Pew Research: African Americans find haven in Islamic heritage


According to a recent Pew Research report, which concluded its findings last month, most black Americans though identify with Christianity, many of them follow Islam and reconvert to the faith of their ancestors from various religions, Post And Courier reported on February 17.

“The first Muslims that came to America were enslaved Africans,” said Dr. Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, who curated the College of Charleston’s digital exhibit named: ‘Enslaved and Freed African Muslims: Spiritual Wayfarers in the South and Lowcountry.’

The professor refers to millions of West Africans who were forced on slave ships to the New World hundreds of years ago. Many of them came from Muslim and pagan religious backgrounds in Africa.

However, preserving their Islamic faith proved difficult under European enslavement in a predominantly Christian environment. As a result, most African Americans today identify with Christianity.

But the new Pew survey notes that Black African Muslims account for a fifth of American Muslims. About half of these are converts to Islam, a relatively high conversion rate since only 15% of nonblack Muslims including Mediterranean North Africans converted to Islam and just 6% of black Christians are converts.


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