As Sulayman Nyang connected the dots during a brief history lesson on black Muslims in America, he talked about influential people ranging from political activist Malcolm X to champion heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali.
Mr. Nyang, a professor of African studies at Howard University in Washington, was one of several speakers during a conference, "The Muslim American Legacy: Embracing the Past. Building the Future." The talk was presented by the Muslim American Society's Toledo chapter and the Muslim American Society at the University of Toledo. The Muslim American Society is a charitable, religious, social, cul-tural, and educational nonprofit organization.
Held at the university's Rocket Hall, the conference focused on the presidential election and Muslim American family values.
Mr. Nyang was featured during a session on the impact of black Muslims on Islam in America and the lessons that can be gained from their experiences. . .
Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Michigan who has been active in the Detroit area for many years, said the history lesson about how Islam spread among blacks is tied to the "slavery psyche."
Dehumanization and discrimination had a negative impact on the black psyche, he said. Some blacks joined the Muslim movement as a protest of white supremacy in America, Mr. Walid said, and some joined in an effort to carve new identities for themselves.
Conference organizers noted that the Muslim presence in the United States is long-standing and is wrought with examples of positive social change. Speakers discussed the need for an organized movement aimed at building partnerships, promoting harmony, and facing challenges together to make America a better place. (MORE)