Black Mecca: The African Muslims of Harlem by Zain Abdullah

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 long island, developing an enclave Harlem citizens now name ''Little Africa.'' those immigrants are instantly recognizable as African of their wide-sleeved gowns and tasseled hats, yet so much native-born individuals of the group are ignorant of the an 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 frequently take a very harsh view in their new buddies, 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 identification omitted by means of so much in their pals. 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 kingdom.

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We reach Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and wait for the light to change. It’s after eleven o’clock at night, and holding a religious event at this hour seems strange to me. I’m always stunned to hear how late Murid celebrations begin. The flyer stated that this particular affair would begin at eight and last until five in the morning. Earlier in the day, I called Abdoulaye to check on the time for the event. “What time should I get there? It starts at eight,” I asked. ,” he shot back. “What? One o’clock!

I walk into the Blues Café and extend greetings. A young woman in her twenties and a tall, thin teenage boy dressed in a white African robe walk over to greet me. I notice a man with a white boubou sitting with a plate of grilled lamb over a mound of white rice. He lifts his eyes carefully, looking in my direction, but quickly diverts them to gaze out the window. ” I ask. “Oh, we stay open late,” the young man replies. “Yeah,” he says, looking into space, pausing to think. And then he announces, “Three o’clock!

I felt really sorry for her,” Khady says of Sophie. “She had nothing, and her mother couldn’t rest. ” Because Sophie’s oldest sister had received a partial scholarship to study in France, her mother struggled to send her money abroad. Khady had been helping Sophie’s family, sneaking food to them when she could. But now she had another strategy. “I took Sophie to live with me,” Khady explains, although she was just a youngster herself of about nine or ten. “I told my grandfather, ‘Listen, my girlfriend came from Paris for vacation.

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