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In the United States today Islam is a highly accepted religion in the African American community Since the beginning of the American slave trade Islam has had a presence in America The most notable Muslim community in the United States is referred to as the Nation of Islam The Nation of Islam originated as a social movement that provided African-Americans with a national identity and a sense of belonging and progressed into a movement that was solely focused on religion The growth of Islam in America stemmed from the oppression that blacks faced in America and their desire to establish their own identity Diouf 77 Smith states that the early part of this century continued for American Blacks to be a time of social displacement economic deprivation and yearning for some kind of national identity80 The Nation of Islam along with other Islamic groups provided and continues to provide African Americans with a national identity and a self-image The beginning of Islam in the United States can be traced to the earliest days of the slave trade While many of the slaves brought to America practiced traditional African religions many of the slaves from West Africa were predominately Muslim Smith states that it is now a well-established fact that a significant number of black Africans brought to North America during the antebellum slave trade were Muslim 76 Due to the overwhelming Christian presence during the slave trade slaves were not allowed to practice their Muslim faith The Christian slave owners forced their slaves to convert to Christianity Although Islam was introduced in America during the slave trade it was not established as a major religion in the United States until the early 1900s In the early 1900s the migration of Arabs to America created an increased awareness of Islam as a major religion of the world One of the first modern practices of Islam in the United States can be traced to a man
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