Close this search box.

CAIR-GA Action Alert: Urge Georgia Legislators to Stop Theft of Land, Take Notice of Public Corruption on Sapelo Island 

CAIR-GA Action Alert: Urge Georgia Legislators to Stop Theft of Land, Take Notice of Public Corruption on Sapelo Island 

(ATLANTA, GA, 6/15/2023) – The Georgia chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia) is calling on all Georgians to urge their representatives to take notice of and stop public corruption and theft of land on Sapelo Island.  

[MEDIA ADVISORY: This July, CAIR-Georgia is working with Sapelo Island Geechee descendants to bring Georgia legislators on a tour of Sapelo Island. This tour aims to bring awareness about the existential threat faced by the Geechee people due to harmful state and county policies. CAIR-Georgia plans to suggest policy changes that can safeguard the survival of the indigenous population.  

CONTACT: CAIR-GA Deputy Director Azka Mahmood, [email protected], (678) 653-5822]   

Sapelo Island is home to the descendants of Bilali Muhammad, one of the first enslaved Muslims to be brought to Sapelo Island. The state of Georgia is forcing Bilali Muhammad’s descendants, the indigenous people of Sapelo Island, off their land through alleged corruption, land grabbing, and intimidation. 

The Hogg Hummock community on Sapelo Island has been fighting for their right to exist on the island for decades. Over the last two years, CAIR-Georgia has been working alongside the Hogg Hummock community as strategic partners and advocates. CAIR-Georgia has studied and amplified the needs of Sapelo Island residents and attended meetings with State departments as Hogg Hummock supporters.   

SEE: CAIR-Georgia Welcomes Federal Settlement Agreement Between Sapelo Island Gullah Geechee Residents and Mcintosh County, Notes More Work to Be Done  – CAIR Georgia   

The state of Georgia provides few basic services to the indigenous taxpayers of Sapelo Island and its agency established for the purpose of protecting the indigenous people, history, and culture on the Island Sapelo Island Heritage Authority (SIHA) has utterly failed to have any positive impact. The county has used tax hikes as a mechanism to remove these impoverished families out of their ancestral lands so that developers can turn this island into a tourist destination. There is a substantial risk that the county will impose further tax hikes in the future. Further, the county’s selective application of building codes puts indigenous landowners purposefully at disadvantage.     

Activists say the government is erasing all signs of the indigenous culture, artifacts, and history through willful neglect. A thriving land of 13 Gullah Geechee communities is now reduced to one community and 26 indigenous residents.   

TAKE ACTION NOW. Help us reclaim the history of Islam in Georgia. Speak up alongside the people of Sapelo Island to keep their land and heritage. Stop the colonization and dispossession of land taking place right here in Georgia.    

 Urge Georgia Legislators to Stop Theft of Land, Take Notice of Public Corruption on Sapelo Island 


BACKGROUND:  The barrier island of Sapelo in Georgia was home to some of the first Muslims in the United States. Bilali Muhammed, an Islamic scholar from West Africa was enslaved and brought to a plantation on Sapelo Island. He is known for the Bilali Document, which is the first known Islamic text written in the United States and referred to as the “Mother Text” of American Islamic literature.  

Along with his family, Bilali Muhammad established a Muslim community on the Island.     

Over time, Bilali Muhammad’s descendants bought their freedom and land on Sapelo Island. Islamic traditions and influence persist on Sapelo Island to this day. In the last several decades, the Gullah Geechee corridor and especially the indigenous people of Sapelo Island have been under attack.     

SEE MORE: Sapelo Island’s Muslim History   

SEE ALSO: Gullah Geechee Culture Initiative – Gullah Geechee Culture Initiative   

The descendants of Bilali Muhammad fought slavery, emancipation, hurricanes, and tropical diseases to survive. However, they may not be able to survive capitalism and colonization without help.     

Take action today and click the link to email your elected officials. Ask them to STOP the theft of land on Sapelo Island.   

CAIR-Georgia’s vision is to serve as the leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding.

CAIR-Georgia’s mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.


CONTACT: CAIR-Georgia Policy Manager Megan Gordon, [email protected]; CAIR-Georgia Deputy Director Azka Mahmood, [email protected], (678) 653-5822


 Urge Georgia Legislators to Stop Theft of Land, Take Notice of Public Corruption on Sapelo Island