Malcolm Little, born in 1925, became a drug addict and petty criminal. He converted to Islam while in prison, named himself Malcolm X, and began a quest for knowledge that continued throughout his life. Affiliated with the Nation of Islam, he became disillusioned with its teaching of black supremacy and after traveling in Africa and the Middle East, and making Hajj in 1964, he embraced the teachings of orthodox Islam and took the name Al-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz. In 1965 he was assassinated. “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” is considered one of the most important nonfiction works of the 20th century.
Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. in 1942 in Kentucky, is a former professional boxer, generally considered one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of the sport. Arguably the most recognized and loved sports figure of the past 100 years, he was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC. Ali is also known for his dedication to his faith, his principled stance against the Vietnam War, his humanitarian work, and his fundraising for research on Parkinson’s disease.
Olajuwon, a 12-time NBA All-Star, led the Houston Rockets to two NBA championships. After he retired in 2002, his #34 jersey was retired by the Rockets, and a monument honoring him is outside the Rockets’ arena. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
Keith Ellison and Andre Carson
In 2006, Keith Ellison was the first American Muslim elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He is now in his fourth term representing a Minnesota district. In 2008, another Muslim, André Carson, won a congressional seat for Indiana.
Fazlur Rahman Khan
Acclaimed as an engineer and architect, Khan designed systems for high-rise building construction. Two of his most notable achievements are Chicago’s John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower.
CNN talk show host and editor-at-large for TIME magazine
Dr. Mehmet Oz
Surgeon and TV host
Owner of an NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars
Co-founder of YouTube