Here is a list of some modern-day African American famous Muslims like Muhammad Ali, Keith Ellison, Imam Siraj Wahaj and others who have left a mark on the lives of American Muslims.
Muhammad Ali — Ali became a Sunni Muslim in 1975 and since then has been one of the most prominent black sports figures and recognizable Muslims in American history. A three-time World Heavyweight Champion and Olympic Gold medalist, he is arguably the greatest boxing champion the world has ever known.
Keith Ellison — In 2006, Ellison, a democrat from Minnesota, became the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. House of representatives. He made history when he took the oath on a Quran instead of the traditionally used Bible. Today, he continues to uphold his duties to his country, and has been an advocate for Muslim Americans.
Andre Carson — Following in Ellison’s footsteps, Carson became the second Muslim to be elected to Congress in 2008, as a representative from Indiana. He too is an advocate for Muslim Americans.
Sheik Adil Kalbani — The son of a poor immigrant from the Persian Gulf, Sheikh Kalbani made headlines in 2009 when he became the first black imam to lead prayers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. He said in an interview with the New York Times: “Any qualified individual, no matter what his color, no matter where from, will have a chance to be a leader, for his good and his country’s good.”
Imam Zaid Shakir — One of the most influential and well-recognized imams in the U.S. today, Imam Shakir became a Muslim in 1977, and has spent the last three decades committed to community activism and imparting knowledge to Muslim youth. He is also the co-founder of Zaytuna College, the first Muslim college in America.
Imam Siraj Wahhaj —Imam Wahhaj was the first Muslim to offer an opening prayer in Congress. He established Masjid Al-Taqwa in Brooklyn, and in 1988, the Imam led an anti-drug patrol to clean up the streets of his community. His efforts (which led 15 drug houses to close) were recognized and praised by the city of New York. He is also the leader of the Muslim Alliance in North America.
Imam Mohamed Magid — Committed to public service, Imam Magid has spent years working to foster interfaith dialogue and increase understanding of Islam and Muslims in America. He was elected as president of the Islamic Society of North America in September 2010 and is the current executive director of the ADAMS center in Virginia.
Abdalla Idris Ali - Ali has served in various capacities in the North American Muslim community since the early 1990s. These include as president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), member of the Fiqh Council of North America, as well as the much-loved and pioneering principal at ISNA’s full-time Islamic school in Mississauga, Ontario in Canada, a position he continues to hold today. Ali is a popular speaking and fundraiser at Muslim events across the continent.