Muslims in America: A Short History

Muslims in America: A Short History

Muslims in America: A Short History

Muslims in America: A Short History


Muslims are neither new nor foreign to the United States. They have been a vital presence in North America since the 16th century. Muslims in America unearths their history, documenting the lives of African, Middle Eastern, South Asian, European, black, white, Hispanic and other Americans who have been followers of Islam.
The book begins with the tale of Job Ben Solomon, a 18th century African American Muslim slave, and goes on to chart the stories of sodbusters in North Dakota, African American converts to Islam in the 1920s, Muslim barkeepers in Toledo, the post-1965 wave of professional immigrants from Asia and Africa, and Muslim Americans after 9/11. The book reveals the richness of Sunni, Shi'a, Sufi and other forms of Islamic theology, ethics, and rituals in the United States by illustrating the way Islamic faith has been imagined and practiced in the everyday lives of individuals. Muslims in America recovers the place of Muslims in the larger American story, too. Showing how Muslim American men and women participated in each era of U.S. history, the book explores how they have both shaped and have been shaped by larger historical trends such as the abolition movement, Gilded Age immigration, the Great Migration of African Americans, urbanization, religious revivalism, the feminist movement, and the current war on terror. It also shows how, from the very beginning of American history, Muslim Americans have been at once a part of their local communities, their nation, and the worldwide community of Muslims.
The first single-author history of Muslims in America from colonial times to the present, this book fills a huge gap and provides invaluable background on one of the most poorly understood groups in the United States.

Religion in American Life explores the evolution, character, and dynamic of organized religion in America from 1500 to the present day. Written by distinguished historians of religion, these books weave together the varying stories that compose the religious fabric of the United States, from Puritanism to alternative religious practices. Primary source material coupled with handsome illustrations and lucid text make these books essential in any exploration of America's diverse nature. Each book includes a chronology, suggestions for further reading, and an index.


O people! We created you from the same male
and female, and made you distinct peoples and
tribes so that you may know one another. The
noblest among you in the sight of God is the most

—Qur’an 49:13

In 2007, one of my neighbors organized public protests against the inclusion of foot baths at the new terminal of the Indianapolis International Airport. These foot baths had been proposed on behalf of the hundred-plus African Muslim cabbies who regularly washed their feet before performing their daily prayers. Airport planning officials explained that it was a matter of public health. Without the foot baths, these cabdrivers would wash their feet in the hand sinks or use empty soda bottles to wash them outdoors in the cold. The cost of installing the two stainless steel basins would be less than $2,000, a token amount given that the new airport terminal budget was over $1 billion. The money would come from airline-generated revenues, not taxes.

My neighbor, a Baptist preacher, declared that such accommodation of the Muslim cabdrivers was “fraternization with the . . .

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