Blacks Fuel Islam's Rapid Growth in US Converts Respond to `Alternative Culture,' a Return to Roots

By Jane Friedman, Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 1, 1992 | Go to article overview

Blacks Fuel Islam's Rapid Growth in US Converts Respond to `Alternative Culture,' a Return to Roots


Jane Friedman, Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


ON any given night in this Muslim holy month of Ramadan, traffic backs up on Massachusetts Avenue's affluent embassy row, as area Muslims rush to the Islamic Center to perform sundown prayers and break the daily fast with the traditional Iftar meal.

It is not an unusual sight for Washingtonians. In the last few years, the area's Muslim population has been ballooning, fueled both by immigrants from the Middle East and by conversions within the African-American community.

Washington is not alone. Today, experts say, the Muslim population of North America has reached 3 million to 5 million people.

"By the first decade of the 21st century, Islam will be the second largest religion in the United States," writes Jonathan Sarna in Moment Magazine, a Jewish publication.

The confluence of the two phenomena - large numbers of immigrants from the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent and increasing conversions in the African-American community - has meant a radical growth in the numbers of North American Muslims in a short time span. Today, the black community provides the bulk of the growth.

Islam has offered black Americans an alternate culture, experts say, as well as pride in a separate identity that is fraught with far fewer problems than the black militant movements of the 1960s and 1970s, such as the Black Panthers.

"Islam was the logical extension of the political movements," says Ajieb Bilal, principal of the Muslim Community School in Potomac, Md. "The appeal was institutional life, a full cultural and spiritual life, an alternative culture. Putting down the gun was changing the mode of struggle.

"The majority of our people were Muslim longer than they were Christian," he says, explaining why so many black Americans find Islam a natural fit. "After 400 years, we're reverting."

According to both African-American and immigrant Muslims, disciples of Muhammad first came to North America with Christopher Columbus. The Arabs, who kept the knowledge of the Greeks and Romans alive during the Middle Ages, provided Columbus with maps and navigational expertise, Muslims say. "We feel that many Muslims escaped with Columbus," says Abdurahman Alamoudi, executive director of the American Muslim Council, speaking of the persecution of Muslims in Spain.

The second Muslim influx came with the arrival of slave ships from Africa. Writings from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries document the presence of a significant number of Muslims among slaves captured in West Africa and brought to the New World.

However, most of the slaves were quickly converted to Christianity. It wasn't until the 1930s that W. D. Fard, whose origins are still a matter of speculation, began to preach his own version of Islam on the streets of the black ghetto in Detroit, and a real indigenous movement began. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Blacks Fuel Islam's Rapid Growth in US Converts Respond to `Alternative Culture,' a Return to Roots
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.