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date: 24 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

While much has been written regarding the rise and experience of the African American Muslim community, western scholarship has paid little attention to the African American Shi‘is. This chapter argues that, because it is a minority within the Muslim community in America, the Shi‘i community is highly introverted and more concerned with preserving rather than extending its boundaries. In addition, the ethnic divisions within the Shi‘i community and the fact that Shi‘ism is highly reliant on the foreign-based leadership means that the Shi‘i community has not been concerned with reaching out to potential converts. This chapter also argues that by their vehement attacks on the Shi‘is, the Wahhabis have aroused the curiosity of many African American converts who may have not heard of Shi‘ism. Paradoxically, this has led to their conversion to Shi‘ism. Finally, the chapter highlights instances of African American Shi‘i–Sunni altercations in correctional facilities.

Keywords: African American Shi‘ism, African American Sunni community, conversion

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