By Robert Dannin
This e-book deals a complete ethnographic learn of African-American Muslims. Drawing on enormous quantities of interviews carried out over a interval of a number of years, Dannin offers an extraordinary glance contained in the attention-grabbing and little understood international of black Muslims. He discovers that the well known and cult-like country of Islam represents just a small a part of the image. Many extra African-Americans are attracted to Islamic orthodoxy, with its strict adherence to the Qur'an. Dannin takes us to the 1st Cleveland Mosque, the oldest carrying on with Muslim establishment in the USA, directly to a permament Muslim village in Buffalo, after which within New York's maximum-security prisons to listen to testimony of the robust charm of Islam for people in determined occasions. He seems to be on the aftermath of the assassination of Malcolm X, and the continuing war among the country of Islam and orthodox Muslims. Accessibly written, full of gripping first-hand testimony, and that includes really good illustrations by way of photographer Jolie Stahl, this publication often is the most sensible on hand consultant to the ideals and tradition of African-American Muslims.
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The lodge served the black workingman’s interests in a very limited way. In terms of a politically effective class institution, it was a chimerical substitute for modern labor unions and ultimately an anachronistic exercise in self-delusion. In its devotion to fetishes and its inability to grasp history beyond the immediacy of a personal rebellion, the Moorish movement consecrated the ghosts of the old, doomed slave rebellions. Its ritual performances were meant for the secret lodge hall yet somehow were released onto the public stage—confrontational yet inscrutable and quite dangerous to all involved.
Economic survival made such institutions necessary after the failure of Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow trade unions that openly discriminated against black workers. In reviewing the charter of the Industrial Mutual Relief Association in , one writer praised its desire to “intellectually, morally, ﬁnancially, and religiously elevate the race . . ”27 Besides support for black workers, such organizations preserved the ritual structure and symbols of the unchurched culture. It is practically impossible, therefore, to dismiss as mere ephemera the “pomp and splendor, colorful regalia, resounding titles and camaraderie, [and] heightened sense of importance from shared secrets, lodge meetings and ritual parades” that elicited the disdain of many black middle-class critics.
5 Hoping to reap a conversion bonanza among black Americans, the ﬁrst Ahmadiyya missionary, Mufti Muhammad Saddiq, addressed meetings of Marcus Garvey’s unia to convey a message of sympathy for the plight of downtrodden Americans. 6 A edition of the mission’s newsletter shows several extraordinary photos of early American converts, with women wearing homespun veils and men beaming proudly above captions citing their newly acquired Muslim names. The Ahmadiyya Movement remains active today, claiming several thousand African Americans among their followers.