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 Muslims Presence in America, Pre Columbus and Pre Slavery years
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America's Islamic Heritage Museum opened to the public on April 30, 2011. Located in Washington, DC it is a continuation of the traveling exhibition, Collections and Stories of American Muslims (CSAM) which was established as a non-profit in 1996. Before opening the museum, CSAM traveled domestically and internationally hoping to better inform the public of the early and continued presence of Muslims in America.

Throughout American history Islam has always been present as a cultural, political and religious influence. Muslims of various backgrounds have come to these shores in successive waves since the earliest navigators up until present day. The goal of America's Islamic Heritage Museum is to collect and preserve those stories for posterity.


The exhibits bring to life America's rich Islamic heritage with some eye opening photographs, documents, and objects, which reflect America's rich culture diversity connecting Muslims to early America. Our exhibits are empowering and insightful. They are great educational tools for the public.

Over the last few decades we have seen tremendous growth in the Muslim community. Today there are many Muslims across the country who are holding elected offices as local city council members, state representatives, mayors, and judges. We find Muslims in every profession, working as doctors, scientists, engineers, lawyers, teachers, and more.

Please come and visit us at our new location at 2315 Martin Luther King  Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20020. Phone 202 610-0586. You can visit us online at Facebook and YouTube.
Early History

The Early History

Pre Columbus & Pre Slavery Years

Compiled By Amir Muhammad

In Dr. Barry Fell’s book Saga America, he reports that the southwest Pima people possessed a vocabulary which contained words of Arabic origin. Dr. Fell also reports that in Inyo County, California, there exits an early rock carving which stated in Arabic:"Yasus ben Maria" ("Jesus, Son of Mary"). Dr. Fell discovered the existence of Muslim schools in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Indiana dating back to 700-800 CE.

By 1312, Mansa Musa’s brother Sultan Abu Bakri II of Mali made his second expedition on the Atlantic ocean. In 1324 on his famous journey to Hajj, Mansa Musa reported in Cairo that his brother had left him in charge of Mali. Anthropologists have proven that the Mandinkas under Abu Bakri explored many parts of North America via the Mississippi and other river systems. At Four Corners, Arizona writings show that they even brought elephants from Africa to the area.

In 1492, Columbus had two captains of Muslim origin during his first voyage, one named Martin Alonso Pinzon the captain of the Pinta, and his brother Vicente Yanex Pinzon the captain of the Nina. They were wealthy expert ship outfitters who helped organize Columbus’ expedition and repaired the flagship Santa Maria. The Pinzon family was related to Abuzayan Muhammad III, the Moroccan Sultan of the Marinid Dynasty (1196-1465).

October 21, 1492, Columbus admitted in his papers that while his ship was sailing near Gibara on the northeast coast of Cuba, he saw a Mosque on the top of a beautiful mountain. Ruins of Mosques and minarets with inscriptions of Qur’anic verses have been discovered in Cuba, Mexico, Texas, and Nevada.

In 1527, the Spanish explorer Panfilo de Narva’ez left Spain for the Americas. In his fleet he had five ships and six hundred people in his company. The expedition met with many hardships. Several ships were destroyed by a West Indies, hurricane and a group of Indians killed a large number of the remaining members of the party. Afterward, when only a few members of the expedition were left, Cabeza de Vaca, the former treasurer of Narva’ez took up the leadership of the remaining members of the party with Estevanico being among them.

Estevanico was called an Arab Negro, a Muslim who came from Azamore on the Atlantic Coast of Morocco. He was among the first two persons to reach the west coast of Mexico in an exploring overland expedition from Florida to the Pacific Coast. It’s reported that Estevanico acted as a guide and it took them nine years to reach Mexico City where they told stories of their travels.

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