"I was searching for several years before I became a Muslim,” says Abdus Salaam, a marketing specialist from Birmingham, Alabama. “I was baptized during this time in the Church of Christ. But I had questions. What bothered me were the white pictures of Jesus and Mary. In Islam we have no pictures, not even of the Prophet Muhammad. As a child I wondered if black and white people had a separate God!”
Salaam’s story is familiar among African-American converts to Islam. While newfound faith is central to their stories, race and personal empowerment are also key parts of the narratives. The indignity of discrimination, unfortunately mirrored in Christian churches, haunts African-Americans.