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Over 1400 years of Islamic history at your fingertips

560-661   661-750   751-983   984-1289   1290-1918   1914-2005

1530-2006 (Islam in America)
Islam in America: 1530-2006

1530- 1865 Slavery in America. It is estimated that 10-30% of the African slaves brought to America are Muslims.

1788 Abdul Rahman ibn Sori (1762-1829), a Fulani prince, is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Also known as the “Prince of Slaves,” he is later freed by President John Quincy Adams after spending nearly forty years of enslavement in Mississippi.

1807 Omar ibn Said (1773-1864), a West African scholar, is captured and enslaved. He is brought to North Carolina and remained enslaved until his death. His autobiography, LIFE OF OMAR IBN SAID, is the earliest maintained manuscript written by a Muslim in America.

1888 Journalist Alexander Russell Webb (1846-1916) converts to Islam. He becomes a well-known speaker and advocate of Islam.

1893 Muslims migrate to the U.S. Many come from Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
At the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, Webb is the representative for Islam.

1895 Muslims from India settle in the western U.S.

1900-1906 Bosnian Muslims settle in Chicago.

1910 Hazrat Inayat Khan travels from India to America. He establishes the Sufi Order in the West and is one of the first Muslims to teach Sufism in the U.S.

1913 The Moorish Science Temple of America is organized by Nobel Drew Ali in Newark, N.J. Ali preaches black nationalism and uses Islam as unifier of African Americans, although the religion was created with beliefs drawn from other major religions.

1914-1922 Arab Muslims arrive in Detroit; they settle in the city and its surrounding areas.

1919 One of the first mosques in America is established in Detroit, MI.

1920 A chapter of the Ottoman Red Crescent, modeled after the Red Cross, is established in Detroit.

1921 The U.S. government passes the Johnson Act, which limits the number of Asian immigrants entering the U.S.
The first issue of the quarterly journal "The Moslem Sunrise" is published. It is created to counter misrepresentations of Islam in the press.

1930 Wallace D. Fard founds the Black Muslim movement, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam. Fard calls on African-Americans to reject the Christian religion of their white masters and return to the religion of their ancestors.

1934 Elijah Muhammad becomes the leader of the Nation of Islam after the disappearance of Fard. The NOI employs symbols and terms from Islam to provide a new identity and cohesiveness for African Americans.

1946-1952 Malcolm Little serves a six and half year sentence for armed robbery. He joins the Nation of Islam during his stay in prison. After his release he rises in the ranks of the NOI and is given the name Malcolm X.

1952 The Federation of Islamic Associations of the U.S. and Canada is established in Chicago.

1957 The Islamic Center of Washington D.C., which contains a mosque and library, opens its doors. Ambassadors from all Muslim nations and President Dwight D. Eisenhower attend the center’s dedication ceremony.

1961 Najeeb Halaby is appointed the head of the Federal Aviation Administration by President John F. Kennedy.

1962 The Dar al Islam movement begins in Brooklyn. It is first centered on Black separatism, but later adheres strictly to Sunni practices.

1963 The Muslim Student Association of the United States and Canada is established at the University of Illinois.

1964 February: Boxer Cassius Clay joins the Nation of Islam and is given the name Muhammad Ali.
April: Malcolm X makes the pilgrimage to Mecca. His experience is life changing; he now sees Islam as a religion to unite races and end bigotry. He changes his name to El Hajj Malik el-Shabazz.

1965 El-Shabazz is assassinated in Harlem at the Audubon Ballroom.
Increase of Muslim immigrants to U.S. due to Immigration Act that eliminated immigration quotas.

1968 The Islamic Circle of North America is established.

1971 Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship is founded by Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, a Sufi mystic whose teachings attract many Muslim and non- Muslim devotees in the U.S.

1976 Warith Deen Muhammad, son of Elijah Muhammad, changes the Nation of Islam to the World Community of al- Islam, an organization that rejects his father’s separatist teachings and adheres to mainstream Islam.

1978 Louis Farrakhan breaks from Warith Deen Muhammad and rebuilds the Nation of Islam.

1981 The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) is founded, with the involvement of Dr. Ismail Faruqi, a prominent Islamic scholar and activist who aided in the advancement of Islamic studies in the U.S.

1982 The Islamic Society of North America, an offshoot of the Muslim Student Association, is established to support the needs of the growing Muslim community in the United States.

1990 The American Muslim Council, a political lobbying group created to empower and represent American Muslims in U.S. public policy, is established in Washington D.C.

1991 Charles Bilal becomes mayor of Kountze, Texas. He is the first Muslim mayor in the U.S.
Islamic lecturer and imam, Siraj Wahaj offers the first Muslim prayer at the House of Representatives.

1992 Warith Deen Muhammad is the first Muslim to offer prayers at the U.S. Senate.

1993 Captain Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad becomes the first Islamic Chaplain in the U.S. Army.

1994 Council on American Islamic Relations is organized in Washington D.C. It is the nation’s largest Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, created to promote a positive image of Islam and its followers in the U.S.

1996 January: Denver’s new international airport is the first airport to include a mosque next to its chapel.
February: First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton hosts the White House’s first Eid celebration.

1997 A crescent moon and star representing Islam is displayed along with other Christian and Jewish symbols on the grounds of the White House.

1998 The Pentagon hosts a Ramadan iftar meal for all Muslims on active duty in the armed forces and employees of the Department of Defense.

1999 Salam Al-Marayati, co-founder of Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), helps organize a signing of a code of ethics by Muslim and Jewish leaders fostering interfaith relations between the two groups.
The U.S. Postal Service issues a postage stamp in the Black Heritage Series honoring Malcolm X.
Ahmad H. Zewail is awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry. His groundbreaking laser technique has allowed scientists to observe the behavior of atoms and molecules in chemical reactions.

2001 The first Muslim museum, The International Museum of Muslim Cultures, opens in Jackson, MS.
The U.S. Postal Service issues a stamp celebrating the Islamic holiday the Eid al- Fitr.

2006 It is estimated that the Muslim population of the U.S. is 6 to 7 million.