The significance of Black History for American Muslims

While we celebrate the black history month in America, this article is to acknowledge and highlight the contribution of African American Muslims. The black history of American Muslims goes back more than 400 years when the first documented arrival of African slaves happened in the 17th century. The two most influential African American Muslims are Malcolm X also known as Malik Shabazz, a Muslim minister, and human right activist and the other is the heavyweight boxing champion and country’s most beloved adherents of Islam, Muhammad Ali.

In recent years many new Muslim American heroes have emerged. Actor Mahershala Ali, who in 2017 won the Oscar for the Best Supporting Actor for the movie “Moonlight. Comedian Dave Chappelle, who converted to Islam nearly 20 years ago — won a Creative Arts Emmy (guest acting in a comedy series) for his controversial post-election “Saturday Night Live” episode.

Last year Rep Ihan Omar was elected to Congress as the first American Muslim Woman. In 2008. Earlier Keith Maurice Ellison another Muslim African American who is the 30th and current Attorney General of Minnesota. was the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district from 2007 to 2019.

Although Barak Obama was not a Muslim, however, he also has an African American Muslim Heritage. He was born to a Muslim immigrant father from Nigeria.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the legendary Lakers center and all-time NBA leading scorer who converted to Islam at the age of 24.

Akon is an African American  Muslim having a heritage from Senegal. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, the R&B singer known for hits like “Smack That” and “I Wanna Love You,”. His full name is Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam.

Born as Jonathan Davis in 1970, acclaimed rapper and hip hop producer, Q-Tip, converted to Islam in 1990 and changed his name to Kamaal Ibn John Fareed.

Rapper Mos Def from Brooklyn, New York is a vocal Muslim. He blended his religious and social beliefs into mainstream American music.  First lyrics on his album, “Black on Both Sides” were, “Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem” – “In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful”.

American hip hop artist Busta Rhymes is another proud African American Muslim, was born as Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr.

Celebrities Jermaine Jackson and his sister Janet Jackson converted to Islam later in life were raised as a Jehovah’s Witness.

American Muslims is proud of our countries African American heritage and their contribution to the American Society. We support the #BlackLivesMatter activist movement, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people.

We encourage Muslims in America to support minority organizations like #BlackLivesMatter and other Hispanic Muslim organization and communities. Minorities in America need to unite in order to fight systematic racism and Islamophobia.

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