SHAFAQNA – Akbar Muhammad, International representative for the Nation of Islam (NOI), the oldest Black Nationalist organization in the US, underlined that there is a strong connection between black people and teachings of Islam, saying Islam is “buried in the DNA” of African-Americans.
“The reason that Islam is so attractive to the black people in America is because Islam is buried in their DNA,” Muhammad said in Tehran.
He said the US government is using criminal activity as a tool to entertain the blacks so that they would not be able to pursue their divine cause which is freedom from slavery.
“In my belief and beyond that I see the power of Islam in the lives of young black people in America to change them. The behavior of black people that you see in many of the films in this part of the world shows black people being involved in criminal activity, drugs, robberies and jails and this is learned behavior from those who enslaved us. And the redemptive power of Islam to turn them around and point them to God and it gives them strength to overcome what the American society has done to them. And this is what we worked for and we represent the living example of that,” he said.
Elsewhere in the interview, he touched upon the main objectives of “The Nation of Islam” movement and said, “In America we have nearly 45 million descendants of Africa who (were) brought to America in the holes of slave ships. 85 years ago a movement started in America called the Nation of Islam in 1930. The main goal of that movement was to first teach black people Islam, then try to solve some of the human rights issues in America that we suffered from. So that is what the movement is basically about.”
“Our teachers who led the organization from 1934 until 1975 always taught us that many of those who were brought in slavery, as a matter of fact most of them, because they came from West Africa, were Muslims. But Islam was taken away from them. So the connection is just that slave masters, the white Americans who enslaved our people, took Islam from us and we did not do anything about it as we grew up. They did not allow fathers to teach their children.”
Akbar Muhammad is an associate professor of history and Africana studies at Binghamton University in New York. He specializes in African history, as well as the study of Islam in Africa and the Americas. He is the co-editor of Racism, Sexism, and the World-System, along with Joan Smith, Jane Collins, and Terrence K. Hopkins. His own writings have been focused on slavery in Muslim Africa, Muslims in the United States, and integration in Nigeria through the use of education. He holds a notable role in the history of the Nation of Islam.
Muhammad is the youngest child of Elijah Muhammad and Clara Muhammad and he is also the brother of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed. He received his Doctor of Philosophy from Edinburgh University in Scotland. He also studied the theory of Arabic and Islamic law at al-Azhar University in Cairo.