Recap: Award Ceremony for African & African American Muslim History Contest

Image of flyer with pics of Ilhan Omer, W. D. Mohammed, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Siraj Wahhaj

A Special Celebration: Honoring the Contributions of Muslims of African and African American Heritage

Image of flyer with pics of Ilhan Omer, W. D. Mohammed, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Siraj WahhajThroughout the month of February, ISLA hosted a contest inviting Muslim middle schoolers to submit presentations on a Muslim of African and African American heritage. This contest was a direct response to findings from ISLA’s research with Islamic school alumni conducted in 2021. Throughout many interviews, ISLA heard from participants who felt their Islamic schools could have done more to teach about the contributions of African American and African Muslims. This contest was launched to encourage Islamic schools to explore this history and help Muslim middle schoolers learn more. Moreover, the winning submissions will help create a resource library that students and teachers can tap into year after year.

Awards Ceremony

On February 28, 2022, an awards ceremony was hosted to recognize the efforts of over 100 students from across the US who participated in this inaugural contest. The celebration started with Nabel Hamza, a student from IANT Quaranic Academy (TX), reciting Surah Hujurat, verses 10-13.

quranic ayah with man looking up into galaxy

Following, Brother Salahuddeen explained the importance of visibility of African American Muslim and African Muslim achievements that are not often recognized and the general lack of information on their impact on history. Sr. Quran concluded with a powerful reminder about our responsibility to expand and nurture relationships and knowledge.

Surprise Guest Speakers

We had a few surprises for our student viewers, with messages of congrats and inspiration provided by prominent African and African American Muslim brothers and sisters.

Maryum Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali

Dr. Yusef Salaam, Member of Exonerated Five, activist, scholar and motivational speaker

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, former NBA Star, activist and motivational speaker

Submissions & Winners Selection

We had about 120 submissions of middle schoolers, all with special features and great information. Given the high caliber of the submissions, ISLA had to engage in a second round of judging for the top 10 submissions in each category, and a plagiarism check was run before confirming each winner.

ISLA is so proud of all of the contestants and would like to especially recognize this year’s winners.

6th grade Winners

1st- Ahmad Nisar

Ilm Academy GA

Muhammad Ali- Celebrating African and African American History

2nd-  Aliza Zafar

Quba Islamic School CA

Ibtihaj Muhammad: An Impressive African American Muslim Woman

3rd- Sakeena Maniar

Al-Rahmah School MD

Sumayyah Bint Khayyat

4th- Juhi Naeema

Good Tree Academy TX

Ilhan Omar

5th- Ayaan Riaz

Engineering and Science University Magnet School CT

Muhammad Ali ‘An American Boxer’

7th grade Winners

1st Ameera Qureshi

ILM Academy GA

Keith Ellison

2nd Ameera Smadi

Quba Islamic School CA

Life of Halima Aden

3rd Yara Shahadeh

Lexington Universal Academy KY

Nana Asma’u

4th Ayaana Abdul-Mateen

Al Madina School of Richmond VA

Fatima Al FIhri

5th Jenna Ahmad

Montessori School of Excellence TX

Ibtihaj Muhammad

8th grade Winners

1st  Inaya Khwaja

Herricks Middle School NY

How Halima Aden Debunks the Ideas Society has About Muslim Women

2nd Hadicha Abduvalieva

Faith Islamic Academy OH

Najashi: The Great King of Abyssinia

3rd  Fahmeeda Mohammad

Nur Islamic School of Louisville KY

Ibtihaj Muhammad: An African American Women, Hijabi, Athlete, & Fencer

3rd Ayyub Muhammad Dhamim

Bright Horizon Academy CA

Malcolm X

4th  Aisha Abdulbaqi

Nur Islamic School of Louisville KY

Ilhan Abdullahi Omar

5th Maha Shaikh

Noor-ul-Iman NJ

Sumayyah Bint Khayyat


Thank You Sponsors

ISLA wishes to express its gratitude to our sponsors for assisting us in recognizing the importance of African Muslim & African American Muslim history.


MyDeen, Islamic Magazine for Children logo



MyDeen, Islamic Magazine for Children


Kindness and Care Without Borders, facebook profile picture showing their work with the community


Kindness and Care Beyond Borders, Inc.




and, Qiblah Circle of Brotherhood & Sisterhood, a group of Muslim brothers and sisters who meet weekly to expand their understanding on a variety of topics.

Awards Ceremony Recording

Did you miss the awards ceremony? No worries, we’ve got a recording of it for you to watch!

ISLA plans to continue this contest annually. We will be posting the winning submissions on our website soon. We encourage you to come back and visit and browse through the spectacular presentations that the Muslim middle schoolers created for this important contest.




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