I saw them for the first time the year I turned thirty. Three months apart. There they were, both of them, looking back at me in black and white photos that I held in my hand.

That a Black, West African Muslim exists in the world today should not come as a surprise. The spread of Islam into Africa dates as far back as the middle of the seventh century with the faith spreading to West African regions that now comprise modern day Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.