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American-born black Muslims stand out from other U.S. Muslims in several ways, according to the survey: Fully two-thirds are converts to Islam, compared with just one-in-seven among all other U.S. Muslims. And while they are about as likely as other Muslims to say they are proud to be American, U.S.-born black Muslims are less likely than other U.S.-born Muslims to say they have a lot in common with most Americans, and they are more likely than all other U.S. Muslims to say natural conflict exists between the teachings of Islam and democracy.
In addition, American-born black Muslims are more likely than other U.S. Muslims to say it has become harder in recent years to be Muslim in the United States. Nearly all American-born black Muslims (96%) say there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims in America, almost identical to the share who say there is a lot of discrimination against black people in the U.S. (94%).
African American Muslims have long played a notable role in U.S. Muslim society. However, as immigrant populations from Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Asia have grown, African American Muslims have decreased as a share of the U.S. Muslim population.16 The new survey finds that American-born black people account for about 13% of the adult Muslim community.17 And among Muslims whose families have been in the U.S. for at least three generations, fully half are black. Another 6% of all adult Muslims identify as black, but were born outside the U.S., generally in sub-Saharan Africa.
Perhaps the best-known group of black Muslims in the U.S. is the Nation of Islam, which at one point counted Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali as high-profile members. But in the Pew Research Center survey, just 3% of all U.S.-born black Muslims say they identify with the Nation of Islam. The vast majority of U.S.-born black Muslims say they are either Sunni Muslims (45%), or they identify with no particular Islamic denomination or they did not answer the question (43%)
Winston-Salem, N.C. Three Generations Of African American Muslim