Reframing the Conversation on African American Muslims

Sunday, January 7, 2018: 11:20 AM
Columbia 7 (Washington Hilton)
Aminah Beverly Al-Deen, DePaul University
“I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Language and thus knowledge of African American Muslims has found itself as an unfortunate wedge between more forceful narratives of both themselves and a host of others. Once declared not quite human, the descendants of African slaves have found that that characterization is always present. African American Muslims, a subset, have found that they are virtually nonexistent unless it serves another purpose. Only humans can truly be religious so, they must be in a perpetual protest, an acceptable political condition. Thus, they have been cast forever as suspect Muslims, suspect religious communities, suspect American or African but rarely counted as such. They will never forget how they have been made to feel.

I would like to present on these issues along with how African American Muslim communities have contributed to the religious landscape, the ongoing history of cultural Islam and the stake they have in the worldview of Islam.