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African American Muslims

Estimates place African American Muslims within the range of 30 percent to 40 percent of American Muslims, with African Americans accounting for the vast majority of Islamic conversions within America. The American Muslim presence can be traced to the transatlantic slave trade; however, evidence suggests that many Muslim slaves eventually assimilated into Christianity. It was not until the 20th century that African Americans began affiliating with Islam in larger numbers. African Americans belonging to mainstream Sunni and Shia communities are accompanied by participants in an array of heterodox Muslim groups and also in Sufi orders.

The first African American proto-Muslim organization is thought to be the Moorish Science Temple of America (MSTA), founded in 1913 in Newark, New Jersey, by Noble Drew Ali (1886-1929). Participants in ...

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