Sherman Jackson: “Blackamerican” Muslim

He has a given name he uses as an American college professor: Sherman A. Jackson. He also has a Muslim … Continued

He has a given name he uses as an American college professor: Sherman A. Jackson.

He also has a Muslim name: Abdul al-Hakim.

As a self-described “Blackamerican” convert to Islam, he hopes his two names will be one of the topics of discussion at the April 19 symposium on “What it Means to be Muslim in America.”

“I think it is relevant to the topic, and I think the audience may learn something of value from such a discussion,” Dr. Sherman Jackson said.

Islam in America is complicated by the diversity of the Muslim community here, which includes homegrown converts, Jackson argues.

“American-born converts (the majority of whom are African-Americans) are a product of American history, as are their hopes, fears, fantasies and proper ambition,” Jackson has written.

“They are both repelled by the American experience, by virtue of their history as a marginalized minority, and attracted to it, by the virtue of their connection to a uniquely rich Afro-American historical and cultural tradition. Their search for a boa fide Muslim identity is still in its exploratory stage.”

“On Faith” panelist Jackson, a specialist in Islamic law and theology, is professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies and visiting professor of Law at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Jackson, who grew up in Philadelphia, received a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Oriental Studies in 1990. He has written many scholarly articles and books including: Islam And The Blackamerican: Looking Toward the Third Resurrection.. He is co-founder of the American Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM) and a former member of the Fiqh Council of North America.

By David Waters | 
April 11, 2007; 1:57 PM ET


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  • John Q. Public

    “Muslims in America are very frustrated with the way Islam has been portrayed. Muslims do not see Islam as a religion of violence. On the contrary, Muslims believe Islam is a religion of peace that teaches forgiveness and love,” Hendi said in a 2002 interview with Religion & Ethics Newsweekly.”We are misunderstood, and therefore, the challenge has been how we can reintroduce ourselves in a language that is familiar with our fellow American neighbors.”On the contrary, people are very clear about Islam and your religion of “peace”, and not just in the US but in India; Eithiopia; Serbia; Croatia; Macedonia; Greece; Russia; Ivory Coast; East Timor; etc… You have an impossible task and your message is one that only idiots would believe. Sooner or later, you will know the full meaning of the word terror.

  • victoria

    i lived for 5 years in chicago and even lived in the south side 2 blocks from louis farakhans home and the local mosque. i have a quick story about perceptions and stereotypes. i was talking to an african american brother and said this, and he quipped back-,”i didnt become a muslim in prison!” and we laughed and laughed at the way we are both wrongly characterized , even though we are as different looking as can be- we share the same stereotypes. i love this religion. there is no other religion that makes it a part of its doctrine to actually denounce and discredit the very pervasive issue of racism.peace and salaams

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