Thesis Paper on Chronological American Muslim History

Thesis Paper on Chronological American Muslim History


A chronological summary of some of the major events I found in relation of the Muslims’ personal and political life in American history.

1178 A Chinese document known as the Sung Document records the voyage of Muslim sailors to a land known as Mu-Lan-pi (America).

1310 Abu Bakri (Abu Bakar), a Muslim king of the Malian Empire, spearheads a series of sea voyages to the New World.

1312 Mandinga, African Muslims, from Mali and other parts of West Africa arrive in the Gulf of Mexico for exploration of America’s interior using the Mississippi River as their access rout.

1527 A Muslim from Morocco by the name of Estevanico of Azamor lands in Florida with the expedition of Panfilo de Narveaz and remains in America to become the first of three Americans to cross the continent in 1539.

1530 More than 30% of the estimated 10 million African slaves, uprooted from the areas of Fulas, “Fula Jallon”, “Fula Toro”, and “Massina” as well as other areas of “West Africa” governed from their capital “Timbuktu”, that arrived in America during the slave trade of that time and sent to Mexico, Cuba, and South America were Muslims, they and became part of the backbone of the American economy of that period.

1732 A Muslim slave by the name of “Ayyub Bin Sulaiman Jallon” from “Boonda, Galumbo” is set free by James Oglethrope, the founder of Georgia, and provided transportation to England. In 1735, three years later, he arrived home.

1790 Moors from Spain are reported to be living in South Carolina and Florida

1807 An African Muslim by the name of Yarrow Mamout is set free in WashingtonDC, after the United States Congress prohibits the importation of slaves into America after January 1st, 1808, and later becomes one of the first shareholders of the Columbia Bank, the second charted bank in America. It is implemented that Yarrow may have lived to be more than 128 years old, the oldest person in American history.

1809 A Muslim by the name of “Omar ibn Said” is enslaved in Charleston, South Carolina, and imprisoned after running away. Later in prison he was visited by John Owen, who became later a Governor of North Carolina, and taken to BladenCounty to be placed on the Owen plantation and it is reported that he lived to be 100 years old

1828 A slave by the name of “Abdulrahman Ibraheem Bin Sori”, known to many “The Prince of the Slaves” because he was a former prince from West Africa, on a Georgia plantation is freed by the order of Secretary of State Henery Clay and President John Quincy Adams. A drawing of him by Henery Inman is displayed in the Library of Congress.

1839 “Sayyid Sa’id”, ruler of Oman orders his ship “The Sultana” to set sail to America on a trade mission, reaching New York, April 30, 1840. And although the voyage was not a commercial success, it marks the point of Muslims successful friendly relations with America, which still continues to exist between many of the Islamic nations and the United States of today.

1856 The United States cavalry hire a Muslim by the name of “Hajji Ali” to experiment with raising camels in Arizona.

1865 During the American Civil War, the “scorched earth” policy of the North destroyed churches, farms schools, libraries, colleges and a great deal of other property. On the morning of April 4, when the Federal troops reached the campus of the University of Alabama with orders to destroy the university, “Andre’ Deloffre”, a modern language professor and custodian of the “Rotunda library” at the university, appealed to the commanding officer, to spare one of the finest libraries in the south. The officer, being sympathetic, sent a courier to General Croxton at his headquarters in “Tuscaloosa” asking permission to save the library, but the general’s reply was negative, so the officer reportedly said “I will save one volume as a memento of this occasion” and the volume selected was a rare copy of the Qur’an”

1889 A noted scholar and social activist by the name of Edward W. Blyden travels throughout the Eastern and Southern parts of the United States lecturing about Islam and in one of his speeches before the Colonization Society of Chicago he told his audience that the reasons Africans choose Islam over Christianity is that, “the Qur’an protected the black man from self-depreciation in the presence of Arabs or Europeans.”

1893 “Mohammad Alexander Russel Webb”, one of the earliest “White American Converts”, founds the “American Islamic Propaganda Movement”. And on September 20th and 21st, he appeared at the First World Congress of Religions and delivered two lectures: “The spirit of Islam,” and “The Influence of Islam on Social Conditions.”

1908 Muslim immigrants from the provinces of the Ottoman Empire, who are mainly Turks, Kurds, Albanians, and Arabs arrive in North America.

1913 “Timothy Drew” (Noble Drew Ali) establishes an organization in Newark, NJ, known as the “Moorish Science Temple of America” (MSTA), responsible for many of today’s African-American converts to Islam, and who was reportedly commissioned by the Sultan of Morocco at that time to teach “Negroes” in the United States

1915 Albanian Muslims build a Masjid (Mosque) in Maine and establish one of the first associations for Muslims in the United States, and in 1919 they build another Masjid in Connecticut.

1920 The Red Crescent, a Muslim charity modeled after the International Red Cross, is established in Detroit.

1926 “Dues Muhammad Ali,” mentor of “Marcus Gravey” and the person who had considerable impact on Gravey’s movement, establishes an organization in Detroit known as the Universal Islamic Society. Its motto was “One God, One Imam, One Destiny.”

1926 Polish-speaking Tatars build a mosque in BrooklynNew York.

1930 African-American Muslims build the “First Muslim Mosque” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1933 The organization of the Nation of Islam (NOI) is founded by “Fard Muhammad” or (Wallace Ford), a Muslim mystic who introduced its philosophy to the United States and disappeared in 1933. The late “Eli-jah Mohammed, succeeded Frad in 1933 and built the organization into a strong ethnic movement advocating Islam as a way of life. The NOI is one of the most well known organizations that had its prints on the history of United States, as well as the American Muslim history; it holds itself responsible for converting a high percentage of African-Americans to Islam and highlighting American Christians’ difficulties combating the effects of slavery and racism among African-Americans. Two of the most famous African-Americans, “Muhammad Ali” and “Alhajj Malik al-Shabazz” (Malcolm X), were early adherents of this movement, but both later embraced the broader multiethnic concepts of orthodox Islam or mainstream Islam.

1934 The Lebanese community of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, opens its Masjid.

1939 “Sheik Dawood” founds the “Islamic Mission Society” in New York, which publishes a magazine entitled, “Muslim Sunrise”.

1952 Muslims in the Armed Services sue the Federal Government to be allowed to identify themselves as Muslims. Until then Islam was not recognized as a legitimate religion.

1955 “Sheik Dawood Ahmed Faisal” establishes the “State Street Masjid” in New York City, which is still in use today and represents a special point in the development of the American Muslim community. And it is from this Masjid the “Dar-ul-Islam movement” was later born in 1962.

1960 The NOI’s University of Islam schools flourishes drawing the attention of the American media, but the coverage focuses upon the “Black Muslims’ self-help programs for Blacks” yet considers them a “threat” to the white establishment.

1962 The newspaper “Muhammad Speaks” is published by the Nation of Islam, which later on becomes the largest minority weekly publication in the United States reaching 800,000 readers at its peak. But it eventually underwent some name changes over the years, following the various transformations its publishers (NOI) underwent as well, such as “Bilalian News” (named after a famous black Muslim hero and scholar), the “A.M. Journal”, and currently The Muslim Journal.

1963 Establishment of the “Muslim Students Association” (MSA), an organization to aid foreign Muslim students attending schools in the United States.

1965 The assassination of “Al-Haj Malik al-Shabazz” (Malcolm X), one of the most outstanding Muslims in American history as well as a dedicated fighter for justice and equality for African-Americans and other oppressed people, takes place in New York.

1968 “Hamas Abdul Khaalis” founds the “Hanfi Movement” in New York and builds the “Hanafi-Hab Center” there, but latter on moves to Washington DC His movement had a membership of more than 1000 and one of the first Muslims who first came into contact with Islam through this movement is “Kareem AbdulJabbar” the famous Lakers basketball player. But in 1977, Khaalis and some of his followers seized control of 3 buildings in D. C., holding hostages for more than 30 hours, one man was killed. Khaalis is now incarcerated in WashingtonDC and is serving a sentence of 41 to 120 years, marking a challenging period in American Muslim history.

1975 “Elijah Muhammad”, the late leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI) dies and is succeeded by his son “Warith Deen Mohammed,” who is regarded as one of the leading Muslim spokesmen in the United States of today and is credited disputing many of his father’s ethnic beliefs and statements and for moving the organization toward the broader universal concepts of Islam.

1982 The “Islamic Society of North America” (ISNA) is established in Plainfield, Indiana, which is now the umbrella organization.

1986 “Dr. Isma’il R. al-Faruqi,” the founder of the “American Muslim Social Scientists” organization and the International Institute of Islamic Thought, and his wife are murdered in their home outside Philadelphia. Dr. Faruqi and his wife are the authors of the Cultural Atlas of Islam and many other books. His murder was predicated without name by the president of Jewish Defence League one week before his death in the Village Voice, New York by claiming that within a week an outspoken Palestinian professor will be eliminated.

1987 Muslim Alert Network was established in Chicago to mobilize Muslim response to media and discrimination against Muslims. Later on the same concept was used to establish CAIR.

1990 Muslims hold the first solidarity conference called “Muslims Against Apartheid.” This was the first conference of its kind in support of Muslims for the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. The conference was organized by the American Muslim Council.

1991 Imam Siraj Wahhaj offers an invocation (opening prayer) to the United States House of Representatives. He was the first Muslims to do so.

1992 Imam Warith Deen Mohammed gives the invocation in the Senate.

1992 Bosnia Task Force, USA was established as an allience of ten national Muslim organizations in support of Bosnia.

1993 Bosnia Task Force, USA and National Organization of Women (NOW) organized joint demonstration in 100 cities in America against the rape of women in Bosnia.

1993 Bosnia Task Force, USA organized the largest rally to date by Muslim in favor of Bosnia in Washington DC attended by 50,000 Muslims

1994 Islamic Shura Council of North America was established choosing four of the largest participents of the Bosnia Task Force, USA

1995 Oaklahoma Bombing took place which launched a hate campaign agains Muslims in America

1996 Iftar-Dinner on Capitol Hill sponsored by American Muslim Council February 13 hosted by Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (D CT), Congressmen Nick J. Rahall (D W. VA), Dana Rohrabacher (R CA), Thomas M. Davis III (R VA), James P. Moran (D VA) and attended by ambassadors and representatives from most of the Muslim countries.
1996 The White house celebration of Eid Al-Fitr, February 20, 1996 by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton the first Eid celebration ever at the White House.

2000 Muslims endorsed Governer Bush for bloc vote who won in one the most narrow election in the history of the US.

The Islamic Community In The United States: Historical Development

Muhammed Abdullah Ahari


The purpose of the following historical survey is to present the basic realities of the Muslim Experience in the West. I have chosen several methods of looking at these present realities and past experiences. Some of these are case studies and still others are from readings in history. Today as a community we are at a point where we can either succeed or fail to a much greater extent than in the past. We have schools, professionals, Islamic centers and well-read Muslims. What we lack is a core of brothers and sisters willing to try to organize Muslims into cohesive voting blocks and into strong neighborhoods and communities where the Muslims are visible and have a voice in the destiny of the greater society and to some degree in the foreign policy of America.

There are by various estimates between two and thirteen million Muslims or non-practicing descendants of Muslims in North America. Unfortunately most of them are not well versed in the literature and doctrines of their religion. Most of them would like to pass Islam on to their children and grandchildren, but this is unlikely without parents who have a strong knowledge about the Islamic faith and practice it in their daily life. One method of analyzing our current situation is to study our past. In order to develop my theme (along this line), I will divide the history of Islam in America into five eras: before 1800, 180-1890, 1890-1910, 1910-1950, and 1950-present.

Before 1800

1) The Navigator of Columbus, who during the famous voyage, brought along a copy of a travel narrative written by Portuguese Muslims who had sailed to the New World in the 12th century. The narrative by al-Idrisi was called “The Sea of Tears”. In this narrative he discusses he voyage of 80 muhagharrun (explorers) who lived in Lisbon during the reign of the Murabit amir, Yusuf ibn Tashufin. In the narrative it mentions visits to fourteen islands. Over half of these islands were later traced to be in either the Canary Islands or the Azores. However, the ones not traced could have been as far away or the Azores. However, the ones not traced could have been as far away as the Caribbean. An early travel from 942 A.D. is mentioned in the Annuals of al-Mas’udi. (Aramco World, May-June 1992)

2) Istafan, the Arab, was a guide for the Spanish that wished to settle the area that would later be called Arizona in 1539. Istafan was from Azamor, Morocco and had previously been to the New World in the ill-fated expedition of Panfilo de Narvaez to Florida in 1527. Brent Kennedy mentions him in his article in Islamic Horizons as being one of the first Moors and Muslims in America. Istafan was one of four to survive a five thousand mile tour of the American Southwest. Originally he was part of a three hundred member exploratory group. He would go on to become the first visitor from Europe or Africa among the Pueblo Indians. (Islamic Horizons November/December 1994, pp.24-27). He was also a guide for the Franciscan friar, Marcos de Niza and was in this capacity until he was killed in an Indian attack in Arizona and New Mexico in 1539.

3) Another early Muslim in this period was Nasruddin. He is famous for having killed a Mohawk princess who refused to marry him and for being the earliest permanent Arab settlers in the New World. [History of Green County, N.Y., pp. 19-22.]

4) Ayub Sulaiman ibn Diallo became a go between for his people and the British after his repatriation. I mention him because he continued to practice Islam during his two years of slavery in the 1730’s in Maryland. He was versed enough in Arabic to write at least a half dozen letters in that language, translate coin inscriptions for the British Museum, and draw a map of West Africa writing place names in Arabic.

5) Salim the Algerian, who was a Muslim from a royal family of Algiers that studied in Constantinople. After returning from a visit to Constantinople, he was captured by a Spanish Man of War and later sold into slavery to the French in New Orleans. Eventually he became free after running from slavery, lived among American Indian tribes, and settled in Virginia. Salem was found in rags, almost naked, and was taught English. Eventually, it was ascertained that he knew Greek and he was given a Greek New Testament. Several future members of the U.S. Congress befriended him and he converted to Christianity. A new convert to Christianity he decided to go back home to spread the Gospel. After a disastrous journey to his homeland (where he was shunned as an apostate), he returned to America, met Thomas Jefferson, attended the 1st Continental Congress, and died an insane man having given-up his family and religion for America. While he was at the Congress his picture was painted by a Mr. Peale after the intervention of a member of the Congress Mr. Page. Near the end of Salem’s life, he regained his long lost sanity. He had been insane since his trip to his homeland after his conversion to Christianity. Some say he renounced Christianity, other say died a Christian at the Page estate, and still others say he died in an insane asylum. [Graham’s Magazine, 1857, pp. 433-437.] It should be noted that none of these men tried to spread Islam and only Ayub tried to preserve his own belief.

The Wahhab brothers were shipwrecked on the coast of North Carolina in the 1770’s. They settled married and started a farm. Their ancestors today own one of the largest private hotel chains in North Carolina. The only contemporary reference I have on them is a letter from the North Carolina historian Thomas Parramore. Whether they or their ancestors stayed in the Islamic faith is something that I can not answer at this time. Around this same time a ship of 70 odd Moorish slaves landed in Maryland. No more is known on these Moors.

An important point is that these Muslims were not unique in being able to read and write Arabic. In fact, in many slave quarters in the Caribbean and Brazil there were clandestine Arabic and Islamic schools. One can find references to these in the works by Nina Rodriguez and in the two volume book TWELVE MONTHS IN JAMAICA by Robert Madden (Phil.: Carey, Lea and Blanchard, 1835).


During the era of 1800-1890, there was documentation of the Islamic presence in the slave quarters by four individuals:

1) Theodore Dwight, Jr. wrote about a slave named Lamen Kebe who was a school teacher in Africa. He was the focus of two articles by Dwight. Lamen Kebe gave him a list of over twenty texts used in his schools and some information on teaching method used in those Islamic schools (much of it still valuable today). At the end of one of articles he also attached one of the earliest glossaries we have of the Serrechuleh language. Dwight also mentions Abdul Rahman and Ayub b. Sulaiman Diallo in passing.

2) James Cooper wrote the story of Salih Bilali which was published with other ethnological writings in William Brown Hodgson’s NOTES ON NORTH AFRICA (NY: Wiley and Putnam, 1844). Salih was a Fulani (as are all the others mentioned) and his story is only found in a letter by Cooper. This letter is republished in AFRICA REMEMBERED by Philip Curtin (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin, 1967). Here we have an oral remembrance of Africa and a vocabulary of Fula but nothing about his training or practice in Islam.

3) William Brown Hodgson was perhaps the most important of these documenters. The main characters Hodgson documented were the following: Bilali Muhammad, who wrote the only extant book of Islamic Law written in America and contributed several Islami c terms to the Gullah dialect of English. He gave his descendants Muslim names and taught them until the generation of his grand-children.; ‘Umar ibn Said was a butler of a brother of a former Governor of North Carolina that lived at Fayetteville, N.C. and who wrote a 13 pp. autobiography in Arabic. What he wrote shows that he might have been a Qadiriyyah Sufi, trader, and school teacher who feigned conversion to Christianity under difficult circumstances.; Abdul Rahman Ibrahim Sori who wrote 2 autobiographies, 2 copies of the Fatiha, signed a charcoal sketch of himself by Henry Inman [This picture was on the cover of “Freedmen’s Journal” and is on display in the Library of Congress.], and dictated several letters to his family while he was traveling the U.S. to raise money to return to Africa. None of his Arabic writings show the least formal education but it is surprising that he remembered the little Arabic he knew after forty years in slavery before he returned to Africa to die. His story is documented in PRINCE AMONG SLAVES by Terry Alford (NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977).; A slave named London was detailed in a pamphlet by Hodgson called THE GOSPELS WRITTEN IN THE NEGRO PATIOS OF ENGLISH IN ARABIC CHARACTERS BY A MANDINGO SLAVE NAMED LONDON. This was perhaps the only systematic try at writing English in Arabic letters up to that point. He was held in slavery by the Maxwell family of Savannah, Georgia. They latter moved to Florida where he died.; and an unknown slave correspondent from Georgetown, S.C. who wrote 5 chapters of the Qur’an from memory. This was translated by Hodgson.

4) Wm. Caruthers author of THE KENTUCKIAN IN NEW YORK (NY, 1834, p. 146) where a slave who wrote the Fatiha at the request of a traveler is mentioned.

One Muslim of this era not covered by these writers was Hadji Ali (Philip Tedro) a Greek convert to Islam and one of six camel handlers (three Arabs, Two Turks, and Hadji Ali) in the short-lived U.S. camel calvary corp in 1856. The Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis introduced a bill in Congress, that passed in 1855, to import camels for military purposes in the Arizona desert. During the experiment, 77 camels and six handlers were brought over from the East. When the War between the States broke out, this experiment was abandoned. It was called off due to the impending Civil War. Hadji Ali was the only of the cameleers to remain in the U.S.. The others returned to their homelands. Circuses and Zoos acquired some of the camels and others were turned loose. The camels that were turned loose in the desert terrorized live stock and wild animals for years. Hadji A]i became a prospector in the Colorado River Area. He eventually became a legend under- the corrupted name given to him by soldiers in the U.S. calvary- Hi Jolly. The legacy of this experiment are a highway gravemarker for Hadji Ali, some U.S. Army Manuals [see esp.- “Report Upon the Purchase, Importation, and Use of Camels and Dromedaries, To be Employed for military purposes, According to Act of Congress March 3, 1855. Made under the Direction of the Secretary of War 1855, ’56, ’57-240 pp.], and a movie by Walt Disney called Hawmps starring Slim Pickens and Denver Pyle. Hadji Ali lived to 1903 in Quartzsite, Arizona where he was a Prospector and resident Imam. His three daughters were raised as Muslims but I have yet to verify how many generations Islam continued in his family.

The Omani Embassy published a pamphlet about the exploits of the first Arab traders to the United States during the 1840’s. They did not settle here, however. [Eilts, Herman Fredrick The Visit of Ahmad bin Na’aman to the U.S. in the Year 1840, Embassy of Oman 1962.]

One Muslim mentioned in a book by Allan Austin (African Muslims in Antebellum America), Yarrow Marmout, was poorly covered by writers and deserves mention as he was perhaps one of the longest lived individuals in this country (He died at over 130.) and he was one of the first shareholders of the Washington, D.C. Columbia Bank which was the second chartered bank in the United States.


In the era of 1890-1910 the only movement we can truly talk about is that of Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb. Many trace him to be first “white convert” to Islam in America. Before he became Muslim, he was a newspaper editor and later the consular to the Philippines for the U.S.. He accepted the post of consular in 1887. While a consular he began to read books on Eastern and Oriental religions. Soon afterwards he began written correspondence with Indian Muslims and in 1888 he publicly declared his Islam. He resigned his post in 1892 and went to India where he had a lecture tour of four cities: Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, and Hyderabad. These lectures were published in the books: The Three Lectures and in Lectures in Various Locations. The topics for these lectures included: Islam, The Better Way, and Philosophical Islam. Upon returning to the U.S. he set up the Oriental Publishing Company which published at least a half dozen of books including Islam in America [Webb, Muhammad A.R., New York, 1892.] and his short lived periodical “Moslem World”. He had a Mosque on upper Broadway which failed prior to his death in 1915, his being appointed Turkish Emissary to the U.S., and writing of a still very pertinent book The Armenian Problem and Where the Responsibility Lies. The last being the views of Webb in the conflict between the Turks and the Armenians. One possible reason his group failed is that it did not address the needs of the generality of people, it was a movement of philosophers.


1910-1950 saw several Orthodox Sufi, Ahmadiyyah, Bahia, Shia, and so-called Black Nationalists groups arise. To speed the process I will talk about the Orthodox Mosques (in Ross, N.D., Detroit, and in Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Sheikh Dawood, Sufi Abdul Hamid, Noble Drew Ali, and Elijah Muhammad.

In historical order, the Ross Mosque is the earliest and longest lasting Masjid in America. The congregation at its largest was 100 persons. The Masjid was built in 1930 and remained standing until 1978 and in use till the late 60’s when conversions and mixed marriages had decreased the numbers of Muslims till a point where Arabic was no longer used, the cemetery had gophers, and there were no practicing Muslims to attend Juma.

An earlier mosque was built in 1915 in Maine by Albanians as was one in Connecticut, but they are not as strongly documented or publicized. In Brooklyn the Polish speaking Tatars built a mosque which was still in use in 1926. The Red Crescent was founded in Detroit, in 1920 and a Mosque was built there which lasted from 1926-1932 and as far as I know still stands. The main problem at that point was not lack of numbers but lack of finance. Only a few brothers kept the Masjid afloat and the Depression proved it to be too much of financial liability for them. The Lebanese Masjid in Cedar Rapids, started in 1935 and still in operation, suffered few of these problems. Going overseas to marry was common, Arabic was widely used, finance was freer, and fewer persons drifted from Islam.

Early Orthodox Sufis

Sheikh Dawood and Sufi Abdul Hamid represent homegrown Orthodox Islam. Sheikh Dawood founded the Islamic Mission Society on State Street in 1934 Brooklyn. Over 75,000 persons accepted Islam under his tutelage before his death in 1981. His controversial theory of Islam being genetic ingrown was to be adapted later by the likes Elijah Muhammad and Imam Isa. His success was due to his willingness to suffer personal abuse and financial difficulty for the sake of Islam. His writings and theories are contained in his self-published books al-Islam the Religion of Humanity (1950) and Islam the True Religion of Humanity (1965). His contemporary, Sufi, and his teacher Mandaly from Egypt had similar success in Harlem but their work was cut short when Mandaly had a heart attack and died. Sufi died in a plane crash. The shortcoming of their work was that they failed to train proper successors and the movement died with them. [Ottley, Roi, `New World A-Coming’, Arno Press, New York, 1968, pp. 116-9.] more material on these individuals is found in the chapters on Sufi Abdul Hameed and Sheikh Daoud Ahmad Faisal.

Noble Drew Ali and Elijah Muhammad represent the Islamic Nationalist side to Islam between 1910 and 1950. Both movements outlasted their founders. Ali started his movement, the Moorish Science Temple in May of 1913, with the short lived Canaanite Temple. He gave an answer to the question of who the recently freed African were, how they could have self esteem, and allowed them to be part of a movement not under the former slave masters control. His main error was to fail to fully bring people into the reality of the Arabic Language, Qur’an, and Ibadat, but he gave them a clear concept of a Jesus that they could accept and of Tawheed which Christianity failed to give them.

The Nation of Islam

Elijah Muhammad’s organization, the Nation of Islam, was begun in Paradise Valley (a Black Ghetto of Detroit) on July 4, 1930 by one Mr. W.D. Farrad. A mysterious peddler from the East and one- time contestant for Drew Ali’s leadership of Islamic Nationalism in Newark, N.J.. W.D. Farrad was reputed to have been born of a white mother and black father (Mimi and Alfonso) on February 28, 1877 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. His education supposedly received at U.C.L.A. and Oxford. Farrad was to have been a member of the diplomatic corp in the Hijaz but decided against it in order to go to the “Wilderness of North America to find his Uncle (the Black Man)” and teach him (his Uncle) Islam and the true history of the Black Man. After teaching for three years he left the U.S. to points unknown.

He left behind a successor, Elijah Muhammad, and some written teachings set down in several lesson plans of which seven are somewhat assessable today. This was a way of teaching not uncommon to church catechisms, Masonic degrees, or Moorish American Koran Questionnaires. By 1934 Farrad became a sort of hidden Imam common to the doctrines of the Druze and Ishmaeli versions of Islam. He seemed to expound rhetoric similar to military manual directives, Moorish Science, Masonry, and some vague Eschatology and doctrines (such as blood atonement) somewhat similar to that of early Utah Mormons. His movement succeeded due to dedicated individuals and strong leadership that was willing to suffer for the movement. His weaknesses were failure to teach proper rules for prayer and fasting and preaching the concept of Ali reincarnated through the Imams and the Mahdi (later he was considered Allah incarnate).


The next forty years saw the rise and fall of the Nation of Islam and its rebirth (primarily with Silas Muhammad, Farrakhan, John Muhammad, W.D. Muhammad, and Imam Isa). The groups that resurrected tended to try and revolutionize the teachings. Two groups came out of the Nation before its fall: Calistran and the Five Percenter Nation.

Five Percenters

Started in Harlem by a former Korean War Veteran — Clarence Jowars (Clarence 13X or Puddin’). He disassociated himself from the Nation and founded his own group (which still exists) in the early 1960’s. According to numerous detractors (police, Orthodox Muslims, etc.), the Five Percenter Nation is little more than a gang using Nation of Islam mythos mixed with some new lessons that Clarence compiled. Their flag is an eight pointed star with a circle seven in the center (from Moorish Science) and the words “In the Name of Allah” above it. Clarence 13X was assassinated by some disgruntled members in 1968 and he became the departed spiritual leader — now incarnate within the body of all male members (Black Gods). Many Rap stars such as Kool Moe Dee, Poor Righteous Teachers, and Queen Latifah derive their material from his writings and teachings.

Silas Muhammad

A favorite West Coast minister of Elijah Muhammad. The Nation paid for his education at UCLA. He is centered in Atalanta and has several thousand followers in twenty one temples nationwide. He claims to be the spiritual son of the Virgin Mary (Elijah Muhammad) and has written a book (The Wake of the Nation) to support his claims. He works with Whites for a restitution for the wrongs of slavery and publishes a newspaper called “Muhammad Speaks”.

Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam

Farrakhan is perhaps the loudest and most articulate of all former Nation of Islam leaders. He seperated from Warith Deen Muhammad in 1977 and started his “Final Call Newspaper” and organization in 1979. The name of the newspaper was derived from an early Nation paper called “The Final Call to Islam”. He is the most interesting and contradictory among former Nation leaders. According to detractors, Farrakhan has accepted and rejected Orthodox Islam at a whim whenever it would benefit him. He has: made Hajj; belonged to Warith Deen Muhammad’s group; called for unity between Hispanics, Native Americans and Blacks; played Jewish violin concertos even when denouncing certain aspects of Jewish life and culture; and fights a war to end the drug problem (a war he started only after he found out his own son was a drug abuser). His inner circle reputably includes Black Nationalists, American Indians, Gangbangers, and other so-called dangerous and disreputable individuals. Currently almost one hundred temples are under his leadership and he has perhaps as many as fifty thousand members nationwide. His position in the African American community was recently strengthen by his highly successful “Million Man March” on Washington, D.C..

W.D. Muhammad

W.D. Muhammad is the leader of the largest group to come out of the Nation of Islam. He has lead the members of his organization to Orthodox Islam over the years and changed the name of his group to the World Community of Islam to the American Muslim Mission and now each mosque/temple has its own name and leadership. His paper also changed names from “Muhammad Speaks” to “Muslim World News” to “Bilalian News” to “American Muslim Journal” to “Muslim Journal”. The organization underwent numerous changes under his leadership. Members of his group also changed their ethos from being Black Muslims to being Bilalians to being just Muslim. The best study of Warith Deen Muhammad and his ties to Orthodox Islam is found in the work by Zafar Ishaq Ansari “W.D. Muhammad: The Making of a `Black Muslim Leader’ (1933-1961)” found in the Vol. 2, No. 2 issue of the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences.

W.D. Muhammad has begun the needed work of teaching proper Islam based on Qur’an and Sunnah and he is somewhat hindered by the legacy of his father and his tendency to give the teachings of the Qur’an as mostly symbolic as he was taught the Bible was.

The changes in the teachings were wide and varied, they included: allowing white members, an end to a call for a separate “nation of blacks” in this country, a call to voter registration, an end to beliefs that Allah was incarnated in the form of Master Farrad and the belief in Elijah Muhammad being a Messenger of Allah. Warith Deen was excommunicated several times from the Nation and only gained the ability to step in a position of leadership in the last year of his father’s life when he was reinstated as a minister in the Nation of Islam.

Fasting in Ramadhan, an end to the December fast, changing the dietary taboos to Qur’anic based ones, and a standard Muslim salah (prayer) were other changes he instituted. In 1978 he stepped down as spiritual head and became a minister at large. His organization has become decentralized and his rhetoric is less spooky and mystical and more in line with Orthodox Islam. In 1985 he dismantled the leadership council he had setup and each mosque became an independent entity. He works as a kind of liaison between the Black Muslims and the Immigrant community. Several collection of his speeches such as: Religion on Line, An African American Genesis, and Leadership and Islam are widely available. (see From Black Muslims to Muslims by Clifton E. Marsh for details.)

Numerous former Nation of Islam leaders disagreed with his changes. Most were people who returned to the old teachings such as Farrakhan, Silas Muhammad, John Muhammad, and Caliph Emmanuel Muhammad. One who turned to Orthodox Islam was Siraj Wahaj.

Siraj Wahaj

Siraj Wahaj was a former minister of the Nation of Islam who initially accepted the leadership of Warith Deen Muhammad. He later split over issues where he felt that Warith Deen Muhammad was being too accomodating to American society. Siraj Wahaj supports polygamy and full implementation of the Shariah where as Warith Deen Muhammad rejected polygamy and favored a more gradual move toward implementation of Shariah. Since the split Warith Deen Muhammad allegedly has moved his group closer to the Wahhabi sect and called for the reestablishment of the Caliphate.

Jamil al-Amin

Jamil al-Amin was born as H. “Rap” Brown in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1943. In 1964 he joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and rapidly moved up through its ranks. In 1967, at the age of 23, he succeeded Stockley Carmichael as leader of the SNCC and its ranks swelled. He allied himself and his group with the Black Panthers and this was where he began to learn Islam. The Black Panthers accepted the political and economic views of the Nation but were slow to accept it moral, ethical, and dietary edicts. When he turned the movement from non-violence to Urban Guerilla Warfare he was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list. After his 1973 arrest he decided to accept Orthodox Islam. In 1976 he left prison and had placed the violent non-Muslim lifestyle behind him. Today he is leader of over thirty Islamic centers which were (for the most part member of the Dar ul-Islam Movement – a group which came about from the work of early students of Sheikh Daoud) and has documented his feeling about Islam in the work Revolution by the Book (Beltsville, Maryland: Writer’s Inc., 1994).

John Muhammad

Warith Deen Muhammad’s uncle John Muhammad acts as the “orthodox” Nation of Islam teacher as he allegedly does not teach anything except what Elijah Muhammad distinctly taught. He joined the Nation in 1930 with his brother Elijah. He is the only one of his immediate family of fourteen children and a wife who follows the old teachings. His wife is a follower of Warith Deen Muhammad. His movement has less than a thousand members and only a handful of active temples. The headquarters is in Highland Park, Michigan and a newspaper called “Muhammad Speaks” is published by his organization. A full length story (by Linda Jones) on his group can be found in The Detroit News of July 17, 1988.

Caliph Emmanuel Muhammad

A group with less than two hundred followers centered in Baltimore. The leader Emmanuel Muhammad claims to be the successor or Caliph of Elijah Muhammad. His group publishes a paper called “Muhammad Speaks” out of Baltimore, Maryland.

Imam Isa

Imam Isa is a Unitarian Universalist, Spiritualist, Jewish, Ansar, Black Nationalist successor to the self proclaimed Messenger of Allah, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He claims to be the successor of Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad and Noble Drew Ali! Over 300 of his books and pamphlets are peddled on the street by his followers. A heavily armed camp/retreat was located in upstate New York. No count of his membership has be attempted. His group has now openly proclaimed themselves to be Black Jews even though they still claim lip service to the Qur’aan and the Prophet Muhammad.

Others who came out of the Nation of Islam

Others came from the Nation and we must remember them as orthodox Muslims. These orthodox Muslims include: Muhammad Ali, Hamas Abdul Khaalis, and Malcolm X. Muhammad Ali went on to become one of the greatest sports men in this nation and a great contributor to the spread of Islam. Hamas Abdul Khaalis re-founded the Hanafi Madh-Hab Center in New York in 1958. It was originally started by Dr. Tasibur Uddein Rahman in the late 1920’s. In 1947 Ernest Timothy McGee joined, he was later sent by Dr. Rahman to join the Nation of Islam to guide them to Orthodox Islam. By 1956 he became National Secretary for the nation of Islam. He left in 1958. It was later moved to Washington, D.C.. At his height he had over a thousand followers and led protests for several Muslim causes. His most famous follower is Kareem Abdul Jabbar. In 1977, Khaalis and some of his followers seized some buildings in D.C. as part of a protest and held them for some hours. One hostage was killed. He is currently serving a sentence of 41 to 120 years. [Giant Steps, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and an AMC report on the history of Islam in America]

Al-Hajj Malik al-Shabazz (Malcolm X)

One of the greatest Muslim leaders ever in America was, of course, Malcolm X (or according to his true Muslim name- Al-Hajj Malik al-Shabazz). He started the political street organ of the Nation of Islam–the “Muhammad Speaks” newspaper and influenced several generations with his eye-opening auto-biography. Till the end of his life he was dedicated to the struggle for the rights of all oppressed people of the world. He was allegedly killed at the hands of FBI sponsored infiltrators into the Nation of Islam.


It is strange that the religion of peace is always faced with violent confrontation from both within and without. Allah says, “And thus We have made you a middle Nation that you may witness to all people and We made the Apostle a witness to you…”, in Sura 2 of the Holy Qur’an. How could this history with its’ successes, failures, and disappointments exist when we are instructed to be a middle of witnesses to mankind and propagate Islam.

In summary, this historical briefing on Islam in America focused on American Muslims and Muslims that were becoming Americans. This information points to the needs of dawa’h, Islamic schools, fighting assimilation, bi-lingual education, masjids, and taking part in the greater society.

This ground work is outreach, developing schools and businesses, adult education, and programs to teach Arabic and Qur’an to such an extent our community here becomes bi-lingual and stays that way. Next we need to have Islamic holidays recognized in public schools in much the same way Jewish and Christian holidays are and finally we need to make that sure proper books on Islam are in every single public and private library in the U.S. and books on Islam are placed in as many non-Muslim homes as feasible.

©Muhammed Abdullah Ahari; all rights reserved.

Islam in the United States

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For a list of American Muslims, see List of American Muslims.

“American Muslim” redirects here. For the magazine, see The American Muslim.

Islam in the United States started in the early 16th century, with Estevanico of Azamor being the first Muslim to enter the historical record in North America.[4] Once very small, the Muslim population of the US increased greatly in the twentieth century, with much of the growth driven by rising immigration and widespread conversion.[5] In 2005, more people from Islamic countries became legal permanent United States residents — nearly 96,000 — than in any year in the previous two decades.[6][7]

Recent Immigrant Muslims make up the majority of the total Muslim population. Native-born American Muslims are mainly African Americans who make up one-third of the total Muslim population. Many of these have converted to Islam during the last seventy years. Conversion to Islam in prison,[8] and in large urban areas[9] has also contributed to its growth over the years. American Muslims come from various backgrounds, and are one of the most racially diverse religious group in the United States according to a 2009 Gallup poll.[10]

A Pew report released in 2009 noted that nearly six-in-ten American adults see Muslims as being subject to discrimination, more than Mormons, Atheists, or Jews.[11]

The history of Islam in the United States can be divided into three periods: the colonization period, post World War I period, and the last few decades.[12]

[edit] Muslims in early United States

Estevanico of Azamor may have been the first Muslim to enter the historical record in North America. Estevanico was a Berber originally from North Africa who explored the future states of Arizona and New Mexico for the Spanish Empire. Estevanico came to the Americas as a slave of the 16th-century Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. After joining the ill-fated Narváez expedition in 1527, Cabeza de Vaca and Estevanico were captured and enslaved by Indians, escaping to make an arduous journey along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In 1539 Estevanico guided the first Spanish explorations of what is now the American Southwest.[13]

Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow, a Senegalese educator and former UNESCO director, has speculated that in 1587 a shipload of Moriscos landed and settled in the coastal towns of South Carolina, reaching the mountains of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina,[14] but the claim is not widely accepted.

In 1790, the South Carolina legislative body granted special legal status to a community of Moroccans, twelve years after the Sultan of Morocco became the first foreign head of state to formally recognize the United States.[15] In 1796, then president John Adams signed a treaty declaring the United States had no “character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen”.[16]

Alexander Russell Webb is considered by historians to be the earliest prominent Anglo-American convert to Islam in 1888. In 1893 he was the only person representing Islam at the first Parliament for the World’s Religions.[14]

[edit] Slaves

Drawing of Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori who was a Muslim prince from West Africa and made a slave in the United States.

There is limited academic research regarding African Muslims transported to North America as slaves. Historical records provide sparse information regarding both ethnic origins and cultural differences.[17] However, some contemporary authors and historians speculate a sizable percentage of slaves possessed at least some knowledge of Islam. Slaves began arriving in North America during the 1520s. By 1900, roughly 500,000 Africans were sent to this area, representing 4.4% of the 11,328,000 slaves imported worldwide.[18] It is estimated that over 50% of the slaves imported to North America came from areas where Islam was followed by at least a minority population. Thus, no less than 200,000 came from regions influenced by Islam. Substantial numbers originated from Senegambia, a region with an established community of Muslim inhabitants extending to the 11th century.[19] Michael A. Gomez theorized that Muslim slaves may have accounted for “thousands, if not tens of thousands,” but does not offer a precise estimate. He also suggests many non-Muslim slaves were acquainted with some tenets of Islam, due to Muslim trading and proselytizing activities.[20] Historical records indicate many enslaved Muslims conversed in the Arabic language. Some even composed literature (such as autobiographies) and commentaries on the Quran.[21]

Despite living in a hostile environment, there is evidence that early Muslim slaves assembled for communal prayers. In limited cases, some were occasionally provided a private praying area by their owner. Two of the most widely known examples of Muslim slaves in North America are Ayuba Suleiman Diallo and Omar Ibn Said. Suleiman was brought to America in 1731 and returned to Africa in 1734.[19] Like many Muslim slaves, he often encountered impediments when attempting to perform religious rituals. For example, it is said that a white child threw dirt at Suleiman’s face after catching him praying. However, Suleiman was eventually allotted a private location for prayer by his master.[21] Omar Ibn Said (ca. 1770 –1864) is among the best documented examples of a practicing-Muslim slave. He lived on a colonial North Carolina plantation and wrote many Arabic texts while enslaved.

Born in the kingdom of Futa Tooro (modern Senegal), he arrived in America on December 27, 1807 aboard the ship Heart of Oak, one month before the US abolished importation of slaves. Some of his works include the Lords Prayer, the Bismillah, this is How You Pray, Quranic phases, the 23rd Psalm, and an autobiography. In 1857, he produced his last known writing on Surah 110 of the Quran. In 1819, Omar received an Arabic translation of the Christian Bible from his master, James Owen. This Bible is housed at Davidson College in North Carolina from a donation by Ellen Guion in 1871. Although Omar converted to Christianity on December 3, 1820, many modern scholars believe he continued to be a practicing Muslim, based on dedications to Muhammad written in his Bible. In 1991, a masjid in Fayetteville, North Carolina renamed itself Masjid Omar Ibn Said in his honor.[22]

Another example is Bilali (Ben Ali) Muhammad, a Fula Muslim from Timbo Futa-Jallon in present day Guinea-Conakry, who arrived to Sapelo Island during 1803. While enslaved, he became the religious leader and Imam for a slave community numbering approximately eighty Muslim men residing on his plantation. He is known to have fasted during the month of Ramadan, worn a fez and kaftan, and observed the Muslim feasts, in addition to consistently performing the five obligatory prayers.[23] In 1829, Bilali authored a thirteen page Arabic Risala on Islamic law and conduct. Known as the Bilali Document, it is currently housed at the University of Georgia in Athens.

[edit] Modern immigration

Small-scale migration to the U.S. by Muslims began in 1840, with the arrival of Yemenites and Turks,[19] and lasted until World War I. Most of the immigrants, from Arab areas of the Ottoman Empire, came with the purpose of making money and returning to their homeland. However, the economic hardships of 19th-Century America prevented them from prospering, and as a result the immigrants settled in the United States permanently. These immigrants settled primarily in Dearborn, Michigan; Quincy, Massachusetts; and Ross, North Dakota. Ross, North Dakota is the site of the first documented mosque and Muslim Cemetery, but it was abandoned and later torn down in the mid 1970s. A new mosque was built in its place in 2005.[14]

Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Roxbury

In 1915, what is most likely the first American mosque was founded by Albanian Muslims in Biddeford, Maine. A Muslim cemetery still exists there.[24][25] Construction of mosques sped up in the 1920s and 1930s, and by 1952, there were over 20 mosques.[14]

1906 Bosnian Muslims in Chicago, Illinois started the Jamaat al-Hajrije (a social service organization devoted to Bosnian Muslims). This is the longest lasting incorporated Muslim community in the United States. They met in coffeehouses and eventually opened the first Islamic Sunday School with curriculum and textbooks under Shaykh Kamil Avdich (a graduate of al-Azhar and author of Survey of Islamic Doctrines).
1907 Tatar immigrants from Poland, Russia, and Lithuania founded the first Muslim organization in New York City.
1920 First Islamic mission station was established by an Indian Ahmadiyya Muslim missionary, followed by the building of the Al-Sadiq Mosque in 1921.
1934 The first building built specifically to be a mosque is established in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
1945 A mosque existed in Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest Arab-American population in the U.S.
Although the first mosque was established in the U.S. in 1915, relatively few mosques were founded before the 1960s. Eighty-seven percent of mosques in the U.S. were founded within the last three decades according to the Faith Communities Today (FACT) survey. California has more mosques than any other state.

[edit] African American Muslims

Main article: History of the Nation of Islam, American Society of Muslims, and Warith Deen Mohammed

During the first half of the 20th century few numbers of African Americans converted to Islam.[26] The Nation of Islam (NOI) was one of the largest organizations (organized in 1930 by Wallace Fard Muhammad) which attracted many people to join. It however taught a different form of Islam, it promoted Black supremacy and labeling white people as “devils”.[27] Fard drew inspiration for NOI doctrines from those of Noble Drew Ali’s Moorish Science Temple of America. He provided three main principles which serve as the foundation of the NOI: “Allah is God, the white man is the devil and the so called Negroes are the Asiatic Black People, the cream of the planet earth”. In 1934 Elijah Muhammad became the leader of the NOI, he deified Wallace Fard, saying that he was an incarnation of God, and taught that he was a prophet who had been taught directly by God in the form of Wallace Fard. Although Elijah’s message caused great concern among White Americans, it was effective among Blacks attracting mainly poor people including students and professionals. One of the famous people to join the NOI was Malcolm X, who was the face of the NOI in the media. Also boxing world champion, Muhammad Ali.[26]

After the death of Elijah Muhammad, he was succeeded by his son, Warith Deen Mohammed. Mohammed rejected many beliefs of NOI, such as the divinity of Fard Muhammad and saw a white person as also a worshipper. As he took control of the organization, he quickly brought in new reforms.[28] He renamed it as the World Community of al-Islam in the West, later it became the American Society of Muslims. In 1976 it was estimated there were 70,000 members.[29] He introduced teachings which were based on orthodox Sunni Islam.[29] He removed the original places of gatherings on chairs in temples, with mosques, teaching how to pray the salah, to observe the fasting of Ramadan, to attend the pilgrimage to Mecca and the five daily prayers.[30] It was the largest mass religious conversion in the 21st century, with thousands accepting orthodox Islam. As of today it is the largest Muslim organization in the country, with around 2 million members.[31]

A few number of Black Muslims however rejected these new reforms brought by Imam Mohammed, Louis Farrakhan who broke away from the organization, re-established the Nation of Islam under the original Fardian doctrines, and remains its leader.[31] Today the numbers of people following the group is very few with 20,000 members.[32] However, today the group has a wide influence in the African American community. The Million Man March in 1994 remains the largest organized march in Washington, D.C.[33] The group sponsors cultural and academic education, economic independence, and personal and social responsibility. The Nation of Islam has received a great deal of criticism for its anti-white, anti-Christian, and anti-semitic teachings,[34] and is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.[35]

[edit] Mosques

The Islamic Center of America mosque in Michigan

Mosques (masjid in Arabic) are usually explicitly Sunni or Shia. There are 1,209 mosques in the United States and the nation’s largest mosque, the Islamic Center of America, is in Dearborn, Michigan. It was rebuilt in 2005 to accommodate over 3,000 people for the increasing Muslim population in the region.[36]

In many areas, a mosque may be dominated by whatever group of immigrants is the largest. Sometimes the Friday sermons, or khutbas, are given in languages like Urdu or Arabic along with English. Areas with large Muslim populations may support a number of mosques serving different immigrant groups or varieties of belief within Sunni or Shi’a traditions.[citation needed]

At present, many mosques are served by imams who immigrate from overseas, as only these imams have certificates from Muslim seminaries. This sometimes leads to conflict between the congregation and an imam who speaks little English and has little understanding of American culture. Some American Muslims have founded seminaries in the US in an attempt to prevent such problems.[37] The influence of Saudi Arabia and the Wahabbi school of Islam on Muslims in the United States has caused concern.[38][39][40]

[edit] Demographics

There is no accurate count of the number of Muslims in the United States, as the U.S. Census Bureau does not collect data on religious identification. There is an ongoing debate as to the true size of the Muslim population in the US. Various institutions and organizations have given widely varying estimates about how many Muslims live in the U.S. These estimates have been controversial, with a number of researchers being explicitly critical of the survey methodologies that have led to the higher estimates.[41] Others claim that no scientific count of Muslims in the U.S. has been done, but that the larger figures should be considered accurate.[42] Some journalists have also alleged that the higher numbers have been inflated for political purposes.[43] On the other hand, some Muslim groups blame Islamophobia and the fact that many Muslims identify themselves as Muslims, but do not attend mosques for the lower estimates.[44]

The following are disputed estimates of the Muslim population:

1.1 million (2001) – City University of New York – American Religious Identification Survey [45]
1.6 million (2000) – Glenmary Research Center [46]
1.8 million (2007) – The World Factbook [47]
1.9 million (2001) – American Jewish Committee [48]
2.0 million (2000) – Hartford Institute for Religious Research [49]
2.4 million (2007) – Pew Research Center [1][50]
4.7 million (2005) – Encyclopædia Britannica Book of the Year [51]
5 million (1990) – American Muslim Council
5-7 million – PBS – Frontline
6-7 million (2001) – Council on American-Islamic Relations – The Mosque in America: A National Portrait [52]
6.7 million (1997) – J. Ilyas Ba-Yunus [53]
7 million (2009) – White House,[2] CNN.[3]
[edit] Beliefs and Ethnicity

Further information: Converts to Islam

According to the PEW Forum on Religion & Public Life, based on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, 82% said they are absolutely certain that they believe in God and 9% fairly certain. The Importance of Religion in One’s Life was another important question raised among Muslims, overall in the United States 59% believe it is important, whereas a high proportion of Muslims believed religion is very important (72%), and 18% said religion is somewhat important. The frequency of receiving answers to prayers among Muslims was, 31% at least once a week and 12% once or twice a month.[54]

Ethnic composition of American Muslims, according to the CAIR report (based on average mosque attendees)[52]

The main ethnic groups of American Muslims is the immigrant communities of South Asian and Arab descent and the native-born of African Americans. The most recent data covering a range of ethnicities is a report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in 2001. According to the CAIR studies, regular mosque attendees come from the following backgrounds: South Asian (Indian/Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Afghanistani) (33%), African-American (30%), Arab (25%), African (3.4%), European (2.1%), White (1.6%), Southeast Asian (1.3%), Caribbean (1.2%), Turkish (1.1%), Iranian (0.7%), and Hispanic/Latino (0.6%).[55] Since the arrival of South Asian and Arab communities during the 1990s there has been divisions with the African Americans due to the racial and cultural differences, however since post 9/11, the two groups joined together when the immigrant communities looked towards the African Americans for advice on civil rights.[56] In 2005, according to the New York Times, more people from Muslim countries became legal permanent United States residents — nearly 96,000 — than in any year in the previous two decades.[6][7][57]

The 2007 Pew Forum survey of Muslim Americans finds two-thirds (65%) of the Muslim Americans are foreign-born.[58] Among the foreign-born, most have immigrated since 1990, 24% are from the Arab region, 8% Pakistan, 10% Other South Asia, Iran 8%, Europe 5%, Africa 4% and other 4%. The native-born constitute 35%, with African Americans 20% of the total Muslim population, the majority of these are converts to the religion.[58] However, when Muslim respondents were asked about their race in a recent Pew Research Center survey, 37% answered White, 24% answered Black, 20% answered Asian, 15% answered “other/mixed race,” and 4% answered Latino.[59]

Nearly a quarter of the Muslims are converts to Islam (23%), mainly native-born. Of the total who have converted, 59% are African American and 34% White. Previous religions of those converted was Protestantism (67%), Roman Catholicism (10%) and 15% no religion. Approximately half (50%) of the religious affiliations of Muslims is Sunni, 16% Shia, 22% non-affiliated and 16% other/non-response. [58]

[edit] Geographic distribution

A map prepared by the Harvard Pluralism Project, shows the distribution of mosques/masjids in the United States.[60] Another map from Valparaiso University shows an estimation of the Muslim populations per county, noting heavy concentrations of Muslim Americans in the Washington-Boston corridor, Houston, and southern California.[61]

[edit] In prison

Main article: Religion in the United States’ prisons#Islam

In addition to immigration, the state, federal and local prisons of the United States may be a contributor to the growth of Islam in the country. J. Michael Waller claims that Muslim inmates comprise 17-20% of the prison population, or roughly 350,000 inmates in 2003. He also claims that 80% of the prisoners who “find faith” while in prison convert to Islam.[62] These converted inmates are mostly African American, with a small but growing Hispanic minority. Waller also asserts that many converts are radicalized by outside Islamist groups linked to terrorism, but other experts suggest that when radicalization does occur it has little to no connection with these outside interests.[63][64][65]

[edit] Culture

Islamic Society of Northern Wisconsin Mosque in Altoona, Wisconsin

Muslims in the United States have increasingly contributed to American culture; there are various Muslim comedy groups, rap groups, Scout troops and magazines, and Muslims have been vocal in other forms of media as well.[66]

[edit] Diverse Islamic traditions

Within the Muslim community in the United States there exist a number of different traditions. As in the rest of the world, the Sunni Muslims are in the majority. Shia Muslims, especially those in the Iranian immigrant community, are also active in community affairs. All four major schools of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) are found among the Sunni community. Some Muslims in the U.S. are also adherents of certain global movements within Islam such as the Salafi/Wahabi, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Gulen Movement, and the Tablighi Jamaat, as well as movements which most Muslims would consider non-Muslim, such as Jama’at Ahmadiyya or Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement or Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam.

[edit] Integration

According to a 2004 telephone survey of a sample of 1846 Muslims conducted by the polling organization Zogby, the respondents were more educated and affluent than the national average, with 59% of them holding at least an undergraduate college degree.[67] Citing the Zogby survey, a 2005 Wall Street Journal editorial by Bret Stephens and Joseph Rago expressed the tendency of American Muslims to report employment in professional fields, with one in three having an income over $75,000 a year.[68] The editorial also characterized American Muslims as “role models both as Americans and as Muslims”.

Unlike many Muslims in Europe, American Muslims do not tend to feel marginalized or isolated from political participation. Several organizations were formed by the American Muslim community to serve as ‘critical consultants’ on U.S. policy regarding Iraq and Afghanistan. Other groups have worked with law enforcement agencies to point out Muslims within the United States that they suspect of fostering ‘intolerant attitudes’. Still others have worked to invite interfaith dialogue and improved relations between Muslim and non-Muslim Americans.[69]

Growing Muslim populations have caused public agencies to adapt to their religious practices. Airports such as the Indianapolis International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport[70] as well as the Kansas City International Airport have installed foot-baths to allow Muslims, particularly taxicab drivers who service the airports, to perform their religious ablutions in a safe and sanitary manner.[71] In addition, Denver International Airport included a masjid as part of its Interfaith Chapel when opened in 1996.[72]

[edit] Organizations

Islamic Center of Washington

There are many Islamic organizations in the U.S.

The largest of these groups is the American Society of Muslims (ASM), the successor organization to the Nation of Islam, once better-known as the Black Muslims. The American Society Of Muslims accepts the leadership of Warith Deen Mohammed. This group evolved from the Black separatist Nation of Islam (1930-1975). This has been a twenty-three year process of religious reorientation and organizational decentralization, in the course of which the group was known by other names, such as the American Muslim Mission. The number of members in the organization is between 2-3 million.[31][73] The vast majority of ASM adherents are African Americans. It should be noted that the original Nation of Islam beliefs differed sharply from traditional Islam in that they did not recognize Muhammad as God’s final Prophet.
The second largest group is the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). ISNA is an association of immigrant Muslim organizations and individuals that provides a common platform for presenting Islam. It is composed mostly of immigrants. Its membership may have recently exceeded ASM, as many independent mosques throughout the United States are choosing to affiliate with it. ISNA’s annual convention is the largest gathering of Muslims in the United States.[74]
The third largest group is the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). ICNA describes itself as a non-ethnic, open to all, independent, North America-wide, grass-roots organization. It is composed mostly of immigrants and the children of immigrants. It is growing as various independent mosques throughout the United States join and also may be larger than ASM at the present moment. Its youth division is Young Muslims.[75]
The Islamic Supreme Council of America (ISCA) represents a few Muslims. Its stated aims include providing practical solutions for American Muslims, based on the traditional Islamic legal rulings of an international advisory board, many of whom are recognized as the highest ranking Islamic scholars in the world. ISCA strives to integrate traditional scholarship in resolving contemporary issues affecting the maintenance of Islamic beliefs in a modern, secular society. [76] It has been linked to neoconservative thought.
The Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA) is a leading Muslim organization in the United States. According to its website, among the goals of IANA is to “unify and coordinate the efforts of the different dawah oriented organizations in North America and guide or direct the Muslims of this land to adhere to the proper Islamic methodology.” In order to achieve its goals, IANA uses a number of means and methods including conventions, general meetings, dawah-oriented institutions and academies, etc.[77] IANA folded in the aftermath of the attack of September 11, 2001 and they have reorganized under various banners such as Texas Dawah and the Almaghrib Institute
The Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) is a group dedicated, by its own description, to Islamic societies on college campuses in Canada and the United States for the good of Muslim students. The MSA is involved in providing Muslims on various campuses the opportunity to practice their religion and to ease and facilitate such activities. MSA is also involved in social activities, such as fund raisers for the homeless during Ramadan. The founders of MSA would later establish the Islamic Society of North America and Islamic Circle of North America.[78]
The Islamic Information Center (IIC) (IIC) is a “grass-roots” organization that has been formed for the purpose of informing the public, mainly through the media, about the real image of Islam and Muslims. The IIC is run by chairman (Hojatul-Islam) Imam Syed Rafiq Naqvi, various committees, and supported by volunteers.[79]
[edit] Political

Muslim political organizations lobby on behalf of various Muslim political interests. Organizations such as the American Muslim Council are actively engaged in upholding human and civil rights for all Americans.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the United States largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, originally established to promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America. CAIR portrays itself as the voice of mainstream, moderate Islam on Capitol Hill and in political arenas throughout the United States. It has condemned acts of terrorism – while naming no one in particular – and has been working in collaboration with the White House on “issues of safety and foreign policy.”[69] The group has been criticized for alleged links to Islamic terrorism by conservative media, but its leadership strenuously denies any involvement with such activities.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) is an American Muslim public service & policy organization headquartered in Los Angeles and with offices in Washington, D.C. MPAC was founded in 1988. The mission of MPAC “encompasses promoting an American Muslim identity, fostering an effective grassroots organization, and training a future generation of men and women to share our vision. MPAC also works to promote an accurate portrayal of Islam and Muslims in mass media and popular culture, educating the American public (both Muslim and non-Muslim) about Islam, building alliances with diverse communities and cultivating relationships with opinion- and decision-makers.”[80]
The American Islamic Congress is a small but growing moderate Muslim organization that promotes religious pluralism. Their official Statement of Principles states that “Muslims have been profoundly influenced by their encounter with America. American Muslims are a minority group, largely comprising immigrants and children of immigrants, who have prospered in America’s climate of religious tolerance and civil rights. The lessons of our unprecedented experience of acceptance and success must be carefully considered by our community.”[81]
The Free Muslims Coalition was created to eliminate broad base support for Islamic extremism and terrorism and to strengthen secular democratic institutions in the Middle East and the Muslim World by supporting Islamic reformation efforts.[82]
[edit] Charity

In addition to the organizations just listed, other Muslim organizations in the United States serve more specific needs. For example, some organizations focus almost exclusively on charity work. As a response to a crackdown on Muslim charity organizations working overseas such as the Holy Land Foundation, more Muslims have begun to focus their charity efforts within the United States.

Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) is one of the leading Muslim charity organizations in the United States. According to the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, IMAN seeks “to utilize the tremendous possibilities and opportunities that are present in the community to build a dynamic and vibrant alternative to the difficult conditions of inner city life.” IMAN sees understanding Islam as part of a larger process to empower individuals and communities to work for the betterment of humanity.[83]
Islamic Relief USA is the American branch of Islamic Relief Worldwide, an international relief and development organization. Their stated goal is “to alleviate the suffering, hunger, illiteracy and diseases worldwide without regard to color, race or creed.” They focus of development projects; emergency relief projects, such as providing aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina; orphans projects; and seasonal projects, such as food distributions during the month of Ramadan. They provide aid internationally and in the United States.[84]
[edit] Other

With the growth of Islam within the United States, Muslims with similar interests and ideas have organized for various purposes. Among the types of Muslim organizations that exist are those for entertainment purposes as well as for professionals, such as doctors and engineers. The most well-known organization for Muslims within the medical profession is the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA). The largest Muslim organizations for women is the Muslim Women’s League.[citation needed]

American Muslims can be found in all professions in the United States. Muslim doctors, lawyers, teachers, and businessmen serve large and small communities. Muslims have made contributions to the cultural, scientific, political, and economic life of the United States. For more information on American Muslims and their contribution within the United States, see the list of North American Muslims.

[edit] Views of America and Islam

[edit] American populace’s views on Islam

A nationwide survey conducted in 2003 by the Pew Research Center and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reported that the percentage of Americans with an unfavorable view of Islam increased by one percentage point between 2002 and 2003 to 34%, and then by another two percentage points in 2005 to 36%. At the same time the percentage responding that Islam was more likely than other religion to encourage violence fell from 44% in July 2003 to 36% in July 2005.[85]

July 2007 Newsweek survey of non-Muslim Americans[86]




Muslims in the United States are as
loyal to the U.S. as they are to Islam



Muslims do not condone violence


Qur’an does not condone violence



Muslim culture does not glorify



American Muslims more “peaceable”
than non-American ones



Muslims are unfairly targeted by
law enforcement



Oppose mass detentions of Muslims



Muslim students should be allowed
to wear headscarves



Would vote for a qualified Muslim
for political office



The July 2005 Pew survey also showed that 59% of American adults view Islam as “very different from their religion,” down one percentage point from 2003. In the same survey 55% had a favorable opinion of Muslim Americans, up four percentage points from 51% in July 2003.[85] A December 2004 Cornell University survey shows that 47% of Americans believe that the Islamic religion is more likely than others to encourage violence among its believers.[87]

A CBS April 2006 poll showed that, in terms of faiths[88]

58% of Americans have favorable attitudes toward Protestantism/Other Christians
48% favorable toward Catholicism
47% favorable toward Judaism
31% favorable toward Christian fundamentalism
20% favorable toward Mormonism
19% favorable toward Islam
8% favorable toward Scientology
The Pew survey shows that, in terms of adherents[85]

77% of Americans have favorable opinions of Jews
73% favorable of Catholics
57% favorable of “evangelical Christians”
55% favorable of Muslims
35% favorable of Atheists
[edit] American Muslims’ views of the United States

PEW’s poll of views on American Society[89]




Agree that one can get
ahead with hard work



Rate their community as
“excellent” or “good”



Excellent or good
personal financial situation



Satisfied with the
state of the U.S.



Agree that Muslims coming
to the U.S. should adopt
American customs



In a 2007 survey titled Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream, the Pew Research Center found Muslim Americans to be

largely assimilated, happy with their lives, and moderate with respect to many of the issues that have divided Muslims and Westerners around the world.[89]

47% of respondents said they considered themselves Muslims first and Americans second. However, this was compared to 81% of British Muslims and 69% of German Muslims, when asked the equivalent question. A similar disparity exists in income, the percentage of American Muslims living in poverty is 2% higher than the general population, compared to an 18% disparity for French Muslims and 29% difference for Spanish Muslims.[89]

Politically, American Muslims were both pro-larger government and socially conservative. For example, 70% of respondents preferred a bigger government providing more services, while 61% stated that homosexuality should be discouraged by society. Despite their social conservatism, 71% of American Muslims expressed a preference for the Democratic Party.[89] The Pew Research survey also showed that nearly three quarters of respondents believed that American society rewards them for hard work regardless of their religious background [90].

The same poll also reported that only 40 percent of U.S. Muslims believe that Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks. Another 28 percent don’t believe it and 32 percent said they had no view. Among 28 percent who doubted that Arabs were behind the conspiracy, one-fourth of those claim the U.S. government or President George W. Bush was responsible. Only 26 percent of American Muslims believe the U.S.-led war on terror is a sincere effort to root out international terrorism. Only 5% of those surveyed had a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” view of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. Only 35% of American Muslims stated that the decision for military action in Afghanistan was the right one and just 12% supported the use of military force in Iraq.[89]

[edit] American Muslim life after the September 11, 2001 attacks

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, there were occasional attacks on some Muslims living in the U.S., although this was restricted to a small minority.[91][92]

In a 2007 survey, 53% of American Muslims reported that it was more difficult to be a Muslim after the 9/11 attacks. Asked to name the most important problem facing them, the options named by more than ten percent of American Muslims were discrimination (19%), being viewed as a terrorist (15%), public’s ignorance about Islam (13%), and stereotyping (12%). 54% believe that the U.S. government’s anti-terrorism activities single out Muslims. 76% of surveyed Muslim Americans stated that they are very or somewhat concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism around the world, while 61% express a similar concern about the possibility of Islamic extremism in the United States.[89]

On a small number of occasions Muslim women who wore distinctive hijab were harassed, causing some Muslim women to stay at home, while others temporarily abandoned the practice. In 2006, one California woman was shot dead as she walked her child to school; she was wearing a headscarf and relatives and Muslim leaders believe that the killing was religiously motivated.[91][92] While 51% of American Muslims express worry that women wearing hijab will be treated poorly, 44% of American Muslim women who always wear hijab express a similar concern.[89]

[edit] Controversy

Some Muslim Americans have been criticized for letting their religious beliefs affect their ability to act within mainstream American value systems. Muslim cab drivers in Minneapolis, Minnesota have been criticized for refusing passengers for carrying alcoholic beverages or dogs, including disabled passengers with guide dogs. The Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport authority has threatened to revoke the operating authority of any driver caught discriminating in this manner.[93] There are reported incidents in which Muslim cashiers have refused to sell pork products to their clientèle.[94]

Public institutions in the U.S. have also been criticized for accommodating Islam at the expense of taxpayers. The University of Michigan–Dearborn and a public college in Minnesota have been criticized for accommodating Islamic prayer rituals by constructing footbaths for Muslim students using tax-payers’ money. Critics claim this special accommodation, which is made only to satisfy Muslims’ needs, is a violation of Constitutional provisions separating church and state.[95] Along the same constitutional lines, a San Diego public elementary school is being criticized for making special accommodations specifically for American Muslims by adding Arabic to its curriculum and giving breaks for Muslim prayers. Since these exceptions have not been made for any religious group in the past, some critics see this as an endorsement of Islam.[96]

The first American Muslim Congressman, Keith Ellison, created controversy when he compared President George W. Bush’s actions after the September 11, 2001 attacks to Adolf Hitler’s actions after the Nazi-sparked Reichstag fire, saying that Bush was exploiting the aftermath of 9/11 for political gain, as Hitler had exploited the Reichstag fire to suspend constitutional liberties.[97] The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Anti-Defamation League condemned Ellison’s remarks. The congressman later retracted the statement, saying that it was “inappropriate” for him to have made the comparison.[98]

At Columbus Manor School, a suburban Chicago elementary school with a student body nearly half Arab American, school board officials have considered eliminating holiday celebrations after Muslim parents complained that their culture’s holidays were not included. Local parent Elizabeth Zahdan said broader inclusion, not elimination, was the group’s goal. “I only wanted them modified to represent everyone,” the Chicago Sun-Times quoted her as saying. “Now the kids are not being educated about other people.”[99] However, the district’s superintendent, Tom Smyth, said too much school time was being taken to celebrate holidays already, and he sent a directive to his principals requesting that they “tone down” activities unrelated to the curriculum, such as holiday parties.

The 2007 Pew poll reported that 15% of American Muslims under the age of 30 supported suicide bombings against civilian targets in at least some circumstances, while a further 11 percent said it could be “rarely justified.” Among those over the age of 30, just 6% expressed their support for the same. (9% of Muslims over 30 and 5% under 30 chose not to answer). Only 5% of American Muslims had a favorable view of al-Qaeda.[89]

[edit] Disaffected Muslims in the U.S.

Some Muslims in the U.S. have adopted the strident anti-American rhetoric common in many Muslim-majority countries.[citation needed] In some cases, these are recent immigrants who have carried their anti-American sentiments with them. The Egyptian cleric, Omar Abdel-Rahman is now serving a jail sentence for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He had a long history of involvement with Islamist and jihadi groups before arriving in the US.

There is an openly anti-American Muslim group in the U.S. The Islamic Thinkers Society [6], found only in New York City, engages in leafleting and picketing to spread their viewpoint.

Young, immigrant Muslims feel more frustrated and exposed to prejudice than their parents are. Because most U.S. Muslims are raised conservatively, and won’t consider rebelling through sex or drugs, many experiment with their faith shows a poll, dated June 7, 2007. [7]

At least one non-immigrant American, John Walker Lindh, has also been imprisoned or convicted on charges of serving in the Taliban army and carrying weapons against U.S. soldiers. He had converted to Islam in the U.S., moved to Yemen to study Arabic, and thence went to Pakistan where he was recruited by the Taliban.

It had also been noted that a growing form of Islam in prison pushes these same radicalized anti-American agendas. Commentators have pointed out that inmates are good targets for radicalized groups pushing these agendas because many of them are already dissatisfied with the system that has jailed them.[100] To this end experts have testified that this situation causes a threat to security, since it enables groups who engage in terrorism to recruit new members among the prison population.[101][102]

Other notable cases include:

The Buffalo Six: Shafal Mosed, Yahya Goba, Sahim Alwan, Mukhtar Al-Bakri, Yasein Taher, Elbaneh Jaber. Six Muslims from the Lackawanna, N.Y. area were charged and convicted for providing material support to al Qaeda.[103]
Iyman Faris In October 2003 Iyman Faris was sentenced to 20 years in prison for providing material support and resources to al Qaeda and conspiracy for providing the terrorist organization with information about possible U.S. targets for attack.[103]
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali In November 2005 he was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for providing material support and resources to al Qaeda, conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States, conspiracy to commit air piracy and conspiracy to destroy aircraft.[103]
Ali al-Tamimi was convicted and sentenced in April 2005 to life in prison for recruiting Muslims in the US to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan.[103]
[edit] Criticism of Islam in the United States

Daniel Pipes, Steven Emerson and Robert Spencer have suggested that a segment of the U.S. Muslim population exhibit hate and a wish for violence towards the United States.[104][105][106]
Muslim convert journalist Stephen Schwartz, American Jewish Committee terrorism expert Yehudit Barsky, and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer have all separately testified to a growing radical Islamist Wahhabi influence in U.S. mosques, financed by extremist groups. According to Barsky, 80% of U.S. mosques are so radicalized.[107][108][109] In an effort to address this extremist influence, ISNA has implemented assorted programs and guidelines in order to help mosques identify and counter any such individuals.[110]
[edit] Responses to criticism

Peter Bergen says that Islamism is adopted by a minority of U.S. Muslims, saying that a “vast majority of American Muslims have totally rejected the Islamist ideology of Osama bin Laden”.[111]
International Institute of Islamic Thought Director of Research Louay M. Safi has questioned the motives of several noted critics, alleging that members of what he terms the “extreme right” are exploiting security concerns to further various Islamophobic objectives.[112]
A 1998 United Nations report on “Civil and Political Rights, including Freedom of Expression” in the United States sharply criticised the attitude of the American media, noting “very harmful activity by the media in general and the popular press in particular, which consists in putting out a distorted and indeed hate-filled message treating Muslims as extremists and terrorists”, adding that “efforts to combat the ignorance and intolerance purveyed by the media, above all through preventive measures in the field of education, should be given priority.”[113]
[edit] See also

Islam in Latin America
Diaspora studies
Hyphenated American
Islam in the African diaspora
Latino Muslims
List of American Muslims
List of mosques in the United States
List of Iranian Americans
List of Islamic and Muslim related topics
Lists of Muslims
Timeline of Muslim history
Western Muslims
Islamic Golden Age, also known as the Islamic Renaissance
[edit] Notes

 “Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream”, Pew Research Center, 22 May 2007
President at Cairo University The White House. 2009-06-04. Retrieved on 2009-09-03.
Muslim in America: a ‘voyage of discovery’ CNN. Retrieved on 2009-08-14.
Queen, Edward L., Stephen Prothero and Gardiner H. Shattuck Jr. 1996. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. New York: Facts on File.
 A NATION CHALLENGED: AMERICAN MUSLIMS; Islam Attracts Converts By the Thousand, Drawn Before and After Attacks
Muslim immigration has bounced back
Migration Information Source – The People Perceived as a Threat to Security: Arab Americans Since September 11
Ranks of Latinos Turning to Islam Are Increasing; Many in City Were Catholics Seeking Old Muslim Roots Muslim Americans Exemplify Diversity, Potential
Among U.S. Religious Groups, Muslims Seen as Facing More Discrimination
Koszegi (1992), pg. 3
Rayford W. Logan. “Estevanico, Negro Discoverer of the Southwest: A Critical Reexamination.” Phylon (1940-1956), Vol. 1, No. 4. (4th Qtr., 1940), pp. 305-314.
a b c d M’Bow, Amadou Mahtar; Kettani, Ali (2001). Islam and Muslims in the American continent. Beirut: Center of historical, economical and social studies. Pg. 109
Hughes, Karen. The Partnership Between the United States and Morocco
Treaty of Peace and Friendship Article 11. The Avalon Project. Yale Law School.
Donnan Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave Trade to America: Vol. I: 1441-1700 “Our records of the slave trade shed little light upon the manner of people enslaved, their origins and differences among them.” Elizabeth
The Slave Trade, Hugh Thomas, Simon and Schuster, 1997, ISBN 0-68481063-8
a b c Koszegi, Michael; Melton, J. Gordon (1992). Islam in North America: A Sourcebook. New York: Garland Publishing Inc.. pp. 26–27.
Gomez, Michael A. (November 1994). “Muslims in Early America”. The Journal of Southern History 60 (4): 682. doi:10.2307/2211064.
a b Gomez, Michael A. (November 1994). “Muslims in Early America”. The Journal of Southern History 60 (4): 692, 693, 695. doi:10.2307/2211064.
[ Omar ibn Said] Davidson Encyclopedia Tammy Ivins, June 2007
Muslim roots of the blues, Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle August 15, 2004
Queen, Edward L., Stephen Prothero and Gardiner H. Shattuck Jr. 1996. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. New York: Facts on File.
Ghazali, Abdul Sattar, “The number of mosque attendants increasing rapidly in America”, American Muslim perspective,
a b Jacob Neusner (2003). pp.180-181. ISBN 9780664224752.
The Muslim Program
John Esposito (2008-09-10) W.D. Mohammed: A Witness for True Islam The Washington Post. Retrieved on 2009-06-21.
a b Richard Brent Turner (2003). Islam in the African-American experience. pp. 225-227. ISBN 9780253216304.
Nation of Islam leader dies at 74 MSNBC. Retrieved on 2009-06-21.
a b c Warith Deen Mohammed: Imam who preached a moderate form of Islam to black Americans The Independent. 15 September 2008. Retrieved on 2009-04-22.
Omar Sacirbey (2006-05-16) Muslims Look to Blacks for Civil Rights Guidance Pew Forum. Retrieved on 2009-07-29.
Farrakhan backs racial harmony BBC News (BBC). 2000-10-16. Retrieved on 2009-06-22.
Dodoo, Jan (May 29, 2001). “Nation of Islam”. University of Virginia.
“Active U.S. Hate Groups in 2006”. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
Detroit Islamic Center Open Largest Mosque in United States Brittany Sterrett. June 2, 2005 Accessed August 19, 2007.
“Darul Uloom Chicago” (PDF). Shari’ah Board of America. pp. 2. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
Jacoby, Jeff (January 10, 2007). “The Boston mosque’s Saudi connection”. Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-06-15.
Alexiev, Alex. “Terrorism: Growing Wahhabi Influence in the United States”. Retrieved 2007-06-15.
Tom W. Smith, Estimating the Muslim Population in the United States, New York, The American Jewish Committee, October 2001.
CAIR website, American Muslims: Population Statistics
Number of Muslims in the United States at Retrieved on 6 January 2006
Private studies fuel debate over size of U.S. Muslim population – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 28 October 2001
Religious Identification Survey – City University of New York. 19 December 2001
“Religious Congregations & Membership: 2000,” Report, Glenmary Research Center, Atlanta, GA. Published in 2002-SEP.
United States- CIA World Factbook
Tom W. Smith, Estimating the Muslim Population in the United States, New York, The American Jewish Committee, October 2001.
“Faith Communities Today: Mosque in America: A National Portrait,” April 2001. Hartford Seminary’s Hartford Institute for Religious Research.
The 2005 Annual Megacensus of Religions. (2007). In Britannica Book of the Year, 2006. Retrieved January 6, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:
a b Ihsan Bagby, Paul M. Perl, Bryan T. Froehle (2001-04-26) “The Mosque in America: A National Portrait”. Council on American-Islamic Relations (Washington, D.C.). Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
Ilyas Ba-Yunus, Muslim of Illinois: A Demographic Report, East-West University, Chicago, 1997, p.9
Portrait of Muslims – Beliefs & Practices Pew Research Center
America—the Promised Land of Muslims The WIP. Retrieved on 2009-07-20.
Andrea Elliot (2007-03-11) Between Black and Immigrant Muslims, an Uneasy Alliance The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-07-23.
a b c Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream Pew Research Center. 2007-05-22. Retrieved on 2009-07-21.
U.S. Religious Landscape Survey
Image detailing concentrations of Muslim centres throughout the USA Harvard University, 2004
Map showing Muslims as a percentage of all residents, 2000 Valparaiso University, 2002
United State Senate, Committee on the Judiciary , Testimony of Dr. J. Michael Waller October 12, 2003 [1]
Federal Bureau of Investigation – Congressional Testimony
United State Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Testimony of Mr. Paul Rogers, President of the American Correctional Chaplains Association, October 12, 2003 [2]
Special Report: A Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Selection of Muslim Religious Services Providers – Full Report
Patricia Smith. “Islam in America”, New York Times Upfront. New York: Jan 9, 2006. Vol. 138, Iss. 8; pg. 10
Zogby phone survey
Stars, Stripes, Crescent – A reassuring portrait of America’s Muslims. The Wall Street Journal, 24 August 2005
The Diversity of Muslims in the United States – Views as Americans – United States Institute of Peace. February 2006
For Muslims at AZ Airport, a Place to Wash Before Prayers, Arizona Republic, May 20, 2004
Indy Star Retrieved on 2008.
Few find quiet chapel at DIA, Shannon Hurd, Boulder Daily Camera, April 20, 2002
THE MORNING NEWS, August 10, 2007, “Muslim Americans Setting Example For Muslims Abroad”, Leader Says, By Jason Wiest,
Islamic Society of North America Official Website.
Islamic Circle of North America Official Website
Islamic Supreme Council of America Official Website.
Islamic Assembly of North America Official Website.
Muslim Student Association Official Website
Islamic Information Center Official Website.
The American Islamic Congress Statement Of Principles
Free Muslims Coalition
Inner-City Muslim Action Network Official Website
Islamic Relief Official Website
a b c Views of Muslim-Americans hold steady after London Bombings – Pew Research Center. 26 July 2005
The latest NEWSWEEK Poll paints a complicated portrait of attitudes toward America’s Muslims.
Restrictions on Civil Liberties, Views of Islam, & Muslim Americans – Cornell University. December 2005
Poll news CBS.
“Major poll finds US Muslims Mostly Mainstream”. VOA News (Voice of America). 01 June 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2008.
“Minnesota’s Muslim cab drivers face crackdown”. Reuters. April 17, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-06.
“Target shifts Muslims who won’t ring up pork products”. MSNBC. March 17, 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
 Muslim prayers in school debated | The San Diego Union-Tribune
Bush like Hitler, says first Muslim in Congress The Telegraph
Congressman Admits 9/11 Error, Associated Press, July 18, 2007
Sun Times Retrieved on 2008.
CNS News Service, November 14, 2002 [3]
United State Senate, Committee on the Judiciary , Testimony of Dr. Michael Waller, Annenberg Professor of International Communication, The Institute of World Politics, October 12, 2003 [4]
United State Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Testimony of Mr. Harly G. Lappin, Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons, October 14, 2003 [5]
a b c d Fact Sheet: Department of Justice Anti-Terrorism Efforts Since Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. Department of Justice, September 5, 2006
The Enemy Within (and the Need for Profiling) by Daniel Pipes. New York Post, via, 24 January 2003
‘American Jihad’ by Steven Emerson. Iranscope, 26 February 2002
Robert Spencer
Wahhabism and Islam in the U.S. – 26 June 2003
Expert: Saudis have radicalized 80% of US mosques – Jerusalem Post. 8 December 2005
Schumer: Saudis Playing Role in Spreading Main Terror Influence in United States – Charles Schumer Press Release. September 10, 2003
ISNA Leadership Development Center News and Events
Peter Bergen on Jon Stewarts Daily Show – Comedy Central
Will the Extreme Right Succeed? Turning the War on Terror into a War on Islam – Media Monitors USA, Louay M. Safi. 29 December 2005
^ United Nations Report E/CN.4/1999/58/Add.1
[edit] External links

Muslims Widely Seen As Facing Discrimination.
Information of Muslim Communities and Events in the greater Los Angeles area.
Islamic Center of Beverly Hills
Rashdan, Abdelrahman Politicking US Muslims: How Can US Muslims Change Realities – Interview with Dr. Salah Soltan
“The Diversity of Muslims in the United States: Views as Americans” United States Institute of Peace Special Report, February 2006
What Goes First for American Muslims: A Guide to A Better-engaged Community
Survey of U.S. Muslim population studies
What Every Political Leader in America and the West should Know about the Arab-Islamic World
An Oral History of Islam in Pittsburgh
“American Muslims Strive to Become Model Citizens” By Marc Hujer and Daniel Steinvorth, Spiegel Online, September 13, 2007
TIME ‘Muslim in America’ Photo Essay By Ziyah Gafic
US Muslims – Special Coverage
African-American Muslims: The American Values of Islam
Timeline of Islam in the United States
A Brief History of Islam in the United States
The Islamic Community In The United States: Historical
Muslim Americans Survey of Muslim Americans
American Muslims Demographics
Untapped American Muslim Consumers Market: DinarStandard

A Brief History of Islam in the United States

The presence of Islam in the New World began with the Moriscoes who accompanied the Spanish invadors. Following their time, great numbers of Muslim slaves were imported to this continent to work on the plantations of the South. In spite of the effort to wipe out the slaves’ Islamic identity, Islamic practices and beliefs remained strong with many of them. Several books chronicle the early history of Islam in America, including:

African Muslims in Antebellum America: A Sourcebook by Allan D. Austin.
Islam in North America: A sourcebook by Michael A. Koszegi and J. Gordon Melton.
Disforming the American Canon: African-Arabic Slave Narratives and the Vernacular, by Ronald A.T. Judy
In the early part of this century, waves of immigrants from various parts of the Muslim world, most notably Palestine, Lebanon and what is now Pakistan, appeared on these shores. These people were mostly illiterate, unskilled Arabs who found work in the auto factories of Detroit, or peasants from the Panjab who set up house in such places as Sacramento.

Then, beginning in the ’50s, the picture changed drastically. An influx of Muslim professionals, many of them physicians, finding conditions in their homelands inhospitable, settled in this country after completing their studies. The black movements, the back-to-Africa groups, had come into flower by this time. Great numbers of Muslim students from all parts of the world also began to arrive in this country.

This was the period which saw the formation of the early Muslim communities and mosques in such places as Detroit, Ann Arbor, Gary (Indiana), Cedar Rapids (Iowa), Sacramento and the like. Visiting scholars and missionary groups from the Middle East and the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent also began to arrive. And Islam began, in a very slow manner, to gain adherents among white Americans.

It was this period which also witnessed the formation of national Islamic groups, such as the Muslim Students Association (MSA) of the United States and Canada, later to be replaced by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and their supporting institutions. Regional and national conferences of Muslims for the discussion of issues of common concern were streamlined during this period. Many Muslims who had never practiced their religion now found their way back to their roots and began, for the very first time, to appreciate the value of their faith.

The black movements now came into their own. Most prominent among them was the Black Muslim sect, headed by the self-proclaimed “prophet,” Elijah Muhammed. He ading a political rather than a religious movement, Mr. Muhammad was easily able to sell the frustrated, suffering black community his ideology of reacting to racism with racism under the heading of “Black Islam.” For a time the movement flourished, but later, with the exposure of Mr. Muhammad’s sexual improprieties, it began to wither and fade. Malcolm X, who had been its chief spokesman, had turned against its leader and, after experiencing the brotherhood of true Islam during his Hajj, changed his position concerning the inherent evil of all members of the white race. Malcolm’s assassination in 1965 did nothing to halt the dissolution of the Black Muslims. Subsequently, Elijah’s son Wallace, now Warithuddin Muhammad, led the majority of his father’s ex-followers into orthodox Islam. What remained of Elijah’s followers became the Nation of Islam under the leadership of the controversial Louis Farrakhan.

Today, mosques, Islamic centers and schools are found in every community of any size. Islamic organizations and institutions abound, now at last able to minister to the needs of the Muslim congregation in America. Muslims’ voices are heard speaking up for their faith in official circles, to the media and in every field of endeavor, and Muslims are now able to make a significant contribution, especially in the realm of spirituality, values and morals, to the life of this nation.

At present, the number of Muslims in the United States is estimated to be on the order of between 5 to 8 million. It is the fastest growing faith in this country. Estimates indicate that by the year 2000, the number of Muslims in the United States will be greater than that of the Methodists, and that by the year 2010 the number will have doubled to 10 to 16 million. The estimated conversion rate among Americans is 135,000 per year. The Defense Department reports that there are now approximately 9000 Muslims on active duty in the U.S. armed services (it is reported that more than 3000 Americans embraced Islam during the Gulf war alone). A vast network of Muslim ministries also caters to some 300,000 converts in prisons, with an estimated conversion rate of 35,000 per year.

The predominant group among Muslims in the United States are Afro-Americans. The immigrant communities, which come from a great variety of countries stretching from Eastern Europe to Cambodia and virtually every country in between, comprise the next largest group. The student community is the third largest group. Finally, Caucasian and other ethnic Americans comprise the smallest group, but this too is growing at a fast rate.

Among all these, Afro-Americans are reported to comprise 42% of the total; 24.4% are Indo-Pakistani; 12.4% are Arabs; 5.2% are Africans; 3.6% are Iranis; 2.4% are Turks; 2% are from South-East Asia; 1.6% are white Americans; 8 5 are Albanians; and all other groups comprise 5.6%. The ten states with the highest concentration of Muslims are California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Ohio and Maryland (listed in order of population). This represents 3.3 million of the Muslim population in the United States. There are more than 1000 mosques, compared to 600 in 1980, 230 in 1960 and 19 in 1930. In addition, there are 400 Islamic schools (108 full-time), over 400 associations, an estimated 200,000 businesses, and over 80 publications, journals, weekly newspapers, etc.

The simplicity of Islam and its appeal both to reason and to the heart accounts for its tremendous appeal. With teachings about God, human responsibility and the life hereafter which are very similar to those of Judaism and Christianity, it insists on the necessity of living a pure, God-centered life following the natural dictates of a balanced mind and conscience, following the guidance transmitted through the last prophet of God, Muhammad, peace be upon him. It honors the previous great prophets of the Bible, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and many others, and also reiterates the belief of early Christian communities concerning the prophetic mission of Jesus, ascribing divinity to the Creator alone.

Muslims Are Targets of a Paranoid U.S.

Jafar Siddiqui

Posted Apr 24, 2005 • Permalink • Printer-Friendly Version

Persecutions and Muslims in America.

Jafar Siddiqui

As the USA PATRIOT Act comes up for review (actually just portions of it), it behooves us to review the current state of affairs in the United States; where we are today and where we are heading.

Late in March 2005, two 16-year old Muslim girls were imprisoned by the FBI on the assertion (no charges, mind you) that they are “an imminent threat to the security of the United States based on evidence that they plan to be suicide bombers.”

The different FBI stories unraveled almost as fast as they were created.

The FBI said that the two girls knew each other, had met and were planning this deed by the time they were imprisoned. Actually, they met after the FBI ?detained? them after the parents of the two girls were detained on immigration charges. The girls, one from Bangladesh and living in Queens and the other a Guinean girl living in East Harlem had nothing in common except age and Islam. The only ?connection? to suicide bombing was an essay the Bangladeshi girl had written in which she said suicide is forbidden in Islam. It is also strange that while the girls were being accused of getting ready to blow up indeterminate targets, their school lockers were not opened by the FBI.

As these stories began to surface in the media, they changed yet again; now the girls are being held in the words of the Immigration authorities, ?purely on immigration charges, that?s it? and according to the local US Attorney, ?there are absolutely no other criminal charges? against the girls.

In this country Muslims are increasingly the target of a ?shoot first and ask questions later? policy by our government. The American public vary in their responses from saying nothing, murmuring words of disapproval or, accepting such repressive policies while saying, this is a sad byproduct of the 9/11 tragedy and our ?War on Terrorism?. Sad it is that the hard work of our Founding Fathers and the work of the great leaders of freedom in our history should be going down the drain so rapidly after a challenge to our nation by a handful of terrorists.

I am often told that I should be grateful for the freedoms and benefits America has given me and not to call it a bad country. My critics are off on both issues. First, there is a great distinction between my criticizing the actions of this nation?s leaders and calling the nation bad, which I do not do. Second, Americans seem to have forgotten that this nation did not become great because its people sat in silent gratitude to the nation but fought to make changes for a better future which is something we all need to do?all the time.

As Muslims decried the treatment of the young girls, many voices from the patriotic front were heard approving and justifying the same. This support was usually mixed with ill-concealed bile towards Muslims and Islam; how violent they are and how hateful their religion. Mixed in with this are sentiments that re-state the tragedy of 9/11 and cast the present situation in an ?us-or-them? option where it becomes Muslims? fault that America is ?forced? to take such actions. Instead of looking at how our constitution can so easily be undermined, we are taken into a tangential argument that sweeps from Muslims to Islam to terrorism and Israel. Everything but the demise of the due process clauses in our constitution.

People have pointed out examples where Muslim women were suicide-bombers and said where Muslims are concerned the authorities had no choice but to handle things in this manner.

The rape becomes the fault of the victim.

If such reactions are justifiable then Muslims had better avoid doctors when they have a stuffed nose and difficulty breathing or they may get sent to Guantanamo Bay for threatening the nation with Anthrax. Other Muslims could be justifiably shot as they walk in public places in a coat with a fanny pack around their waist?what Muslim but a suicide-bomber would do such a thing? As we defend Democracy and Freedom, all such actions can be regretfully approved because the Muslims ?force us? to take these positions in our ?War Against Terror?.

One must be excused for being confused over the identity of the real terrorists in such scenarios.

As the review date approaches for certain portions of the USA PATRIOT Act, we Muslims watch with wistful bemusement at the energized stances of our Senators and Representatives who decry those portions of the Act that permit the FBI to sneak and peek in homes, library records and similar places sacred to all Americans.

We Muslims wish WE had these problems!

Jafar Siddiqui ( [email protected] )is an American Muslim living in Lynnwood, WA. USA.

He is a member of American Muslims of Puget Sound and is a human rights activist. He is involved with movements for inter-faith understanding; he writes articles and gives lectures on Terrorism, American Foreign Policy, on Islam, on History and Politics in Bosnia, Rwanda, South and Central Asia as well as the Middle East. He is a contributor on a textbook on Terrorism. His works have been published in various media. He also gives commentaries on radio and TV.

A shorter version of this article was published at Seattle

American Muslims eight years after 9/11

Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Posted Sep 11, 2009 • Permalink • Printer-Friendly Version

American Muslims eight years after 9/11

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

“Change” was President Barak Obama’s campaign slogan. The seven-million strong American Muslim community, firmly believing in his “change” slogan, voted overwhelmingly for him in the 2008 presidential elections with the hope that his administration would bring an end to their humiliation and sufferings they faced in the Bush era in the name of “war on terror.”

American Muslims were both pleased and surprised by President Obama’s inclusive words in his inaugural address, on January 20th, when he said America is “a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers.” Such words signaled Obama’s recognition that Muslims are an important part of the American fabric.

In his historic June 4 speech in Cairo, President Obama hinted to the problems facing the American Muslims by saying that the United States “rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.”

His Cairo statement coincided with a statement by Attorney General Eric Holder: “The President’s pledge for a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim community takes root here in the Justice Department where we are committed to using criminal and civil rights laws to protect Muslim Americans. A top priority of this Justice Department is a return to robust civil rights enforcement and outreach in defending religious freedoms and other fundamental rights of all of our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the housing market, in our schools and in the voting booth.”

Similarly, in his September 2nd speech at the White House Iftar dinner, President Obama emphasized that “the contributions of Muslims to the United States are too long to catalogue because Muslims are so interwoven into the fabric of our communities and our country.” While noting the contributions of American Muslims, president also alluded to their problems when he shared the story of the Muslim sixth-grader Nashala Hearn from Oklahoma, who was suspended twice last fall because the school officials claimed her hijab violated their dress code policy. The President said: “When her school district told her that she couldn’t wear the hijab, she protested that it was a part of her religion. The Department of Justice stood behind her, and she won her right to practice her faith.”

Not surprisingly, Valerie Jarrett, a Senior Advisor and Assistant to President Obama for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, was the keynote speaker at the inaugural session of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Convention 2009. She paid a tribute to the diligent work of Muslim Americans on behalf of the country. Citing President Obama’s April 2009 Cairo Speech, Ms. Jarrett acknowledged the contribution of American Muslims to the overall development of American society and the strengthening of American institutions. Ms Jarrett pointed out: “Your work here is crucial in confronting the challenges that all Americans are facing. And you help advance the new beginning between the United State and Muslim communities around the world that the President called for in Cairo.”

These courteous and good gestures by President Obama are accompanied by the appointment of a number of American Muslims to some minor positions in his administration. Rashad Hussain, an American Muslim lawyer, has been appointed as Deputy Associate Counsel to the President. Dalia Mogahed was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) National Executive Director Kareem Shora has been appointed a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC).

However all these good gestures and public policy measures have little positive impact on the restoration of civil rights of American Muslims curtailed since 9/11. Profiling has been institutionalized in the post-9/11 America. State and federal agencies, under the guise of fighting terrorism, have expanded the use of this degrading, discriminatory and dangerous practice. The damage to civil liberties has been extensive, and a lot of work remains to be done.

American Muslims and civil libertarians are particularly concerned about Justice Department guidelines implemented in the last days of the Bush administration, which allow race and ethnicity to be factors in opening an investigation. Other civil rights concerns include FBI agent provocateurs sent into American mosques, citizenship delays, politicized “terror” trials, and misuse by the Department of Justice of the “unindicted co-conspirator” label.

Today, eight years after 9/11, incidents of racial and religious profiling in the United States have increased dramatically. Soon after the 9/11 attacks, racial profiling became the norm at American airports where anyone belonging to the Arab or Muslim communities was systematically called out for questioning and sometimes even detained. Eight years hence, August 14, 2009 detention of Indian Muslim superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s detention at Newark Airport in New Jersey is only one of the scores that take place every day.

COINTELPRO operation against the Muslims

Last October — in the waning days of the Bush administration — FBI director Robert Mueller signed new guidelines allowing broader FBI authority in pursuing potential threats to national security. The new guidelines allow agents to consider race or ethnicity in determining whether someone is a suspect. These guidelines – which became effective Dec. 1, 2008 — allow the FBI to launch a criminal investigation against someone without any factual predicate and without approval from FBI headquarters.

The guidelines are similar to COINTELPRO, an FBI program used in the 50s and 60s to spy on civil rights, environmental and labor groups, with the goal of unearthing Communist ties those organizations may have had. At Congressional hearings last May, FBI Director Mueller — who continues to serve as FBI director in the Obama administration — said the guidelines simply formalized processes the FBI had begun to use, post-9/11. President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have not indicated whether they intend to scrap the new guidelines.

Tellingly, the Obama administration has also formalized laptop seizure rules. On August 27, 2009, the Obama administration disclosed that it will carry on Bush administration policies that allowed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to seize and search international travelers’ laptop computers, cellular phones, cameras, and other electronic devices, even in the absence of suspicion of criminal activity. The DHS made public two directives that formalized operational practices established by the Bush administration to carry out searches of the personal digital instruments of travelers, US citizens or not, passing across US borders. According to the directives, border police “may detain electronic devices, or copies of information contained therein, for a brief, reasonable period of time to perform a thorough border search. If DHS turns up nothing incriminating, to regain the confiscated item the traveler must return to the border crossing where the item was seized, or else pay for its shipment.

Although the electronic media search regulations apply to all passengers but Muslims are perhaps the main target at present because they are the target of extra scrutiny at the airports and other points of entry.

In April 2009, Muslim Advocates released a report – Unreasonable Intrusions: Investigating the Politics, Faith & Finances of Americans Returning Home – documenting the systematic and widespread practice of federal agents interrogating Muslim, Arab, and South-Asian Americans returning home after international travel — violating their rights to privacy and nondiscrimination, among others. The report pointed out: “Currently, no DHS policy limits the scope of interrogations, even those that probe the religious beliefs, political views and other First Amendment-protected activities of law-abiding Americans.

“For many hard-working, law-abiding Muslim Americans, questions about their political beliefs, religious practices, and charitable causes they support, as well as surrendering their business cards, credit card numbers and laptop and cell phone data, have become the price of admission to return home to the U.S.,” says Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates.

On June 30, 2009 the ACLU issued a report titled: The Persistence of Racial and ethnic Profiling in the United States. The report said: “The Obama administration has inherited a shameful legacy of racial profiling codified in official FBI guidelines and a notorious registration program that treats Arabs and Muslims as suspects and denies them the presumption of innocence and equal protection under the law.……….As a result, in 2009, with a new administration in office, the practice of racial profiling by members of law enforcement at the federal, state, and local levels remains a widespread and pervasive problem throughout the United States, impacting the lives of millions of people in African American, Asian, Latino, South Asian, and Arab communities.” Tellingly, as a candidate, President Barack Obama’s campaign released a “Blueprint for Change,” which stated that, if elected, “Obama and Biden will ban racial profiling . . . ” In 2005 and in 2007, then-Senator Obama cosponsored End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) which has continued to languish in Congress since its introduction in 1997. ERPA is the key piece of federal legislation as it would compel all law enforcement agencies to ban racial profiling; create and apply profiling procedures; document data on stop/search/arrest activities by race and gender; and create a private right of action for victims of profiling.


Eight years after 9/11, there is a rising tide of Islamaphobia, intensified by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and U.S. government measures at home. Americans’ attitudes about Islam and Muslims are fuelled mainly by political statements and media reports that focus almost solely on the negative image of Islam and Muslims. Politicians, authors and media commentators are busy in demonizing Islam, Muslims and the Muslim world. Eight years after 9/11 attacking Islam and Muslims remains the fashionable sport for the radio, television and print media. Few recent incidents of Islamophobia:

In February 2009, Republican Senator Jon Kyl hosted screening of an anti-Islam film ‘Fitna’ at the Capitol building and invited anti-Islam far-right Dutch lawmaker, Geert Wilders, as his guest. Tellingly, Wilders was denied entry to London earlier that month because British authorities believed that showing his controversial film posed a threat to public order. Islamophobe Wilders, who built his political career on fear-mongering, compares Islam’s holy book Qur’an to Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and calls for its banned.

Islamophobes are also teaching hatred towards Islam and Muslims to the school children. On August 24, Faith Sapp, a 10-year-old daughter of Wayne Sapp, pastor of the controversial church, the Dove World Outreach Center, in Gainesville Florida, was sent home for wearing a T-shirt with the words ‘Islam Is Of The Devil’ printed on it. Next day three more students were sent home for wearing the anti-Islam T-shirts. On their front, the T-shirts had a verse from the Gospel of John: “Jesus answered I am the way and the truth and the life; no one goes to the Father except through me.” The message “Islam is of the Devil” is on the back of the shirt. The Dove World Outreach Center’s anti-Islam T-shirts episode came a month after the church displayed a series of hand-painted anti-Islam signs.

In the latest incident of Islamophobia, Clarksville, Tennessee, Mayor Johnny Piper, on Sept. 4, sent an e-mail to every City Council member, every department head, and numerous other city employees, friends and family members, to protest a U.S. Postal Service stamp commemorating two Islamic holidays of Eid. The e-mail falsely claims that the stamp is new, and its creation was ordered by President Barack Obama. In fact, the stamp was first issued in 2001, and was reissued in 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Not surprisingly, Islamophobia has created an atmosphere of suspicion among the fellow Americans towards the Muslims. In this Islamophobic charged atmosphere, it is not surprising that 48 percent Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam according to a 2009 poll by Washington Post-ABC News. Nearly three in ten (29 percent) said they see mainstream Islam as advocating violence against non-Muslims. Unfortunately, what most Americans continue to see on television and read in newspapers since 9/11 are examples of Muslims and Arabs responsible for terror attacks, the repression of women, and riots.

Islamophobia incited incidents targeting American Muslim individuals and institutions. Eight years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, American Muslims and Arabs continue to suffer a severe wave of backlash violence. The hate crimes included murder, beatings, arson, attacks on mosques, shootings, vehicular assaults and verbal threats. Recent hate crimes include a bias-motivated attack on a Muslim woman and child in Seattle by a self-proclaimed white supremacist, vandalism of mosques in California, Florida and North Carolina, an anti-Islam sign outside a Florida church, racist fireworks sold in Wisconsin, the beating of a Muslim student in New York, and the death of a California Muslim leader in a “suspicious” fire.

Last month, an Islandia, New York, man threatened to kill a Muslim woman and her 20-year-old daughter as he tried to run them down with his car at a gas station. The victim, 49, and her daughter were dressed in an abaya, a traditional Muslim garment that completely covered their bodies and face, except for their eyes.

FBI infiltrated spies into South California mosques

In February 2009, the American Muslim community was shocked at the revelation, that the FBI has been infiltrating spies into a number of mosques in Southern California. The Orange County Register reported that the FBI sent a convicted criminal, Craig Monteilh, to pose as an agent provocateur in several of California’s mosques. In April, Monteilh told The Los Angeles Times that he posed as a Muslim convert at the request of the FBI to gather intelligence that might aid anti-terrorism investigators. Monteilh said he was instructed to lure mosque members to work out with him at local gyms. FBI agents later would obtain security camera footage from the gyms and ask him to identify the people on the tapes and to provide additional information about them. He was told that the agents then conducted background checks on the men, looking for anything that could be used to pressure them to become informants.

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM), in April 2009, asked Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation into complaints that Michigan Muslims are being approached to spy on activities of Muslim congregations by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Through coercion of certain members of congregations, the FBI is reportedly promoting entrapment of innocent, law-abiding citizens in otherwise peaceful houses of worship, said a CIOM statement. CIOM is an umbrella organization of mosques and Islamic organizations within the state of Michigan. The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), which is a CIOM member, had received complaints that the FBI has approached Michigan Muslims, asking them to spy on unsuspecting worshippers including monitoring their legitimate charitable donations.

Muslim charities

Eight years after 9/11, Muslim charity organizations remain under pressure. In June 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union released an extensive report about how the U.S. terrorism finance laws and policies were unfairly preventing the seven-million-strong American Muslim community from practicing their religion through charitable giving. The 164 page report, “Blocking Faith, Freezing Charity,” is the first comprehensive report that documents the serious effects of Bush administration terrorism finance laws on Muslim communities across the nation. The core of the report is about how Muslims are being scared away from making zakat (a religious obligation) donations to Muslim charities. “U.S. terrorism finance laws and policies unfairly prevent Muslim Americans from practicing their religion through charitable giving, create a climate of fear and distrust in law enforcement and undermine America’s diplomatic efforts in Muslim countries,” the report said.

Since December 2001, the ACLU reports that the government has seized the assets of three Muslim charities, closed seven others and conducted raids of more. The stated purpose was to cut off the money that supposedly was heading from Muslim charities to groups that support or carry out terrorism. “Without notice and through the use of secret evidence and opaque procedures, the Treasury Department has effectively closed down seven U.S.-based Muslim charities, including several of the nation’s largest Muslim charities,” said Jennifer Turner, a researcher with the ACLU Human Rights Program and author of the report. “While terrorism financing laws are meant to make us safer, policies that give the appearance of a war on Islam only serve to undermine America’s diplomatic efforts just as President Obama reaches out to the Muslim world. These counter-productive practices alienate American Muslims who are key allies and chill legitimate humanitarian aid in parts of the world where charities’ good works could be most effective in winning hearts and minds,” Turner added.

In May 2009, after a series of legal twists, secret evidence and questionable witness of Israeli intelligence agents, five former officials of the Holy Land Foundation, once a leading American Muslim charitable organization, were sentenced upto 65 years imprisonment on charges related to humanitarian aid given to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. The defendants said they were engaged in legitimate relief work, while the government claimed that work benefited terrorists. During the trial, defense attorneys accused the government of bending to Israeli pressure to prosecute the charity, and of relying on old evidence. The five were never accused of supporting violence and were convicted for funding charities that aided needy Palestinians.

To borrow the OBM Watch, the Holy Land Foundation trial sends a chilling message to the US charities. It is virtually impossible for charities to determine what foreign organizations they can legally partner with. At the trial, Robert McBrien from Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control testified that it can be illegal to deal with groups that have not been designated as supporters of terrorism and placed on government watch lists. He said that keeping up with front groups “is a task beyond the wise use of resources.” As a result, charities now have to guess about whether or not any local charity or community leader may be considered a supporter of terrorism, said the OBM.

“Ramadan, Giving Wisely and With No Fear” is the title of an article about zakat which reflects the dilemma of Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation of zakat which is usually given during the month of Ramadan. Government crackdown of Muslim charities has caused tremendous fear and anxiety among Muslims, with many still fearful that a simple act of charity could lead to federal agents knocking at their door. Unfortunately Obama’s pledge to work with American Muslims to resolve the problem has so far helped little to assure the Muslims. In July, Muslim organizations joined other nonprofit organizations in signing a letter urging President Obama to follow up on his Cairo commitment to revise charitable giving rules.

On August 26, the Treasury Department issued a statement about charity giving in Ramadan. “As Ramadan begins, the U.S. Department of the Treasury recognizes the particular importance of charitable giving throughout the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims in America and around the world. Charitable giving is a fundamental characteristic of many faiths, and zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam, is a sacred obligation for Muslims.” However, the Treasury Department has failed to provide a safe list of charity organizations so that Muslims can donate without fear.

In short, eight years after 9/11, Muslims in America remained at the receiving end with assault on their civil rights and their faith. Muslims are the prime targets of the post 9/11 reconfiguration of American laws, policies, and priorities which have not been changed under the Obama administration. Defending civil rights remains the single most important challenge before the seven million-strong American Muslim community.

It will not be a harsh judgment to say that eight years after 9/11, American Muslims remain under siege. Despite healing words from President Obama about bridging the divide between the Muslim world and the West, America’s Muslim community is subject to pervasive and persistent attacks by the federal government, many spearheaded by the Joint Terrorism Task Forces. As President Barack Obama made his public appearance with Turkish President Abdullah Gul on April 6, 2009 as part of his first trip to a Muslim country, U.S. federal agents were preparing to arrest Youssef Megahed, a student from Egypt, in Tampa, Fla. Just three days earlier, a jury in a U.S. federal district court had acquitted him of charges of illegally transporting explosives and possession of an explosive device. Megahed was being held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a deportation proceeding. The charges were the same ones from which he was completely acquitted. Surprisingly, in August he was released when an immigration judge refused to deport him, ruling the Department of Homeland Security had failed to prove terrorism charges.

Many people believed that after Bush had left the White House, rampant arrogance combined with stunning hypocrisy had also gone. Events have so far proved otherwise. Although Obama is able to give a more compassionate and intelligent speech than was possible with Bush, the essence of their policies is identical. To borrow Ted Rall: “Obama doesn’t talk like Bush; he just acts like him?”

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Executive Editor of the online magazine American Muslim Perspective: Email: [email protected]


Court Says 9/11 Witnesses Can Sue Ashcroft

The Islamic Response to Domestic Violence – updated 10/10/09


Posted Oct 10, 2009 • Permalink • Printer-Friendly Version

The Islamic Response to Domestic Violence


As Muslims we understand that violence and coercion used, as a tool of control in the home is oppression and not accepted in Islam.

Marriage in the Islamic context is a means of tranquility, protection, peace and comfort. Abuse of any kind is in conflict to the principles of marriage. Any justification of abuse is in opposition to what Allah (swt) has revealed and the example of Prophet Muhammad.

Sura 30 Ayat 21
“And among His signs is this: He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.”

Sura 9 Ayat 71
The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise.

Sura 16 Ayat 90
Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition

What does Islam say concerning domestic violence?
Excerpt from “Domestic violence – Islamic perspective” by M. Basheer Ahmed, M.D.

“Under no circumstances violence against women is encouraged or allowed in Islam. There are many examples in Quran and Ahadith that describes the behavior of Muslims towards husband and wife. The relationship should be one of mutual love, respect and kindness. Allah (swt) says in Quran,
“O believers treat women with kindness even if you dislike them; it is quite possible that you dislike something which Allah might yet make a source of abundant good (An Nisa 4:19).

Arabian society at the beginning of Islam sanctioned appalling violence towards women. Far from giving permission for wife beating Allah Subhanahu watala prohibited or at least severely curtailed excessive violence against women. Allah (swt) repeatedly says in the Quran to show love, kindness and warns that they should not harm their wives even after divorce. Allah (swt) has even forbidden us to call each other by bad names and to humiliate. The abusive behavior does not reflect the kindness and love for their spouses. Still, some men justify their behavior knowing that they are disobeying Allah’s guidance…”

Excerpt from “Ending Domestic Violence in Muslim Families” by Sharifa Alkhateeb

“Under no circumstances is violence against women encouraged or allowed. The holy Qur’an contains tens of verses extolling good treatment of women. Several specifically enjoin kindness to women (2:229-237; 4:19; 4:25). These verses make it clear that the relationship between men and women is to be one of kindness, mutual respect, and caring. Some verses, where Allah calls men and women “protecting friends of one another,” refer to the mandated atmosphere of mutual kindness and mercy in the marital home (30:21; 9:71). Others show disapproval of oppression or ill treatment of women…”

For full text visit:

Excerpt from “Is wife beating allowed in Islam” by Jamal Badawi
“In the event of a family dispute, the Qur’an exhorts the husband to treat his wife kindly and not overlook her POSITIVE ASPECTS (see Qur’an 4:19). If the problem relates to the wife’s behavior, her husband may exhort her and appeal for reason. In most cases, this measure is likely to be sufficient. In cases where the problem continues, the husband may express his displeasure in another peaceful manner, by sleeping in a separate bed from hers. There are cases, however, in which a wife persists in deliberate mistreatment and expresses contempt of her husband and disregard for her marital obligations. Instead of divorce, the husband may resort to another measure that may save the marriage, at least in some cases.…”

For full text visit:

First published 11/27/05

UPDATE February 2009:

ISNA’s Open Letter Against Domestic Violence

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is saddened and shocked by the news of the loss of one of our respected sisters, Aasiya Hassan whose life was taken violently. To God we belong and to Him we return (Qur’an 2:156). We pray that she find peace in God’s infinite Mercy, and our prayers and sympathies are with sister Aasiya’s family. Our prayers are also with the Muslim community of Buffalo who have been devastated by the loss of their beloved sister and the shocking nature of this incident.

This is a wake up call to all of us, that violence against women is real and can not be ignored. It must be addressed collectively by every member of our community. Several times each day in America, a woman is abused or assaulted. Domestic violence is a behavior that knows no boundaries of religion, race, ethnicity, or social status. Domestic violence occurs in every community. The Muslim community is not exempt from this issue. We, the Muslim community, need to take a strong stand against domestic violence. Unfortunately, some of us ignore such problems in our community, wanting to think that it does not occur among Muslims or we downgrade its seriousness.

I call upon my fellow imams and community leaders to never second-guess a woman who comes to us indicating that she feels her life to be in danger. We should provide support and help to protect the victims of domestic violence by providing for them a safe place and inform them of their rights as well as refer them to social service providers in our areas.

Marriage is a relationship that should be based on love, mutual respect and kindness. No one who experiences a marriage that is built on these principles would pretend that their life is in danger. We must respond to all complaints or reports of abuse as genuine and we must take appropriate and immediate action to ensure the victim’s safety, as well as the safety of any children that may be involved.

Women who seek divorce from their spouses because of physical abuse should get full support from the community and should not be viewed as someone who has brought shame to herself or her family. The shame is on the person who committed the act of violence or abuse. Our community needs to take a strong stand against abusive spouses. We should not make it easy for people who are known to abuse to remarry if they have already victimized someone. We should support people who work against domestic violence in our community, whether they are educators, social service providers, community leaders, or other professionals.

Our community needs to take strong stand against abusive spouses and we should not make it easy for them to remarry if they chose a path of abusive behavior. We should support people who work against domestic violence in our community, whether they are educators or social service providers. As Allah says in the Qur’an: “O ye who believe! Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do” (4:136).

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never hit a women or child in his life. The purpose of marriage is to bring peace and tranquility between two people, not fear, intimidation, belittling, controlling, or demonizing. Allah the All-Mighty says in the Qur’an: “Among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are signs for those who reflect” (30:21),

We must make it a priority to teach our young men in the community what it means to be a good husband and what the role the husband has as a protector of his family. The husband is not one who terrorizes or does harm and jeopardizes the safety of his family. At the same time, we must teach our young women not to accept abuse in any way, and to come forward if abuse occurs in the marriage. They must feel that they are able to inform those who are in authority and feel comfortable confiding in the imams and social workers of our communities.

Community and family members should support a woman in her decision to leave a home where her life is threatened and provide shelter and safety for her. No imam, mosque leader or social worker should suggest that she return to such a relationship and to be patient if she feels the relationship is abusive. Rather they should help and empower her to stand up for her rights and to be able to make the decision of protecting herself against her abuser without feeling she has done something wrong, regardless of the status of the abuser in the community.

A man’s position in the community should not affect the imam’s decision to help a woman in need. Many disasters that take place in our community could have been prevented if those being abused were heard. Domestic violence is not a private matter. Any one who abuses their spouse should know that their business becomes the business of the community and it is our responsibility to do something about it. She needs to tell someone and seek advice and protection.

Community leaders should also be aware that those who isolate their spouses are more likely to also be physically abusive, as isolation is in its own way a form of abuse. Some of the abusers use the abuse itself to silence the women, by telling her “If you tell people I abused you, think how people will see you, a well-known person being abused. You should keep it private.”

Therefore, to our sisters, we say: your honor is to live a dignified life, not to put on the face that others want to see. The way that we measure the best people among us in the community is to see how they treat their families. It is not about how much money one makes, or how much involvement they have in the community, or the name they make for themselves. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said, “The best among you are those who are best to their families.”

It was a comfort for me to see a group of imams in our local community, as well as in the MANA conference signing a declaration promising to eradicate domestic violence in our community. Healthy marriages should be part of a curriculum within our youth programs, MSA conferences, and seminars as well as part of our adult programs in our masajid and in our khutbahs.

The Islamic Society of North America has done many training workshops for imams on combating domestic violence, as has the Islamic Social Service Associate and Peaceful Families Project. Organizations, such as FAITH Social Services in Herndon, Virginia, serve survivors of domestic violence. All of these organizations can serve as resources for those who seek to know more about the issues of domestic violence.

Faith Trust Institute, one of the largest interfaith organizations, with Peaceful Families Project, has produced a DVD in which many scholars come together to address this issue. I call on my fellow imams and social workers to use this DVD for training others on the issues of domestic violence. (For information, go to the website: For more information, or to access resources and materials about domestic violence, please visit

In conclusion, Allah says in the Qur’an “O my son! Establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong; and bear with patient constancy whatever betide thee; for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs” (31:17). Let us pray that Allah will help us to stand for what is right and leave what is evil and to promote healthy marriages and peaceful family environments. Let us work together to prevent domestic violence and abuse and especially, violence against women.

UPDATE October 2009

New Star Family Center is asking for Muslims to sign the pledge against domestic violence at


Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Center
An-Nisa Society
Apna Ghar Domestic Violence Center
Baitul Salaam Shelter Network
Faith Trust Institute:
Interfaith Domestic Violence Coalition
KARAMAH Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights
Musawah – for equality in the family
Muslim Social Services
Muslim Women’s League
Muslimat al Nisaa
Muslims Against Domestic Violence
National Alliance to End Domestic Abuse
New Star Family Center
Peace and Safety in the Christian Home:
Peaceful Families Project
Resource directory of national organizations
Shalom Bayit: Bay Area Jewish Women Working to End Domestic Violence:
Stand! Against Domestic Violence
Turning point for women and families


A Perspective on Domestic Violence in the Muslim Community, Salma Elkadi Abugideiri
A test of faith, Fatima Cash
ALLAH Does Not Allow Domestic Violence, Imam Abdullah El Amin
American Muslim Women’s Organizations as Innovators in Domestic Violence Policy
An Imam’s Guide to deal with domestic violence, Abdul Malik Mujahid
An Imam’s Guide for dealing with abusive men, Uzma Mazhar
Community Pressure as a Deterrent to Injustice, Uzma Mazhar
Constructing the Notion of Male Superiority over Women in Islam, Dahlia Eissa
The Death of Aqsa Parvez Should Be an Interfaith Call to Action, Sheila Musaji
Death By Culture?: How Not to Talk about Islam and Domestic Violence, Zareena Grewal
Does the Qur’an tolerate domestic abuse: interview with Laleh Bakhtiar on Qur’an 4:34
Domestic Abuse by Muslim Men? Is the 18% Statistic Too Low?, Dr. Robert D. Crane
Domestic Violence, Dr. Aslam Abdullah
Domestic Violence, Mohammad Khaku
Domestic Violence and abuse in the Muslim community – Resource collection
Domestic violence, an Islamic perspective
Domestic Violence Prevention & Education in Faith-Based Communities – a resource collection
Domestic Violence and Women of Color
Domestic violence hurts Muslims too: Stop the hurt now, Aneesah Nadir, MSW, CISW
Domestic Violence in the Muslim Community, New Star Family Center
Domestic Violence in Muslim Families, Dr. Jeremiah McAuliffe
Domestic Violence within the Muslim American Community, KARAMAH
Don’t Hold All Muslims Responsible for Men Who Misuse Quran, Beat Women, Summer Hathout
Ending Domestic Violence in Muslim Families, Sharifa Alkhateeb
Interfaith Group Takes New Approach to Domestic Abuse, Rebecca Rosen Lum
Islam and Honor Killings, Imam Zaid Shakir
Islamic Perspective on “Honor Killings” and domestic violence, MWL
Fatwa against domestic abuse by Sheikh Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah
Honor Killings, Mohammed Fadel PhD, JD
Khutbah by Sh. Hamza Yusuf
Misinterpretations about Islam that Perpetuate Domestic Violence, Uzma Mazhar
Murder of Aasiya Hassan: – American Muslims Call For Swift Action Against Domestic Violence, Dr. Hesham Hassaballa – PFP Condemns Beheading of Aasiya Hassan, Wife of Bridges TV Founder
Muslim Women, Domestic Violence and the Role of Education and Awareness Programs, Altaf Husain, MSW, LSW
Muslims Working Against Domestic Violence, Imam Johari Abdul Malik
National Declaration by Religious and Spiritual Leaders to Address Violence Against Women
Pakistan The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2009, Zubeida Mustafa
Qur’an and Hadith on Right to Fight Against Abuse and Violence
Reflections on Aasiya Hassan’s Murder and Domestic Violence, M. Junaid Levesque-Alam
Strong in Faith and Numbers, Interfaith Domestic Violence Coalition Plans Capitol Hill Briefing
Twenty Canadian Muslim Organizations Urge ‘Zero Tolerance’ for Domestic Violence
What Religious Leaders Can Do to Respond to Sexual and Domestic Violence
Why Muslim Families Should Be Free of Domestic Violence (brochure)
Wife Abuse in the Muslim Community, Kamran Memon

U.S. Muslim & Arab Groups Urge Vigilance Following Latest NY Terror Case

Posted Sep 25, 2009 • Permalink • Printer-Friendly Version


(Washington, DC – 9/25/09)—Following the announcement of a federal indictment yesterday against a Colorado man on one charge of conspiring to detonate bombs in the U.S., a coalition of Muslim and Arab American groups are urging greater vigilance and partnership among community members.

SEE: “Terror Case Is Called One of the Most Serious in Years” (New York Times)

“We are investigating a wide range of leads related to this alleged conspiracy,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday. “We believe any imminent threat arising from this case has been disrupted, but as always, we remind the American public to be vigilant.”

In their joint statement, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Freedom and Justice Foundation (F&J), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and Imam Mohamed Magid, Director of the ADAMS Center in Virginia, stated:

The defendants in this case will be judged in the court of law, and should be afforded their due process and the presumption of innocence. While we are always vigilant in defending civil rights and preventing stigmatization of any group or religion, we also view the safety of our country as a top priority. We have an overarching duty to work together and with law enforcement to protect the country and to offer any information that can pre-empt another terrorist attack.

“We urge our constituents to extend full cooperation to protect the innocent, to support the rule of law, and to keep the name of Islam clean and clear from any criminal behavior,” said MPAC Senior Advisor Dr. Maher Hathout.

“ADC reiterates its opposition to and condemnation of those who would attack our country or any innocent civilians,” said ADC Executive Director Kareem Shora. “ADC pledges to continue to be actively involved in protecting and strengthening our country and all the values for which it stands.”

“ISNA supports law enforcement agencies in combating terrorism and bringing those responsible to justice,” said Imam Mohamed Magid, Vice President of ISNA. “Muslim Americans are law abiding citizens and the acts of a few individuals should not reflect on the whole community. Many Muslim Americans serve in law enforcement to protect our nation and we hope that these isolated incidents will not result in backlash against our community.”

“We strongly encourage our communities to deepen their cooperation with law enforcement in order to safeguard our homeland against violent extremism threats,” said Mohamed Elibiary, CEO of the Freedom and Justice Foundation.

As is always the case with news reports regarding alleged terror plots, our groups are concerned about the possibility of backlash against Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Americans. This advisory is being issued as a precautionary measure. Based on experiences in the community in recent years, we offer the following recommendations:


Contact local law enforcement by calling 911.
Fill out an online “FBI Tips & Public Leads” form at
Click here to see a list of FBI field offices and their direct contact information.


Call the police (dial 911 in most communities).
Contact the local FBI office, It is the FBI’s job to investigate hate-motivated crimes and specific threats of violence. Click here to see a list of FBI field offices.

If the threat is imminent, go to a safe location such as a police station or a house of worship.
Contact MPAC and ADC to file a complaint by emailing the ADC Legal Department at [email protected] or by calling (202) 244-2990 or MPAC’s 24-hour Hate Crime Hotline at (800) 898-3558.

Make sure the location has an open line of communication with law enforcement.
Make sure you know all the exits to your building.
Make sure the location has a current emergency plan that is defined and can be implemented should the need arise.

Make sure you discuss the events with your children and that they feel comfortable speaking with an adult if they face harassment by others.
Make sure your children know what steps to take to avoid confrontation with other students.
Work with your children’s school to implement an anti-discriminatory policy.
Click on the following link for a list of the FBI Field Offices across the country:


In light of these developments, the community groups remind members of the Arab, Muslim, and South Asian-American communities that equal protection and due process rights are afforded to everyone, including non-citizens, in the United States. We urge anyone who is contacted by law enforcement for an interview to remember:

1) Their absolute discretion whether to submit to any voluntary interview. This means it is their right to decide whether to submit to an interview.

2) Their right not to answer questions without the presence of an attorney. The community groups highly recommend that individuals not participate in any interviews without an attorney.

3) The fact that the FBI and law enforcement agencies cannot threaten to take away their green cards or otherwise interfere with their immigration status. If an FBI agent or law enforcement officer makes any such threats, the individual has the right to terminate the interview and retain an attorney. Individuals who face any such threats should contact the ADC Legal Department immediately by calling (202) 244-2990 or via email at: [email protected]

4) Their absolute discretion in selecting the date, time, and location of any voluntary interview as well as who may attend the interview including an interpreter if needed. Remember that the interview is voluntary unless specifically told otherwise.

5) Their absolute discretion in selecting what questions to answer during such a voluntary interview. For example, one may choose to answer questions about their neighborhood or activity they may deem suspicious and yet refuse to answer any questions regarding their immigration status, political views, or religious beliefs and practices.

Additional useful know your rights information may be obtained by reviewing the Legal Department section of the ADC website at

The community groups urge anyone who is contacted by federal authorities or law enforcement concerning this matter to report the incident to the ADC Legal Department by calling (202) 244-2990 or via email at: [email protected] . Upon request, ADC will do its best to provide third party observers, in cases where individuals would want such additional safeguards.

“Islamic terrorists”: Who are they insulting?

Sheila Musaji

Posted Sep 5, 2008 • Permalink • Printer-Friendly Version

“Islamic terrorists”: Who are they insulting?

by Sheila Musaji

In his speech at the RNC Rudy Giuliani said: “For four days in Denver, the Democrats were afraid to use the term “Islamic terrorism.” I imagine they believe it is politically incorrect to say it. I think they believe they will insult someone. Please tell me, who they are insulting if they say, “Islamic terrorism.” They are insulting terrorists!” (Full text of speech)

This isn’t the first time that Giuliani has made this statement. In July, he complained that Democratic presidential candidates avoided using formulations of the term “Islamic extremists,” saying: “I can’t imagine who you insult if you say Islamic terrorist“ “During their two debates they never mentioned the word Islamic terrorist, Islamic extremist, Islamic fascist, terrorist, whatever combination of those words you want to use, (the) words never came up,” Giuliani said Tuesday in Virginia Beach. “Maybe it’s politically incorrect to say that. I don’t know. I can’t imagine who you insult if you say Islamic terrorist. You don’t insult anyone who is Islamic who isn’t a terrorist.“ And he played the “Islamic terror” card heavily in his failed run for the presidency. In that campaign his Veterans’ Co-Chairman resigned after an issue was raised about his anti-Muslim remarks, and Rep. Peter King, Giuliani’s homeland security advisor came under fire for saying that there were too many mosques in the U.S.

Mitt Romney also used the RNC to say: “Is a Supreme Court liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with constitution rights?” Romney said. “John McCain hit the nail on the head: radical violent Islam is evil, and he will defeat it!” (Full text of speech)

Former CENTCOM Commander Gen. John Abizaid showed that he understands the problem with this sort of rhetoric when he said: “I mean, even adding the word Islamic extremism, or qualifying it to Sunni Islamic extremism, or qualifying it further to Sunni Islamic extermism as exemplified by government such as Bin Laden, all make it very, very difficult because the battle of words is meaningful, especially in the Middle East to people. And so, I do think, and I had a chance to get to know many of the regional leaders out there. They clearly understand that we, collectively, are fighting a problem that they don’t want to win, that we don’t want to win. The problem that we have to face is how do we work together to keep this problem from becoming mainstream. […] The key is to figure out how we don’t turn this into Samuel Huntington’s Battle of Civilization’s and we work toward an area where we respect mainstream Islam. There’s nothing Islamic about Bin Laden’s philosophy, there’s nothing Islamic about suicide bombing. I believe that these are huge difficulties that we need to overcome, this notion of Christianity versus Islam. It’s not that, it doesn’t need to be that.”

It seems to me that the comments at the Republican National Convention can’t be taken out of the context of the political climate in the U.S. or of previous comments by John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and other politicians. There are a lot of folks who have very negative views about Muslims and Islam in general and who blame the entire religion for the acts of criminals, for these folks — the problem is not just Muslim terrorists but an “evil” Islam. For many years there has been a consistent barrage of such linkage of Islam and terror. TAM has a collection of these alarming anti-Muslim quotes – many by “respectable” community and religious leaders which had to be broken down into sections by time frame because there were so many – 2007-2008, 2006, 2001-2005, 2000 and before

The Republicans seem to have decided that the way to win this election is to continue to exploit the 9/11 fears of the American public, and to convince them that only they can save us from “THEM” and that this is our number one issue. As John McCain put it: “The greatest danger facing the world is Islamic Terrorism”. McCain has had his own problems with associates making anti-Muslim statements, and with a spiritual advisor who advocated destroying Islam, and his comment that America is better off with a Christian President and he doesn’t want a Muslim in the Oval Office raised a lot of concerns in the Muslim community as did his and his ”bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” ditty, and his surprising confusion about al Qaeda and Iran. Has McCain read the U.S. Constitution which says in Article VI, section 3: “ …no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. ”

This is a good ploy to avoid talking about the real issues that are much more frightening in reality – climate change, unemployment, a failing education system, health care, the housing crisis, an enormous national debt, eroding civil rights, a war in Iraq based on lies, a banking crisis, an energy crisis, and eroding International respect. It is also a good ploy to avoid facing the issue that McCain voted with George Bush 90% of the time, and under their watch and with their foreign policy, Americans are actually less safe.

As an American Muslim I can tell the Republicans that such statements are insulting – to me, and to a large number of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, and to a large number of the millions of American Muslims (and Arabs). Convincing the Muslims of the world that this is a war with Islam will not make Americans any safer, and only gives the criminal terrorists fuel for their own propoganda. I can only hope that the Republicans will tell us something about how they will deal with all the real issues that we face. This is a question that the 400 protestors arrested outside of the RNC were also asking.

As Nihad Awad said in a failed appeal for inclusiveness at the RNC: “True leaders do not exploit fear or stereotypes for political gain,” Awad said in a statement Wednesday. “We hope to hear Senator McCain and Governor Palin say they will defend the civil and religious rights of all Americans, work with the American Muslim community in making our nation both free and secure and help build better relations with the Islamic world.”

Is the change that McCain promised was coming going to be just more of the same? At least for the American Muslim community, it looks that way.

As Shahed Amanullah pointed out in an article on Beliefnet

“I don’t have a problem with fighting radicals who manipulate Islam for violent ends. What I do have a problem with is that these Republican leaders, and the crowd they lather up, have such a vague defintion of “radical Islam” that it demonizes millions of law-abiding Muslim Americans in the eyes of their fellow citizens, few of whom could tell the difference between a radical Muslim and a peaceful one.

I have a Muslim friend who has been a Republican for 30 years (surprisingly enough, there are an embattled few Muslim Republicans) who emailed the McCain campaign to get some clarification on exactly what they define as “radical Islam”. To sum up the long answer that came back: there are up to 100 million radical Islamists in the world who are determined to kill us, and the US needs to resolutely defeat them. No word on how to tell the radicals from the moderates, or if there is any solution other than a military one. Just a recipe for open-ended war against an undefined enemy.

You might think, “Well, this is all for the cameras, and they’re just venting.” But the crowd at the RNC (unfortunately) holds a significant amount of political power in this country. Reinforcing the theme of Islam being the enemy will seep in at the convention and emerge later in the form of discriminatory surveillance, lopsided laws that treat Muslims as guilty until proven innocent, and and increased desire to bomb the hell out of any Muslim country that doesn’t toe the US line.

To tell you the truth, I’m not scared. In my experience, this country has far more reasonable people in it than the crowd chanting “USA! USA!” with anger in their eyes during Romney’s speech. In the wake of 9/11, far more Americans offered comfort to the Muslims I know than offered insults. (No prize for guessing the political orientation of those two groups of people.) But I am upset that politicians feel they need to resort to declarations of war to get themselves elected, and saddened that they are oblivious to the very real damage the cause to decent American citizens who work hard, pay their taxes, and don’t deserve to be lumped into the same category as those who perpetrated 9/11.”

NOTE: Statistics gathered for 2006 by the National Counterterrorism Center of the United States indicated that “Islamic extremism” was responsible for approximately a quarter of all terrorism fatalities worldwide. What about the perpetrators of the other 75%? Should they not be of some concern?


American Muslims Must Accept That They Are Not Equivalent to Real Americans, Sheila Musaji

Are Muslims “The Enemy Within?”, Sheila Musaji

Avoiding a Clash of Civilizations, Sheila Musaji

Blowback from the GOP’s Holy War, Juan Cole

Counterproductive Counterterrorism: How Anti-Islamic Rhetoric is Impeding America’s Homeland Security

Economic Justice: A Cure for Terrorism, Dr. Robert D. Crane

Fighting Words: The Abuse of Islam in Political Rhetoric, L. Ali Khan

Free Speech, or Weapons Free? Anti-Islamic Invective and War, M. Junaid Levesque-Alam

Giuliani Campaign Hits New Lows in Polls With Rise In Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

Hostilities Escalate In a War Of Words

Is it a war with Islamic terrorists?

Is There Such a Thing As Religious Terrorism?, Sheila Musaji

Islamic Fascists?, Sheila Musaji

Islamic or Muslim Terrorism and Extremism: Are they all Contradictions in Terms?, Jeremy Henzell-Thomas

Islamic Terrorism?, Sheila Musaji

‘Islamic terrorism’ an insult that distorts reality, Jimmy E. Jones

Islamophobia does not represent American values, Sheila Musaji

Islamophobia and Arabophobia, Laying the Groundwork: Us vs. Them, Sheila Musaji

Islamophobia in the Presidential Elections, Malik Mujahid

Judeo-Christo-Fascism Awareness Week Comes to American Campuses!, Rabbi Arthur Waskow

McCain still confused about al Qaeda and Iran

Moral Superiority, 9/11, Islamic-Fascism – The Smokescreens of War, Imraan Siddiqi

Muslim Violence, Christian Non-Violence: People in Glass Houses Should Not Throw Words, Sheila Musaji

The Muslims Are Here! The Muslims Are Here!, Sheila Musaji

Neo-Kharijite’s Not Islamic Fascists, Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa

Obama/Kerry Incident Proves “Muslim” Is the New “N” Word, Sheila Musaji

Oxymorons in the News Media, Enver Masud

Religio-Fascists in Our Midst (4 parts), Farish A. Noor

Resources for Responding to Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, Sheila Musaji

Saying ‘Islamic Fascists’ May Defeat Bush’s Purpose, Parvez Ahmed

Selective Hearing of Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism, Sheila Musaji

Should McCain Reject and Denounce Minister Rod Parsley?, Sheila Musaji

Should John McCain reject and denounce Minister John Hagee?, Anisa Abd El Fattah

Should Muslim Americans Be Afraid, Sheila Musaji

“Terrorism” & “Islamo-Fascism” Propaganda Campaigns

US primaries anti-Islam terminology due to Muslims’ inaction, absence

War and Words, by Hendrik Hertzberg

The War of Jesus and Allah, By Neal AbuNab

‘War on Terror’ Rhetoric Sounds Like War on Islam, Parvez Ahmed

War on Terror Produces War of Words, By Mohamed Elshinnawi

What exactly is fascism?

What is Islamofascism?, Jack Hunter

When Language Grows Darker and Darker, Joan Chittister

Whitehall draws up new rules on language of terror

Will John McCain have the decency to apologize to American Muslims?, Mike Ghouse

Who is the Fascist Here?, Charles Evans

Wrong War, Wrong Word

“What are the Special Issues and Needs of Converts within the Muslim Community?” *

Sheila Musaji
By Sheila Musaji

Posted Apr 5, 2007 • Permalink • Printer-Friendly Version

“What are the Special Issues and Needs of Converts within the Muslim Community?”

Sheila Musaji

On May 28th, 1989, an Open Forum Discussion was held at the Islamic Foundation of Villa Park, Illinois on the topic “What are the Special Issues and Needs of Converts within the Muslim Community?”

The event was attended by approximately 100 people. The initial strategy that was proposed for creating an effective support group was:

1) Collect a Jamaat.

2) Develop a method of communication.

3) Meet and identify the issues.

4) Study the issues presented at meeting, categorize them and place them in order of priority.

5) Develop a plan of action and establish committees with the responsibility of working towards implementing that plan of action at the level of individual masjeds and at community wide level.

6) Maintain communication.

From this perspective, we have been very successful so far. Over the last year, we have accumulated the core of a Jamaat. We have begun a newsletter which is becoming a more effective means of communication as more members of the jamaat become involved in contributing to its contents. And at this open forum meeting, we certainly identified issues.

Although many of the issues raised were sensitive, and some may have been painful to have to face, nevertheless the overall tone was positive and hopeful. Something was accomplished – as one sister put it, “This is the beginning of a miracle.”

We have begun to put together a group of people who see themselves as rooted in this society and having a stake in seeing to it that Islam becomes a vital movement within this society; A group of people who are committed to bringing out in the open the real issues that keep them from truly accepting each other as brothers and sisters and then doing something to change their own attitudes and responses; a jamaat who is not willing to accept as inevitable or “part of our culture” that Muslims do not reflect what Islam teaches; who believe that UNITY is possible.

During the Civil Rights movement, Americans of conscience rejected the concept of “Seperate But Equal.” They knew it was a phony term designed to cover its real purposes – to maintain artificial distinctions, and to put off until some future time coming to terms with the fact that change is necessary NOW. That Allah is not going to change the condition of a people until they change their own condition.

Some of the issues and needs that were raised:

1) Need for support groups at every masjid and coordination between all of them.

2) Need for a series of internal dialogues to discuss issues that are devisive.

3) Need for more social get-togethers at various locations.

4) Need to encourage acceptance of English as the language of instruction and operation in masjids in America, and Arabic as the first priority second language for all Muslims.

5) Need to establish a fatwa council and an advisory tribunal with representatives from various communities where we can bring difficult questions for clear Islamic answers, and bring family and community disputes for arbitration. A tribunal might not be able to enforce decisions, but at least the parties would be aware of the appropriate Islamic Solution.

6) Need for developing and defining mutually acceptable and understandable terminology. When we are overly sensitive to the use of the wrong word to express an idea, that sidetracks us from the real issues. If our backs go up as soon as a brother or sister uses the “wrong” word and we are busy thinking about correcting them, we are not really hearing what they have to say. We all need to be more tolerant on this issue – convert/revert/ one who has embraced Islam – is one example that caused some laughter at the meeting as people tried hard to please by using all the terms at once.

7) Need for ansars at all levels as converts need multi-dimensional connections to the community.

8) Need to define more clearly the term American Muslims to include – not only those who have converted, but also children who were born or raised here, and those immigrants who see themselves as here permanently and not temporarily.

9) Need for help of community leaders to give khutbas and speeches that touch on “real” issues facing Muslims in America today.

10) Need to recognize that a community’s responsibility for new Muslims does not end when they say the Shahada.

11) Need to re-assess the historical function of the masjid in various societies and come to some agreement as to what functions are justifiable Islamically for its use here in the U.S.

12) Need to clearly separate Islamic Culture from Cultural Islam and to stress the former as the latter is responsible for much of the division. Division results when we allow secondary ethnic or national patterns to overwhelm and undermine Islamic Culture. Islam does not know the divisions of nationalism, racism, sectarianism and discrimination – if Muslims do, then we must work to change and not to accept excuses for what is un-Islamic. Must allow Islam to transform the society, not the society to transform Islam.

13) Need to de-emphasize focus on schools of thought – too much emphasis is placed on schools of thought.

14) Need to encourage Muslim organizations (including student organizations) and groups in the U.S. to consider making having a green card or citizenship a requirement for any administrative positions.

Sister Yakuta Morton summed it up beautifully when she said that Islam is not something you inherit, it is not a club you join. It is a recognition or discovery or awareness of our true identity, our natural self. Islam exists as a reality, as the only valid life transaction possible – we are either aware or not aware – we either accept islam or we don’t.

American Muslim

Thesis Paper on Chronological American Muslim History (Part 1)

Thesis Paper on Chronological American Muslim History (Part 2)