WASHINGTON, DC – The history of Muslims in the US extends to 14th century as many historians believe that the earliest Muslims came from the Senegambian region of Africa. Known as Moors, expelled from Spain, Muslims made their way to the Caribbean and possibly to the Gulf of Mexico in the 14th century.
Others claim that contact between Latin America and Islam dates back to the 12th century and that Muslims discovered America in 1178, before Christopher Columbus.
The video, shared by New York Times, explains how Muslim history is tightly woven into American life.
According to a 1996 paper written by Youssef Mroueh, an academic affiliated with the As-Sunnah Foundation of America, the presence of a mosque spotted by Columbus along the Cuban coast asserts the existence of Muslims in the New World before the 15th century.
In the 10th century, a noted geographer in Muslim Spain produced a map that may show the outline of South America, and referenced the journey of an Arab sailor who traveled westward through an “ocean of darkness and fog.”
A book written by Portuguese Muslims, who had navigated their way to the New World in the 12th century, was used 4 centuries later by Columbus.
In 1528, a Moroccan slave called Estevanico was shipwrecked along with a band of Spanish explorers in Texas. The city of Azemmour, in which he was raised, had been a Muslim stronghold against European invasion until it fell during Estevanico’s youth.
The first real wave of Muslims in the US started when many African slaves were brought to the country in the 19th century.
Middle Eastern Muslim migrants, mainly from Syria and Lebanon, arrived in large numbers between 1878 and 1924, seeking greater economic opportunity in the new world.
As many Arab migrants flocked to the US during the 1930s and 1940s, they started to establish communities and build mosques.
During the 1950s, the country received new group of Muslims coming from places like Palestine after the Israeli invasion in 1948.
Another wave of Muslim immigration triggered in 1960s when Muslims from South-east Asia Africa, Asia and even Latin America made their way to the US.