Abdullah Andy Thomas Omowale

Andy Thomas, later known as Abdullah Bilal Omowale,  wrote an article which was published in the Muslim Standard July-August 1978 edition.  This is an excerpt from that article.  Andy was a  prisoner who stirred an international lobby for his pardon after being condemned to hang for murder of a Police Officer during the 1970 Black Power uprising in Trinidad.  Thomas, a journalist who was eventually pardoned and later died from cancer may Allah have mercy on his soul.  He was the author of "Islam soul of the humanity".  According to Andy's brother Richard's  posting on the internet: "Upon his post-clemency release, Omowale launched in several different ventures, all aimed at uplifting the lot of the socially-disadvantaged.  At the invitation of the Fidel himself, Omowale migrated to Cuba for a while, he having decided that the vastness of our northern Caribbean neighbour offered great promise for advancing trade between the two countries.    More than ten years have passed since Omowale died. His mortal remains lie within his grave of the Cunupia Muslim Cemetery. In adherence to Islamic precepts, his corpse was interred with the face turned towards Makkah."

 Articles by this Author

"The history of Islam and Muslim people in the Caribbean stretches back over one thousand years, predating  European contact by over six centuries. New researches are revealing evidence leading to the presence of Muslims in the ancient Americas long before the voyages of Columbus in the fifteenth century. Muslims were probably one of the most important contact people between the two worlds with the exchange of knowledge, agricultural products, livestock and other commercial items. A number of sculptures, oral traditions, eyewitness reports, artifacts, and inscriptions have been sighted to confirm this.

A report in “Before Columbus by Cyrus Gordan describes coins found in the southern Caribbean region off the coast of Venezuela. Two of these coins are Arabic of the eighth century AD. The author infers that a Moorish ship perhaps from Spain or North Africa seems to have crossed the Atlantic around 800 AD. In his book Mutirj, az-Zahab, in the year 956 AD, wrote about a young man of Cordoba in Spain named Kashkash lbne Aswad who crossed the Atlantic Ocean and returned in the year 889 AD.

A narration by Aboo Bakr b’Umar al Qutiyya relates the story of lbne Farrukh who landed in February 999 AD in Gando (Great Canary), visited King Guanariga and continued his journey westwards till he found islands he called Capraria and Phitana ash-Shareef al-Idreesi (1097-1155 AD) the famous Arab geographer reported in his extensive work “The geography of al ldreesi”, in the twelfth century, on the journey of a group of North African seaman who reached the Americas. al-ldreesi recorded that after captivity for three days a translator came speaking the Arabic language and translated for the King and questioned them about their mission. ‘This astonishing historical report clearly confirms the fact that the contact between the two worlds had been so involved that the native people could speak Arabic!

In October 1929, a map in parchment was discovered in the library of Serallo in the city of Istanbul made in Muharram 919 AH (March 1513 AD). This map represented the western zone of the world. It comprised the Atlantic Ocean with America and the western rim of the world. The other parts of the world, which undoubtedly the map also included, have been lost.

Despite the numerous voyages taken by the Muslims of Spain and North Africa, their contact remained limited and fairly secretive. The most significant wave of Muslim explorers and traders came from the West African Islamic Empire of Mali. When Mansa Moosaa, the world-renowned ruler of Mali, was enroute to Makkah during his famous pilgrimage in 1324 AD, he informed the scholars of Cairo (Egypt) that his predecessor had undertaken two expeditions (the first with two hundred ships and the second with two thousand ships) into the Atlantic Ocean in order to discover its limits. This is reported by al’Umari in his “Masaalikul? Absaar Mamaalikul-Amsaar”.

The renowned American historian and linguist, Leo Weiner of Harvard University in 1920 wrote a controversial but well documented work entitled, “Africa and the Discovery of America”. He proved in it that Columbus was well aware of the Mandinka presence and that the West Indian Muslims had not only spread throughout the Caribbean, Central South America, but they reached Canada and were trading and intermarrying with the Iroquois and Algonquin Indian nations!

Numerous cultural evidences of Mandinka presence has been established in Brazil, Peru, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, Mississippi, and Arizona. In the Daily Clarion of Belize on November 5, 1946, P. V. Ramos in an article entitled, “History of the Caribs” wrote,

“When Christopher Columbus discovered the West Indies around the year 1493 AD he found there a race of white people (i.e. half breeds) with woolly hair whom he called ‘Caribs’. They were seafaring hunters and tillers of soil, peaceful and united. They hated aggression. Their religion was Mohammedanism (Islam) and their language Arabic.” This reveals another part of the pre-Columbian African hereditary legacy left with the ‘Carib’ people from whose name we derive the word ‘Caribbean’."  taken from here.

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