Spanish invaders who were accompanied by the Moriscoes led to the beginning of Islam in the New World. A number of Muslim slaves in that time were imported and were employed on the plantations located in the South of the continent. Many efforts were done to remove the identity of Muslims as slaves, but their beliefs and practices were very strong. Earlier in this century, the shores of this country saw immigrants from many parts of the Muslim countries like Pakistan, Lebanon and Palestine. Most of these people were unskilled and illiterate Arabs, who worked in the auto-mobile factories or the peasants that belonged from Punjab, who put up the houses in places like Sacramento.
This picture started changing in the 50′s. Many of the Muslim professionals, some of them were even physicians, started finding their homeland conditions inhospitable, and started settling in the United States after the completion of their studies. The African groups, the black movements had started by this time. Many of the Muslim students also started to arrive in the United States. During this period, the formation of Muslim mosques and communities started in these places, as Ann Arbor, Sacramento, Cedar Rapids, Gary, Detroit and more. Arrival of missionary groups and visiting scholars from the Indo-Pakistan and the Middle East also started.
Slowly, Islam gained adherents among the white Americans. National and regional conferences of the Muslims were held for issues that were of concern during this time. Many of the Muslims, who could not practice their religion, could now appreciate the importance of the faith they had. The black movements started then and the most famous one among them was the well known Black Muslim sect that was headed and looked after by Elijah Muhammad. Rather than adding a religious movement, he added a political one, being able to sell the suffering, frustrated black community easily. For a little time, the movement did flourish but later it was found that Mr. Muhammad was involved in sexual improprieties, therefore the movement withered and faded.
Today, every community, be it of any size has schools, Islamic centres and mosques. The Islamic institutions and organizations now are capable of ministering to the needs of the American Muslim congregation. You can hear Muslim voices, speaking up for their religion and faith to the media, in the official circles and in every field. They are now allowed to make a contribution in the area of spirituality, morals and values, to this nation. The tremendous appeal to the heart and the reason accounts to the simplicity of Islam. It follows the teachings of God, the life thereafter and human responsibility, which are almost similar to that of Christianity and Judaism, as it insists on the importance of god-centred, pure life. This guidance was from Muhammad, the last prophet of God. It gives honour to many of the previous prophets of the Bible like David, Moses, Abraham, Noah, and many more, reiterating the belief that the Christian communities had earlier regarding the Prophetic mission of Jesus.
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