The al-Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are repeatedly depicted as having “changed America forever.” Whether or not such hyperbole is completely justified, there can be little doubt of the reverberations of the event in all spheres of American life in general and the lives of Muslims and Arabs living in the United States in particular. The questions that future scholars will have to investigate include such queries as: whether the attacks had a lasting effect on Arabs and Muslims and their integration and assimilation in the United States? What permanent impact, if any, will they have on the unfolding of the articulation of Islam in the American public square? Certainly the United States government is currently attempting to play an important role in such a reformulation of Islam by its high intensity attempts to identify, might one even say create a “moderate Islam, ” one that is definitively different from that espoused by those who perpetrated the attacks and justified their actions by reference to the religion of Islam.
There are no accurate figures for the number of Muslims in the United States. Neither the census data, nor the records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, provide any information on religious affiliation of citizens or immigrants. Consequently, there exists a great disparity in the estimates of their number in the United States. The estimates range between two million, as published by the B'nai Brith, and as many as eleven million, as reported by Warith Deen Muhammed, leader of the Muslim