Long History of Islam in America

September 8, 2002

Source: In These Times

On September 8, 2002 In These Times, a publication of the Institute for Public Affairs, featured an article entitled "The Forgotten History of Islam in America." The article begins with concerns that "Christian fundamentalists... have seized upon 9/11 to fire a fusillade of invective at the religion of Islam... Far too little media coverage since 9/11 has focused on the country's broader indigenous Islamic constituency. Yet the appeal of Islam in America is undeniable - indeed, it is the country's fastest-growing religion... The increasing population of immigrant Muslims and the continuing spread of the religion among African-Americans... calls for an overdue look at Islam's long history in this country." The article outlines the history of Islam in American, especially focusing on Islam and slavery. The article also discusses influential early American Muslims such as Nobel Drew Ali, Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, and Malcolm X. "Deeply rooted in U.S. culture, Islam has proven its utility as an agent for change and a force for stability... The nation has not done enough to mine the wisdom of Muslims - particularly African-Americans - who have successfully reconciled the obligations of Islamic piety with pluralistic democracy."