Black Muslim Experiences

Research and Resources on Americans who are Black and Muslim

From independence to abolition, the Civil Rights Movement to the current movement for Black Lives, Black Muslim history is defined by resilience and struggle. Today, they are the plurality of the American Muslim community, yet as a group, Muslims who are Black experience a range of challenges due to both anti-Black racism and Islamophobia. Muslims are often racialized as Arab or South Asian, rendering Black Muslims less visible, leaving them out of the conversation, and creating a dearth of information about their experiences. This collection of research and resources exists to highlight Black Muslim experiences that are too often ignored.

Black Muslim Experiences

Research and Resources on Americans who are Black and Muslim

From independence to abolition, the Civil Rights Movement to the current movement for Black Lives, Black Muslim history is defined by resilience and struggle. Today, they are the plurality of the American Muslim community, yet as a group, Muslims who are Black experience a range of challenges due to both anti-Black racism and Islamophobia. Muslims are often racialized as Arab or South Asian, rendering Black Muslims less visible, leaving them out of the conversation, and creating a dearth of information about their experiences. This collection of research and resources exists to highlight Black Muslim experiences that are too often ignored.

Quick Links

A brick wall mural with "George Floyd" in large block letters and an image of George Floyd. Flowers, notes, and posters were placed on the sidewalk below.

Racism and Muslim Experiences

Muslims who are Black experience the same systemic racism that all Black Americans face, in addition to the religious discrimination faced by many American Muslims. According to ISPU research, 66% of Black Muslims and 75% of Black Americans in the general public report experiencing racial discrimination.

Portrait Of A Black African Man In Mosque

Black Muslim Youth

Many Black Muslims—including youth—face ethnic and racial discrimination from within the American Muslim community. How can predominately South Asian and Arab American mosques create more inclusive environments for Black Muslim youth?

Two men kneeling on a prayer rug

Community Racism Talk Toolkit

According to ISPU research, one third of Black Muslims have experienced racism from within their own faith community. This ISPU | Yaqeen toolkit uses ISPU data on discrimination to explore strategies for combating racism inside Muslim communities.

A library row filled with stacks of books

Muslim American Experience Bibliography

Learn more about Black Muslim experiences by reading a book from our Muslim American Experience Bibliography.

FEATURED BOOKS FROM OUR BIBLIOGRAPHY

Explore more books on Black Muslims in the U.S. in our Muslim American Experience Bibliography.

Dive into the Data

DEMOGRAPHICS

FAITH

DISPARITIES

SOCIAL JUSTICE + POLITICS

PHILANTHROPY

MARRIAGE

A bar graph showing that Black Muslims are less likely than non-Black Muslims to be in an interracial marriage, a reversal of interfaith trend

Videos

In this webinar from ISPU and the National Black Muslim COVID Coalition, a panel of experts discussed the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Black Muslim communities, the factors that contribute to the current crisis, and the holistic approach that is needed to move toward healing.

In this webinar, experts Imam Dawud Walid and Dr. Jamillah Karim discuss how to create inclusive environments for African American youth at South Asian- and Arab-majority mosques.

Precious Rasheeda Muhammad—author, award-winning speaker, and a presenter at ISPU’s media convenings—speaks movingly about Black Muslims and their centuries-long ties to the making of America in this presentation.

Watch Nicole Najmah Abraham’s story of breaking into the fashion design industry in New York City, despite not seeing Black Muslim women doing the work she wanted to be doing.

Explore Black Muslim Narratives

Explore personal narratives from ISPU’s Muslims for American Progress project, highlighting Black Muslims from Michigan and New York City.

Scholarly Sources

These ISPU Scholars research, write, and present on various aspects of race and ethnicity, including issue areas such as identity, health and social development, and organizational development.

Quaiser Abdullah

PhD, Educational Psychology, Temple University

Assistant Professor, Klein College of Media and Communication, Temple University

Sameera Ahmed

PhD, Clinical Psychology, Farleigh Dickinson University

Executive Director, The Family and Youth Institute

Halima Al-Khattab

PhD, Nursing Science, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

Behavioral Health Clinician and Researcher

Dr. Ihsan Bagby

PhD, Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan

Associate Professor, Department of Islamic Studies, University of Kentucky

Abbas Barzegar

PhD, Religious Studies, Emory University

Director, Research and Advocacy Department, CAIR National

Moustafa Bayoumi near his home in Brooklyn, New York

PhD, English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Professor of English, Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Hatem Bazian

PhD, Philosophy and Islamic Studies, University of California–Berkeley

Co-founder and Professor of Islamic law and Theology, Zaytuna College

Khaled Beydoun

JD, UCLA School of Law

Professor of Law, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville School of Law

Ifrah Magan

PhD, Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago

Assistant Professor, Silver School of Social Work, New York University

Kameelah Rashad

PhD, Clinical Psychology, Chestnut Hill College

Founder and President, Muslim Wellness Foundation

Tasneem Siddiqui

PhD, American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California

Assistant Professor, Department of History, Politics, and Social Justice, Winston-Salem State University

Scholarly Sources

These ISPU Scholars research, write, and present on various aspects of race and ethnicity, including issue areas such as identity, health and social development, and organizational development.

Quaiser Abdullah

PhD, Educational Psychology, Temple University

Assistant Professor, Klein College of Media and Communication, Temple University

Sameera Ahmed

PhD, Clinical Psychology, Farleigh Dickinson University

Executive Director, The Family and Youth Institute

Halima Al-Khattab

PhD, Nursing Science, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

Behavioral Health Clinician and Researcher

Dr. Ihsan Bagby

PhD, Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan

Associate Professor, Department of Islamic Studies, University of Kentucky

Abbas Barzegar

PhD, Religious Studies, Emory University

Director, Research and Advocacy Department, CAIR National

Moustafa Bayoumi near his home in Brooklyn, New York

PhD, English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Professor of English, Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Hatem Bazian

PhD, Philosophy and Islamic Studies, University of California–Berkeley

Co-founder and Professor of Islamic law and Theology, Zaytuna College

Khaled Beydoun

JD, UCLA School of Law

Professor of Law, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville School of Law

Ifrah Magan

PhD, Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago

Assistant Professor, Silver School of Social Work, New York University

Kameelah Rashad

PhD, Clinical Psychology, Chestnut Hill College

Founder and President, Muslim Wellness Foundation

Tasneem Siddiqui

PhD, American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California

Assistant Professor, Department of History, Politics, and Social Justice, Winston-Salem State University

Additional Resources

These resources may be helpful, though ISPU does not claim responsibility for the content.

The Black Islam Syllabus, developed and curated by Dr. Kayla Renée Wheeler, is an extensive list of scholarly research and writings, movies, poetry, TV shows, websites, essays, and hashtags that provides those interested in learning more about Islam with resources on Black Muslims.

Other Useful Reading

  • The events of the past two weeks have highlighted the disastrous outcomes that emerge when racism and white supremacy interplay with police brutality. The unbridled aggression by the police results from ineffective and insufficient sanctions on police power and authority. The casual murder of Mr....

  • Latino Americans in the general public and Muslims of all ethnic backgrounds hold similar views of the current political climate. This analysis is Part 2 in a two-part series on intersectionality. Read Part 1. In our previous piece on intersectionality, we examined the extent to...

  • Muslim Americans share common struggles with other marginalized communities. This analysis is Part 1 in a two-part series on intersectionality. Read Part 2. Although the term “intersectionality” has been around for decades in academic circles, it has only recently gained widespread salience. This idea that one’s...

  • American Election cycles normally have a polarizing effect on our society. In attempts for politicians to garner monetary support and ultimately votes, rhetoric has always been projected to show the differences between candidates’ positions and segments on their identities. At the heart of separating some...

  • Since 9/11, the public spotlight on American Muslims has been intense, and much of the time the exposure has been negative. The level of scrutiny on American Muslims has increased over the years, particularly since 2010 when Florida-based pastor Terry Jones sought to burn the...

  • In his controversial 1973 book, Is God a White Racist?, William R. Jones sharply criticized black theologians for their agnostic approach to black suffering, noting that the doctrine of an ominibenevolent God poses very significant problems for a perennially oppressed community. He proposed a “humanocentric theism”...

  • This September, the First Cleveland Masjid in Ohio will celebrate its 75th anniversary and honour Hajj Wali Akram, its founder and visionary leader. Akram, an African American who was born in Texas, moved to Cleveland and set up this vibrant Sunni Muslim community – which...

  • Sherman Jackson offers a trenchant examination of the career of Islam among the blacks of America. Jackson notes that no one has offered a convincing explanation of why Islam spread among Blackamericans (a coinage he explains and defends) but not among white Americans or Hispanics....

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