African Americans and Islam

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  • #2223

    Kimberly C.
    Participant

    Considering that the African continent is predominantly Muslim, why haven’t African Americans maintained that religious background?

    User Detail :  

    Name : Kimberly C., Gender : F, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Muslim, Age : 28, City : Austin, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : housewife, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #40408

    Kalimah
    Member

    Well to answer your question quite frankly, when African Americans were enslaved, their masters forced them to study and practice the religion of Christianity. Also, since the families were often split apart when being sold the parents were not able to teach their offsprings the religion.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Kalimah, Gender : F, City : Washington, State : DC Country : United States, 
    #46954

    BJ
    Member

    ‘It is my opinion’ that slaver took away a great deal of our heritage. When the slaves were brought over here, they were FORCED to give up there names, families, RELIGION, and other customs.

    User Detail :  

    Name : BJ, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Christian, Age : 24, City : Houston, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : Mining/Energy, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #14872

    Astorian
    Member

    In reality, Islam is the predominant religion among white Arabs in northern Africa, but it is not now, and has NEVER been the primary religion of black, sub-Saharan Africans. Very, very few of the black Africans sold into slavery in the Americas were ever Moslems. Most of them were pagans who practiced various spirit-oriented religions. White slaveowners imposed Christianity on their slaves, but were only partly successful. Many slaves held on to their pagan beliefs, and others mixed those pagan beliefs with Christianity. Haitian Voodoo and Cuban Santeria are good examples of how African slaves combined Christianity with ancient spirit religions. So, it’s rather amusing to me when I see black Americans embrace Islam as a way of ‘reclaiming’ their African heritage. First, because their ancestors were NOT Moslems, and second, because white, Arab Moslems were very active in the slave trade! Indeed, in some parts of Africa, Moslems are STILL selling black men and women as slaves. My advice: embrace a religion ONLY if you have studied it, and have concluded that its doctrines are true. Do NOT embrace any religion, simply because you think (wrongly) that it was the religion of your ancestors.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Astorian, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 38, City : Austin, State : TX Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, 
    #31290

    Jesse-N30793
    Participant

    Are you sure about this? NORTH Africa, OK, I agree. But it seems to me that south of the Sahara, most of the population is not Muslim. The blacks in America who are descended from Africans came, I think, from coastal areas near or south of the equator – areas that do not and never did have a large Muslim population.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Jesse-N30793, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 41, City : Fort Worth, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : Engineer, Education level : 4 Years of College, 
    #33739

    Biwott
    Participant

    When African Americans were brought here from Africa, they were neither Muslim nor Christian. They most likely practiced the old traditional African religious beliefs. And another thing, ‘black’ Africa is predominantly Christian, if you don’t consider the Arab-African countries.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Biwott, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : African, Religion : Christian, Age : 25, City : Chicago, State : IL Country : United States, Occupation : student, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
    #45417

    Rick29825
    Participant

    It’s not a matter of ‘maintaining’ it. At the time the ancestors of today’s black Americans were being brought over here, Africa was not mostly Muslim. That’s a more recent phenomenon. The slaves weren’t Muslim. Instead, they had their own cultures/religions taken away from them and Christianity forced on them.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Rick29825, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, City : Springfield, State : OH Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #36727

    Me too
    Member

    Well, the answer is simple enough. When we were brought over on the Middle Passage to this hemesphere to work as slaves more often than not slaves were converted to Christianity by their masters and forbidden to pratice their native religions. Furthermore they were taught to abhor everything of their mother continent and embrace everything European, i.e. Christianity. However, in other places where blacks were brought into slavery, their masters occupied themselves much less with the pretentious obsession ( of the white Americans) with the salvation of their souls, and left them to practice what hybrid forms of religious expression they pleased. As is the case in many Carribean countries. In Haiti, for example where most people are Catholic, there is also widespread belief in voodoo and worship of many African gods and goddesses in conjunction and harmony with the Catholicism. In short, religion is something passed down but was influenced largely by the regulations or lack of imposed by the slaveholders.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Me too, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/ Native American, Religion : Catholic, Age : 21, City : New Orleans, State : LA Country : United States, Occupation : College Student, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #18337

    Tyrian24938
    Participant

    I’ve never heard of Christianity being forced on anyone besides the Vikings. It wasn’t as if the slaves were brought over and immediately forced into Christianity. They were slowly coerced, and many were coerced in Africa itself. There were a lot of reasons to become Christian. Generally, it involved trade, education, weapons, and power. Keep in mind that the African slave trade didn’t generally start with a European capturing an African. It more often than not began with an African enslaving an African, and trading him away as a hostage. Those reasons for Africans to flock to the missions were very compelling. Those reasons hadn’t changed much since the early Viking conversions(before St. Olaf brutally forced Christianity by outlawing Asatru). You know what you should really read? ‘Things Fall Apart’, by Chinua Achebe. His other books are terrible, but TFA is a brilliant insight into what really happened to religion in Africa. Also, slave religion cannibalized parts of Christianity to make it more palatable. This union more or less produced Voodoo. As for Islam, it was much of the same. People have this idea that religions of Abraham are somehow natural conclusions, so all people must eventually adhere to one of them. Hopefully, this belief will gradually die out.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Tyrian24938, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Asatru, Age : 18, City : Chicago, State : IL Country : United States, Occupation : college student, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Upper class, 
    #14797

    KJ26930
    Participant

    Contrary to the other post, Islam was in Africa beginning around 600s CE, and some slaves, though not all, were Muslim. The reason that Islam wasn’t retained among blacks was the Christianization efforts by slavemasters. It’s the same reason the majority of U.S. blacks don’t practice traditional African religions.

    User Detail :  

    Name : KJ26930, Gender : F, Race : Black/African American, Age : 18, City : Bronx, State : NY Country : United States, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #24021

    Me21894
    Participant

    Although relatively few there were Africans taken as slaves to the U.S. who practiced Islam. There is a movie entitled ‘Daughters Of The Dust’ which includes an African Islamic aspect. I do not know if this also was the case of for African Christians. If I am not mistaken, Christianity was practiced in some areas of Africa well before some areas of Europe.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Me21894, Gender : F, Race : Black/African American, Age : 35, City : Philadelphia, State : PA Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #37312

    C. Phillips
    Participant

    Most slaves came from West Africa. Islam was and has remained mostly in North Africa. Sure a few slaves might have been muslim but historical proof here and in Africa shows that they mostly followed tribal religions.

    User Detail :  

    Name : C. Phillips, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Disability : lupus, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Christian, Age : 25, City : New Orleans, State : LA Country : United States, Occupation : university student, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #13991

    Jamaluddin21084
    Participant

    The fact of the matter is that many (though certainly not all) of the Africans who were brought to this country as slaves were Muslims and there is a great deal of evidence that many of them tried valiantly to maintain their faith while suffering the inhuman bondage of slavery. Recent work by some American academics documents the efforts of Muslim slaves to maintain their religious faith. Unfortunately, the slave system was based on the dehumanization of its victims. Given this, stripping slaves of their Muslim faith a forcing them either to convert to Christianity or ignore religion altogether was a primary aim of the slaveholders. However, millions of African-Americans have since returned to their roots and embraced the faith of their forefathers, helping to make Islam the fastest growing religion in the U.S.A. today.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Jamaluddin21084, Gender : M, Religion : Muslim, City : Bay Area, State : CA Country : United States, Occupation : Journalist, 
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