Zareena Grewal Discussed Long History of Muslim Athletes Leading through Protest
This week’s NFL protests are part of a long tradition of athletic dissent. In a timely talk on human rights, dissent and the Muslim athlete, Zareena Grewal, associate professor of American studies and religious studies at Yale University, explored the meaning of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s (formerly Chris Jackson’s) decision in the 1990s to remain off-court rather than stand during the pre-game national anthem—a decision that ultimately resulted his suspension from the NBA. She compared Rauf’s journey of civil disobedience to the deep antagonism faced by former heavy weight boxing champion, Muhammed Ali in the 1960s for his comments on Vietnam and race. Grewal also drew comparisons to the current controversy and national debate inspired by Colin Kaepernick. This talk was the first in a year-long series, American Muslims, Civil and Human Rights, co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center at Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Duke Islamic Studies Center. The next event will be on 10/11, with Khaled Beydoun, presenting Policing Muslim Identity During the Time of Trump.