Ever since The Honorable Elijah Muhammed came to America, Islam has been linked to Blackness in America. Black Nationalists shed their Christian names and replaced it with an X until they could make the pilgrimage to Mecca to take Islamic names. Names like Abdul, Khareem, and Raashid became associated in our culture with large Black men with shoulder width Afros. The name of Allah in America, until 9/11, was linked more with The Nation of Islam than Middle Easterners or terrorism. It conjured up images of well-groomed Black men in suits and bow ties selling bean pies on the corner of Martin Luther King Blvd along with the latest edition of Final Call. But Islam is no more the Black man's religion than Christianity is.
Arab traders and travelers came to northern Africa sometime during the mid-seventh century A.D., only a few decades after the Prophet Muhammad moved with his followers from Mecca to Medina, and began to spread the Islamic religion along the eastern coast of Africa and to the western and central Sudan between the eighth and ninth centuries. Islam spread throughout Africa gradually bringing with it the art of writing, Arab architectural techniques, and the Arab language which eventually merged with the Bantu languages to form Swahili. Conversion into Islam by Black African chieftains was used to gain political support from Arab leaders and to establish trade relationships. Among the the common people it was used to avoid being sold into slavery.
Eight centuries before the Trans-Atlantic slave trade began, Arab slave traders invaded Africa in search of slaves and concubines. While the Trans-Atlantic slave trade lasted 300 years the Trans-Saharan slave trade lasted nearly 1400 years continuing into the Twentieth century. By the time of the Ottoman Empire, the majority of slaves in Islamic countries were obtained by raiding Africa. These raids of African countries were directly responsible for the rapid expansion of Islam across North Africa.
Slavery continued in Saudi Arabia until as late as 1962. While Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad were in America demonizing the White man for slavery, Islamics in Saudi Arabia still owned African slaves. Even today, African women are kidnapped as sex slaves to be sold into prostitution. As horrific as slavery was in Europe and the Americas the Islamic slave trade was as bad or worse. Mortality rates for slaves being transported across the Sahara desert to the Islamic empire have been estimated to be as high as ninety percent.
Eunuchs were especially prized for bodyguards and confidential servants and so fetched higher prices than other males, encouraging the castration of slaves at the borders of the Islamic Empire before being exported. This was done outside Islamic borders since Islamic law did not permit the mutilation of slaves. Women were used as concubines since Islamic law entitled Muslim men to use slaves for sexual pleasure. If they became pregnant their children were usually killed. Unlike slaves in the Americas, in Islamic countries slaves were not allowed to marry other slaves and raise families. Most of the male slaves were castrated and were either used as soldiers or as harem guards while the women were almost exclusively used as sex slaves and concubines unlike America where African slaves were mostly purchased for agricultural work and as domestics servants.
This is how Islam became an African religion. It was forced upon us by slave traders hunting for Black flesh for sexual exploitation, to swell the ranks of their armies, and for use as bodyguards to secure their harems of stolen African women. Just as Christianity was forced upon Africans at the end of a gun, Islam came on the point of a sword. Why then do so many Black people believe Islam to be the true religion of African people when it is not an indigenous religion but rather one adopted by African leaders in order to increase their profit and power and forced upon poor Africans by Arab raiders?
The proliferation of Islam in Africa, just like that of Christianity among Black Americans, is yet another example of the conquered adopting the religion of their conquerors. Just as with Christianity, had Africans not fallen prey to Arab slave traders, had Arabs never acquired a taste for Nubian slaves, far fewer of the millions of devout Muslims in Africa would be Muslims today.
The same absurdities and immorality inherent in the Christian bible are also present in The Koran. This comes as little surprise since Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all evolved from the same Abrahamic text. The same ridiculous creation myths exist in Islam as in Christianity and Judaism. The same reliance on faith over reason, dogma over empirical evidence. Sexism and homophobia are even greater under Islam. Islam, like Christianity, relies on fear and intimidation. "Love me or suffer eternal torment!" said God. It has the same insecure god-figure that requires constant praise and adoration from beings that are supposed to be like gnats in comparison to it in terms of intellect. Personally, I could give less than a fuck whether or not I was worshipped by gnats but then, I'm a pretty secure brotha. It has the same inexplicable dilemma of how an all-powerful, all-knowing, good and loving God could produce a creation so full of misery and suffering. The same problem of explaining why God intervened two thousand years ago to lead the Jews out of Egypt but allowed African Americans to suffer slavery and oppression for four hundred years in Europe and America and over a millennia in the Middle East. In terms of logic, morality, and overall efficacy, it is no better than Christianity.