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Black MeccaThe African Muslims of Harlem$
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Zain Abdullah

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195314250

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195314250.001.0001

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A Sacred City

A Sacred City

(p.107) 5 A Sacred City
Black Mecca

Zain Abdullah (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

For more than twenty years, West African Muslims from the Muridiyya order, a Sufi brotherhood based in Senegal, have organized the annual Cheikh Amadou Bamba Day parade in New York City. It is a religious procession that allows them to redefine their African identities, cope with the stigma of Blackness, and counteract accusations of Islamic terrorism. But the march is not merely an event for members, because its banners often challenge common notions of Black history, and African American paraders follow a slightly different course. This chapter explores the way Murids, followers of Muridiyya, and other West African Muslims such as the Malinke and the Fulani create religious activities, networks, stores, and institutions that transform Harlem into a sacred city. It is a sacred space, however, that includes the long-standing Nation of Islam and other African American Muslim orientations.

Keywords:   Cheikh Amadou Bamba, religious procession, sacred space, sacred city, Muridiyya, Black history, terrorism, Nation of Islam, African American Muslim, Malinke

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