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American Stories, Developed by Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, Reed College
While the large presence of Muslims in the United States dates to the 1960s, Muslims have been a part of the formative history of America since colonial times. American Muslims’ stories draw attention to ways in which people of varying religious, cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds interact to shape both their communities’ identities and our collective past.
A Quiet Revolution
A Quiet Revolution by
Call Number: BP190.5.H44 A46 2011
Publication Date: 2012-06-05
In Cairo in the 1940s, Leila Ahmed was raised by a generation of women who never dressed in the veils and headscarves their mothers and grandmothers had worn. To them, these coverings seemed irrelevant to both modern life and Islamic piety. Today, however, the majority of Muslim women throughout the Islamic world again wear the veil. Why, Ahmed asks, did this change take root so swiftly, and what does this shift mean for women, Islam, and the West? When she began her study, Ahmed assumed that the veil's return indicated a backward step for Muslim women worldwide. What she discovered, however, in the stories of British colonial officials, young Muslim feminists, Arab nationalists, pious Islamic daughters, American Muslim immigrants, violent jihadists, and peaceful Islamic activists, confounded her expectations. Ahmed observed that Islamism, with its commitments to activism in the service of the poor and in pursuit of social justice, is the strain of Islam most easily and naturally merging with western democracies' own tradition of activism in the cause of justice and social change. It is often Islamists, even more than secular Muslims, who are at the forefront of such contemporary activist struggles as civil rights and women's rights. Ahmed's surprising conclusions represent a near reversal of her thinking on this topic. Richly insightful, intricately drawn, and passionately argued, this absorbing story of the veil's resurgence, from Egypt through Saudi Arabia and into the West, suggests a dramatically new portrait of contemporary Islam.
Prince Among Slaves
Prince among Slaves by
Call Number: E444.I25 A78 2007
Publication Date: 2007-09-19
In this remarkable work, Terry Alford tells the story of Abd al Rahman Ibrahima, a Muslim slave who, in 1807, was recognized by an Irish ship's surgeon as the son of an African king who had saved his life many years earlier. "The Prince," as he had become known to local Natchez, Mississippi residents, had been captured in war when he was 26 years old, sold to slave traders, and shipped to America. Slave though he was, Ibrahima was an educated, aristocratic man, and he was made overseer of the large cotton and tobacco plantation of his master, who refused to sell him to the doctor for any price. After years of petitioning by Dr. Cox and others, Ibrahima finally gained freedom in 1828 through the intercession of U.S. Secretary of State Henry Clay. Sixty-six years old, Ibrahima sailed for Africa the following year, with his wife, and died there of fever just five months after his arrival.
Acts of Faith
Acts of Faith by
Call Number: E184.M88 P38 2010
Publication Date: 2010-07-27
The faith line -- The crossroads of the identity crisis -- Growing up American, growing up other -- Identity politics -- Real world activism -- An American in India -- The story of Islam, the story of pluralism -- The youth programs of religious totalitarians (or tribal religion, transcendent religion) -- Building the interfaith youth core -- Conclusion: Saving each other, saving ourselves.
The Butterfly Mosque
The Butterfly Mosque by
Call Number: BP170.5.W55 W55 2010
Publication Date: 2010-06-01
Documents the author's conversion from all-American atheist to Islam, a journey marked by her decision to relocate to Cairo, romance with a passionate young Egyptian, and her efforts to balance the virtues of both cultures.
The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States
The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States by
Call Number: E184.M88 C65 2008
Publication Date: 2009-05-12
Since September 11, 2001, Muslims in the United States have become the subject of genuine curiosity and compassion as well as increased government surveillance and harassment. Who are these Muslims? What is their history, and where do they come from? Do they share a common culture? Do they vary in their beliefs? Bringing together an unusually personal collection of essays and documents from an incredibly diverse group of Americans who call themselves Muslims, Edward E. Curtis "finds Islam" in the American experience from colonial times to the present. Sampling from speeches, interviews, editorials, stories, song lyrics, articles, autobiographies, blogs, and other sources, Curtis presents a patchwork narrative of Muslims from different ethnic and class backgrounds, religious orientations, and political affiliations. He begins with a history of Muslims in the United States, featuring the voices of an enslaved African Muslim, a Syrian Muslim sodbuster, and a South Asian mystic-musician, along with the words of such well-known Muslims as Malcolm X. Then he follows with an examination of such contemporary issues as Islam and gender, the involvement of Muslims in American politics, and emerging forms of Islamic spirituality. In constructing his history, Curtis draws on the work of Muslim feminists, social conservatives, interfaith activists, missionaries, and politicians, as well as Muslim rappers and legal experts. He also includes records from the large-scale migrations of the 1880s; racial, ethnic, and religious trends of the 1960s; writings from second-generation and African American Muslims; and discussions of Islam in the public square. With this highly informed, real-life portrait, Curtis provides a crucial corrective to the rhetoric of suspicion and fear surrounding current discussions of Muslims in the United States and emphasizes Muslims' continuing impact on American society and culture.