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Muslims in American History: A Forgotten Legacy Paperback – September 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Amana Publications (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590080440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590080443
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Jerald F. Dirks holds A.B. and M.Div. degrees from Harvard University and an M.A. and Psy.D. from the University of Denver. He is the author of The Cross and the Crescent, Abraham—The Friend of God, Understanding Islam—A Guide for the Judaeo-Christian Reader, and The Abrahamic Faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Dr. Dirks has lectured widely throughout the United States and Canada on comparative religion and has been interviewed about Islam by several American newspapers and by American, Canadian, and Arabic television stations.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Naeem Ali on December 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
The history written about here is familiar to many of us but, I was not fully aware of the Muslim connection.

Mr. Dirks has organized the book in a chronological format starting with the first recorded voyage in 889 CE of Khashkhash ibn Saeed ibn Aswad, who sailed West from the same port that Columbus launched his 3 ships, to Muslims in modern day America. The topics covered are Muslims in the Americas in the pre-Columbian period, the European explorers, the slave trade, Muslims in Native American tribes, the Melungeons, Islamic residuals In the West and Muslims in 20th century North America. The first four chapters covering the pre Columbian period to the Slave trade were the most interesting and surprising.

I found the most interesting accounts were related to the Slave trade. Mr. Dirks writes about the approximately 20 million Muslims who were taken as slaves from Africa. The vast majority of these were highly educated individuals such as the Ulema (religious leaders) Hafiz-ul-Quran (those who memorized the Quran) and military and political leaders. As a result Muslims were responsible for many of the slave revolts that occurred in the European Colonies in the West, so much so that Spain passed a law forbidding slave traders from enslaving Muslims from Muslim parts of Africa.

Mr. Dirks also gives considerable attention to individual biographies of Muslims who were captured as slaves, and since I enjoy reading biographies, I felt the savage human cost of slavery in general and the impact to Muslim slaves in particular.

All in all this is a well written book that gives some very interesting insights about Muslims in the history of the Americas. Much of what is written here is familiar but it's the Muslim connection that gives this book an interesting twist.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JMorgan on May 28, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
[i]Muslims in American History: a Forgotten Legacy[/i] gets one star because it is not possible to give it fewer than that. Jerald F. Dirks has written a tendentious and agenda-driven work the purpose of which, quite clearly, is to exaggerate the Muslim influence in American history to a level it never held.

The book is filled with historical inaccuracies and altogether too much speculation from questionable and poorly sourced hypotheses. Words like “maybe,” “possibly,” “could have” and “perhaps” occur much too often and yet are glossed over in the author’s conclusions. He takes small, obvious pieces of history such as the fact that there had to have been some Muslims among the Africans brought to America as slaves and creates a story of a major Islamic influence that simply does not withstand serious scrutiny.

His stories of Muslim explorers coming to America’s shores 500 years before Columbus may well be true. Quite a few explorers got here before Columbus. But the question to ask of them all is, “so what?” None of them stayed and none of them left anything that proves the existence of a “legacy,” forgotten or otherwise. That so little actual evidence should remain, especially in the wake of two huge Muslim fleets which Dirks says came to America in the early 1300’s, simply defies logic.

According to him, an Arab geographer received a report from a governor of Cairo who told of a conversation he had with a Mandinka chief who told him that his brother, Sultan Abu Bakari, had organized a 400-ship expedition, then later organized and personally commanded, a 2000-ship expedition which went to America. In other words, the author repeats a sketchy, third-hand story and treats it as history.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R Stein on November 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Provides fascinating facts and historical references on Muslim contributions to America. A must-read for everyone.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Khateeb88 on September 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Simply put: every single American (Muslim and non-Muslim) must read this book.

Muslims are not foreigners to America nor are they here to destroy American ideals and culture. In fact, they helped build this country from the very first days of its existence.

READ THIS BOOK.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert G. Shaver on January 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Muslims in American History, Jerald Dirks
I found this book interesting about Muslims in America before Columbus. But considering the knowledge of the Muslim at the time I can believe their early arrival after all Europe was in the dark ages while the Muslim Countries were studding Greek and Ottoman concepts. I was un- aware that most West Africans were of the Muslim faith and most black slaves were exported form that area. But again the Moors controlled Spain and North Africa before Columbus so it seems plausible. Another in-site was that Muhammad and Christ are considered prophets, Mohammad being the last. The Koran talk’s about Jesus Christ (phuh) and considers him a man of Allah (God) in the same sense as Adam is considered the first man. This has prompted a renewed interest in religion that I intend to peruse.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nathan on December 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
Great overview of the history of muslims in America, pre columbus to modern day. I think it would be a great read for African Americans, as it covers a lot of the history during the slave trade. The many accounts of individual stories are amazing. How great is it for someone to struggle to buy paper while a slave, and write their own copies of the Quran or books teaching Islam.

The one thing I would like to see in the future, is further investigations or details related to the early Pre-Columbus periods of trade between Muslim nations and the Americas. I'm sure its difficult to get this information, but as it becomes available, I would love to see more.

If only the "love it or leave it"/"Americas is a christian" nation crowd would read more of their history, the country may be a more tolerant and successful place.
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