Muslims have played a vital role in the making of America from the very beginning of this country. You may not know that:
Almost 80 years before pilgrims landed in America Estevanico (Esteban), a Muslim slave, helped Spanish conquistador Panfilo de Narvaez explore and map what would become the American southwest. He is considered to have discovered New Mexico.
George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, along with other Founding Fathers, were extremely knowledgeable about Muslims, Islam, and the Qur’an. They used that knowledge to support their arguments to protect religious freedom for all and to include the concept of mercy in our founding documents.
From 10 to 30 per cent of the slaves brought from Africa to America were Muslim.
Documents going all the way back to the American Revolutionary War indicate that at least a few of the soldiers on the American side were Muslim.
The first world leader (in the year 1777) to recognize the United States as an independent nation was Mohammed ben Abdallah the ruler of Morocco. His recognition was important for many reasons not the least of which was his protection of American shipping routes from pirates while our navy was unable to do so.
On December 9, 1805, President Thomas Jefferson hosted an Iftar dinner, a meal to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan, at the White House for his guest Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, an envoy from Tunis.
Islam and Muslims both in the United States and abroad were a source of great help and inspiration to the men and women who fought to abolish slavery in America.
An image of Prophet Mohammed, the prophet of Islam, appears in the famous marble frieze entitled “The Great Lawgivers of History” on the North Wall of the main chamber of the United States Supreme Court.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Mohammed Ali, two of the greatest sports figures of all time, both converted to Islam and became ambassadors for their faith and positive role models for African Americans and people throughout the world.
Muslims and the values of Islam have profoundly shaped the heart of American music from jazz and the blues all the way through rock, hip hop, and the lyrics of many of today’s superstars.
Please come and learn for yourself about Muslims and the Making of America on Saturday, January 14th when Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord and Dr. Amid Hussain will engage in a lively conversation about his book, Muslims and The Making of America.