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28956: Can Nekita share this 5-02 article with another forum (fwd)
I have a 1995 article on an Islamic group in Haiti: ^The Mandingues of
Morne Rouge, Haiti.^ In Melville J. Herskovits: The Man and His Work. Mette
Shayne, comp. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Library.
From LeGrace Benson re Islam in Haiti. In brief, the first captives brought
into St. Domingue were from Islamicised sections of West Africa, and many
were apparently practitioners of Islam. However the presence of Islam in
St. Domingue would have been subject to the edicts of both Church(Vatican)
and State --the Kings of France and Spain-- which sought sytematically to
obliterate Islam from the face of the earth. Remember that the Expulsion of
" Infidel" Muslims and Jews from Spain took place in 1492 just before
Colombus set sail for the Americas. Some Muslims and some Jews took refuge
in the Americas, especially in Brazil and in certain sections of the eastcoast
of North America. Muslims coming to Haiti would have been captivesfrom e.g.
Malinke, Bambara, etc..
A second motivation for suppressing Islam would have been that because they
all (including women) were supposed to learn to read the Qur'an, to be able to
write and recite, they would have been literate and therefore "dangerous."
There are other features of Islam that would have seemed highly undesirable to
have present in an enslaved population. There is however a thin filament of
Islamic ideas, phrases and graphic images still to be found in Haiti. There is
even an Islamic community in the North, apparently founded by Senegalese
fleeing French oppression to the new hope and promise of the First Black Republic.
They came sometime after 1804 and their decendants still practice an
attenuated form of Islam. Haitian scholar Clerisme' has documented some of their
ceremony. Haitian historian, the late Jean Fouchard has many interesting
observations about Islam presence in Haiti, especially in Les Marrons du Syllabaire. One
should keep an eye and ear out for the survivances.