“When African American Month began, people talked about Muhammad Ali. But that was Ali, not Islam. They talked about Malcolm, but that’s Malcolm, a Black nationalist,” said Amari Al Hadid, founder of The Great Debate series and coordinator of the conference.
“This conference is about the Africans that were captured in tribal wars, were put in ships and brought here as prisoners of war. At least 25% of the African Americans brought here were Muslims,” Al Hadid expressed.
“So, when do we talk about that 25%? Approximately 10% of contemporary African Americans practice Islam. We know about Kunta Kinte, but we want to bring attention to Prince Abdul Rahman Ibn Ibrahima from West Africa.”
In 1926, Carter G. Woodson started Negro History Week in the USA and African Americans then began to celebrate a whole month with Black History Month. However, contributions made by African American Muslims are rarely discussed in the celebration.
Hence, the sponsors of Saturday’s event, the African Muslim Association of Nashville (AMAN) and Muslim American Cultural Association (MACA) will create a study of Africana as a part of the celebration of “African American History Month 2019.”
This year’s theme is “Muslim Youth are Our Future in the World Community” which equips the Muslim African American youth with the education of African heritage as the focal point of the event.
The conference developers are excited about youth participation during the second half of the conference. Young people from elementary, middle and high schools will participate in a competition where they will recite chapters of the Holy Qur’an.
About 20 students of the Bantu Community Center Weekend School will participate. They have committed the Qur’an to memory, some more than half and some the entire 114 chapters.
The students will also participate in a Quiz Bowl that will help in learning and understanding African Muslims in the Western and Eastern hemispheres as well as on the African Continent. These students are from East Africa, Bantu, and Samoles.
“While some are from refugee camps, we want our brothers and sisters from the African motherland to know us, and we want to know them because they’re what we used to be,” Al Hadid said.
“Kunta Kente was brought here as a Mandigo warrior, and he was stripped of who he was by changing his name, beaten and tortured. Why? The European kidnappers actually understood the power of Islam.”