Muslims made up an estimated 15%-30% of Africans enslaved in the United States before the civil war. Is there a general sense of how widely the fast of Ramadan was observed among them? There were obviously practical difficulties, for example fasting while carrying out forced physical work, or maybe interference from their American masters on the religious practice.


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One of the main cod-justifications for slavery was to convert the slaves to Christianity: they called slavery 'opening the gates of mercy'. It's doubtful that any Muslim slaves were allowed to remain Muslim. There were very few black Muslims in America until the nation of Islam was founded, and its members were sui generis converts.

  • This does not answer his question. The question has to do with those who celebrated Ramadan, etc: if there is a record of that, it may answer the question. Your last sentence is correct, but about four generations removed. Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 21:26
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    The answer is that if slaves were Muslim when they arrived, they didn't remain practising Muslims for long, nor would their children have been allowed to be Muslims. So, no Ramadan.
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 7:18
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    Slaves were forcefully converted to Christianity. I don't need to reference that, it's common knowledge, no less than that the first world war started in 1914.
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 14:06
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    You are invited to read up on how "common knowledge" isn't a valid argument on History.SE. Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 20:44
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    en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_the_United_States. There it is, in the lead. I didn't link it before because I thought it would be easy to check with minimal effort.
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 21:56

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