POST 9/11, ISLAM FLOURISHES AMONG U.S. BLACKS
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Islam is growing fast among African Americans, who are undeterred by increased scrutiny of Muslims in the United States since the September 11 attacks, according to imams and experts.
Converts within the black community say they are attracted to the disciplines of prayer, the emphasis within Islam on submission to God and the religion's affinity with people who are oppressed.
Some blacks are also suspicious of U.S. government warnings about the emergence of new enemies since the 2001 attacks because of memories of how the establishment demonized civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
As a result, they are willing to view Islam as a legitimate alternative to Christianity, the majority religion among U.S. blacks.
"It is one of the fastest-growing religions in America," said Lawrence Mamiya, professor of religion at Vassar College, speaking of Islam among black Americans.
He said there were up to 2 million black U.S. Muslims but acknowledged there are no precise figures.