Date

2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

American Studies

First Adviser

Steffen, Lloyd

Abstract

African American Muslims form the highest percentage of all American Muslims. Islam, nevertheless, has not been any new phenomenon for African Americans. Starting from the Moorish Science Temple, African Americans have been introduced to Islam through different movements. Among them, the Moorish Science Temple, the Nation of Islam and American Society of Muslims are the most influential ones. Starting from early twentieth century, I examine how African Americans were introduced to Islam and how they created an "Islam" to fulfill their religio-political purposes. Also, the transition from Black Muslims to Sunni Muslims is examined. This thesis also examines the history of some African American movements and brings some sociological and religious perspectives on how people or groups can appropriate religion and particularly Islam in order to gain recognition and respect. This study importantly seeks to understand how conversion of African Americans to Sunni Islam has been contributory to their ethnic, political and social identity through analyzing twenty-one conversion narratives and stories and significant results have been obtained based on the analysis of these narratives and stories.

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