Islam in the United States

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American Muslims
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Total population
2,600,000 (0.8% of the U.S. population)[1]
Regions with significant populations
New York metropolitan area, Greater Los Angeles Area, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, Detroit metropolitan area (Dearborn), Northern Virginia, Houston, Texas, and to a lesser extent Boston
Languages
American English, Arabic, Punjabi, Bengali, Persian, Spanish, Turkish, Bosnian, Russian, Chechen, Urdu, Albanian, Kurdish, Indonesian, Sindhi, Pashto, Malaysian, Chinese, other languages
Religion
Islam
(majority Sunni, also Shia, Sufi, non-denominational Muslims, Nation of Islam, 5 percenter, Moorish scientist, Quranic Movement)

Islam in the United States is a minority religion, the 3rd largest faith in America, after Christianity and Judaism, representing 0.8% of the population.[2][3] While an estimated 10%[4] of the slaves brought to colonial America from Africa arrived as Muslims,[5] Islam was stringently suppressed on plantations.[6]

From the 1880s to 1914, several thousand Muslims immigrated to the United States from the former territories of the Ottoman Empire and the Mughal Empire.[7]

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

The Muslim population of the U.S. increased dramatically in the 20th century, with much of the growth driven by a comparatively high birth rate and immigrant communities of mainly Arab and South Asian descent. About 72% of American Muslims are immigrants or "second generation".[10][11] 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.[12][13] In 2009, more than 115,000 Muslims became legal residents of the United States.[14]

History[edit]

Pre-Columbian Islamic contact theories[edit]

The date of the first Muslim visit to the Americas, or to what is now North America, is unknown. Some historians have written theories that the first Muslims landed in, or visited the territory long before Christopher Columbus in 1492.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

"The story of Islam in America antedates the European conquest of the continent. Some say that Andalusian Muslims visited the American continent long before Columbus, as reported by al-Sharif al-Idrisi in the twelfth century. Others claim that adventurers from the Muslim kingdoms of West Africa had visited the Caribbean. Furthermore, it is alleged that the Portuguese and Spanish discoverers were led by Andalusian Muslim mariners who were familiar with the high seas. Some of the discoverers were said to be Moriscos (Spanish Muslims who pretended to be Christians). Andalusian Muslim immigrants of Rabat and Salé in Morocco led the fight against Spanish and Portuguese navies in the Caribbean."[22]

Earliest records[edit]

Pre American Revolution[edit]

The history of Islam in the United States can be divided into two significant periods: the post World War I period, and the last few decades, although some individual members of the Islamic faith are known to have visited or lived in the United States during the colonial era.[23]

N. Brent Kennedy has speculated that during the period 1567-1587, Moors and Turks were brought to the present-day Carolinas, and that some of these intermarried with Native Americans, giving rise to the Melungeon communities of Southern Appalachia.[24]

An early Egyptian immigrant is mentioned in the accounts of the Dutch settlers of the Catskill Mountains and recorded in the 1884 History of Greene County, New York. According to this tradition, an Egyptian named "Norsereddin" settled in the Catskills in the vicinity of the Catskill Mountain House. He befriended the Indian chief, Shandaken, and sought the hand of his daughter Lotowana in marriage. Rejected, he poisoned Lotowana and in consequence was caught and burned alive.[25][26]

American Revolution and onwards[edit]

Records from the American Revolutionary War indicate that at least a few Muslims fought on the American side. Among the recorded names of American soldiers are "Yusuf ben Ali" and "Bampett Muhamed".[27]

The first country to recognize the United States as an independent nation was the Sultanate of Morocco under its ruler Mohammed ben Abdallah, in the year 1777.[28] He maintained several correspondences with President George Washington.

On 9 December 1805, President Thomas Jefferson hosted an Iftar dinner at the White House for his guest Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, an envoy from Tunis.[29]

Bilali (Ben Ali) Muhammad was a Fula Muslim from Timbo, Futa-Jallon in present day Guinea-Conakry, who arrived at 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. During the War of 1812, Muhammad and the eighty Muslim men under his leadership protected their master's Sapelo Island property from a British attack.[30] 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.[31] In 1829, Bilali authored a thirteen-page Arabic Risala on Islamic beliefs and the rules for ablution, morning prayer, and the calls to prayer. Known as the Bilali Document, it is currently housed at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Between 1785 and 1815, over a hundred American sailors were captive in Algiers for ransom. Several wrote captivity narratives of their experiences that gave most Americans their first view of the Middle East and Muslim ways, and newspapers often commented on them. The views were generally negative. Royall Tyler wrote The Algerine Captive (1797), an early American novel depicting the life of an American doctor employed in the slave trade who becomes himself enslaved by Barbary pirates. Finally Presidents Jefferson and Madison sent in the Navy to confront the pirates, and ended the threat in 1815 during the First Barbary War.[32][33][34] During the peace treaty that concluded the secession of hostilities, American envoys made it clear that the United States had no animosity towards any Muslim country.

On the morning of April 4, 1865 Union troops led by Col. Thomas M. Johnston set ablaze the University of Alabama, a copy of the Quran known as the “The Koran: Commonly Called The Alcoran Of Mohammed.” was saved by one of the University's staff.[35]

Religious freedom[edit]

American views of Islam affected debates regarding freedom of religion during the drafting of the state constitution of Pennsylvania in 1776. Constitutionalists promoted religious toleration while Anticonstitutionalists called for reliance on Protestant values in the formation of the state's republican government. The former group won out, and inserted a clause for religious liberty in the new state constitution. American views of Islam were influenced by favorable Enlightenment writings from Europe, as well as Europeans who had long warned that Islam was a threat to Christianity and republicanism.[36]

In 1776, John Adams published "Thoughts on Government," in which he praises the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a "sober inquirer after truth" alongside Confucius, Zoroaster, Socrates, and other thinkers.

In 1785, George Washington stated a willingness to hire "Mahometans," as well as people of any nation or religion, to work on his private estate at Mount Vernon if they were "good workmen."[37]

In 1790, the South Carolina legislative body granted special legal status to a community of Moroccans.

In 1797, President John Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli, declaring the United States had no "character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen".[38]

A group of immigrants, most wearing fezzes, surrounding a large vessel which is decorated with the star and crescent symbol of Islam and the Ottoman Turks (1902-1913)

In his autobiography, published in 1791, Benjamin Franklin stated that he "did not disapprove" of a meeting place in Pennsylvania that was designed to accommodate preachers of all religions. Franklin wrote that "even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service."[39] Franklin also wrote an anti-slavery parody piece claiming to be translation of the response of a government official at Algiers to a 17th-century petition to banish slavery there; the piece develops the theme that Europeans are specially suited for enslavement on cultural and religious grounds, and that there would be practical problems with abolishing slavery in North Africa; this satirizes similar arguments that were then made about the enslavement of Blacks in North America.[40]

Thomas Jefferson defended religious freedom in America including those of Muslims. Jefferson explicitly mentioned Muslims when writing about the movement for religious freedom in Virginia. In his autobiography Jefferson wrote "[When] the [Virginia] bill for establishing religious freedom... was finally passed,... a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word 'Jesus Christ,' so that it should read 'a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.' The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination."[41] While President, Jefferson also participated in an iftar with the Ambassador of Tunisia in 1809.[42]

Anti-Islam sentiments[edit]

However, not all politicians were pleased with the religious neutrality of the Constitution, which prohibited any religious test. Anti-Federalists in the 1788 North Carolina ratifying convention opposed the new constitution; one reason was the fear that some day Catholics or Muslims might be elected president. William Lancaster said:.[43]

Let us remember that we form a government for millions not yet in existence.... In the course of four or five hundred years, I do not know how it will work. This is most certain, that Papists may occupy that chair, and Mahometans may take it. I see nothing against it.

Indeed, in 1788 many opponents of the Constitution pointed to the Middle East, especially the Ottoman Empire as a negative object lesson against standing armies and centralized state authority.[44]

Slaves[edit]

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

Many of the slaves brought to colonial America from Africa were Muslims.[6][7] By 1800, some 500,000 Africans arrived in what became the United States. Historians estimate that between 15 to 30 percent of all enslaved African men, and less than 15 percent of the enslaved African women, were Muslims. These enslaved Muslims stood out from their compatriots because of their "resistance, determination and education".[45]

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.[46]

Through a series of conflicts, primarily with the Fulani jihad states, about half of the Senegambian Mandinka were converted to Islam while as many as a third were sold into slavery to the Americas through capture in conflict.[47]

Michael A. Gomez speculated 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.[48] Historical records indicate many enslaved Muslims conversed in the Arabic language. Some even composed literature (such as autobiographies) and commentaries on the Quran.[49]

Some newly arrived Muslim slaves assembled for communal salat (prayers). Some were provided a private praying area by their owner. The two best documented Muslim slaves were Ayuba Suleiman Diallo and Omar Ibn Said. Suleiman was brought to America in 1731 and returned to Africa in 1734.[46] Like many Muslim slaves, he often encountered impediments when attempting to perform religious rituals and was eventually allotted a private location for prayer by his master.[49]

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 in 1807, one month before the U.S. abolished importation of slaves. Some of his works include the Lords Prayer, the Bismillah[disambiguation needed], 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. Omar converted to Christianity in 1820, an episode widely used throughout the South to "prove" the benevolence of slavery. However, some scholars believe he continued to be a practicing Muslim, based on dedications to Muhammad written in his Bible.[50][51]

19th and 20th century[edit]

There are recorded instances of Muslims in the United States military during the American Civil War. Muhammad Ali ibn Said (also known as Nicholas Said), formerly enslaved to an Arab master, came to the United States in 1860 where he found a teaching job in Detroit. In 1863, Said enlisted in the 55th Massachusetts Colored Regiment in the United States Army and rose to the rank of sergeant. He was later granted a transfer to a hospital department, where he gained some knowledge of medicine. His Army records state that he died in Brownsville, Tennessee in 1882.[52] Another Muslim soldier from the Civil War was Max Hassan, an African who worked for the military as a porter.[53]

Gertrudis Serna & Hadji Ali (Hi Jolly).

A Muslim named Hajj Ali (commonly spelled as "Hi Jolly") was hired by the United States Cavalry in 1856 to raise camels in Arizona and California. He would later become a prospector in Arizona.[54][55] Hajj Ali died in 1903.[52]

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. The libraries at the University of Alabama managed to save one book from the debris of their library buildings. On the morning of April 4, when Federal troops reached the campus with order to destroy the university, Andre Deloffre, a modern language professor and custodian of the library, appealed to the commanding officer to spare one of the finest libraries in the South. The officer, being sympathetic, sent a courier to Gen. Croxton at his headquarters in Tuscaloosa asking permission to save the Rotunda. The general's reply was no. The officer reportedly said, "I will save one volume as a memento of this occasion." The volume selected was a rare copy of the Qur'an.[56]

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.[57] And the Russian-born Muslim scholar and writer Achmed Abdullah (1881–1945) was another early prominent American Muslim. [58]

In the year 1857, the Mughal Empire was dissolved after the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and many children and grandchildren of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II were killed during the conflict. And in the 20th century some descendants of his surviving children emigrated to the United States.[59]

Modern Muslims[edit]

Turkish immigrant in New York (1912)

Small-scale migration to the U.S. by Muslims began in 1840, with the arrival of Yemenis and Turks,[46] 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.[57]

  • 1906: Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) in Chicago, Illinois, started the Džemijetul Hajrije (Jamaat al-Khayriyya) (The Benevolent Society; a social service organization devoted to Bosnian Muslims). This is the longest lasting incorporated Muslim community in the United States. They met in Bosnian coffeehouses and eventually opened the first Islamic Sunday School with curriculum and textbooks under Bosnian scholar Sheikh Ćamil Avdić (Kamil Avdich) (a graduate of al-Azhar and author of Survey of Islamic Doctrines).
  • 1907: Lipka Tatar immigrants from the Podlasie region of Poland founded the first Muslim organization in New York City, the American Mohammedan Society.[60]
  • 1915: What is most likely the first American mosque was founded by Albanian Muslims in Biddeford, Maine. A Muslim cemetery still exists there.[61][62]
  • 1920: First Islamic mission station was established by Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, an Indian Ahmadi Muslim missionary, followed by the building of the Al-Sadiq Mosque in 1921.
  • 1929: The Ross Masjid in North Dakota was founded by Syrian Muslims, there is still a cemetery nearby.[63]
  • 1934: The first building built specifically to be a mosque is established in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Mosque is where Abdullah Igram a notable Muslim veteran would teach the Quran, Abdullah Igram later wrote a letter to President Eisenhower persuading him to add the M option (for Muslims) on military dog tags.
  • 1945: A mosque existed in Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest Arab-American population in the U.S.

Construction of mosques sped up in the 1920s and 1930s, and by 1952, there were over 20 mosques.[57] 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.

Chinese Muslims, known as Hui, have immigrated to the United States and lived within the Chinese community rather than integrating into other foreign Muslim communities. Two of the most prominent Chinese American Muslims are the Taiwan National Revolutionary Army Generals Ma Hongkui and his son Ma Dunjing, who moved to Los Angeles after fleeing from China to Taiwan. Pai Hsien-yung, son of the Chinese Muslim General Bai Chongxi, is a Chinese Muslim writer who moved to Santa Barbara, California after fleeing from China to Taiwan. And the Chinese Muslim artist Zhang Hongtu has become internationally known for his paintings and sculptures.

Sub-groups[edit]

Ahmadiyya[edit]

Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, first Muslim missionary and member of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, who established a mission in 1920

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the oldest continuous Muslim community in America. Ahmadi Muslims were among the earliest Muslim missionaries in America, the first being Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, and between 1921 and 1925 alone they converted over 1000 people to the Islam. Although at first their efforts were broadly concentrated at over large number of Racial and Ethnic groups, subsequent realization of the deep-seated racial tensions and discrimination made Ahmadi Muslim missionaries focus their attention to mainly African Americans and the Muslim immigrant community and became vocal proponents of the African-American Civil Rights Movement (1954–68). Many Ahmadi Muslims fled countries like Pakistan due to persecution in recent times.[64]

Black Muslim movements[edit]

Further information: American Society of Muslims
Clarence 13X founded the Five-Percent Nation movement.
Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam since 1981

During the first half of the 20th century, a small number of African Americans established groups based on Islamic and black supremacist teachings.[65] The first of such groups created was the Moorish Science Temple of America, founded by Timothy Drew (Drew Ali) in 1913. Drew taught that black people were of Moorish origin but their Muslim identity was taken away through slavery and racial segregation, advocating the return to Islam of their Moorish ancestry.[66]

Nation of Islam[edit]

Main article: Nation of Islam

The Nation of Islam (NOI) was the largest organization, created in 1930 by Wallace Fard Muhammad. It however taught a different form of Islam, promoting black supremacy and labeling white people as "devils".[67] Fard drew inspiration for NOI doctrines from those of Timothy Drew'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.[65] Malcolm X was one of the most influential leaders of the NOI, he advocated complete separation of blacks from whites. He left the NOI after being silenced for 90 days, he then formed his own black nationalist movement, and made the pilgrimage to Mecca, converting to Sunni Islam. He is viewed as the first person to start the movement among African Americans towards Sunni Islam.

In 2006, it was estimated that there were at least 20,000 members.[68] However, today the group has a wide influence in the African American community. The first Million Man March took place in Washington, D.C. 1995 and was followed later by another one in 2000 which was smaller in size but more inclusive welcoming individuals other than just African American men[69] 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,[70] and is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.[71]

Five-Percent Nation[edit]

Main article: Five-Percent Nation

The main offshoot of the NOI was the Five-Percent Nation. Members in the movement, which was founded by Clarence 13X, call themselves Five Percenters. The movement was largely concentrated in New York.

Non-denominational Muslims[edit]

Non-denominational Muslims make up roughly one in seven of all American Muslims, at 15%. Non-denominational Muslims, also called ghayr muqallids, do not have any specific affiliation with a religious body and usually describe themselves as being "just a Muslim". Muslims who were born in the US are more likely to be non-denominational than immigrant Muslims. 24% or one in four US-born Muslims are non-denominational, versus 10% of immigrant Muslims.[72]

Quranic movement[edit]

Main article: Quranism

Quranists reject the authority of hadith. An early American convert to Islam, Alexander Russell Webb, was influenced by the ideas of the Indian Quranist Chiragh Ali.

The largest Quranist movement in the United States is the United Submitters International. This movement was founded by Rashad Khalifa. His movement popularized the phrase: "The Qur'an, the whole Qur'an, and nothing but the Qur'an". Although he was initially well received by many, his subsequent claims of divine inspiration caused friction between him and others, and he was assassinated in 1990.[73] Notable Americans influenced by Rashad Khalifa include his son, Sam Khalifa, a retired professional baseball player and Ahmad Rashād, a sportscaster and retired football player.

Shia[edit]

Main article: Shia Islam

Shia Muslims have developed the largest mosque in North America, the Islamic Center of America. It is also the oldest Shia institution in the country. Hassan Al-Qazwini posts his regular sermons from the mosque online, where they are watched by Shia Muslims from across the United States. His sermons are usually hosted through the programs of the Young Muslim Association.

Sunni[edit]

Main article: Sunni Islam

After the death of Elijah Muhammad, he was succeeded by his son, Warith Deen Mohammed. Mohammed rejected many teachings of his father, 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.[74] He renamed it as the World Community of al-Islam in the West, later it became the American Society of Muslims. It was estimated that there were 200,000 followers of WD Mohammed at the time.[75]

WD Mohammed introduced teachings which were based on orthodox Sunni Islam.[76] He removed the chairs in temples, with mosques, teaching how to pray the salat, to observe the fasting of Ramadan, and to attend the pilgrimage to Mecca.[77]

A small 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.[78]

Sufism[edit]

Some Muslim Americans adhere to the doctrines of Sufism. The Islamic Supreme Council of America (ISCA) is a small body representing Sufi teachings, which, according to adherents, is the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. The ISCA's 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 aims to integrate traditional scholarship in resolving contemporary issues affecting the maintenance of Islamic beliefs in a modern, secular society.[79] It has been linked to neoconservative thought.

Demographics[edit]

According to the U.S. Department of State, the largest ethnic groups of American Muslims are those of South Asian, Arab and African-American descent
A crowd of Black Muslims applaud during Elijah Muhammad's annual Saviors' Day message in Chicago in 1974
Tucson Islamic Center, Tucson, Arizona
Paterson, New Jersey, within the New York City Metropolitan Area, is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Muslim immigrants.[80]

The U.S. Census Bureau does not collect data on religious identification. Various institutions and organizations have given widely varying estimates about how many Muslims live in the U.S. Tom W. Smith, author of "Estimating the Muslim Population in the United States," said that of twenty estimates he reviewed during a five-year period until 2001, none was "based on a scientifically-sound or explicit methodology. All can probably be characterized as guesses or assertions. Nine came from Muslim organizations such as the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Student Association, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American Muslim Council, and the Harvard Islamic Society or unspecified "Muslim sources." None of these sources gave any basis for their figures."[81]

CAIR claims that no scientific count of Muslims in the U.S. has been done, but that the larger figures should be considered accurate.[82] Some journalists have also alleged that the higher numbers have been inflated for political purposes.[83][84]

Race[edit]

According to a 2001 study written by Ihsan Bagby, an associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky, of Americans who convert to Islam, 64% are African American, 27% are White, 6% are Hispanic, and 3% are other. Around that time increasing numbers of American Hispanics converted to Islam. Many Hispanic converts in Houston said that they often had been mistaken as of being of Pakistani or Middle Eastern descent, due to their religion. Many Hispanic converts were former Christians.[85]

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 September 11, 2001, the two groups joined together when the immigrant communities looked towards the African Americans for advice on civil rights.[86]

Religion[edit]

According to a 2007 religious survey, 72% of Muslims believe religion is very important, which is higher in comparison to the overall population of the United States at 59%. The frequency of receiving answers to prayers among Muslims was, 31% at least once a week and 12% once or twice a month.[87] 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.

Mosques 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 caters mainly to the Shia Muslim congregation; however, all Muslims may attend this mosque. It was rebuilt in 2005 to accommodate over 3,000 people for the increasing Muslim population in the region.[88][89] Approximately half (50%) of the religious affiliations of Muslims is Sunni, 16% Shia, 22% non-affiliated and 16% other/non-response.[90] Muslims of Arab descent are mostly Sunni (56%) with minorities who are Shia (19%). Muslims of South Asian descent including Bangladeshis (90%), Indians (82%) and Pakistanis (72%) are mainly Sunni, other groups such as Iranians are mainly Shia (91%).[90] Of African American Muslims, 48% are Sunni, 34% are unaffiliated (mostly part of the Community of W.Deen Mohammed), 16% other (mostly Nation of Islam and Ahmadiyya) and 2% Shia.[90]

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, Bengali 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 Shia traditions. At present, many mosques are served by imams who immigrate from overseas, as only these imams have certificates from Muslim seminaries.[91][92][93][94]

Education and income[edit]

Contrary to popular perceptions, the condition of Muslims in the U.S. is very good. Among South Asians in the country, the large Pakistani American community stands out as particularly well educated and prosperous, with education and income levels exceeding those of U.S.-born whites. Many are professionals, especially doctors, scientists, engineers, and financial analysts, and there are also a large number of entrepreneurs. There are more than 15,000 doctors practicing medicine in the USA who are of Pakistani origin alone[95] and the number of Pakistani American millionaires was reported to be in the thousands.Shahid Khan a Pakistani-born American multi billionaire businessmen owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL) making him the first and only ethnic minority member to own one, he also owns English Premier League team Fulham F.C., and automobile parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate in Urbana, Illinois.[96] 45 percent of immigrant Muslims report annual household income levels of $50,000 or higher. This compares to the national average of 44 percent. Immigrant Muslims are well represented among higher-income earners, with 19 percent claiming annual household incomes of $100,000 or higher (compared to 16 percent for the Muslim population as a whole and 17 percent for the U.S. average). This is likely due to the strong concentration of Muslims in professional, managerial, and technical fields, especially in information technology, education, medicine, law, and the corporate world.[97]

Crime[edit]

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.[12][13][98] 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. Waller states that these inmates mostly come into prison as non-Muslims. He also claims that 80% of the prisoners who "find faith" while in prison convert to Islam.[99] 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.[100][101][102]

Population concentration[edit]

There are 2.6 million Muslim adherents across the country in 2010.[103] Islamic populations are 0.8% of the US population per Fareed Zacaria quoting Pew Research Center, 2010.[104]

By state[edit]

State Adherents per

100,000 people[105]

 Illinois 2,800
 Virginia 2,663
 New York 2,028
 New Jersey 1,827
 Texas 1,678
 Michigan 1,218
 Florida 877
 Delaware 793
 California 732
 Pennsylvania 634

According to the 2000 United States Census, the state with the largest percentage of Muslims is Michigan, with 1.2% of its population being Muslim. New Jersey has the second largest percentage with 0.9%, followed by Massachusetts with 0.8%.

By city[edit]

New York City had the largest number of Muslims with 69,985. In 2000, Dearborn, Michigan ranked second with 29,181, and Los Angeles ranked third with 25,673; although Paterson, New Jersey, in the New York City Metropolitan Area, was estimated to have become home to 25,000 to 30,000 Muslims as of 2011. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was estimated to have 30,000 to 50,000 Muslims as of 2012.[106] Of cities with at least 100,000 people, Jersey City, New Jersey rank second and third with 3% of their populations.[107] Dearborn, which had a population of 98 thousand people, had an Arab population of 30%, the largest concentration of Muslims in the United States.

Mosques[edit]

The number of mosques in the United States in 2011 was 2,106. The top six states with the most amount of mosques were: New York 257, California 246, Texas 166, Florida 118, Illinois 109, New Jersey 109.[108]

Culture[edit]

Pop art painting of Muhammad Ali.

Muslims in the United States have increasingly made their own 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.[109]

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, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Gulen Movement, and the Tablighi Jamaat.

As of December 2013 increasing numbers of Muslim Americans are celebrating Christmas, a Christian holiday.[110]

Politics[edit]

In the 2000 Presidential election, nearly 80 percent of Muslim Americans supported Republican candidate George W. Bush over Democratic candidate Al Gore. However, due to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq which took place under the Bush Administration, as well as increased anti-Muslim rhetoric from the Republican Party after the September 11 attacks, support for the Republican Party among American Muslims has declined sharply. By 2004, Bush's Muslim support had been reduced by at least half, who would vote for Democratic candidate John Kerry or a third party candidate.[111] By 2008, Democratic candidate Barack Obama got 67% to 90% of the Muslim vote depending by region.[112]

Integration[edit]

Frocking ceremony for U.S. Navy's first Muslim chaplain, when Navy (rabbi) Chaplain Arnold Resnicoff attaches new shoulder boards with Muslim Chaplain crescent insignia to uniform of Imam Monje Malak Abd al-Muta Noel Jr, 1996

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.[113] 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.[114] The editorial also characterized American Muslims as "role models both as Americans and as Muslims".

Unlike many Muslims in Europe, American Muslims overall do not tend to feel marginalized or isolated from political participation and have often adopted a politically proactive stance. 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.[115]

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[116][not in citation given], 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.[117] and Denver International Airport included a mosque as part of its Interfaith Chapel when opened in 1996[118] although such developments have not been without criticism.[119]

As of May 30, 2005, over 15,000 Muslims were serving in the United States Armed Forces.[120]

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.[121] While Muslims comprise less than one percent of the American population, they accounted for approximately one quarter of the religious discrimination claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during 2009.[122] According to FBI statistics, hate crimes against Muslims are rare, at 6.0 per 100,000, compared to blacks at 6.7, homosexuals and bisexuals at 11.5, and Jews at 14.8.[123][124]

On December 14, 1992, the Chief of Chaplains of the United States Army requested that an insignia be created for future Muslim chaplains, and the design (a crescent) was completed January 8, 1993.[125][126]

Organizations[edit]

One of the largest Islamic organizations is the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) which says that 27% of mosques in U.S. are associated with it.[127] 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.[128]

The second largest is the community under the leadership of W.Deen Mohammed or the American Society of Muslims with 19% of mosques, mostly African-Americans having an affiliation with it.[127] It was the successor organization to the Nation of Islam, once better-known as the Black Muslims. The association recognizes the leadership of Warith Deen Mohammed. This group evolved from the Black separatist Nation of Islam (1930–1975). The majority of its members are African Americans. This has been a 23-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, W.Deen Mohammed guided its members to the practice of mainstream Islam such as salat or fasting, and teaching the basic creed of Islam the shahadah.

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.[129] Why Islam? is a community outreach project of ICNA;[130][131] it seeks to provide accurate information about Islam[132] while debunking popular stereotypes and common misconceptions through various services and outreach activities.[133][134]

The Islamic Supreme Council of America (ISCA) is a small organization representing Sufi teachings, which, according to adherents, is the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. The ISCA's 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.[79] It has been linked to neoconservative thought.

Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Roxbury.

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.[135] 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.[136]

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.[137]

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was established in the U.S. in 1921, before the existence of Nation of Islam, according to its members.[138][139] This sect, however, is considered heretical by mainstream Muslims and not considered a part of the Ummah, or worldwide community of Muslims.

Muslim Congress is another National Muslim Organization. It is primarily a Social Welfare organization and runs many social projects, including Food Distribution to the homeless in their "No More Hunger" project and also provides Scholarship. It is under the leadership of Islamic Scholars.

Political[edit]

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 is the voice of mainstream, moderate Islam on Capitol Hill and in political arenas throughout the United States. It has repeatedly condemned acts of terrorism and has been working in collaboration with the White House on "issues of safety and foreign policy."[115] The group has been criticized for alleged links to Islamic terrorism; 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."[140]
  • The American Islamic Congress is a small secular 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."[141] The AIC holds an annual essay writing competition, the Dream Deferred Essay Contest, focusing on civil rights in the Middle East.
  • The Free Muslims Coalition states it 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.[142]
  • Muslims for Bush was an advocacy group aiming to drum up support from Muslims for President George W. Bush. It was co-founded by Muhammad Ali Hasan and his mother Seeme, who were prominent donors to the Republican Party. In 2010, co-founder Muhammad Ali Hasan left the Republican Party. Muslims for Bush has since been reformed into the bipartisan Muslims for America.
  • American Muslim Political Action Committee (AMPAC) was created in July 2012 by MD Rabbi Alam, a Bangladeshi-born American politician. This newly created organization is one of America's largest Muslim civil liberties advocacy organizations. It is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, with two regional offices in New York City and Madison, Wisconsin. AMPAC a bipartisan political platform for Muslim Americans to participate in political races. AMPAC presents an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public, and seeks to empower the American Muslim community and encourage its social and political activism. On September 11, 2013, AMPAC organized the Million Muslim March which took place at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.[143][144]

Charity[edit]

In addition to the organizations listed above, 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.[145]
  • 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.[146]
  • Project Downtown is a non profit organization originated in Miami Fl. From what started as two men giving away a few sandwiches eventually turned into an array of chapters all over the United States giving away thousands of packets of food, hygiene bags, clothes, and other necessities of life to those who cannot afford it. The motto of Project Downtown is “We feed you for the sake of God alone, no reward do we seek, nor thanks.” (Quran 76:9)

Museums[edit]

There are two museums dedicated to the history of Islamic culture in the U.S. and abroad. The International Museum of Muslim Cultures in Jackson, Mississippi opened in early 2001.[147] America's Islamic Heritage Museum in Washington, DC opened on April 30, 2011.[148]

Views[edit]

American populace's views on Islam[edit]

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.[149]

July 2007 Newsweek survey of non-Muslim Americans[150]
Statement Agree Disagree
Muslims in the United States are as
loyal to the U.S. as they are to Islam
40% 32%
Muslims do not condone violence 63%
Qur'an does not condone violence 40% 28%
Muslim culture does not glorify
suicide
41%
Concern about Islamic radicals 54%
Support wiretapping by FBI 52%
American Muslims more "peaceable"
than non-American ones
52% 7%
Muslims are unfairly targeted by
law enforcement
38% 52%
Oppose mass detentions of Muslims 60% 25%
Believe most are immigrants 52%
Would allow son or daughter to date
a Muslim
64%
Muslim students should be allowed
to wear headscarves
69% 23%
Would vote for a qualified Muslim
for political office
45% 45%

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.[149] 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.[151]

A CBS April 2006 poll showed that, in terms of faiths[152]

The Pew survey shows that, in terms of adherents[149]

A 2011 Gallup poll found that 56% of Protestants, 63% of Catholics, and 70% of Jews believed that American Muslims had no sympathy for Al Qaeda.[153]

American Muslims' views of the United States[edit]

PEW's poll of views on American Society[154]
Statement U.S.
Muslim
General
public
Agree that one can get
ahead with hard work
71% 64%
Rate their community as
"excellent" or "good"
72% 82%
Excellent or good
personal financial situation
42% 49%
Satisfied with the
state of the U.S.
38% 32%

In a 2007 survey titled Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream, the Pew Research Center found Muslim Americans to be "largely integrated, happy with their lives, and moderate with respect to many of the issues that have divided Muslims and Westerners around the world."[154]

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.[154]

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.[154] 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.[155]

The same poll also reported that 40% of U.S. Muslims believe that Arab Muslims carried out the 9/11 attacks. Another 28% don't believe it and 32% said they had no opinion. Among 28% who doubted that Arab Muslims were behind the conspiracy, one-fourth of those claim the U.S. government or President George W. Bush was responsible. Only 26% 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.[154]

In 2011, a Gallup poll found that 93% of Muslim Americans considered themselves loyal to the United States.[156]

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

President George W. Bush inside the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.
Muslim children in New York City supporting Park51.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, America saw an increase in the number of hate crimes committed against people who were perceived to be Muslim, particularly those of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent. More than 20 acts of discrimination and violence were documented in the post 9/11 era by the U.S. Department of Justice.[157] Some of these acts were against Muslims living in America. Other acts were against those accused of being Muslims, such as Sikhs, and people of Arabian and South-Asian backgrounds[157] A publication in Journal of Applied Social Psychology found evidence that the number of anti-Muslim attacks in America in 2001 increased from 354 to 1,501 following 9/11.[158] The same year, the Arab American Institute reported an increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes ranging from discrimination and destruction of private property to violent threats and assaults, some of which resulted in deaths.[159][160][161]

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.[154]

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 November 2009 Amal Abusumayah, a mother of four young girls, had her hijab pulled following derogatory comments while grocery shopping.[162] 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.[163][164] 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.[154]

In 2011, The Learning Channel (TLC) broadcast a television series, All-American Muslim, depicting the lives of different American Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan.[165]

Controversy[edit]

Some Muslim Americans have been criticized because of perceived conflicts between their religious beliefs and mainstream American value systems. Muslim cab drivers in Minneapolis, Minnesota have been criticized for refusing passengers for carrying alcoholic beverages or dogs. The Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport authority has threatened to revoke the operating authority of any driver caught discriminating in this manner.[166] There are reported incidents in which Muslim cashiers have refused to sell pork products to their clientele.[167]

Public institutions in the U.S. have also drawn fire 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.[168] 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.[169]

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.[170] 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.[171]

At Columbus Manor School, a suburban Chicago elementary school with a student body nearly half Muslim 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."[172] 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.

Based on data from a 2006 poll by the Pew Research Center, this graph records the distribution of feelings of U.S. Muslims on the topic of suicide bombings, separated by age group.

Terrorism that involved Muslim perpetrators began in the United States with the 1993 shootings at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, followed by the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York City. The latest was the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in Massachusetts. After the September 11 attacks and the start of the Afghanistan war in 2001, there was concern about the potential radicalization of American Muslims. A 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, on the other hand 11% 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).[154] A March 2010 Bipartisan Policy Center paper points out an increasing number of American Muslims are playing high-level operational roles in al-Qaeda and aligned groups, as well as a larger numbers of American Muslims who are attaching themselves to these groups.[173][not in citation given][irrelevant citation]

More than 80% of all convictions tied to international terrorist groups and homegrown terrorism since 9/11 involve defendants driven by a radical Islamist agenda, a review of Department of Justice statistics shows.[174] Between 2001 and the end of 2009, there were 46 publicly reported incidents of "domestic radicalization and recruitment to jihadist terrorism" that involved at least 125 people between 2001 and the end of 2009. There had been an average of six cases per year since 2001, but that rose to 13 in 2009.[175]

While the seeming increase in cases may be alarming, half "involve single individuals, while the rest represent ‘tiny conspiracies,’ " according to Congressional testimony.[176] Furthermore, a 2012 study by the University of North Carolina indicated that the yearly number of cases of alleged plots by Muslim-Americans appears to be declining. The total of 20 indictments for terrorism in 2011 is down from 26 in 2010 and 47 in 2009 (the total since 9/11 is 193). The number of Muslim-Americans indicted for support of terrorism also fell, from 27 individuals in 2010 to just eight in 2011 (the total since 9/11 stands at 462).[177][178] Also in apparent decline is the number of actual attacks: Of the 20 suspects indicted for terrorism, only one was charged with carrying out a terrorist act. This number is down from the six individuals charged with attacks in 2010. The study’s author concludes that the "limited scale of Muslim-American terrorism in 2011 runs counter to the fears that many Americans shared in the days and months after 9/11, that domestic Muslim-American terrorism would escalate."[178]

Concern could also be expressed because of the number of Muslim-Americans among terrorism suspects: Though Muslims represent about 1% of the American population, they constitute defendants in 186 of the 228 cases DOJ lists.[174] However, they also are significantly represented among those who tip authorities off to alleged plots: Muslim-Americans have given 52 of the 140 documented tips regarding individuals involved in violent terrorist plots since 9/11.[177][178]

Extremism in the United States[edit]

At least one American not of recent immigrant background, John Walker Lindh, has been imprisoned, convicted on charges of working with the Taliban and carrying weapons against American soldiers. He had converted to Islam while in the United States, moved to Yemen to study Arabic, and then went to Pakistan, where he was recruited by the Taliban.

Another American that was not of recent immigrant background, José Padilla (prisoner), of Puerto Rican decent and the first Hispanic-American to be imprisoned and convicted on suspicion of plotting a radiological bomb ("dirty bomb") attack. He was detained as a material witness until June 9, 2002, when President George W. Bush designated him an enemy combatant and, arguing that he was not entitled to trial in civilian courts, had him transferred to a military prison. He had converted to Islam while serving his last jail sentence in prison, and went to Pakistan where he was recruited into Al-Qaeda.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

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  5. ^ Curtis, Muslims in America, p. 119
  6. ^ a b Sylviane A. Diouf, Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas (1998)
  7. ^ a b Edward E. Curtis, Muslims in America: A Short History (2009) ch 1
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  9. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (2002-01-02). "Ranks of Latinos Turning to Islam Are Increasing; Many in City Were Catholics Seeking Old Muslim Roots". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
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  23. ^ Koszegi (1992), p. 3
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  25. ^ Beers, Frederick L. (1884). History of Greene County, New York: with biographical sketches of its prominent men. New York: J. B. Beers & Co. pp. 20–22. 
  26. ^ Skinner, Charles Montgomery (1896). Myths and legends of our own land, Volume 1. New York: J. B. Lippincott & Co. pp. 24–25. 
  27. ^ http://books.google.ca/books?id=owZCMZpYamMC&pg=PA561&dq=Yusuf+ben+Ali+and+Bampett+Muhamed&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Db25U_DTLLD60gWezYDwAg&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Yusuf%20ben%20Ali%20and%20Bampett%20Muhamed&f=false
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  30. ^ By Editor, on November 25th, 2009 (2009-11-25). "History of American Muslims (2) « Middle East Studies Online Journal". Middle-east-studies.net. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  31. ^ Muslim roots of the blues, Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle August 15, 2004
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Primary sources[edit]

  • Curtis IV, Edward E., ed. Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States (2007), 472pp table of contents

Further reading[edit]

  • Curtis IV, Edward E. Muslims in America: A Short History (2009)
  • Curtis IV, Edward E. Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History (2010), 715pp
  • GhaneaBassiri, Kambiz. A History of Islam in America: From the New World to the New World Order (Cambridge University Press; 2010) 416 pages; chronicles the Muslim presence in America across five centuries.
  • Haddad, Yvonne Yazbeck, Jane I. Smith, and Kathleen M. Moore. Muslim Women in America: The Challenge of Islamic Identity Today (2006)
  • Kabir, Nahib . Muslims in Australia: Immigration, Race Relations and Cultural History, London: Routledge ISBN 978-0-7103-1108-5 (2005)
  • Kidd, Thomas. S. American Christians and Islam - Evangelical Culture and Muslims from the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2008 ISBN 978-0-691-13349-2
  • Koszegi, Michael A., and J. Gordon Melton, eds. Islam In North America (Garland Reference Library of Social Science) (1992)
  • Marable, Manning; Aidi, Hishaam D, eds. (2009). Black Routes to Islam. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-8400-X. 
  • Smith, Jane I; Islam in America (2nd ed. 2009)

External links[edit]

Events[edit]

Guides and reference listings[edit]

Academia and news[edit]

History[edit]