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Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Convert To White Supremacy


Original guest post

By Hakeem Muhammad

In Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s recent op-ed, From Selma to Tunis: When Will We March Against the Segregation of Our Own Time, the Somalian ex-Muslim activist posits that segregation within Western liberal states is a phenomenon of the past. She asserts that racism impacting African-Americans has lessened, and that “a different group is [now] the victim of comparable legal discrimination that imposes segregation on them”: women in the Muslim majority world.

Ali’s entire political thought uses every tool in the arsenal of the White supremacist power structure: the myth of a post-racial America and the myth of American exceptionalism (i.e. “America treats women well; the problem is ‘over there’ in the Middle East”).

Ali’s celebration of the end to legal discrimination in the liberal Western world and promotion of the narrative of American exceptionalism obscures and conceals the systemic anti-black, anti-women violence that is structurally, physically, and psychologically present throughout the USA and further allows for its perpetuation.

Oppression of Women in “Liberal” States

When Black American women (such as Assata Shakur, Sister Souljah, Tynetta Muhammad), including converts to Islam discuss through speeches and books their oppression in living within a classic liberal state, they challenge the post-racial myth promoted by the likes of Ali.

In marked comparison to the royal treatment Ali receives, for these Black American women, the classic sapphire trope emerges, a narrative portrayal of the “angry Black woman” (in which Black women are seen as always complaining, with their issues never being taken seriously) is reinforced.

Black scholar Bell Hooks identifies capitalism, White supremacy, and patriarchy as three interlocking systems of oppression. Indeed, it is this oppressive paradigm which controls the narratives of women’s oppression that people listen to, sympathize with, and gain support for, and which is abandoned and neglected.

An illustrative example is when Black activist, political prisoner and exile, Assata Shakur states,”I am more concerned about the rise of the prison industrial complex that is turning our people into slaves again,” it hardly breaks through to the mainstream. Stories such as her’s, highlighting oppression under “enlightened” secular Neo-Liberal law garner minimal, if any, media attention.

In contrast, Ali’s story of oppression (exposed as filled with deception and lies) gets enough attention that she is lauded as a hero precisely because the values that she promotes are in line with the dominant White power structure.

It’s no wonder Ali’s demographic consists largely of New Atheists like Sam Harris, Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins whose racist views emanate from the very “enlightenment” that Ali constantly promotes with blind zeal.

Ali’s conclusion reiterates her claim that racial discrimination in Western liberal states has been significantly rolled back and then posits “liberal enlightenment” as the antidote to structural violence against Muslim women. A narrative that completely contradicts the reality of many Black women.

The reality of racial discrimination is not limited to Blacks but is also witnessed in the contemporary experience of long marginalized and oppressed Native-American women.

Native American women on reservations have been raped and receive no justice.

“We have serial rapists on the reservation — that are non-Indian — because they know they can get away with it,” …  Asetoyer was talking about the loophole that prevents tribal authorities, who have jurisdiction over crimes committed on Indian territory by Indians, from having any authority over non-Indian male abusers. That’s despite the fact that non-Indian men account for an estimated 80 percent of rapes of Indian women … the astronomical rate of abuse of Indian women is well documented by the federal government.

Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women’s Health Resource Center has stated, “It’s immoral that the Congress of the United States would stand there and say that Indian women are less than their White counterparts.” Native American victims of rape have been given little, if any, justice in the supposedly enlightened judicial system of the United States.

While Ali seeks to portray the liberal West as a role model for women’s rights—opposing the “backwards” Islamic world—such a portrayal is, as we can see, vastly inaccurate. Though the oppression of women, especially minority women is a systemic social problem in the US, less media attention has been given to it than to the stories of oppression of Middle Eastern women.

Not only have Native Americans throughout history been systematically dehumanized, raped, tortured, killed, and herded into reservations—with White settlers taking away their basic rights to land, voting, etc.—but this behavior still exists under the liberal law that Ali extols as a panacea for all the world’s ills.

In fact, some Native American women scholars such as Sandy Grande consider the modern-day attempts to assimilate Native Americans to liberalism as a continuation of the cultural genocide that began because of the differences between the worldviews and cosmology held by White settlers (not to mention sheer greed for land and “glory”).

Selma to Soweto: Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Post Racial/Post-Apartheid Myth

Ali asserts that the number of individuals oppressed by Islam “is vastly larger than the number that was affected 50 years ago by segregation and apartheid.” Despite Ali’s dogmatic New Atheism (which is purportedly based on rationality and empiricism), no credible evidence for her claim is given.

Ali portrays apartheid as a problem of the past, in reality, the Whites in South Africa still control the majority of the land, wealth, and other South African resources, while the much greater population of Blacks continue to be disproportionately impoverished and incarcerated.

The Native Law Act passed in South Africa confined the Native Black population to 7% of the land. In a 2013 study, Cherryl Walker and Alex Dubb determined that, “Whites as a social category still own most of the country’s land.” Thus, the end of de’jure racism has not signaled the end of structural racism.

Concerning America, Ayaan Hirsi Ali states: “the president was right to push back against the idea that nothing has changed since 1965.”

Instead of citing a politician with an agenda, Barack Obama, Ayaan Hirsi Ali would do better to look into the works of Obama’s professor at Harvard University, Derick Bell, who highlighted that while the legal system of racism may have changed, structural racism merely changed its modus operandi.

Even after the Fair Housing Act and Brown Vs. Board of Education, African-Americans continue to face racism from housing realtors and continue to be confined to impoverished and segregated schools. In a study on the impact of the Fair Housing Act passed in Chicago to outlaw racial discrimination, sociologist Douglass S. Massey notes that, due to practices such as redlining, racial steering, and block-busting that developed in the Post-Jim Crow era, “the level of Black-White segregation has hardly changed.”

In an empirical study titled, “The Prison Boom & Lack of Black Progress,” University of Chicago economists Derek Neal and Armin Rick examined Black and White income inequality, unemployment rates, and the increasing number of Black men in Chicago who are in prison. Neal and Rick concluded that: “the Great Recession has left most black men in a position relative to White men that is really no better than the position they occupied only a few years after the Civil Rights Act of 1965.”

The Raw truth

Yet, rather than addressing the de facto racism that has emerged as White supremacy hidden under a different guise, Ali prefers to focus on the “new segregation” of Islam. In her sloppy quoting of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., she cynically seeks to co-opt the African-American freedom struggle which is on-going and continuing, exclusively for her own Islamophobic ends.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not a hero following in the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement as she pretends. The raw truth is that Ali left Islam and effectively converted to White supremacy. Ali’s entire political thought uses every tool in the arsenal of the White supremacist power structure: the myth of a post-racial America and the myth of American exceptionalism.

As self-professed vanguards of “modern liberalism” turn their sights on Islam as the new big enemy, such actions only lead to more racism against Muslims (especially Muslim sisters) and cover up for deep structural and societal problems, rendering them invisible and/or trivial.

About the Author: Hakeem Muhammad is a 20-year old African-American Muslim who currently studies political science at West Georgia University. God willing, in the future he plans to study Islamic theology and be a positive force for social change. You can find him at his website and on twitter at @hakeemtheroots.

-Ali, Ayaan. “From Selma to Tunis: When Will We March Against the Segregation of Our Own Time?” The Huffington Post. Accessed March 28, 2015.

-Hooks, Bell. Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics. London: Pluto Press, 2000.

-Johannes G Hoovegeen et al. “Not Separate, Not Equal: Poverty and Inequality in Post-Apartheid South Africa,” William Davidson Institute (2005).

[1] Dissel & Kollapen. “Racism and Discrimination in the South African Penal System” – Accessed February 21, 2015.

Edited 3/30/15

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  • B.D.S

    Gosh, this white man burden thingy again, I thought we’ve already tried that many times before and failed miserably. As much as you and your ilks like to think otherwise, Muslim women are not interested in being your pet project to distract you from your failures, or to justify your wars and hatred against Islam, find another hobby fool.

  • AJ

    I think its Santiago. Same shit, new name.

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    “Your ISIS brethren illustrate pure Islam in action”
    I do love it when you and your fellow turd for brains consider people, who are denounced by infinitely more worthy and knowledgeable people (Muslims and, more specifically, Muslim scholars), as somehow practicing a pure Islam.

    sandra schmidt? I think you accidentally missed out your middle name and misspelt your surname. I’m pretty sure it should say “Sandra the Shithead.

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    Whilst you complain about women being “second class citizens” in Muslim countries, you still don’t address the fact that Hirsi Ali is a liar and an islamophobe.

  • AJ

    Says you?

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    Liked for your translation services. 🙂

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    In short, the likes of Nietzsche, Gadamer, Derrida, Levinas, Heidegger etc. all questioned and severely critiqued the assumptions and epistemological/ontological bases of the Enlightenment. They weren’t the first but I do feel they provided huge blows from a Eurocentric perspective to the whole project. There have been reactions against them but honestly a lot of it has been superficial.

  • sandra schmidt

    While you complain about racism, you still don’t address the fact that women are second class citizens in Muslim countries.

  • B.D.S

    That may be true (and it goes both ways). And I think the point DrM is trying to make is that Zionism is part of that structural racism, hence why it get much supports from racists.

  • Just_Stopping_By

    Okay, seems as if this was a tempest in a teapot. I’ve generally agreed with your points, so I’m glad that we are generally in agreement here as well.

    I do hope that you continue commenting on LW. Don’t let a few commenters that you disagree with deter you. As a political site, LW is bound to attract people from across the spectrum and, I think it’s to the site’s credit that it tends to let anyone who is not clearly spamming or personally abusive make comments here.

    And, let me further point out that what you said in your prior comment about “issues are so complex that they can’t be considered monolithic blocs” is relevant not just for AHA, but for this site and its detractors. AHA’s piece was really one of the clearest ones in trying to get around that, by creating her own taxonomy of Muslims (e.g., Mecca Muslims, Medina Muslims, etc.) so she could create a monolithic bloc that she could then demonize. It’s a tactic I have seen a lot of lately: taking a group and then parsing out just a subgroup or removing the good parts so that there is a “clean” group to attack. It’s just rare that it is done so blatantly as AHA has done it. I think it speaks much more to an unstated recognition on her part that saying that Islam in all its forms is evil is just not tenable, either as a factual matter or as a PR strategy.

  • Cengiz_K

    This woman certainly, and her ilk alike, gets too much attention..

  • Tighe McCandless

    It seems I might have misread your intent, then. I actually just noticed your second comment today. Not sure why I didn’t notice it before; I must have accidentally scrolled past it. What I perhaps should have said that, while confrontational, Muhammad’s point that Ali does not seriously disagree with the status quo is a salient one (and so, in effect, would benefit from the structural discrimination she briefly puts on blast in her editorial). In some ways, that’s a point technically true for everyone in a country that has a long history of discriminating against its minority populations and you’re part of the majority population but it always disturbs me, personally, to see someone in this minority use such things as an excuse to push some sort of agenda.

    I didn’t think you actually shared her opinions but I thought you were being too charitable towards her (in part, as I said, because I missed your second comment). I should have phrased myself better.

  • Just_Stopping_By


    I’m not sure where you find yourself in serious disagreement with me. I certainly think that AHA is engaged in pandering. But, even if she is pandering when she says “racism still exists,” I just think it’s both inaccurate and a poor PR strategy to say that she denies that racism still exists.

    As Garibaldi said, it’s very likely that this “a half-hearted caveat” on her part in acknowledging the real world. And I have no problem with anyone making that argument against her, in part because I think it’s likely true.

    I also agree with the general ideas in the rest of your comment. Maybe I’m just missing where you disagree with me, but I respect your opinions and am happy to reconsider anything I wrote in that light. And, just because I did not choose to focus my time on the subject of AHA’s pandering does not mean that it’s something that I like! :-0

  • Tighe McCandless

    I normally agree with you, JSB, but I do feel it’s blatant pandering (and yes, I did read the entirety of her op-ed). Ever since 1968, everyone and their grandmother uses King to justify something about their political position; conservatives tend to latch onto the notion that with his death, their complicity with things like Nixon’s ‘Southern Strategy’ are over. Liberals, at least some of them, tend to see his words to judge people by their characters and not their skin as an absolution after the Civil Rights Act of 1965 too. Ali picked a non-controversial figure, one of the most widely lauded public figures in recent American political canon, and beat the dead horse to push her agenda.

    Hypothetically speaking, there’s nothing wrong with using someone as a symbol to rally around (though cults of personality and the like are hard to divest from this). But she’s using someone who most liberals (her target audience) would say was a generally good person – not wholly of course, due to things such as his adultery, but in this instance that’s neither here nor there – and tries to use the same argument that many a conservative has used before. “MLK would not want us furthering discrimination. You don’t like discrimination. So why are you helping to perpetuate it by talking about it?” Or, as she sees it, not talking about it.

    The problem is is that not only is it a transparent ploy but it’s so condescending that it doesn’t even matter. As you mentioned, it’s eye roll worthy to go from advocating Islam be militarily defeated, along with all the attendant horrors that are unspoken with this suggestion you’d need to implement to achieve that, to pushing a book where she tries to ‘reform’ it. Muslims who are interested in having liberal interpretations of their faith don’t need to hear this; they’re presumably doing what they can to foster dialog that might lead others to take this approach as well. She is correct that no one should be allowed not to criticize something simply because they’re not a part of it – but who would ever want to sign up with a bunch of ‘white man’s burden’ types? That’s precisely what she’s saying. Western liberals need to guide the poor, uneducated masses (or at least take the initial charge) in trying to point out Islam’s problems, or perceived problems.

    It falls flat when one considers that people simply don’t like being told they’re wrong by those that are not like themselves. The most basic example of that is nationalism. For the U.S., it was briefly renaming French fries ‘freedom fries’; for Russia, it is banning items from countries it disagrees with politically after conveniently finding issues with the product(s) in question. Everyone gets defensive over this. It’s not to say that not challenging others’ opinions is a bad thing (of course it isn’t), but when you’re dealing with something as complex and delicate as religion, telling someone they believe in something barbaric and that they are effectively monsters in doing so will not win you friends except people who already agree with you. But we are more inclined to listen to others whom are like ourselves, I think, because then we feel more at ease with whatever it is they’re saying. It is the basest form of tribalism that exists but everyone is guilty of this at one point or another.

    It’s also dumb to say that if you might as well be supporting the pre-1965 American South if you’re not protesting the same things as she is, too. By this logic, as Hakeem Muhammad points out, she might as well not be a ‘true liberal’ either considering that she never once talked about the plight of Native Americans in her post. It’s as much of a non-sequitur as saying if one doesn’t actively go out and protest North Korea all the time, one is a juche apologist and Kim sycophant. Because one does not choose to focus their time on the subject doesn’t mean it’s something they like. LoonWatch often gets accused of not focusing on the ‘real’ issues that are occurring around the globe in Muslim-majority countries. “Since you’re not condemning their blasphemy laws, you’re an enemy of free speech!” Or, alternatively, “Your fellow travelers here have retrograde opinions on certain things!” Much to their chagrin, they can’t kick you out of the clubhouse and take your decoder ring for not thinking it sufficient to waste time or effort on something you already believe to be bad or morally unacceptable.

  • Razainc_aka_BigBoss

    Well in the case of West African slaves they were forcibly converted and most of them resisted and led large scale rebellions some even earned their freedom. And they also hid their practices and passed on what ever they could to their children but even that case their kids was forcibly converted and the ban on education among slaves and restrictions on assembly of slaves made it hard to pass on their traditions.

  • Ruhani

    Stockholm syndrome, anyone?

  • George Carty

    American slavery was an extremely intensive process, and not really practical to be imposed on the entire Muslim ummah. And I suspect Islam in the pre-Hispanic Philippines was very syncretic, different from the orthodox Islam in its MENA heartland. This probably made it far more vulnerable to the Catholic missionaries than orthodox Islam would be.

  • George Carty

    I suspect most of them have little love for Jews, and are only pro-Zionist in the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” sense.

  • Capt. JB Hennessy

    Hirsi is an appeaser. When she is on Fox News she wants to destroy Islam, when she is on the Daily Show she wants to reform it and when on Maher’s show it’s whatever Maher wants to hear.

    But that has been her history. When seeking asylum she claimed whatever the asylum seekers needed to let her get into the country. She was an abused fiance who was forced to marry a terrorist sympathizer for which she had the death penalty imposed on her.

    Then when she was caught lying to Dutch officials, according to her it really wasn’t the Dutch officials but Muslims who claimed she was lying in order to impose a death decree on her for leaving Islam which allowed her entry into the US.

    She basically nothing more than an old man with a Knight in shinning armor’s fantasy. She is the damsel in distress who needs to be rescued. That is why she makes claims that women in the West have been rescued by the White Man. That is why she downplays the Suffragette Movement. According to her men gave women everything in the West.

    And now its the women in Muslim countries who need their hero and it has to be the Great White Father aka Bawanna aka Sabjee aka Great White Hunter. She makes old men’s little boy fantasies feel realistic. That is why she never points out Muslim reformers male or females. Leaders of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia have been women.

    And Hirsi will never mention Doria Shafik. She was one of the upper echelon leaders of the women’s liberation movemement in Egypt the 40’s. In the 50’s she was actively engaged in ending British occupation of Egypt.

    She appeals to people like Pat Condel, Bill Maher, Rupert Murdoch, Sean Hannity, Sam Harris men who would stoop over carrying their own testicles, a rifle and full gear would just break their backs. They have a great need for her.

  • That is why I have joined the voices which have been calling for the destruction of all nuclear weapons, for decades, so that humanity can have a world free of nuclear weapons, and let the crazes kill each other, if they wish to do so, by countless conventional weapons they all have.
    Either out of nationalistic passion at best, or evil intent to dominate and exploit others at worst, have made all nuclear powers appear as a bunch of hypocrites who dare to demand from Iran not to be like them–another hypocrite.

  • ShunTheRightWhale

    You’d think there wouldn’t be anybody perverse enough to annihilate an entire world religion? Think of what the Nazis did to the Jews, they exterminated Jewry in Poland (killing about 2,800,000 of 3,200,000). Look what’s technically possible today: nuclear overkill, I bet the US alone could wipe out humanity several times! That’s the proud achievement of blind reason. The existence of the atomic bomb alone is testament to the willingness of humans to achieve the power to unmake themselves.

  • Laurent Weppe

    Remember the first rule: class trumps everything.

  • ShunTheRightWhale

    “Aufklärung ist der Ausgang des Menschen aus seiner selbst verschuldeten Unmündigkeit. Unmündigkeit ist das Unvermögen, sich seines Verstandes ohne Leitung eines anderen zu bedienen. Selbstverschuldet ist diese Unmündigkeit, wenn die Ursache derselben nicht am Mangel des Verstandes, sondern der Entschließung und des Mutes liegt, sich seiner ohne Leitung eines anderen zu bedienen.”
    Transl. from
    “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one understanding without guidance from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but rather of resolve and courage to use it without direction from another.”

    Since I am a degenerated continental, a fitting philosopher as expansion, Adorno:,1477344,2795116.html
    “Das Instrument, mit dem das Bürgertum zur Macht gekommen war, Entfesselung der Kräfte, allgemeine Freiheit, Selbstbestimmung, kurz, die Aufklärung, wandte sich gegen das Bürgertum, sobald es als System der Herrschaft zur Unterdrückung gezwungen war. Aufklärung macht ihrem Prinzip nach selbst vor dem Minimum an Glauben nicht halt, ohne das die bürgerliche Welt nicht existieren kann. Sie leistet der Herrschaft nicht die zuverlässigen Dienste, die ihr von den alten Ideologien stets erwiesen wurden. […] Eingespannt in die herrschende Produktionsweise löst die Aufklärung, die zur Unterminierung der repressiv gewordenen Ordnung strebt, sich selber auf. In den frühen Angriffen auf Kant, den Alleszermalmer, welche die gängige Aufklärung unternahm, ist das schon ausgedrückt. Wie Kants Moralphilosophie seine aufklärerische Kritik begrenzte, um die Möglichkeit der Vernunft zu retten, so strebte umgekehrt das unreflektiert aufgeklärte Denken aus Selbsterhaltung stets danach, sich selbst in Skeptizismus aufzuheben, um für die bestehende Ordnung genügend Platz zu bekommen.”

    My translation:
    “The instrument, with which the Bourgeoisie [civil society/middle class] attained power, unchaining of forces, gerneral liberty, self-determination, in short, enlightenment, turned on the Bourgeoisie, as soon as it [the Bourgeoisie] as a system of rulership was forced to supress. Enlightenment in its priciple doesn’t stop at the minimum of faith/belief required to uphold the world of the Bourgeosoisie [civil world]. It renders the rulership not the dependable service, that it recieved from the old ideologies. […] Harnessed into the ruling mode of production, enlightenment, which strives to undermine the order, which became repressive, dissolves itself. The early attacks on Kant, the smiter of everything, established enlightenment started, already express this. As Kant’s moral philosophy restricted his critique (as a process of Enlightenment) to save the possibility of reason, so in turn the unreflectedly enlighted thinking strived, out of self-preservation, always to abolish itself in skepticism, to create enough space for the persistent order.”

    “Das anti-autoritäre Prinzip muss schließlich ins eigene Gegenteil, in die Instanz gegen die Vernunft selber umschlagen: die Abschaffung alles von sich aus Verbindlichen, die es leistet, erlaubt es der Herrschaft, die ihr jeweils adäquaten Bindung souverän zu dekretieren und zu manipulieren.
    Nach Bürgertugend und Menschenliebe, für die sie schon keine guten Gründe hatte, hat denn auch die Philosophie Autorität und Hierarchie als Tugenden verkündigt, als diese längst auf Grund der Aufklärung zu Lügen geworden waren.
    Aber auch gegen solche Perversion ihrer selbst besaß die Aufklärung kein Argument, denn die lautere Wahrheit genießt vor der Entstellung, die Rationalisierung vor der Ration keinen Vorzug, wenn sie nicht etwa einen praktischen für sich aufzuweisen hat. Mit der Formalisierung der Vernunft wird Theorie selbst, soweit sie mehr als ein Zeichen für neutrale Verfahrungsweisen sein will, zum unverständlichen Begriff, und Denken gilt als sinnvoll nur nach Preisgabe des Sinns.”

    “The anti-authorian principle finally must revert into its own opposite, into the instance against reason: the abolishment of everything self-compulsory, that it creates, allows rulership to sovereignly decrete and manipulate respectively fitting compulsions.
    After civil virtue and philanthropy, for these it [philosophy] had anyway no good reasons, philosophy consequently proclamated authority and hierarchy as virtues, when they long since became lies because of enlightment.
    But even against such perversion of itself enlightment had no argument, because sincere truth has no preference to distortion, rationalization to ration, if it has no practical preference. With the formalization of reason, theory, as far as it wants to be more than a sign for neutral approaches, becomes an incomprehensible term, and thinking is only thought of as meaningful after the relinquishment of meaning.”

  • How can any force in the entire universe defeat Islam when it is the fastest growing religion among human beings everywhere, including the human beings of the West ? Islam, as a religion, simply cannot be defeated, regardless how hard a TROUBLED former Somali soul tries to propagandize for its defeat, with the current backing of an organization like the American Enterprise Institute which has hired her as a ” scholar ? ”
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been a complete failure since she left her country, Somalia:
    ~ She has failed in Saudi Arabia, ( her first stop ), after the Saudis welcomed her with open arms. Eventually she was kicked out or asked to leave by the Saudi authorities.
    ~ She has failed in Holland, ( her second stop ), which granted her a political asylum, based upon whatever she told the authorities. She was adopted by a political party there and that party had managed electing her to the parliament. The government of Holland granted her body guards for protection. Eventually, she was kicked out of the Political Party that had adopted her , and the government refused to extend government paid body guards to her any more.
    ~ The American Enterprise Institute, in Washington DC, has hired her as a ” scholar ? ” ( her third stop ) What would happen next to her evil intent, it is anyone’s guess.

  • Kataro Quasinzki

    Soon after the Muslim rule in present-day the Philippines came to end; many converts to Islam there converted to Christianity or animism. Also Muslim West African slaves were Christianized in the Americas.

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