The Melungeons
An Untold Story of Ethnic cleansing in America

N. Brent Kennedy

(This is a summary of the article developed by Dr. A. Zahoor.)

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In Spain the Muslims were known as 'Mudajjan' a word probably related to the term Melungeon. There is little doubt that Muslims played an early - and perhaps the earliest - role in the permanent settlement of this Nation. Ethnically, many of the Santa Elena colonists were Berber Muslims and Sephardic Jews, recruited by the Portuguese Captain Juan Pardo.

On July 31, 1502 Christopher Columbus recorded his encounter with strange people on a strange ship off the island of Jamaica. Unlike the Jamaican Indians, these people wore clothing: sleeveless shirts and with showy colors and designs, and their women covered their faces like those Columbus had seen in Muslim Granada. In 1527, the first land crossing of the US by an non-Native American most likely was achieved by Azemmouri, a Moroccan Berber, a Muslim. In 1654, the English explorers reported a colony of bearded people wearing European clothing, living in cabins smelting silver and dropping to their knees to pray many times daily, wherever they might be. The early 17th Century Powhatan Indians description of Heaven is nearly word for word the description found in the Holy Qur'an. Tennessee Governor John Sevier records a 1784 encounter in what is now Western North Carolina with a dark-skinned, reddish-brown complexioned people supposed to be of Moorish descent who claim to be Portuguese. In east Tennessee in late 1700's Jonathan Swift, an Englishman, employed dark-skinned men who were known as "Mecca Indians."

The Melungeons, pushed off their lands, denied their rights, often murdered, always mistreated, became an embittered and nearly defeated people. Over the ensuing decades, in a vain effort to fit in with their Anglo neighbors, they lost their heritage, their culture, the names and their original religion but not their genetic structure. The descendants of the Melungeon people are everywhere, especially those who have ancestors from the South-East US, of any race with the following surnames: Adams, Adkins, Bell, Bennett, Berry, Bowling, Chavis, Coleman, Collins, Gibson, Goins, Hall, Jackson, Lopes, Moore, Mullins, Nash, Robinson, Sexton and Williams. The Melungeons, though most today are Christian, are the living legacy of Islam's first wave of immigration to the New World.

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Allah: Allah is the proper name in Arabic for The One and Only God, The Creator and Sustainer of the universe. It is used by the Arab Christians and Jews for the God ('Eloh-im' in Hebrew; 'Allaha' in Aramaic, the mother tongue of Jesus, pbuh). The word Allah does not have a plural or gender. Allah does not have any associate or partner, and He does not beget nor was He begotten.
pbuh: Peace Be Upon Him. This expression is used for all Prophets of Allah.   Jesus, The Son of Mary (pbut), in the Holy Qur'an.


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Copyright © 1994 Brent Kennedy and 'Islamic Horizons', an ISNA Publication.
Copyright © 1998 Web Version by Dr. A. Zahoor.

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