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The Spirituals & The Blues Essay

887 words - 4 pages

Growing up with both West African and Muslim background, Sylviane A. Diouf decided to research and inform the world that there were Muslims involved in the slave trade. Diouf was so confident that these stories existed that she started her research along the pan-Africanist as well as the pan-Amercanist lines.After her research she decided to write a book about what she had discovered entitled Servants of Allah. Diouf says her objective was to "humanize" the individual Africans who were enslaved and detach them from the mass of what we call slaves.During her research Diouf says that she found there was a slight difference between the British, Dutch, Spanish, French, and the United States slave systems. She also discovered there were some cultural differences between the Mandingo, Fulani, and Hausa. In matters of religion, formal education, and found out that in many ways that as Islam transpires in daily life, they all shared a similar set of attitudes and beliefs.Diouf received her Doctoral from L'Universite' Denis Diderot in Paris. She has published hundred's of articles in both the International and local magazines and newspapers. One of her textbook is now apart of the 11th grade curriculum (Economic Sciences), in France. Diouf has written for the United Nations and contributed to numerous academic journals such as; Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, a bilingual journal of the African Studies Department of New York and the Journal of Islamic Studies of Oxford University. She has been fortunate enough to teach in France and Gabon. Her homes throughout the years have been Senegal, France, Gabon, Italy, and New York (which she now resides).The book Servants of Allah takes the audience back and forth between West Africa and the Americas in piecing together a history of African Muslims for over four centuries. When reading the book Servants of Allah we realize that it consisted of a detailed reconstruction of the Muslim slave efforts in the United States in order to maintain an Islamic way of life.Many Muslims refused to convert to Christianity. Instead they kept their Muslim names, dietary restrictions, sexual taboos, appearance (wearing bands, turbans, and even veils) in order to keep them apart from the non-Muslims.Naturally the Muslims were not at ease with their slavery. Diouf explained that being Muslim helped to perform better in horrifying or difficult circumstances while in America. She stated that Muslims rose to the top of the slavery hierarchy and were returned to Africa more frequently.Many fail to realize that Muslims had a large role in establishing maroon communities and leading slave rebellions, dominating their planning and leadership. While in...

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