History of Islam In America

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The History of Islam in the United States is divided into three periods: the pre-Columbian and colonization period, post World War I period, and the last few decades.[1]


Early Muslims

History of Islam In America
The Beginnings 13121600
Native Americans and Islam 13001900
Muslims First Journey To America 1312 CE (711 AH)
Christopher Columbus 1492 CE (897 AH)
Estevanico 1538 CE (944 AH)
Slavery in the Americas 1538 CE (944 AH)
Melungeons 1600 CE (1008 AH)
Blackamoor 1639 CE (1048 AH)
Islam In America 18th Century 17001799
Mahomet Weyonomon 1708 CE (1119 AH)
Lamine Jay 1730 CE (1142 AH)
Job Ben Solomon Jallo 1730 CE (1142 AH)
Abel Conder 1753 CE (1166 AH)
Kunta Kinte 1767 CE (1180 AH)
Runaway Slaves 17691790
Peter Saleem 1775 CE (1188 AH)
Ibrahim Abd ar-Rahman 1788 CE (1202 AH)
Yusef Ben Ali 1790 CE (1204 AH)
Islam In America 19th Century 18001899
Salih Bilali 1803 CE (1217 AH)
Yarrow Mamout 1807 CE (1221 AH)
Abraham of the Micanopy Indian Tribe 1812 CE (1226 AH)
Umar ibn Said 17701864
Lamine Kebe 1835 CE (1250 AH)
Islam In America 20th Century 19001999
Islam In America 21st Century 2000–Present
Estevanico of Azamor, a Moorish Muslim, began exploring America in the 16th century. He landed in Florida in 1527, and until 1539, explored Arizona and New Mexico. In 1587, a shipload of Muslim Moriscos landed and settled in the coastal towns of South Carolina, Eastern Tennessee and along the western belt of North Carolina mountains.[2]

In 1790, the South Carolina legislative body granted a special statute to a community of Moroccans, as the Sultan of Morocco had recognized the United States in 1787.[3]

In 1888, Alexander Russell Webb is considered by historians to be the earliest prominent Anglo-American convert to Islam. In 1893, he was the only person representing Islam at the first Parliament for the World's Religions.[2]


Estimates of the percentages of Muslim slaves as a total of the whole vary from 10-20%.[2] More than 50% of all slaves brought to America came from areas under the influence of Islam.[4] Muslim slaves first arrived in what is now the United States during the 1520's. These were the Senegambians, who were known to believe in Allah and abstain from beer and pork.[3] Two of the best known early Muslims are West Africa slaves: Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, who was brought to America in 1731.[3]

There exists evidence that Muslim slaves, despite living in a society hostile to slaves, assembled commnal prayers. In some cases Muslim slaves were provided a private praying area bby their owner. Bilali, a notorious Muslim slave, is known to have fasted, wear a fez and kaftan and observe the Muslim feasts in addition to his prayers. Many Muslim slaves conversed in the Arabic language. Some even wrote literature (such as an autobiographies) and chapters from the Quran. [5]

Views of Islam

In 1796, then president John Adams signed a treaty declaring the United States had no "character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen".[6]

Modern immigration

Small scale migration to the U.S. of Muslims began in 1840, with the arrival of Yemenites and Turks,[3] and lasted until World war I. Most of the immigrants, from Arab areas of the Ottoman Empire, came with the purpose of making money and returning to thier homeland. The economic hardships of 19th century America, however, prevented them from prospering. As a result the immigrants permanently settled. These immigrants setteld primarily in dearborn (Michigan), Quincy (Massachussets) and Rose (North Dakota).[2]

In 1919, what is most likely the first mosque, was founded by Albanian Muslims in Maine.[7] Construction of mosques sped up in the 1920s and 1930s, and by 1952, there were over 20 mosques.[2]


  1. Koszegi (1992), pg. 3
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 M'Bow, Amadou Mahtar; Kettani, Ali (2001). Islam and Muslims in the American continent. Beirut: Center of historical, economical and social studies.  Pg. 109
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Koszegi, Michael; Melton, J. Gordon (1992). Islam in North America. New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 26-27
  4. Gomez, Michael A. (Nov., 1994). "Muslims in Early America". The Journal of Southern History 60 (4): 682
  5. Gomez, Michael A. (Nov., 1994). "Muslims in Early America". The Journal of Southern History 60 (4): 692, 693, 695.
  6. Treaty of Peace and Friendship Article 11. The Avalon Project. Yale Law School.
  7. Ghazali, Abdul Sattar, "The number of mosque attendants increasing rapidly in America", American Muslim perspective

See also

=External Links

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