Who’s Afraid of Aymann Ismail?

This Pie Tells One of the Most Essential Stories About Muslims in America

And it’s delicious.

This is part of Season 2 of “Who’s Afraid of Aymann Ismail?,” a series featuring Slate’s Aymann Ismail investigating fears about Muslims in America. Watch the entire series.

If you’ve never had a bean pie, you’re missing out on a lot more than a dessert. Made from navy beans, it was developed by black Muslims in the Nation of Islam in the 1930s. The history of why they created it, and what it represents, tells one of the most essential stories about Muslims in America. And as you’ll see, it is extremely delicious.


In this episode, I travel to Abu’s Bakery in Brooklyn, the only bakery in New York City to make the pie, where the founder and his son tell me why they carry on the legacy. I also stop by the Brooklyn Historical Society, where oral historian Zaheer Ali—the head of an incredible project called Muslims in Brooklyn—explains how a simple pie symbolizes the black Muslim experience in America.  —Aymann Ismail

This series is written and produced by Aymann Ismail and Jeffrey Bloomer, and edited by Aymann Ismail.

Watch more episodes:

Why the Far Right Believes Every Muslim—Including Me—Is a Liar

What Happened When a Muslim and Catholic Got Married in Small-Town Iowa

Fox News Claimed a “Sharia Law Court” Is Enforcing Islamic Law in Texas. So I Went to See It.