Abstract: Arab and Muslims history is somewhat vague, because of lack of studies concern them, however, in this series the writer cover certain race relations issues. Learn more, and please share. Thank you.
First Muslim Came to the United States
Hasan A. Yahya, Professor of Comparative sociology-Race Relations
The earliest documented cases of Muslims to come to the United States were two West African slaves: Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, who was brought to America in 1731 and returned to Africa in 1734, and Omar Ibn Said in the mid 19th century.
In his study of Muslims in America, Hasan Yahya, professor at Michigan State University noted that Muslims came earlier than Arabs, to the United States. “ The first African Muslim group came to the United States in 1717. Religious words such as “Allah” and “Muhammad” were circulated among the Arabic-speaking slaves, and a refusal to eat pork was identified with specific names like Omar, Ben Ali, and Ibn Sa’id (Mehdi, 1978).” While the first three Arabs according to professor Yahya “In 1856, five Muslims (two Turks and three Arabs) came to the United States to care for a cargo of 33 camels brought from Arabia to serve the nations’s army in the Southeast. One of these Arabs became well-known by the nickname “Hadji Ali,” which later became “HI Jolly” (Makdisi, 1959; Mehdi, 1969, 1983).”,
There has been some speculation that a Moor slave Estevanico of Azamor, who had converted to Christianity 14 years before his arrival in North America in the early 16th century, was at least the first born Muslim to enter the historical record in North America. There is also a dubious tradition of an Egyptian named Nasereddine who settled in the Hudson Valley during colonial times. Once very small, the Muslim population of the US increased greatly in the twentieth century, with much of the growth driven by rising immigration and widespread conversion. In 2005, more people from Islamic countries became legal permanent United States residents — nearly 96,000 — than in any year in the previous two decades.
Recent immigrant Muslims make up the majority of the total Muslim population. Native-born American Muslims are mainly African Americans who make up a quarter of the total Muslim population. Many of these have converted to Islam during the last seventy years. Conversion to Islam in prison, and in large urban areas has also contributed to its growth over the years. American Muslims come from various backgrounds, and are one of the most racially diverse religious group in the United States according to a 2009 Gallup poll.
However, in terms of attitudes and race relations, a Pew report released in 2009 noted that nearly six-in-ten American adults see Muslims as being subject to discrimination, more than Mormons, Atheists, or Jews. www.dryahyatv.com
*** The writer is a professor of sociology, and expert in race relations.
Yahya, A Qader, Yahya, A Dissertation: Factors Influence the Satisfaction of University Muslim Student Organization Members, Michigan, Lansing , 1988.