Islam and African Americans
The involvement of black Americans with Islam dates from the earliest days of the African presence in North America. Today, African Americans account for about 42 percent of the Muslim population in the United States, which is somewhere between four and six million people. Mainstream, or Sunni, Islam, which has defined law and tradition in the Islamic world since the seventh century c.e., has attracted black American followers since the 1920s. Sunni Muslims became the predominant Muslim community among African Americans by the end of the twentieth century. However, it was the Nation of Islam a movement outside the mainstream of traditional Islam that captured the political and cultural imagination of black America with its nationalist programs and largely defined the public image of black Islam in the United States The Nation of Islam has been considered theologically deviant by Sunni Muslims because of its policy of racial ...
A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.