Oral History Interview with Imam Mika’il Stewart Saadiq on September 26, 2020


Oral History Interview with Imam Mika’il Stewart Saadiq on September 26, 2020



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Saadiq, Imam Mika’il Stewart


Walid, Zayd; Perkins, Dr. Alisa (Research Director)


Oral history interview with Imam Mika’il Stewart Saadiq conducted by Zayd Walid on September 26, 2020. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Zayd Walid. Imam Mika’il Stewart Saadiq was born and raised in Detroit, growing up in a large multigenerational household with family members who worshipped at a local Baptist church. After graduating from McKenzie High School in the early 1990s, Imam Saadiq attended Prairie View A&M University in Texas, a Historically Black University. At the age of twenty, he embraced Islam after being exposed to the writings of Malcolm X, the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and references to Islam in hip-hop music. Imam Saadiq took his shahada with Imam Luqman Abdullah, the founder of Masjid Al-Haqq, who he describes as one of his most important teachers and guides, and joined Masjid Al-Haqq as his first Muslim religious home. After some creative exploration as a hip-hop artist, Imam Saadiq pursued a career as an educator, serving as a teacher and administrator at Al-Ikhlas Training Academy for more than a decade. Imam Saadiq served as Detroit Police Chaplain for several years in response to the rising visibility of police violence against African Americans. He later served as the community liaison advisor for Councilman Scott Benson in Detroit’s District Three. In the interview, Imam Saadiq reflects on the values and goals that have united his work as an imam, teacher, and community leader throughout his life. In this discussion, he emphasizes his motivation to eradicate white supremacy in local and national government institutions and the importance of service leadership and youth leadership in building strong African American and African American Muslim communities.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center)


Imam Luqman Abdullah, African Methodist Christian, African-American history, African-American Muslims, Afrocentrism, Imam Nadir Ahmad, Alabama, Al-Ikhlas Training Academy, Michael Angel, Assassination of Imam Luqman Abdullah, Banglatown, Baptist Christianity, Barton Elementary School, Basketball, Baylor University, Scott Benson, Birmingham, Black leadership, Black Lives Matter (BLM), Black Panther Party, Black pride, Block club, James Brown, Cab driving, Cadillac Automobile Company, Cadillac Motor Car Division, Camelot Movie Theater, Chaplaincy, President Bill Clinton, Community Liaison Advisor, Conversion to Islam, Crime Control Act of 1990, Cultural revolution, Dearborn, Detroit, Detroit Police Activities League (PAL), Detroit Police Chaplain, Detroit Police Department, Detroit Public Schools, Dream of Detroit, Drew Middle School, ‘Earth, Wind, and Fire’, Education, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Five-Percent Nation, Football, Aretha Franklin, Friday prayer service, General Motors Corporation, Golf, Freddie Gray, Halal food, Hip hop community, Hip hop music, Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Imam's role in America, Intergenerational relations, Iraqi Muslims, Iraqi-Americans, Islam, Islam in America, Islamic parochial school, Islamophobia, Michael Jackson, Joy Road, Jumu'ah, Junior block club, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Trayvon Martin, Masjid Al-Falah, Masjid Al-Haqq, Masjid Al-Noor, McKenzie High School, ‘Message to the Blackman in America', Michigan, Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Middle Eastern food, Midtown Detroit, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, Moorish Science Temple, Mosque, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Muslim Americans, Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, Muslim chaplain, Muslim community, Muslim Interscholastic Tournament (MIST), Muslims, Nation of Islam, National, Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), Neighborhood relations, Neighborhood security, Northwest Detroit, Nursing, Police brutality, Prairie View A&M University, Prophet Muhammad, Qur'an, Qur'an classes, Racism, Record collection, Relationship building, Religious accommodation for Muslims, Representation, Reversion to Islam, ‘Rose Royce’, School mascot, Segregation, Separatism, Service leadership, Signification of Muslim names, Sister Clara Muhammad Schools, Student Council President, Sunni Islam, Systemic racism, Taxi driver, Teaching, ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X', The Great Migration, True Love Missionary Baptist Church, President Donald Trump, Turban, Volunteerism, Warren Street, Wayne State University, West Side Detroit, Westside Steelers, White nationalism, White supremacy, Stevie Wonder, Woodward Eid Cruise, Woodward Dream Cruise, Woodward Street, World War Two, Youth leadership


African American Studies | Africana Studies | American Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Digital Humanities | Inequality and Stratification | Islamic Studies | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Religion | Urban Studies and Planning


Interview conducted by Zayd Walid at the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Zayd Walid. Interview recorded under the direction of Supervising Producer Malikah Shabazz with Razi Jafri. Videography by Tasneem Joseph. Video Edited by: Mandy Weiss. Transcribed by: Meghana Srinivasa. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata prepared by: Hannah Cole. Metadata edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins and Sophia Wimberley.



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Dream of Detroit Interviews were made possible by funding from the Pillars Grant and Whiting Foundation. Content is for educational purposes only and non-reproducible; interviews are not to be duplicated, but may be linked through ScholarWorks with appropriate attribution. Please direct any questions about copyright to scholarworks@wmich.edu.


Pillars Fund and Whiting Foundation


Dream of Detroit

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Oral History Interview with Imam Mika’il Stewart Saadiq on September 26, 2020