Historical Legacy of Islam in America

The history of America is replete with narratives that depict how immigrants who practiced Islam then established their religion in their new homeland.
The history of America is replete with narratives that depict how immigrants who practiced Islam then established their religion in their new homeland.

February is the time of the year in America when politically and socially astute minds turn to the observance of African American History month. The recall of this history is quite profound at this time, especially in light of the negative attitudes of Pres. Trump and his inner circle toward Muslims coupled with their racial biases.

One cannot recount the history of Islam in America without the history of African Americans. The Muslim population in America is half, if not more people of African descent. Islam is embedded in the culture and an integral part of the history of African Americans. The people who traveled in the bellies of slave ships carried with them seeds of their motherland. The seeds of Al-Islam were to be planted in the cotton fields of the south, in the factories of the north to every corner of that land which was to become known as America.

The progress of the Islamic movement in this country has centered primarily in the African American community.

Perhaps the descendants of Africans have always understood that European American cultures, religions, customs, etc. were not their own. Perhaps as having been passed down, even after centuries of living in the land of their slave masters, the oral traditions and folklore and the subtle sub-cultures preserved a link with a past that could not be erased.

Today, we are no longer the occult or the mysterious to the western mind. We, Muslims in America, have obtained the status of the largest minority in the United States, surpassing Judaism … From this place, this position in time, we have been able to negotiate our own identities, our own social realities, as well as define our own cultural makeup… the next step in the way of Al Islam in America — Al-Islam, the true religion of Allah. (Al-Islam in America: Tragedy and Triumph)

So today we have evolved having over a half-century and four generations of Americans living as Muslims in this country: having lived with racism, bigotry and prejudice. The roads have been hard to tow for Muslims and African-Americans. Not to be stopped or further delayed, the already begun process of remolding the self-taught image of what a Muslim was supposed to be into today’s true Islamic being in letter and spirit.

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. As people learn more about our faith, they gather around its light like moths to a flame. And with help from unexpected arenas, the hate mongers did not foresee that they would cause the spirits of the god-fearing in this country to join in solidarity to ward off evil and divisiveness. As Trump tries to install his wall and his immigration ban that has produced protests throughout the world, we expect to see a growing fellowship between Muslims, Christians and Jews especially in America.

A nation founded on the people’s liberty and freedom, we, the people, will fight to save our beliefs and faith, and if not today, we will live on to fight another day.

Islamic Post Editorial