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African-American Muslims

African-American Muslims, also colloquially known as Black Muslims, are a religious minority among both the larger African-American and Muslim population of the United States. They are represented in various self-described Muslim sects such as the Nation of Islam.

Historically, between 15% and 30% of slaves brought to the Americas from West/Central Africa were Muslims. However, most of these captives were forced into Christianity during the era of American slavery.[1] During the twentieth century, some African Americans converted to Islam, mainly through the influence of black nationalist groups that preached with distinctive Islamic practices; including the Moorish Science Temple of America, and the largest organization, the Nation of Islam, founded in the 1930s, which attracted at least 20,000 people by 1963,[2] [3] prominent members included activist Malcolm X and boxer Muhammad Ali.[4] The Indian-originated Ahmadiyya Muslim movement also sought converts among African Americans in the 1920s and 1930s.

Malcolm X is considered the first person to start the movement among African Americans towards mainstream Islam, after he left the Nation and made the pilgrimage to Mecca.[5] In 1975, Warith Deen Mohammed, the son of Elijah Muhammad took control of the Nation after his fathers death and guided the majority of its members to orthodox Islam.[6] However, a few members rejected these changes, in particular Louis Farrakhan, who revived the Nation of Islam in 1978 based on its original teachings.[citation needed]

African-American Muslims constitute 20% of the total U.S. Muslim population,[7] the majority are Sunni or orthodox Muslims, some of these identify under the community of W. Deen Mohammed.[8] [9] The Nation of Islam led by Louis Farrakhan has a membership ranging from 20,000–50,000 members.[10]

A Pew survey in 2014 showed that 23% of American Muslims were converts, including 8% from historically black Protestant traditions. 28% of Muslims counted in the survey were black (down from 32% in 2007), and since