Download Black Mecca: The African Muslims of Harlem by Zain Abdullah PDF

By Zain Abdullah

The alterations to U.S. immigration legislation 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 the most 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 awfully complicated. 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 usually take a very harsh view in their new acquaintances, paying for 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 usually see Islam as a strength for social sturdy, African-born Muslims see their Islamic id left out by means of such a lot in their friends. 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 nation.

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Senegal is about 910 miles from the Canary Islands, a trip typically lasting ten days by fishing boat. 21 All pay an immeasurable price for the emotional and psychological damage they suffer along the way, not to mention the chronic stress of a hostile sojourn as undocumented persons, if they reach their destination at all. Under such treacherous conditions, religious faith sustains the travelers and fortifies those left behind. The Islamic idea of barzakh (grave), mentioned above, clarifies the meaning of life, reminding them of qadr, or the realization that every aspect of one’s life is protected by divine destiny.

29 The first refers to an all-embracing mercy, a kind of life-sustaining benevolence extended to all things. The latter, ar-raheem, denotes another aspect of mercy. This is a type of divine compassion inspiring personal growth and spiritual enlightenment. More to the point, both forms of benevolence share their root with the word rahim (womb), our mutual birthplace. 30 Being a dutiful Muslim and tending to relatives and poor members of the community do not always fall on the shoulders of young men.

To what uses is it put and why? Abdoulaye, a Senegalese tailor living in Harlem, feels it’s important to recognize the line separating culture from religion. On one occasion, I ask him a general question about how African Muslims in America get along. “Yes, yes,” he begins. “They know Islam, and they try to be united. If anybody has a problem, they help them together. ” I ask. “The Muslims are supposed to be united,” he replies. “That’s the Prophet Muhammad’s saying. ” I say. 30 black mecca “Yes, now they cook together,” Abdoulaye replies.

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