by Sapelo Square

In a 2015 post for Al Jazeera, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar narrates his journey to Islam and how Black identity is central to his conversion story. Like many, Abdul-Jabbar was deeply moved by The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Abdul-Jabbar recalls how he was transformed by Malcom’s journey and the impact it had on his life: “I was riveted by Malcolm’s story of how he came to realize that he was the victim of institutional racism that had imprisoned him long before he landed in an actual prison. That’s exactly how I felt: imprisoned by an image of who I was supposed to be.”

Inspired by Malcolm, Abdul-Jabbar sought his own freedom, and his path of self-realization led to Islam. Islam responded to his desire to connect with his African heritage and also provided a means to meet the racial challenges of the 1960s and 1970s.

Islam responded to his desire to connect with his African heritage and also provided a means to meet the racial challenges of the 1960s and 1970s.

Yet, his personal transformation did not come without its costs. He dealt with strained family relationships and also disappointment from his fan base who wanted him to be “a clean-cut example of racial equality” that proved racial progress when he knew the truth was quite different.

His conversion was a private declaration of faith that happened to take place on a very public stage; yet, his move from an identity he was given to one that he chose for himself is a path worn by many who are Black and Muslim in the United States.

Click on the link to access the original post. http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/3/why-i-converted-to-islam.html

 

Image Credit: www.hoopsvibe.com
Kimberly Harper

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