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Islam is the third largest religion in the United States after Christianity and Judaism. American Muslims come from various backgrounds and, according to a Gallup poll, are one of the most racially diverse religious groups in the United States. Native-born American Muslims are mainly African Americans who make up about a quarter of the total Muslim population. Many of these have converted to Islam during the last seventy years.

Conversion to Islam in large urban areas [7] has also contributed to its growth over the years as well as its influence on black culture and hip-hop music. While an estimated 10 to 30 percent [8] [9] of the slaves brought to colonial America from Africa arrived as Muslims, [10] [11] Islam was stringently suppressed on plantations. From the s to , several thousand Muslims immigrated to the United States from the former territories of the Ottoman Empire and the former Mughal Empire.

In , more people from Muslim-majority countries became legal permanent United States residents —nearly 96,—than there had been in any other year in the previous two decades.

One of the earliest accounts of Islam's possible presence in North America dates to , when a Moroccan slave, called Estevanico , was shipwrecked near present-day Galveston, Texas.

Records from the American Revolutionary War indicate that at least a few likely Muslims fought on the American side. Yarrow Mamout Muhammad Yaro , The first country to recognize the United States as an independent nation was the Sultanate of Morocco , under its ruler Mohammed ben Abdallah , in the year While enslaved, he became the religious leader and Imam for a slave community numbering approximately eighty Muslim men residing on his plantation.

During the War of , Muhammad and the eighty Muslim men under his leadership protected their master's Sapelo Island property from a British attack. Between and , over a hundred American sailors were held for ransom in Algiers. Several wrote captivity narratives of their experiences that gave most Americans their first view of the Arab World and Muslim ways, and newspapers often commented on them.

The views were generally negative. Royall Tyler wrote The Algerine Captive , an early American novel depicting the life of an American doctor employed in the slave trade who himself is captured and enslaved by Barbary pirates. Finally Presidents Jefferson and Madison sent the American navy to confront the pirates, and ended the threat in during the First Barbary War.

Two hundred and ninety-two Muslims are known to have fought during the Civil War, [31] including Private Mohammad Khan, who was born in Persia , raised in Afghanistan , and emigrated to the United States. He was later granted a transfer to a military hospital, where he gained some knowledge of medicine. His Army records state that he died in Brownsville, Tennessee, in He would later become a prospector in Arizona. During the American Civil war, the " scorched earth " policy of the North destroyed churches, farms, schools, libraries, colleges, and a great deal of other property.

The libraries at the University of Alabama managed to save one book from the debris of their library buildings. On the morning of April 4, , when Federal troops reached the campus with an order to destroy the university, Andre Deloffre, a modern language professor and custodian of the library, appealed to the commanding officer to spare one of the finest libraries in the South.

The officer, being sympathetic, sent a courier to Gen. Croxton at his headquarters in Tuscaloosa asking permission to save the Rotunda, but the general refused to allow this. The officer reportedly said, "I will save one volume as a memento of this occasion. Alexander Russell Webb is considered by historians to be the earliest prominent Anglo-American convert to Islam in In , he was the sole representative of Islam at the first Parliament of the World's Religions.

Many enslaved peoples brought to America from Africa were Muslims from the predominantly Muslim West African region [8] [12] Between and , some , Africans arrived in what became the United States. According to 21st century researchers Donna Meigs-Jaques and R.

Kevin Jaques, "[t]hese enslaved Muslims stood out from their compatriots because of their resistance, determination and education. Thus, no less than , came from regions influenced by Islam. Substantial numbers originated from Senegambia , a region with an established community of Muslim inhabitants extending to the 11th century. Through a series of conflicts, primarily with the Fulani jihad states , about half of the Senegambian Mandinka were converted to Islam, while as many as a third were sold into slavery to the Americas through capture in conflict.

Gomez speculated that Muslim slaves may have accounted for "thousands, if not tens of thousands", but does not offer a precise estimate. He also suggests many non-Muslim slaves were acquainted with some tenets of Islam, due to Muslim trading and proselytizing activities.

Some even composed literature such as autobiographies and commentaries on the Quran. Some newly arrived Muslim slaves assembled for communal salat prayers. Some were provided a private praying area by their owner. Suleiman was brought to America in and returned to Africa in Omar Ibn Said c.

He lived on a 19th Century North Carolina plantation and wrote many Arabic texts while enslaved. Born in the kingdom of Futa Tooro modern Senegal , he arrived in America in , one month before the U. In , he produced his last known writing on Surah of the Quran. Omar converted to Christianity in , an episode widely used throughout the South to "prove" the benevolence of slavery.

However, most scholars believe he continued to be a practicing Muslim, based on dedications to Muhammad written in his Bible. Views of Islam in America affected debates regarding freedom of religion during the drafting of the state constitution of Pennsylvania in Constitutionalists promoted religious toleration while Anticonstitutionalists called for reliance on Protestant values in the formation of the state's republican government.

The former group won out, and inserted a clause for religious liberty in the new state constitution. American views of Islam were influenced by favorable Enlightenment writings from Europe, as well as Europeans who had long warned that Islam was a threat to Christianity and republicanism. In , John Adams published " Thoughts on Government ," in which he mentions the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a "sober inquirer after truth" alongside Confucius, Zoroaster, Socrates, and other thinkers.

In , George Washington stated a willingness to hire "Mahometans," as well as people of any nation or religion, to work on his private estate at Mount Vernon if they were "good workmen. In , the South Carolina legislative body granted special legal status to a community of Moroccans.

In , President John Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli , declaring the United States had no "character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen ".

In his autobiography , published in , Benjamin Franklin stated that he "did not disapprove" of a meeting place in Pennsylvania that was designed to accommodate preachers of all religions. Franklin wrote that "even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.

Thomas Jefferson defended religious freedom in America including those of Muslims. Jefferson explicitly mentioned Muslims when writing about the movement for religious freedom in Virginia. In his autobiography Jefferson wrote "[When] the [Virginia] bill for establishing religious freedom Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word 'Jesus Christ,' so that it should read 'a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.

However, not all politicians were pleased with the religious neutrality of the Constitution, which prohibited any religious test. Anti-Federalists in the North Carolina ratifying convention opposed the new constitution; one reason was the fear that some day Catholics or Muslims might be elected president.

In , Americans held inaccurate and often contradicting views of the Muslim world , and used that in political arguments.

For example, the anti-Federalists compared a strong central government to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the American army to Turkish Janissaries, arguing against a strong central government. On the other hand, Alexander Hamilton argued that despotism in the Middle East was the result of the Sultan not having enough power to protect his people from oppressive local governors; thus he argued for a stronger central government. Small-scale migration to the U. Most of the immigrants, from Arab areas of the Ottoman Empire , came with the purpose of making money and returning to their homeland.

However, the economic hardships of 19th-century America prevented them from prospering, and as a result the immigrants settled in the United States permanently. Ross, North Dakota is the site of the first documented mosque and Muslim Cemetery, but it was abandoned and later torn down in the mids.

A new mosque was built in its place in Construction of mosques sped up in the s and s, and by , there were over 20 mosques.

Eighty-seven percent of mosques in the U. California has more mosques than any other state. Ahmadi Muslims were among the earliest Muslim missionaries in America , the first being Mufti Muhammad Sadiq , and between and alone they converted over people to Islam. Although at first their efforts were broadly concentrated over a large number of racial and ethnic groups, subsequent realization of the deep-seated racial tensions and discrimination made Ahmadi missionaries focus their attention on mainly African Americans and the Muslim immigrant community and became vocal proponents of the civil rights movement [61].

Many Ahmadi Muslims fled countries like Pakistan due to persecution in recent times. During the first half of the 20th century, a small number of African Americans established groups based on Islamic and Gnostic teachings. Drew taught that black people were of Moorish origin but their Muslim identity was taken away through slavery and racial segregation, advocating the return to Islam of their Moorish ancestry.

Its significant divergences from mainstream Islam and strong African-American ethnic character [64] make its classification as an Islamic denomination a matter of debate among Muslims and scholars of religion.

Its primary tenet was the belief that they are the ancient Moabites who inhabited the Northwestern and Southwestern shores of Africa. The organization also believes that their descendants after being conquered in Spain are slaves who were captured and held in slavery from — by their slaveholders. Adherents of the Moorish Science Temple of America believe that the so-called " Negroid Asiatic" was the first human inhabitant of the Western Hemisphere.

In their religious texts members refer to themselves as "Asiatics", [65] within the teachings of Noble Drew Ali, the members are taught man cannot be a Negro, Colored Folk, Black people, Ethiopians or African-Americans, because these names were given to slaves by slave holders in and lasted until during the time of slavery.

The Moorish Science Temple of America is legally and lawfully recognized as the first and oldest Islamic Organization in America, with its current leader R. He provided three main principles which serve as the foundation of the NOI: In Elijah Muhammad became the leader of the NOI, he deified Fard, saying that he was an incarnation of God, and taught that he was a prophet who had been taught directly by God in the form of Fard.

Two of the most famous people to join the NOI were Malcolm X , who became the face of the NOI in the media, and Muhammad Ali , who, while initially rejected, was accepted into the group shortly after his first world heavyweight championship victory.

Malcolm X was one of the most influential leaders of the NOI and, in accordance with NOI doctrine, advocated the complete separation of blacks from whites. Kennedy assassination , and proceeded to form Muslim Mosque, Inc. He is viewed as the first person to start the movement among African Americans towards Sunni Islam. It was estimated that there were at least 20, members in The Nation of Islam has received a great deal of criticism for its anti-white, anti-Christian, and anti-semitic teachings, [71] and is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Clarence 13X, a former student of Malcolm X, left the Nation of Islam after a theological dispute with the Nation's leaders over the nature and identity of God. Members of the group call themselves Allah's Five Percenters, which reflects the concept that ten percent of the people in the world know the truth of existence, and those elites and agents opt to keep eighty-five percent of the world in ignorance and under their controlling thumb; the remaining five percent are those who know the truth and are determined to enlighten the rest.

It was founded circa by Royall Jenkins, who continues to be the leader of the group and styles himself "Royall, Allah in Person". Mohammed rejected many teachings of his father, such as the divinity of Fard Muhammad, and saw a white person as also a worshiper.

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