The Muslims of America

By Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad | Go to book overview

scientist as moving outside of the prescribed mode of discourse, 16 and by another as constituting identity based on a "new operative Archimedean point." 17 In contrast to most immigrant Muslim women, for the American convert or "new" Muslim, religious identity is a central issue.

Among such women an "elective affinity" 18 exists, which matches styles or generational patterns within American culture with possible perceptions of Muslim identity. Such perceptions transcend any specific ethnic culture, but rather involve interpretations of the essence of how to be Muslim—activist, Sufi, or whatever. For the majority of American Muslims the adaptation and rationalization of new patterns of social interaction, marriage, and home life are inspired by Islamic norms.

In many cases the challenge of being Muslim in America calls for an ijtihad (interpretation of Islamic law and values), which in its radical nature reasserts the initial impetus of the Islamic revelation to break down tribal/ethnic identifications. The question of whether this will have a significant impact on the intellectual and religious life of the larger world community, or whether assimilation is the ultimate destiny of this group will be answered by the coming generation.


Notes
1.
Edward H. Spicer, "Acculturation," in Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 1 ( New York: Macmillan, 1968), pp. 21-26.
2.
That is, Muslims in America (or Europe) have chosen to leave "dar al-islam" (abode of submission), the Islamic order where at least in theory Islamic law is implemented and Muslim norms are upheld, and to permanently reside in a non‐ Muslim environment. For a majority this choice is made primarily on the basis of economic motives.
3.
Yvonne Haddad, "Muslims in Canada: A Preliminary Study," in Religion and Ethnicity, eds. Harold Coward and Leslie Kawamura ( Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1978), pp. 71-100.
4.
For example, the large Islamic Center of Quebec in St. Laurent, Masjid al‐ Umma, and Fatima Mosque in the downtown area, the South Shore, Pierrefonds, and West Island Islamic Centers, and Twelver Shi'a and Isma'ili Muslim Congregations.
5.
Arnold Van Gennep, The Rites of Passage ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960), pp. 189-194.
6.
Victor Turner, The Ritual Process ( Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1977), pp. 94-130.
7.
Ronald Robertson, in a sociological analysis of "Conversion and Cultural Change" ( Meaning and Change: Explorations in the Cultural Sociology of Modern Societies [ New York: New York University Press, 1978]) indicates a cultural shift in that "the extreme conceptions of the fluidity of identities, lifestyles and states of consciousness are already waning and will continue to wane vis-à-vis their 1960s and early 1970s highpoint." He further proposes that the mid-1970s concern with life-cycle issues, theories of adult development, and moral and cognitive development "suggest above all a concern with greater fixity in the sphere of individual patterns of living."

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The Muslims of America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Religion in America Series *
  • The Muslims of America *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents *
  • Contributors *
  • Introduction- the Muslims of America 3
  • Notes 8
  • I- The Muslims of the United States *
  • 1- Muslim Organizations in the United States 11
  • Notes 24
  • 2- Estimate of Muslims Living in America 25
  • Notes 35
  • References 36
  • II- Perceptions of Muslims in the United States *
  • 3- Perspectives of American Churches on Islam and the Muslim Community in North America 39
  • Notes 49
  • 4- The Muslim as the "Other" 53
  • Notes 61
  • III- Islamic Thought in the United States *
  • 5- Ismail R. Al-Faruqi 65
  • Notes 78
  • 6- Seyyed Hossein Nasr 80
  • Notes 92
  • 7- The Legacy of Fazlur Rahman 96
  • Notes 105
  • IV- Islamic Activity in the United States *
  • 8- Political Activity of Muslims in America 111
  • Notes 123
  • 9- Da''Wa in the West 125
  • Notes 134
  • 10- Muslims in Prison 136
  • Notes 151
  • 11- Islamic Education in the United States and Canada 157
  • Notes 173
  • V- Muslim Women in Intercultural Perspective *
  • 12- African-American Muslim Women 177
  • Notes 186
  • 13- Two-Way Acculturation 188
  • Notes 200
  • VI- American Muslims and the Question of Identity *
  • 14- Islamic Issues for Muslims in the United States 205
  • Notes 215
  • 15- American Foreign Policy in the Middle East and Its Impact on the Identity of Arab Muslims in the United States 217
  • Notes 231
  • 16- Convergence and Divergence in an Emergent Community 236
  • Notes 248
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