Islam in the African-American Experience

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9780253211040: Islam in the African-American Experience

"A significant contribution to our understanding of the role of individuals, Muslim groups, as well as the religion of Islam in the shaping of African-American Muslim identity...I believe that the book will be the standard text used for courses on the subject." - Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Professor of Islamic History, University of Massachusetts. Malcolm X and, more recently, Louis Farrakhan are two of the more visible signs of the importance of Islam in the African-American community. Yet, as Richard Brent Turner shows in this fascinating book, the involvement of black Americans with Islam is not a recent phenomenon. Turner reaches back to the earliest days of the slave trade and traces the story of Islam's growing influence in the lives and culture of African-Americans. Part I of the book roots twentieth-century African-American Islam in the Middle East, West Africa, and antebellum America. Part II tells the story of the 'Prophets of the City' - the leaders of the new urban-based African-American Muslim movements in the twentieth century. Turner positions the study of Islam in a historical context of racial, ethical, and political divisions that influenced the history of slavery in America. He offers evidence that the current racial separation among Muslims in America is not entirely the result of black nationalism or a new phenomenon in Islam, but a common pattern for black people in African Islam before the Atlantic slave trade. Turner proposes to balance the weight accorded to black nationalism in shaping Islam in black America by looking at the influence of the Ahmadiyya Movement, an Islamic missionary group from India representative of a multi-racial Islam.

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Review:

Visible in the names of athletes such as Mohammed Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, African American Islam is known of, but is little known. In an exhaustive history beginning with the Islamic tradition in West Africa more than a thousand years ago and tracing its transmission to the New World through slaves and, later, Indian missionaries, Richard Brent Turner documents the historical and political circumstances that fueled Islam's growth among African Americans. These circumstances still inform the activities of its two most prominent American leaders, Warith Deen Mohammed and Louis Farrakhan. Despite the residual academic language in this reworked doctoral thesis, the rigorous documentation and illuminating commentary will likely make this book the standard text on the subject for some time to come.

From the Back Cover:

Malcolm X and, more recently, Louis Farrakhan are two of the more visible signs of Islam's influence in the lives and culture of African Americans. Yet, as Richard Brent Turner shows, the involvement of black American with Islam reaches back to the earliest days of the African presence in North America. Part I of the book explores these roots in the Middle East, West Africa, and antebellum America. Part II tells the story of the 'Prophets of the City'--the leaders of the new urban-based African-American Muslim movements in the twentieth century.

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Richard Brent Turner
Published by Indiana University Press (1997)
ISBN 10: 0253211042 ISBN 13: 9780253211040
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Turner, Richard Brent
Published by Indiana University Press (1997)
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