islamic community in one city in the southwestern portion of the United States. The findings in this paper are based on 15 attendees of two mosques and one private Islamic school whose interviews brought up the topic of barriers to leadership as a form of discrimination for Black community members. In particular, I highlight the experiences of two successful Black leaders who have experienced discrimination within the Muslim community. Findings demonstrate that anti-Blackness in Islamic community spaces manifests itself in two distinct ways: (1) lack of leadership opportunities as a result of exclusionary practices and (2) limitations placed on those who may manage to become leaders. Thus, anti-Blackness robs Black Muslim community members of the safety that should be afforded by Islamic institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-589
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Muslim Minority Affairs
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • U.S. Islamic Institutions
  • anti-Blackness
  • exclusionary practices
  • leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of '“You're Black. You're from Africa. You can't be the Principal”: Limited Leadership in Islamic Institutions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this