I've just been reading about this so here's my 2¢ on the topic.
Islam was spread during the reign of the Ottoman Empire that flourished from around the Middle Ages to about 1956. It was not forced on the African people - they practiced their own religions. As a matter of fact, due to the conglomeration of people living under Ottoman rule, the Ottomans allowed for the different peoples to practice their own religions and even follow their own laws while still under the Sha‘aria- Islamic Law. They allowed this because Christians ahd Jews were considered people of the book.
This is why they were able to govern such a vast empire for as long as they did. Islam was still, however the dominant religion and people of other religions did face persecution and prejudice - one was first a jew, a muslim, a christian, before they were an arab or an ottoman or an armenian.
They considered Islam the complete truth, that which was revealed in whole to Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). Everybody else, especially the Christians, knew only half the truth and were in effect "half intelligent" or half conscious of the truth. i.o.w they were stubborn halfwits for not accepting Islam as the one true religion, which justified their being unable to secure or rise to high positions outside of their millets or religious communities.
"You know what he's saying? 'Black man can't throw me out.' You know where he's saying it? In the parking lot." -Morgan Freeman, Lean On Me
"The Pentagon announced yesterday that US and British planes had struck Iraqi air defense sites south of Baghdad. Defense officials say the President wants to send a clear message to the Iraqi government that he knows exactly where Iraq is." -- Tina Fey, Weekend Update
"Sesame Street Workshop announced this week that they are laying off 60 workers. At a brief press conference a spokesman for the company said "60! Sixty fired workers! A-ha ha ha ha!" News of the firings was brought to the employees by the letters 'F' and 'U' . " -- Jimmy Fallon, Weekend Update
"God is sufficient and disposer of affairs - Mos Def
````````````````````````````````````````` "She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life." --Frances E. Willard, How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle
Bicycling is the nearest approximation I know to the flight of bir