Posted by BST Staff
Qiyamah Muhammad is a 16 year old girl with albinism. She has started an organization, Confident Albino Brothers and Sisters to bring awareness to those living with albinism not only here in the United States but worldwide.
When she was younger, she used to get the stares and questions. Not so much the questions now but people still stare. Four of the most common questions she used to get all the time were, “Are you black?” followed by “Are you sure?” And also, “Can you stop moving your eyes like that?” It used to bother her but because she has a strong support system with her family and the Nation of Islam who always instilled pride in not only her blackness but being proud of who she is in her uniqueness of being albino, she has confidence in herself.
Because of that, people we have met in our community in Washington, DC have asked Qiyamah to talk to their children who are albino because they have low self-esteem. That inspired her to start a group called Confident Albino Brothers and Sisters. This is a group to help other albinos with self-esteem.
Albinism is an inherited condition which you get from both parents. People with albinism have little to no melanin, which is a chemical that colors our skin, eyes and hair. Therefore, people with albinism lack pigmentation which is the coloring of a person’s skin, in all three. Albinism affects people of all races and is much more common than you may think. In fact, one out of every 20,000 people worldwide has some form of albinism. In some populations like Nigeria, it occurs in one out of every 200 births.
In some communities, erroneous beliefs and myths, heavily influenced by superstition, put the security and lives of persons with albinism at constant risk. People with albinism have been persecuted, killed and dismembered, and graves of albinos dug up and desecrated because it is believed that certain body parts of people with albinism can transmit magical powers. Such superstition is present especially in some parts of the African Great Lakes region.
Witch doctors and others use such body parts as ingredients in rituals, concoctions and potions with the claim that their magic will bring prosperity to the user. At the same time, people with albinism have also been ostracized and even killed for exactly the opposite reason because they are presumed to be cursed and bring bad luck. The persecutions of people with albinism take place mostly in Sub-Saharan African communities, especially among East Africans.
Because of that, on December 18, 2014, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming, with effect from 2015, June 13th as International Albinism Awareness Day. Qiyamah, who has had several meetings since starting her group, is organizing a conference for the 2nd annual International Albinism Awareness Day June 13th that was started by the United Nations. The theme is Justice for Albinos. She was inspired to call it Justice For Albinos because of the theme of the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, Justice Or Else. Sis. Qiyamah’s goal is to help bring awareness to the plight of albinos in Africa to help bring them justice. She hopes that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan can come and be the keynote speaker.
Some albinos who have overcome self-esteem issues are Thando Hopa, South African model and lawyer, Brother Ali, a Muslim rapper and Salif Keita, a world renown African singer to name a few.
Minister Farrakhan to Bro. (Nweze) Chinedu: “He’s the greatest proof that all people came from us. There would be no brown, no red, no yellow if there were no black. Black is not a color. It is the essence from which color comes. So you should never be ashamed of your blackness. Celebrate it.” ~ Minister Farrakhan at Morgan State University, 2014
Qiyamah is a homeschooled student and lives with her parents Bro. Anthony K. and Sis. Angela Muhammad (director of “The Million Man March – The Untold Story” documentary) and her brother Asad Muhammad. They attend Muhammad’s Mosque #4 in Washington, DC.