The Religion of Islam  
 

 
Video Categories
 
 


Intro E-Books

Guest Book

Recommend Us
| More
 

Steven Barboza, Ex-Catholic, USA

  
Description: This African American former Catholic found spiritual peace and fulfillment in orthodox Islam having investigated and rejected the racist ideology of the Nation of Islam.
By Steven Barboza
Published on 21 Jun 2010 - Last modified on 12 Nov 2013
Viewed: 6825 (daily average: 4) - Rating: 4.3 out of 5 - Rated by: 7
Printed: 236 - Emailed: 0 - Commented on: 0

Category: Articles > Stories of New Muslims > Men

This African American former Catholic found spiritual peace and fulfillment in orthodox Islam having investigated and rejected the racist ideology of the Nation of Islam.

My abandonment of Roman Catholicism was spawned by a premature death, my mother’s at age 49, on the day before my 22nd birthday.  I prayed like crazy for God to spare her, and when He did not, I established a new line of communication.  I called God Allah and prayed with my palms cupped and my eyes wide open. Given the irony and absurdity of events in racially torn Boston, where I lived, Islam was a godsend.  A few months after my mother’s death, whites assaulted a black man in front of Boston City Hall, using as one weapon a flagpole with an American flag attached.  With that attack and my mother’s death, a lifetime of frustrations reached the breaking point.

My odyssey 26 years ago was not unlike that of hundreds of thousands of blacks in the United States.  The journey became my jihad--literally “struggle”--waged not for political power or economic enfranchisement but for control over my own soul.

Christianity did not offer a complete way of life the way Islam did.  Attending mass once a week and calling it religion failed to satisfy my spiritual needs.  Islam offered a code of conduct on how to run my daily life and how to communicate with God.  Prostrating in prayer five times a day as a Muslim offered me more solace than I had ever found kneeling before a crucifix.

In 1974, as now, in the Roxburys and Harlems across America, only liquor stores outnumbered churches in vying for blacks’ attention, and in my opinion, both stupefied millions of black Americans.

Islam, as I was familiar with it, seemed the perfect way to fight back.  As a religion, it offered clear-cut guidelines for living; as a social movement, it stood for a pride born of culture and discipline.

Before my mom died, I had dipped into Malcolm X’s autobiography.  After she passed, I plunged into it.  Malcolm had undergone a metamorphosis: from hoodlum to cleaned-up spokesman for the Nation of Islam and finally a convert to orthodox Islam, and through his own transformation he had shown that change, even from the most miserable beginnings, was possible.

Of course, Malcolm’s life and mine were very different.  He had discovered Islam in prison.  I discovered it in college.  He was the spokesman for a black theocratic visionary.  I held down a mid-level white-collar job in a Fortune 500 company.  Still, I felt a kinship with Malcolm and the Black Muslims.  The color of our skin made us all cargo in a sinking ship, and Islam beckoned like a life preserver.

Two and a half decades ago in Boston and New York, however, there were few orthodox mosques.  In black neighborhoods, one institution, the Nation of Islam, dominated in the teaching of Islam, or, rather, a homegrown version of it.  Many blacks who converted took to the Nation’s teachings--its admonitions to self-love and racial solidarity, its belief in productivity and entrepreneurship.  And with equal ardor, they also took to the Nation’s other teachings--its racial chauvinism and belief that white people were genetically inferior, intrinsically evil “blue-eyed devils” who had been created to practice “tricknology” against blacks.

Using the twin motivators of myth and pride, Elijah Muhammad built the Nation into one of the largest black economic and religious organizations American had seen.  It claimed a heavyweight boxing champion the whole world adored, Muhammad Ali.  Its women looked like angels in their veils, crisp white jackets, and ankle-length skirts; its men cut no-nonsense yet gallant figures in their smart dark suits and trademark bow ties.  But sitting in the Nation’s Roxbury temple was like being on a jury listening to a closing argument.  The defendants (in absentia): white folks.  The prosecutor: a dapper minister who practically spat, saying whites were so utterly devilish that their religion was grotesquely symbolized by a “symbol of death and destruction”--the crucifix.  The charge: perpetrating dastardly deeds on blacks “in the name of Christianity.” The verdict: guilty.

I barely lasted my one visit.  To me, demonizing the “enemy” as the Nation did hardly seem the best way to learn to “love thyself.” Anyway, I abhorred the idea of colorizing God, or limiting godly attributes to one race.  And though Elijah deserved credit for redeeming legions of blacks from dope and crime when all else, including Christianity, had failed them, I didn’t believe that earned him the title of Allah’s “messenger.”

So I moved to New York and became an orthodox Muslim in the manner all converts do: I declared before Muslim witnesses my belief in Allah and my faith that the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was His very last messenger.  I entered a Sunni mosque and prostrated myself on rugs beside people of all ethnicities.

Here was what I deemed a truer Islam--the orthodoxy to which Malcolm had switched, the one most of Elijah’s followers opted for when the Nation of Islam waned after his death, the Islam to which most of America’s 135,000 annual converts, 80% to 90% of them black, belong.

On a plane to Senegal I sat next to a black American wearing a traditional Arab robe.  The man was headed to meet an imam, his spiritual leader, a black African Muslim.  I later met other black Americans who had spent years in Africa studying Islam.  Through research, I found that up to 35 percent of enslaved blacks brought to the New World were Muslim.  In converting, many black Americans may have been simply returning to the religion of their forefathers.

Over the years, I have come to understand what should have been obvious long ago--that Jesus had not forsaken my mother.  She died because God had willed it, regardless of what form my prayers took. 

Article Tools
PoorBest  Rate this article Rate it
Back to top Back to top
Print Print Save this article Save E-mail this article to a friend E-mail PDF Format PDF Format
Add a comment on this article Add a comment View or hide comments on this article View comments (No comments) Add this article to your favorites on this site Site favorites Add this article to Explorer favorites Explorer favorites
| More
Other Articles in the Same Category
Category: Articles > Stories of New Muslims > Men
Craig Robertson, Ex-Catholic, Canada (part 1 of 2): From Bad to Worse
Craig Robertson, Ex-Catholic, Canada (part 2 of 2): Learning to Accept
Eric Schrody, Ex-Catholic, USA (part 1 of 2)
Eric Schrody, Ex-Catholic, USA (part 2 of 2)
Bruce Paterson, Ex-Christian, UK
Dawood Kinney, Ex-Catholic, USA
Clinton Sipes, Ex-Christian, USA (part 1 of 2)
Clinton Sipes, Ex-Christian, USA (part 2 of 2)
Malik Mohammed Hassan, Canada
N.K., Ex-Catholic, USA (part 1 of 5)
N.K., Ex-Catholic, USA (part 2 of 5)
N.K., Ex-Catholic, USA (part 3 of 5)
N.K., Ex-Catholic, USA (part 4 of 5)
N.K., Ex-Catholic, USA (part 5 of 5)
Yusuf Estes, Former Christian and Federal Prison Chaplain (part 1 of 5)
Yusuf Estes, Former Christian and Federal Prison Chaplain (part 2 of 5)
Yusuf Estes, Former Christian and Federal Prison Chaplain (part 3 of 5)
Yusuf Estes, Former Christian and Federal Prison Chaplain (part 4 of 5)
Yusuf Estes, Former Christian and Federal Prison Chaplain (part 5 of 5)
Indrani and Chandara, Ex-Hindu, Singapore (part 1 of 3)
Indrani and Chandara, Ex-Hindu, Singapore (part 2 of 3)
Indrani and Chandara, Ex-Hindu, Singapore (part 3 of 3)
Radko, Ex-Atheist, Czech (part 1 of 2): Atheism to Christianity
Radko, Ex-Atheist, Czech (part 2 of 2): A Sewn Seed Grows Tall and Strong
Darrick Abdul-hakim, Ex-Christian, USA
Brandon Toropov, Ex-Christian, USA (part 1 of 2)
Brandon Toropov, Ex-Christian, USA (part 2 of 2)
Musa Caplan, Ex-Jew, USA
Muhammed Umar Rao, Ex-Hindu, Brahmin
Yousef al Khattab, Ex-Jew, USA
C.S. Mathos, Ex-Atheist, USA
Richard Leiman, Ex-Jew, USA
Abdul-Lateef Abdullah, Ex-Protestant, USA (part 1 of 2): Learning about Islam
Abdul-Lateef Abdullah, Ex-Protestant, USA (part 2 of 2): How Islam has changed my life!
Hussein Abdulwaheed Amin, Ex-Catholic, Ireland (part 1 of 4): Introduction and Personal Background
Hussein Abdulwaheed Amin, Ex-Catholic, Ireland (part 2 of 4): Investigating the Christian Resources
Hussein Abdulwaheed Amin, Ex-Catholic, Ireland (part 3 of 4): From Trinitarianism to Unitarianism
Hussein Abdulwaheed Amin, Ex-Catholic, Ireland (part 4 of 4): Statement of Theological Beliefs
Anthony Greene, Ex-Christian, UK
Dr. Ali Selman Benoist, Ex-Catholic, France
Ali, Ex-Christian, USA
Yahya Schroder, Ex-Secularist, Germany
Jim Cate, Ex-Christian, USA
Michael David Shapiro, Ex-Jew, Russia
Melech Yacov, Ex-Jew, USA (part 1 of 2)
Melech Yacov, Ex-Jew, USA (part 2 of 2)
Mariano Ricardo Calle, Ex-Catholic, Argentina
William, Ex-Jew, USA
Abdullah DeLancey, Ex-Christian, Canada
Donald W. Flood, Ex-Christian, USA (part 1 of 4)
Donald W. Flood, Ex-Christian, USA (part 2 of 4)
Donald W. Flood, Ex-Christian, USA (part 3 of 4)
Donald W. Flood, Ex-Christian, USA (part 4 of 4)
Poncardas Romas, Ex-Christian, Philippines
Muhammad Nazeeh Khalid, Ex-Christian, Egypt
A Muslim at Thirteen!
Josh Hasan, Ex-Jew, USA
Thomas Webber, Ex-Christian, UK
Heinz, Ex-Christian, UK
Khalil Ibrahim Abdulmajid, Ex-Christian, USA (part 1 of 2)
Khalil Ibrahim Abdulmajid, Ex-Christian, USA (part 2 of 2)
Jonathan Beale, Ex-Catholic, UK (part 1 of 2)
Jonathan Beale, Ex-Catholic, UK (part 2 of 2)
Jonathan, Ex-Christian, Canada
Charlie Alcala, Ex-Christian, Philippines
Troy Bagnall, Ex-Christian, USA
Anthony, Ex-Mormon, USA
Frank Estrada, Ex-Catholic, Romania
Wildeman, Netherlands
Tarik Preston, Ex-Christian, USA
Justin L. Peyton, Ex-Christian, USA
Maurice Alexander Gent, Ex-Christian, UK
James Farrell, Ex-Catholic, USA
Walter Gomez, Ex-Christian, USA
Ibrahim, Ex-Catholic, USA
Sa’ad Laws, Ex-Christian, USA
Jeremy Ben Royston Boulter, Ex-Christian, UK (part 1 of 7)
Jeremy Ben Royston Boulter, Ex-Christian, UK (part 2 of 7)
Jeremy Ben Royston Boulter, Ex-Christian, UK (part 3 of 7)
Jeremy Ben Royston Boulter, Ex-Christian, UK (part 4 of 7)
Jeremy Ben Royston Boulter, Ex-Christian, UK (part 5 of 7)
Jeremy Ben Royston Boulter, Ex-Christian, UK (part 6 of 7)
Jeremy Ben Royston Boulter, Ex-Christian, UK (part 7 of 7)
Dirk Walter Mosig, Ex-Catholic, Germany
Dr. Moustafa Mould, Ex-Jew, USA (part 1 of 5)
Dr. Moustafa Mould, Ex-Jew, USA (part 2 of 5)
Dr. Moustafa Mould, Ex-Jew, USA (part 3 of 5)
Dr. Moustafa Mould, Ex-Jew, USA (part 4 of 5)
Dr. Moustafa Mould, Ex-Jew, USA (part 5 of 5)
Jamal Jordan, Ex-Christian, USA
Martin Guevarra Abella, Ex-Catholic, Philippines
Sam Needham, Ex-Agnostic, UK
James, Ex-Christian, USA
Yusuf, Ex-Catholic, USA
James Den C.  Bedico, Ex-Christian, Philippines
Oved ben Aharon, Ex-Jew, USA (part 1 of 4)
Oved ben Aharon, Ex-Jew, USA (part 2 of 4)
Oved ben Aharon, Ex-Jew, USA (part 3 of 4)
Oved ben Aharon, Ex-Jew, USA (part 4 of 4)
Videos in the Same Category
Category: Videos > Stories of New Muslims > Men
James Accepts Islam
Ex-Agnostic, Australia
Ruben, an Ex-Atheist (part 1 of 2)
Ruben, an Ex-Atheist (part 2 of 2)
Shaheed, Ex-Christian, Canada
Abdul-Raheem Green, Ex-Christian, UK
Suhaib Webb, Ex-Christian, USA
Abdullah, Former Hindu, Canada
Robert, Former Christian, Canada
Umar Rao, Ex-Hindu, India
Nouman Ali Khan, Former Muslim-Atheist, USA
Jibreel, Former Christian, Canada
Babi Ali, Ex-Wiccan, USA
Yahya Cazalas, Former Christian, USA
Greg, Former Christian, USA
Eric Mason, Former Catholic, England
Renolda, Former Christian, USA
Jorge Garcia, Former Christian, USA
Clay, Ex-Evangelist, USA
James, Ex-Christian, USA
Musa Cerantonio, Ex-Catholic, Australia
Hussein Yee, Former Buddhist, Chinese
Abu Taubah, Former Catholic, USA
Danny, Former Christian, Latin American
2 Latino Muslims, Ex-Christian, Latino
Joshua Evans, Ex- Christian Youth Minister, USA (in detail)
Michael Storms, Ex-Convict, Canada
John, Former Christian, USA
Abdur-Raheem Green, Ex-Christian, UK (in detail)
Idris Tawfiq, Former Priest, UK
Muslim Belal, Former Rapper, UK/Jamaica
Abdur-Rahman, Ex-Secular, UK
Abu Bakr, Former Christian, Canadian
David Gullion, Former Missionary, USA
James, Former Christian, Scotland
Melvin Leblanc, Former Christian, USA
Justin, Former Christian, 12 Years Old
Abdullah Hakim Quick, Former Christian, USA (part 1 of 2)
Abdullah Hakim Quick, Former Christian, USA (part 2 of 2)
Mujahid Fletcher, Former Catholic, Hispanic
Mustapha Samios, Ex-Greek Orthodox, Australia
Khalil Gerard, Ex-Catholic, Phillippines
George, Former Christian, USA
San Thiago, Mexican Descent, USA
David, Sales Clerk, USA
Ibn Abbaas, Former Break Dancer, USA
Wesly Lebron, Ex-Christian, USA
Victor and Angela, Ex-Christian, USA
Martin, Ex-Methodist Christian, London
Ismail Bullock, Ex-Christian, UK
Abdullah Shetty, Ex-Hindu, India
Ahmed Nasir, Ex-Christian, Holland
Hernan Guadalupe, Latino, Ecuador
Hakeem Mahadeo, Ex-Hindu, New York
John, Ex-Christian, Oklahoma
Isa Balint, Ex-Catholic, Canada
Areeb Islam, Ex-Catholic, South Africa (part 1 of 4)
Areeb Islam, Ex-Catholic, South Africa (part 2 of 4)
Areeb Islam, Ex-Catholic, South Africa (part 3 of 4)
Areeb Islam, Ex-Catholic, South Africa (part 4 of 4)
Ibrahim Killington, Ex-Christian, United Kingdom
Legendary Gracie Jiujitsu Family
Abdallah Seymour, Ex-Christian, United Kingdom
Muhammad Amin, Ex-Christian, Scotland
Umar, Ex-Christian, Mexico
Yusuf Derbyshire, Ex-Christian, United Kingdom
Abdullah Hakim Quick, Ex-Christian, Canada
Diego Guadalupe, Ex-Christian, Eduador
Bilal, Former Christian, Germany
Jerome Clare, Former Christian, Canada
Rasheed, Former Christian, USA
Dawah Phil, Born Again Christian, French Canadian
Bill, Former Christian. UK
James Yee, Former Lutheran Christian, USA
Isa Islam, Former Hindu, USA
Alex, Former Baptist Christian, Canada
Boonaa Mohammed, Hip-Hop, Canadian
Esa Sorial, Former Roman Catholic, Philipines
Umar Abdullah Debois, Former Christian, USA
Dr. Nagisetty Mukunda Sudhir, Former Hindu, India
Bertram Grant, Former Christian, USA
Gareth Bryant, Former Chrisitan, USA
Ali, Former Christian, Sweden
B Dubble, Former Christian, UK
AbuBakr Islam, Former Christian, UK
David, Former Christian, USA
Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, Former Baptist Christian, USA
Kenneth, Former Christian, UK
Hamza Andreas Tzortzis, Former Catholic, Greece
Dr. Bilal Philips, Former Communist, Jamaica
Omar Eesa, Former R&B, UK
Imam Shadeed Muhammad, Former Christian, USA
Mansoor Ahmed, Former Atheist, USA
Former Hindu, USA
Bob Palmer, Former Christian, USA
Hamid, Former Evangelical, USA
Mahad Al Mustaqim, Former Gangster, Canada
Philip Howard, Former Christian, USA
Nazir, Former Atheist, USA
Antoine Bernardeau, Fromer DJ, France
Abu Taubah, Former Christian, USA
Arnoud Van Doorn, Former Islamophobe, Netherlands
Ameer Sharma, Ex-Hindu, UK
John Fontain, Christian, UK
Saad Tasleem, Former R&B, USA
Loon, Former Rapper, USA
Warren Kundis, Former Christian, Hawaii
Omar Dexter, Former Christian, UK
Yusuf Chambers, Former Atheist, Surrey
New Muslim Stories on a Panel (part 1 of 2)
New Muslim Stories on a Panel (part 2 of 2)
Andrew, Ex-Christian, Scotland
Cortney, Ex-Christian, UK
Ryan, Ex-Gamer, UK
Andrew, Ex-Christian, Scotland
Cortney, Ex-Christian, UK
Salahud-Deen, Typical Teenager, UK
Christopher Pavlicek, former Christian, USA
Adam Gillespie, Former Theist, Australia
Zakariah, Ex-Mormon, Canada
Ramiz Ibrhaim, Monotheist, Turkey
Keenan Penson, Ex-Christian, Puerto Rico
Baba Ali, Ex-Atheist, USA
Johari Abdul-Malik, Ex-Christian, USA
Preacher Moss, Ex-Christian, USA
James Yee, Christian, USA
Jamal ud-Deen Hysaw, Ex-Christian, USA
Abdullah Daniel Hernandez, Catholic, USA
Ilyaas Abdul Haq Bana & Gibreel Abdul Haq Bana, Former Athesit, UK
Mateen, Christian, UK
   

The Religion of Islam Home Page Home Page

Contact Us Contact Us

EnglishEspañol
FrançaisDeutsch
РусскийPortuguês
中文日本語
Italian

  Live Help by Chat  
Online daily:
From  to 
(according to your computer time)

  Login  
Username
Password
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No account? Register & Why?

  Most Popular  

  List Articles  

  Your Favorites

Your favorites list is empty.  You may add articles to this list using the article tools.


  Your History

Your history list is empty.

Disable recording my history