A recent episode of CNN’s United Shades of America focused on Muslim and Arab communities in the U.S.
During the program, host W. Kamau Bell promoted a left-wing, anti-Trump agenda, and offered interesting historical perspectives such as the claim that Islam has always existed in the United States.
“Islam has always been part of the American fabric,” one Muslim man tells Bell at an anti-Trump event in Detriot. “A lot of people think that Islam is from a foreign country, or is a foreign religion. It’s not — it’s very American.” The man criticized “those more violent voices in our society,” clearly not referring to radical Islamists. Seemingly impressed by the man, Bell asks, “When are you running for mayor?” and compares him to a “young Barack Obama.”
In his 2009 Cairo speech, Obama told the Muslim world that “Islam has always been a part of America’s story,” while offering questionable proof.
CNN bases the claim that Islam has “always” existed in the U.S. on the contention that a small percentage of black slaves were Muslim. CNN correspondent Dean Obeidallah asserted Saturday that “Islam has been here since the time of slavery, because 10 to 15 percent of the African slaves brought were Muslim. So Islam was here before the creation of the United States. It was actually part of the creation of the United States of America.”
Later in the interview, Obeidallah raises the estimate, stating that “during the slave trade, up to about 25 to 30 percent of the slaves came from areas where there were predominantly Muslim populations.” Obeidallah did not address the role of Muslims operating in the slave trade.
In 2000, Daniel Pipes offered a bit of substantiation for CNN’s claims when he noted that “Muslims constituted a significant percentage of the Africans brought to the Americas in servitude; and that, as the most educated and resistant of the captive peoples, they exerted a disproportionate influence on slave life in the Americas.” Even so, their faith did not survive generations, with few descendants being aware of their Muslim origins.
Breitbart’s Joel Pollak opined in a Monday report that “While Muslims were present at America’s founding, Islam — as a coherent, self-conscious religious and political civilization — was not. Had it been present, one would have expected the Founding Fathers to be more aware of it, and one would have expected to see an American version of the faith emerge, one more comfortable with ideas of tolerance and individual liberty, much as different reformist versions of Judaism flourished in the United States.”