Tony Simmons

The story of “America’s First Muslims: From Chains to Civil Rights” will be explored in a presentation at Florida State University Panama City on Feb. 23. Hadia Mubarak, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Religion at Queens University of Charlotte, N.C., will lead the discussion as part of the university’s Black History Month events.

“This is a part of American history that has been overlooked or neglected, and I'd venture to say that many members of the Muslim community may also be unfamiliar with it,” said Mubarak, who teaches courses on Islam, comparative scriptures, women and gender in the Muslim world, the history of Islam in America, and religious representation in popular culture, among other courses.

The lecture is part of the ongoing Illumination Event Series at FSU PC. The workshops and forums throughout the year encourage the community to engage in meaningful conversations and educational opportunities. Illumination lectures provide opportunities to hear different viewpoints and learn from unique experiences. For more information on the series, visit

In commemoration of Black History Month, this seminar will provide an overview of the history of Muslims in the United States through the historical accounts of enslaved Muslim Africans, such as Job ben Solomon (or Ayyuba Diallo), Yarrow Mamout, Omar ibn Sayyid, Abdul-Rahman Ibrahim and others. 

Mubarak completed her Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Georgetown University, where she specialized in modern and classical Qurʾanic critical interpretation, Islamic feminism, and gender reform in the modern Muslim world. She currently serves as a scholar-in-residence with the Muslim Community Center of Charlotte, a Board of Advisors member with the Carleton Center for the Study of Islam, and a scholar with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. Mubarak was the first female elected president of the national Muslim Students Association.

Her new book, “Rebellious Wives, Neglectful Husbands: Controversies in Modern Qurʾanic Commentaries” (Oxford University Press, 2022), explores significant shifts in commentaries on the subject of women against the backdrop of broader historical, intellectual and political developments in twentieth-century North Africa. 

As a field researcher, Mubarak conducted on-site interviews and surveys with a range of Muslim scholars, government officials, activists, students and journalists in Qatar, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan and India and published an analysis of these surveys in “Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization” (The Brookings Institution Press, 2008). For more about her work, visit

The event will be from 6-8 p.m. on Feb. 23, in the St. Joe Community Lecture Hall at the FSU PC Holley Academic Center, 4750 Collegiate Drive, Panama City. Admission is free.