Black Mecca: The African Muslims of Harlem by Zain Abdullah

By Zain Abdullah

The adjustments to U.S. immigration legislations that have been instituted in 1965 have resulted in an inflow of West African immigrants to big apple, growing an enclave Harlem citizens now name ''Little Africa.'' those immigrants are instantly recognizable as African of their wide-sleeved gowns and tasseled hats, yet such a lot native-born contributors of the group are blind to the an important function Islam performs in immigrants' lives. Zain Abdullah takes us contained in the lives of those new immigrants and indicates how they take care of being a double minority in a rustic the place either blacks and Muslims are stigmatized. facing this twin id, Abdullah discovers, is very advanced. a few longtime citizens include those immigrants and notice their arrival as a chance to reclaim their African history, whereas others see the immigrants as scornful invaders. In flip, African immigrants frequently take a very harsh view in their new acquaintances, procuring into the worst stereotypes approximately American-born blacks being lazy and incorrigible. And whereas there has lengthy been a wide Muslim presence in Harlem, and citizens frequently see Islam as a strength for social solid, African-born Muslims see their Islamic identification skipped over through such a lot in their associates. Abdullah weaves jointly the tales of those African Muslims to color a desirable portrait of a community's efforts to carve out area for itself in a brand new kingdom.

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Hearing these compassionate words from her teenage daughter, the mother broke down crying. In those days, the early 1970s, few continental Africans were living in the United States, and not much was known about life in America. Most traveled to either France or England, since they were the primary colonizers in West Africa. “Today,” Khady says, “you don’t even have to pay someone to go to the United States. ” But during that time, her request was unimaginable. ” Khady’s mother said. ” Khady said, “Well, I don’t know where the place is, but if you pray five times a day, you should believe Allah is everywhere.

Many African Muslims have shifted their focus from opposing colonialism to fighting racism. In his In Search of Africa, Manthia Diawara discusses how the mimicry of Black popular culture was a very powerful part of 1960s youth culture in his home country of Mali. The symbols of Black life and culture were believed to transform them mysteriously into African Americans. 33 Abdoulaye Thiam, in boubou robe, instructs young computer users at L’Association des Sénégalais d’Amérique, the Senegalese Association of America.

Part of my blood is here in America. I love it so much. ’” Manthia Diawara writes about trying to imagine what life was like for Black people in America. ”36 He muses about the American women he has seen in movies. 37 The night grows later, and I see a crowd gathering in front of the masjid. Aminata, Samba, and I cross the street, enter through the front doors, and proceed past the security desk. We extend our farewells and promise to continue our talk later. As I ponder their words and consider the image they had of America before their arrival, I think more about the role these portrayals play in the lives of West African Muslims in Harlem.

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