About Miracle in America

Miracle in America (MIA) is a multimedia legacy project. "Legacy" is about life and living and what remains when we are gone—it is about learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future. 

The goal of Miracle in America is to leave a legacy by capturing the rich stories of African-American Muslims about their journey to Islam and how Islam has impacted their lives.  The stories will be firsthand accounts told by African-American Muslims themselves who have lived and followed the Islamic way of life in the U.S. for many years and are thus part of Islam's rich living history and legacy in the West.

MIA is a multimedia project whose goal is to produce a documentary series, publish a coffee table book, gather oral histories, and organize community events in which the documentary trailers will be screened, panel discussions will take place, media workshops will be presented, and interviews will be conducted centered around encouraging African-American Muslims to embrace, share, and record their unique stories and history. 

Finally, it is our wish that many will be inspired for generations to come, by learning about how the guidance in the Qur'an transformed the lives of millions of Americans and produced modern day miracles in the form of personal spiritual transformation and community development. We also hope that through the MIA project, the truth about Islam will be explained and misunderstandings will be dispelled. The history of African-American Muslims is rich and relevant to American history and therefore must be told.  

What is the Mission of Miracle in America?

The mission of Miracle in America is help African-American Muslims leave a rich legacy by creating an archive of stories that are self-defined, self-determined, and empowering about the growth and transformation their souls and lives have undergone as a result of becoming Muslim. Unlike previous attempts by non-Muslims to tell these stories, Miracle in America gives African-American Muslims the opportunity to tell their stories for themselves and in their own words and  provides them an outlet to present their dynamic experiences and brings honor to the significant and historical contributions Muslims and Islam has made to American history and culture. 

America is a country founded on the premise of “freedom of religion”.   As African-American Muslims exercising our right to freely practice our religion and share those experiences with others, we can help build understanding and tolerance within American society, and in so doing can help establish a more peaceful and productive coexistence.

What is Oral History?

Oral history is an organized and systematic collection of living people's testimony about their own experiences.  We all have stories to tell about our lives—stories we have lived from the inside out.  We naturally organize the memories of our lives into these stories and it is through oral history that these stories are collected. Historians recognize that the everyday memories of everyday people, not just the rich and famous, have historical importance. If we do not collect and preserve our memories—our stories—then one day they will disappear and be forgotten.  In collecting oral history, we have a sense of catching and holding onto something valuable from the receding tide of the past. Oral history gives participants a sense of accomplishment. The means of collecting oral history can vary from taking notes by hand to recording audio and video.

Who are the Producers and Organizers of Miracle in America?

The Miracle in America project  was initially spearheaded by a husband and wife team, Nashid Abdul-Khaaliq and his wife Akanke Rasheed.  Akanke was inspired with the idea to tell the stories of African-American Muslims because of the convergence of two events in her own life—her becoming a television producer then becoming a Muslim within a close proximity of time in the early 90s in Atlanta, Georgia.   Nashid returned to Allah in February 2018 and Akanke's desire is to move forward, with the help of a core group of supporters, to fulfill the vision she and her late husband had.  

Akanke has a degree in Film and Television from Georgia State University where she also studied Cultural Anthropology. She accepted Islam in 1992 after reading the Qur'an, which deeply moved her because of the clarity and answers it provided. She took her shahadah (declaration of faith) at the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam. This historic community incubated Akanke's growth over the years.  Today she sees herself as an idealist who embraces the ideal of Muslim sister/brotherhood—united under tawheed (belief in the Oneness of GOD) and the guidance of Qur'an and sunnah (the way of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him). 

Since 1990, Akanke has been an independent television producer with a strong commitment to community-based programming. From 1991 to 1996 she produced the popular live talk shows, The Africentric Agenda and Creating Empowerment, which aired on local cable networks in Atlanta. In addition to her credits as a television producer she has hosted other television programs including ConversationsInner Views, and Faith and Good Works.  She has also appeared in short films, corporate videos, and has worked as on-screen and voice talent in television and radio.

The Importance of Storytelling

Storytelling is a very powerful way to share experiences.  The Miracle in America project aims to encourage African-American Muslims to tell their rich and meaningful stories because of the impact it can have on their own lives as well as the lives of others.  Following, are some quotes that describe the importance of storytelling: 

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

— Maya Angelou


“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”

 – Native American Proverb


 

It has been said that next to hunger and thirst, our most basic human need is for storytelling.

— Khalil Gibran


 

‘At the most basic level "Telling the Story" is a means of transmitting ideas from one person to another. Storytelling is a part of life, intrinsic to most cultures. They help people make sense of the world--life’s experiences, dilemmas and hardships. Stories can educate, inspire and build rapport. They are a means of communicating, recreating, and helping preserve cultures by translating memories into a more concrete manner that can be handed down verbally or in written form. Telling the story can provide the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of one’s experiences and oneself. Each person has a unique story, unlike any other. These stories are constantly changing and being rewritten, reconstructed, even discarded from the moment we are born until we die. Stories help make sense of the insensible. Forming a story about one’s life experiences improves physical and mental health.  Storytelling can be regarded as one of the oldest healing arts…”

-Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS, FAAETS, Ph.D in Life Changes


“Telling stories has long been recognized as an important part of healing, self-knowledge and a personal and spiritual vehicle for connecting us to other people and to God. It is a means for understanding ourselves and our place in the world. We conceive of our lives as a web of stories - a historical novel or a mini-series in the making. We tell stories in order to live. We use stories to construct meaning and communicate ourselves to another. Stories help us organize and make sense of the experiences in life. Stories are mighty, however, not only because we shape our lives through them but also because they have the power to unsettle the lives we have comfortably shaped by them. Weaving together the human and the divine enables us to hear our own stories retold with clarity and new possibilities; our lives are transformed in the telling. 

- William Kilpatrick, author of Books that Build Character

The Miracle in America project aims to be a project that will actively engage the community, in shaa Allaah.   We are excited to meet and engage with Muslims around the country to empower them to capture their rich stories, in shaa Allah, and we pray that the desire and passion to tell our stories will continue and spread from generation to generation.