More Blacks see the Muslim message as an appealing alternative to Christianity.

An intense battle for the souls of inner-city Blacks is being waged between Christian churches and Black Islamic groups such as Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. To the alarm of urban Christians, most Muslim groups in the United States have grown rapidly in the past few years, especially among African Americans.

“Sixty to 90 percent of all converts to Islam in the U.S. are Black, and most of these are former members of Christian churches,” says Mike Wilson, director of Project Joseph, an African-American ministry that educates Black Christians about Islam and many other religious groups in order to stem their growth. “If the conversion rate continues unchanged, Islam could become the dominant religion in Black urban areas by the year 2020.”

“More and more church members are telling me how their brother and sister has not only converted to Islam but is now in the process of evangelizing them,” says Carey Casey, pastor of Lawndale Community Church in urban Chicago. Underscoring Casey’s point is the fact that Farrakhan himself used to be an acolyte in the Episcopal church.

It is for these reasons that Project Joseph’s Muslim Awareness seminar has been in high demand in different Black urban areas across the country. Last month, in Southern California, several hundred members from West Angeles Church of God in Christ, led by Bishop Charles E. Blake, attended the seminar, which included nearly 100 members from a nearby mosque who wanted to keep close tabs on what the Christians were saying about them.

An appealing message

The Nation of Islam, while one of the smaller of nearly a dozen Black Islamic groups, is the most visible, having had Elijah Muhammad ...

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