More than anything, the Good (Orthodox) Muslim-Bad (Black) Muslim paradigm reveals the media’s seemingly willful ignorance of the longstanding diversity of Islamic practices within black America and of the consistently worldly, heterodox, and syncretic legacies of African American Islam. The contemporary landscapes of Muslim America have been inexorably formed through processes of cultural interaction and exchange, both between black and “immigrant” Muslims and amongst various African American Islamic organizations themselves, since “Islam,” in its many forms, began its spread through African American communities in the urban landscapes of the post-Reconstruction North.Read the rest of Race, orthodoxy, and “real” Islam.
Sylvia Chan-Malik is a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of American Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her recent publications are featured (or forthcoming) in the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion; The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History; and The Encyclopedia of Women and Islam. She is presently completing a monograph entitled A Part of Islam: Race, Gender, and the Making of Muslim America, 1958-Present.