When Shams Alkamil first started at the University of Texas at Austin, she said she saw organizations for Muslim students and for black students but nothing was offered for students who identified as both. Alkamil, now a senior majoring in human development and family sciences, has recently founded the UT Black Muslims Alliance with the clear goal to celebrate Islamic culture and black excellence.
“I was thinking of starting UT Black Muslims Alliance some time ago, but honestly I was scared to,” Alkamil recalls. “What triggered me to start the organization this past summer was that my country, Sudan, was under horrible political and social strife and everyone around me was saying nothing.”
Student Ameen Williams says that while the university provides many resources for Muslim students, the Muslim black identity has been ignored for too long. “The school often fails to recognize the significant role America’s black population has played in laying the groundwork for the success of the religion in this country,”
According to a study by Pew Research Center, less than one-third of American Muslims are black.