For a full answer to this and other questions, see Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam.
Off the coast of Georgia, in the Atlantic, lies Sapelo Island. Sapelo has an incredible history. Bilali Muhammed was brought to the plantation in the early 19th century from West Africa where he was a Muslim scholar. Bilali’s descendants, some of whom still live on the island, eventually converted to Christianity but maintained some of the Islamic practices.
We were fascinated to find that the Churches still face east, women and men are separated in church, Bilali’s emphasis on the washing of the arms, elbows, and feet would be passed on to the following generations and worshippers take off their shoes when they enter the church.
As Frankie Martin wrote when we visited the island on inauguration day, “The case of Sapelo illustrates some of the deep links between Islam and America going back to the founding of the country itself. Here are Americans talking with pride about their Muslim roots many years before the immigration booms of the late 19th century. At a time when some have dismissed Islam foreign, dangerous, and “un-American” it is a story and legacy worth remembering.”
Order Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam.