Does the Blues have Muslim Roots?
I haven't spent much time studying the blues recently (I used to do it quite a lot back in the 90s) so I am going to claim no expertise on this subject. When I was paying more attention I had little idea of Muslim music so I couldn't have commented back then either. Hmmp, funny how these things work.
If you compare the sound bites in this article and i would include most "sufi" music you will hear similarities in tonal quality as well as melody in Muslim and Blues music. This type of similarity isn't new for me, I have heard it in the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, I have heard it in Flamenco (which is surely influenced by Muslim music) but I have never really thought about what came first.
There is no reason to exclude the influence of Islam on the Blues. Muslims traveled all over the continent of Africa and some of Europe so, it is logical that the locals picked up things from them. Hell, you hear that in the stories of the blues guys...local musicians being influenced by traveling ones.
Much like African-Americans the art we created was a confluence or a syncretism of everything we as a people had experienced and are experiencing.