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Islam was originally brought to the United States by African Muslim slaves. It remained there, hidden and quiet until it began to re-emerge at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Nation of Islam is an Islamic political and religious movement that was founded in Detroit, USA, in 1930 by Wallace D. Fard (Wali Fard Muhammad). It was quickly taken over by his assistant, Elijah (Poole) Muhamad and promoted the basic tenets of Islam, a strong family life and traditional Islamic practices. Elijah Muhammad also developed a narrative to inspire black people in America with a sense of their own identity and power, and initially called for the creation of a separate black nation in the southern states.
The NOI’s most famous leader, Malcolm X, took over in the 1950’s but was later expelled from it and embraced a more orthodox Islam before being killed in 1965. The movement experienced several splits and changes before the national movement was restored in 1977 under the charismatic leadership of Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan became a prominent voice in America, aiming to promote the economic interests of black families and redefine negative stereotypes of black men.
NOI beliefs are similar to those of Sunni Islam, although NOI allows followers the option of fasting during the month of December instead of the traditional month of Ramadan, as a convenience for new converts. There are other controversies surrounding the NOI – both Muslim and non-Muslim groups disagree with some of their ideology and strategies. However, it remains an influential movement with an estimated 20,000 to 50,000 members.
How to Pray
- 1/5th of America’s Muslims are black, and half of those are converts to Islam. Pray for black Muslims in America to have life-changing encounters with Jesus.
- Pray for organizations and individuals who are currently addressing racial injustice in the USA to have wisdom and strength.
- Pray for the American Church to commit to love their Muslim neighbors as Christ commanded in Luke 10: 25-37.