Islam in Jamaica

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Recently constructed Al Mahdi Mosque, Old Harbour By: Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at

The statistics for Islam in Jamaica estimate a total Muslim population of about 5,000.[1] There are several Islamic organizations and mosques in Jamaica, including the Islamic Council of Jamaica and the Islamic Education and Dawah Center, both located in Kingston and offering classes in Islamic studies and daily prayers in congregation. Outside of Kingston, organizations include Masjid Al Haq in Mandeville, Masjid Al-Ihsan in Negril, Masjid-Al-Hikmah in Ocho Rios, the Port Maria Islamic Center in Saint Mary and the Ahmadiyya Mahdi Mosque in Old Harbour.

The first Muslims in Jamaica were West African slaves, sold to traders, and brought to Jamaica on ships.[2] Over time most of them lost their Islamic identity due to forced mixing of ethnic groups. Mu’minun of African descent belonging to the Islamic nations of Mandinka, Fula, Susu, Ashanti and Hausa ceaselessly tried to maintain their Islamic practices in secrecy, while working as slaves on the plantations in Jamaica. By the time the slaves were liberated, much of the Muslim faith of the past had faded, and the freed slaves picked up the faith of their slave masters.

About 16 percent of the 37,000 indentured Indian immigrants who arrived to Jamaica between 1845 and 1917 were Muslims[citation needed]. Muhammad Khan, who came to Jamaica in 1915 at the age of 15, built Masjid Ar-Rahman in Spanish Town in 1957, while Westmoreland's Masjid Hussein was built by Muhammad Golaub, who immigrated with his father at the age of 7. The indentured Muslims laid the foundation of the eight other masjids established in Jamaica since the 1960s[citation needed], with the advent of an indigenous Jamaican Muslim community that now forms the majority of the Muslim populace on the island.

References[edit]

  1. ^ International Religious Freedom Report 2007 - Jamaica
  2. ^ Kettani, A. (1986). Muslim Minorities in the World Today. London: Mansell Publishing