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Elijah Muhammad and Islam$
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Herbert Berg

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814791134

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814791134.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

American Islam before Elijah Muhammad

American Islam before Elijah Muhammad

Chapter:
(p.9) 1 American Islam before Elijah Muhammad
Source:
Elijah Muhammad and Islam
Author(s):

Herbert Berg

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814791134.003.0002

This chapter explores Islam among African Americans and within America in general prior to Elijah Muhammad. Although Elijah Muhammad's perseverance, his message of anger and hope, and his unique rhetorical skill convinced thousands of African Americans to accept his version of Islam, many African Americans already offered fertile ground for his ministry. Vestigial memories that many African slaves had been Muslims may have survived. White American islamicism, while quite negative about Islam, contained several characterizations of Islam that would have made it quite appealing to African Americans, such as its perceived hostility to Christianity and Europe, and its identification with Africa. And, just prior to the birth of the Nation of Islam, the missionaries of the Ahmadiyya movement and of Drew Ali's Moorish Science Temple of America began to preach their particular formulations of Islam among African Americans. These factors set the stage for Elijah Muhammad's mentor and founder of the Nation of Islam, Fard Muhammad, and the development of the movement Elijah Muhammad would lead for over four decades.

Keywords:   African Americans, Elijah Muhammad, Islam, islamicism, Nation of Islam, Fard Muhammad, white American islamicism

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