The Rise of Islam in America
Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States. Partly through conversion but mainly through immigration, the number of Muslims has now risen to three or four million. At current rates of increase, there will be more Muslims than Presbyterians within the decade. Early in the next century their numbers may well grow past six million, at which point there will be more American Muslims than Jews.
Islam is not a religion that attracts whites. Although there may be as many as 1,500,000 native-born Americans who have converted to Islam they are, almost without exception, black. Heretofore, black Muslims and immigrant Muslims have had little to do with each other, but they are beginning to build alliances. Militant blacks and Middle-Eastern fundamentalists are discovering common ground, bound together in a religion that, in its extreme forms, strives to dominate all aspects of society.
For America’s first 153 years, there was not a single mosque on United States territory. The first was built in Ross, North Dakota, of all places, in 1929, to serve Lebanese and Syrian peddlers who had settled there. There are now more than 1,100 mosques in the United States—with at least one in nearly every state—and 80 percent were founded in the last 12 years.
The greatest concentrations of Muslims are in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In the Los Angeles area alone, there are 250,000 to 300,000 Muslims and about 50 Islamic centers. Within just the last few years, Muslims have established lobbying groups, magazines, student organizations, schools, social clubs, bookstores, and even marriage services. All that is lacking is an Islamic theological seminary, but one is likely to be built soon. Muslims are now a substantial and growing minority, which has already started making the demands that all non-white minorities inevitably make.
As the Immigration and Naturalization Service does not record the religions of new arrivals, there is no precise count of incoming Muslims. However, in 1991 alone there were more than 100,000 legal immigrants who were probably Muslim, from countries like Pakistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Iran, and Lebanon. About half of the 8,000 immigrants from Nigeria were probably Muslim; the number of Islamic illegals is unknown.
The newcomers are beginning to flex their muscles. There are now Islamic chaplains in prisons and in the armed services, and in some locations special meals are prepared for Muslims. Although there are 165 full-time, private Muslim schools in America, the majority of Muslim children attend public schools. In Dearborn, Michigan, they account for 36 percent of the students and the lunch rooms serve no pork. Muslims have joined every other group in the country in scouring school books for “insensitivity” and “negative stereotypes.” They are a new and increasingly vocal element of our storied “diversity.”
Although Islam means “submission,” Muslims have quickly learned how to make the majority submit. Two years ago, Fairfax County, Virginia gave an Islamic group permission to build a temple if it would also build a 90-car parking lot to accommodate worshipers. However, instead of the 100 or so that the lot could handle, weekly services attract as many as a thousand. Every Friday afternoon, Muslims block neighboring driveways, trample back yards, and clog streets. The complaining residents have, of course, been called bigots and racists, and the county authorities are afraid to take action for fear of being called the same thing.
Islam got its first start among American blacks in the 1930s when Allah appeared in Detroit in the person of W. Fard Muhammad. Mr. Muhammad unaccountably vanished without a trace in 1934, but in the meantime he passed on his message to Elijah Muhammad, who ran the Nation of Islam for 40 years, until his death in 1975. Immigrant Muslims scoff at the story of the Chicago apparition since mainstream Islam holds that the real Prophet hailed from Mecca and did not go by the name of Fard.
Another point on which American Islam differs from the imported version is its racial theology. Blacks were the original race of men, but 6,000 years ago, a mad scientist named Yacub invented whites to be a curse upon the black man. Whites, known as white devils, are therefore the source of all evil and hardship, and it is whites who promote AIDS and pump black neighborhoods full of drugs and guns. The original goal of the Nation was full, political separation, which was seen as the only way to escape the toils of the white devil.
After he took over the Nation of Islam upon his father’s death, Warith Deen Mohammad began to down play the Yacub story and, in what is known as “the change,” began to lead the flock towards a more conventional, non-racial brand of Sunni Islam. Nearly 20 years later, it is still a struggle for Mr. Mohammad to convince blacks that Islam is “a religion for all.” “Too many people are holding on to the old ways,” he explains. Nevertheless, his branch, which is no longer called the Nation of Islam, is thought to have anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000 members.
Lately, Mr. Mohammad has gone startlingly mainstream. He votes Republican in presidential elections and supported George Bush over Bill Clinton because he thinks welfare keeps blacks poor. He may well speak for a quarter of a million blacks and is happy to talk to the press, but the media do not care for his politics.
After Mr. Mohammad’s move towards Sunni Islam, the Saudis quietly began to support him. They have donated most of the $8.5 million for a brand new mosque for his followers in South-Central Los Angeles and have promised at least five more mosques in other parts of the country. Mr. Mohammad is now thoroughly respectable; last year, he became the first imam ever to give the invocation before the United States Senate.
Mainstream black Muslims show up in other unlikely places. Kountze, Texas, has only two Muslim families and 70 percent of its 2,700 residents are white, but it has a black Muslim mayor.
Louis Farrahkan founded his Nation of Islam in 1978, in opposition to the tame teachings of the younger Mr. Mohammad. His group retains the whites-as-devils theology and Mr. Farrahkan is now America’s best known advocate of black separatism. Although his group is much smaller than Mr. Mohammad’s—last count was something around 20,000—he is far better known because of his uncompromising anti-white stance and because of his famous remark that Judaism is a “gutter religion.” The media treat him almost as venomously as they treat David Duke.
His is, however, one of the fastest-growing Islamic groups in the country, and his racial message has a special appeal for young blacks. Many convicts convert to Islam while in prison, and they favor Mr. Farrahkan’s anti-white version of the faith. On the outside, blacks like Islam because they think it is African (which it is not), as opposed to Christianity, which they think is a white religion (wrong again). They also think it is more appealingly aggressive than homilies about blessing the meek and turning the other cheek.
Today there are at least two other groups besides Mr. Farrahkan’s that claim to be the true Nation of Islam: a small band in Detroit and a slightly larger group in Atlanta. In addition, there are any number of black Islamic splinter groups with names like the Five Percenters and the Moorish Science Temple.
The former Black Panther, H. Rap Brown, has changed his name to Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin and runs yet another sect, which is based in Atlanta and has followers in 30 different cities. Mr. Al-Amin’s headquarters overlook a basketball court, where the imam shoots baskets and wins converts. “We make them believers right here,” he explains; “we play the best ball around.”
There is continuing tension between different groups of black Muslims. It is worth recalling that although current myth holds that Malcolm X was killed because of white machinations, his assassins were followers of Elijah Mohammad who thought Mr. X was a dangerous deviate. Today, there is friction between those who say they are black first and Muslim second, and those who say the reverse. Some black Muslims say they love America and others say they hate it.
One of the potentially most dangerous black Muslim groups is called Fuqra, the Arabic word for poverty. It is thought to have 1,000 to 3,000 members and is based in Brooklyn. The group was reportedly established by a Pakistani sheik in 1982, and members are sometimes sent to Pakistan for military training. Fuqra also operates several camps in the United States, including a 55-acre property in Deposit, New York.
Fuqra’s targets reflect its Pakistani connections. It has tried to kill Hindus, Hare Krishna members, and Indians, as well as Israelis and other Muslims for whom it develops a dislike. Four Fuqra members will soon go on trial in Canada for conspiring to bomb a Hindu temple and movie theater.
Fuqra appears to be the black Muslim connection to Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the outlaw Egyptian cleric who was finally indicted in connection with the February bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City and the foiled plot to bomb the city’s important transportation links. Mr. Abdel-Rahman has bands of followers to whom he preached in mosques in Brooklyn and in Jersey City, New Jersey. He also has ardent admirers in Egypt, seven of whom were hanged in Cairo in July for attacking foreign tourists and for conspiring to overthrow the Egyptian government. The sheik has been in jail since July, ever since a federal judge ruled that Mr. Abdel-Rahman lied to enter the United States a decade ago.
In an up-to-date display of multiculturalism, the crew that has been indicted for the mayhem in New York City includes Sudanese, Egyptians, Jordanians, Pakistanis, Palestinians and several black Americans. One of the latter, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, is said to have close ties with Fuqra. At least for the most devout, Islam seems to come before race or nationality.
It may never be entirely clear who is connected to whom or why these lads wanted to blow up the George Washington Bridge and bomb the Holland Tunnel. But what should be clear to even the most obtuse is that the sheik and his friends should never have been let into the country. Even jaded America-watchers must have been shaken by the television coverage of the mobs who came out to shout support for the sheik when he went to prison; the screen was filled with head-dressed Middle-Easterners for as far as the eye could see, in what could have been a scene from Baghdad or the Gaza Strip. What are all these foreigners doing in this country?
Islam, in its various forms, lies at the intersection of America’s two most dogma-laden and self-destructive policies: immigration and race relations. It was the purest idiocy to have imported crowds of swarthy fanatics who are prepared to kill each other—and us—over obscure conflicts in the Levant. Had no one noticed that Middle-Easterners fight out their unsettled feuds not only in their own countries but in Europe as well? To have imported fanatics who worship the same god as the black Muslims was idiocy on stilts.
In any case, we now have an immigrant group with a well-established history of suicide bomb attacks that has a faith in common with our most lawless racial minority. The one group we have taught to hate us with our Middle East policy; the other by constantly blaming their failures on white people. To be sure, black Muslims have generally been models of sobriety and restraint. Nevertheless, several of them clearly fell under Sheik Abdel-Rahman’s spell, and the Pakistani who founded Fuqra intends for his men to do more than pray and wear bow ties.
With or without black Muslims, Islam is a rum import. The Europeans seem to have forgotten the events that led up to the battle of Tours in 732 A.D., where the forces of The Prophet were led by a general with an almost familiar name: Abd-er-Rahman. Islam then had a markedly imperialist quality, which it is now reviving. No longer held in check by a firm, Western will, it is pushing into the territory denied it by Charles Martel.
Arab Muslims have congregated in France, where clerics have been known to say, “There can be no government contrary to what God has revealed in the Koran;” or to urge the faithful “to overthrow every power which governs in contravention of that which God enjoins and to bring about the erection of the Islamic state.” Let us hope the French are listening.
The British had better be wide awake, too. Some Pakistani and Indian Muslims are openly calling for revolution. One preached the following statement from a mosque in Bradford, England: “The implementation of Islam as a complete code of life cannot be limited to the home and to personal relationships. It is to be sought and achieved in society as a whole.” Another British imam says that Islam “could not properly be reduced to merely an item of personal piety in the private sector.” And let us not forget that the latest death sentence handed down for blasphemy was punishment for an alleged slight against The Prophet.
Far be it from us to tell Arabs or Persians or Pakistanis how to live or what to believe. Conservative Islam holds much promise for men whose lives and cultures have been blighted by Western vulgarity. Many earnest people seek in Islam a refuge from license and materialism. However, as Europeans are discovering and as we eventually will, Islam is hungry for converts and power. Even worse, in the United States it is poised to join forces with an unstable and violent racial minority. Islam can bring us only trouble. We have every right and every reason to insist that Muslims stay in their own countries.
David Koresh and his followers did nothing nearly so menacing as bomb public buildings or preach the overthrow of secular government. There is some question as to whether they did anything wrong at all; yet they were besieged by the government and died in flames. It is difficult not to note the contrast between the way they were treated and the gentlemanly handling of Sheik Abdel-Rahman’s gang of murderers. Islamic criminals shelter behind the twin madnesses in the name of which the United States is destroying itself: race and immigration. Whites cannot.