At Shadow and Act, Tambay Obenson posted a video about the rise of Islam in Brazil’s favelas. The clip, from France 24’s This Week in the Americas feature, consists of interviews of young Muslim men who were introduced to Islam by American hip hop music, which in the late-1980s and early-1990s had links to mainstream Islam, as well as to the Nation of Islam and its splinter groups such as The Five Percent Nation. This not only manifested itself in the names of rappers (e.g., “Rakim Allah”) but also in lyrical content (Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back (1988) immediately comes to mind). Though Brazilian favelas have received notoriety in the US for their gangs and, to a much lesser degree, music culture, as portrayed in two films, City of God (2002) and Favela Rising (2005), religion has yet to play a significant part in how the US understands them. As the host of the feature notes, it is difficult to measure the growth of Islam in Brazil precisely. But he offers this staggering fact: mosques and prayer-rooms have grown fourfold in less than a decade in Brazil.
(Hat Tip: Danyel Smith)