Expressions of Islam in America

Gisela Webb introduces Islamic beliefs and profiles America's Muslim communities.

African-American Islam


Islam, Slavery and the African - By Abdullah Hakim Quick (1/8)

The 1990s may be the last decade in which Islam is viewed as a "non-mainstream" religious tradition in America. At its current rate of growth, by the year 2015 Islam will be the second largest religion in the United States, following Christianity. There are approximately four million Muslims in the United States and 650 mosques. (1) Foreign-born Muslims and their descendants constitute about two thirds of those numbers; indigenous Americans (born in America), mostly African Americans, constitute the other third. (2) Islam is already the world's second largest religion, with 900 million members--about one sixth of the world's population--living in geographic regions that include, but extend far beyond, the Middle East. Islam is either the major religion or has large populations in such diverse cultural environments as Africa, Malaysia, and Indonesia, the former Soviet Union, Turkey, India and Pakistan, northwestern China and Europe.

Yet there is surprisingly little awareness or understanding of Islam in the American consciousness. What Americans do think about Islam tends to be formed by media images, specifically by the presence of one-sided negative imagery on the one hand ("Arab terrorists," "Islamic fundamentalists"), and by the absence of positive, or even neutral images on the other. American Muslims often express frustration over a situation that seems to be the last bastion of tolerated stereotyping. Clearly, the poor relationship between Islam and the "Christian West" has its roots in the confrontational and competitive history which Christianity and Islam have shared since Islam arose as a religious and political challenge to Christianity in the seventh century. The roots of confrontation also lie in the remembered history of the Crusades, in the relationship established during the colonial and the post-colonial periods (including the loss of Palestinian lands to Israel) and, now, in the heightened rhetoric and mistrust created by Muslims and "Westerners" alike, who would present Islam and "secular democracy" as polar opposites. Ideologues on both sides would like to present an image of a monolithic "Islam" with a unified agenda and clear leaders.

The reality is that the situation of Islam worldwide and in the United States, in particular, is extremely complex and shifting. Islam developed its forms of orthodoxy in the early history of the community. (3) There were, of course, different interpretations of basic principles derived from sacred scripture which led to a number of contending discourses in Islam (theological, juridical, philosophical, mystical, popular, political) as well as differing "styles" of Islam depending on the cultural milieu into which Islam was introduced. This complex reality is also the "process" of Islam in America. There have already been a number of stages in the development of an "American" Islam as well as a number of different groups and styles that constitute the Muslims of America.

There are three major constituents of Islam in America: immigrants, who bring Islam from their homelands; African-American converts to Islam; and the Sufi groups, the "spiritual confraternities" of Islam. This chapter will introduce the reader first to the central tenets of Islamic faith and practice and then to the historical development of certain segments of the Islamic community in America, namely, immigrant groups and African-American groups that see themselves as members of traditional or "orthodox" Islam. Sufism will also be treated in a separate chapter in this volume. It will be evident that there are a number of important issues facing American Muslim communities and individuals at this time, but they all point to the overarching question of how to define and manifest what "Islam" means in the midst of a secular, pluralistic, contemporary American culture.

Beliefs and Practices

The Islamic religion had its historic origin in the figure of Muhammad ibn Abdullah. Muhammad was born in the Arabian city of Mecca in 570 C.E. and was a member of the Quraysh tribe. According to traditional accounts, Muhammad was in the trading business, Mecca being a crossroads for many of the overland trade routes of the day, and was married to Khadija, his former employer who was fifteen years his senior. He was a reflective man and often meditated in a cave near Mt. Hira. From 610 through 632, when he died, Muhammad experienced a number of visions and "hearings," which he came to understand as true revelation (wahy) from the one God, Allah, which was communicated through the angel Gabriel. (4) These "revelations" began as warnings directed at the Meccans for their forgetfulness of God, for their polytheism and idolatry, and for the social and economic injustices of Meccan society. The revelations also warned of an inevitable judgment that all human beings would experience at the "Final Hour," an idea which was alien to the prevailing view of life and death in Arabian tribal culture. Muhammad understood his role to be that of the final prophet and messenger of God, and his message of submission (islam) to God's will as the same message that had been revealed to Abraham, Moses and all the other prophets of Jewish and Christian Scriptures as well as to the "prophets" of other peoples from the beginning of time. Jesus was seen as a prophet, born of the virgin Mary, and a special model of sanctity; but Christian claims of Jesus' divinity and "sonship" were rejected. The collection of Muhammad's revelations is the sacred book of Islam, the Quran. Muslims traditionally accept it as the authoritative word of God which "preexisted" eternally with God.

Muhammad began to preach in Mecca and, as a result of persecution, emigrated with a number of his followers to the city of Medina, where he established the paradigmatic "Islamic" community. The emigration (hijra) to Medina in 622 C.E. marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. Muhammad eventually returned victorious to Mecca, clearing the Ka'ba--the pilgrimage site used by the many Arabian tribes of all idols in a symbolic act of reviving the original intention of the Ka'ba, which, according to tradition, had been built by Abraham and his son Ishmael to worship the One God, Allah.

The Quran and the example (sunna) of Muhammad became the main sources for the development of belief and practice in Islam. The Quran established the main articles of belief and practice, which are known as the Five Pillars of Islam. The first pillar is the shahada, the affirmation that "There is no God but God (La ilaha illa Allah), and Muhammad is His Prophet." The shahada is normally understood as stressing the utter transcendence and distinction of God "above" all created orders, although the Sufis would traditionally interpret the shahada as affirming that ultimately only God can be called "the Real." The shahada is also seen as affirming the authenticity of God's prophets and holy books, the angels, the jinn (invisible creatures created out of "fire"), and the final judgment of one's deeds and consignment to heaven or hell. The five pillars also include the basic duties of Muslims. Thus, the second pillar consists of the salat, the liturgical prayers said in Arabic five times daily, facing Mecca. On Fridays, Muslims gather in mosques for congregational recitation of prayers. The salat prayers create the basic orientation of time and space for Muslims. Arabic became the sacred language of Islam and an important unifying element for Muslims throughout the world. With the third pillar, the zakat, or charity tax, Muslims are required to pay a yearly tax of 2.5 percent of one's holdings for the care of the society's poor. The fourth pillar is sawm, or fasting--refraining from all food and liquid--from sunrise to sunset each day during the lunar month of Ramadan. It is a time of inner reflection and training of the nafs, the "lower self," as well as of experiencing something of the hunger of the poor. Finally, Muslims are required to make the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca once in their lives so long as it is not a financial burden. The primary ritual of the hajj is the circumambulation of the Ka'ba, which is seen as a reenactment of Muhammad's "clearing the idols" as well as symbolic of the ideal of the "unity of humankind" that has attracted so many marginalized peoples to Islam. Muslim men and women arrive in Mecca from virtually every race, class, and ethnic group, shedding their outer garments for a plain white shroud-a symbol of equality as well as the Muslim death shroud-and begin their common "journey to the center."

In principle, there is no division between religious and secular law in Islam. All of life is to be oriented toward the Divine Will. The shariah, or Islamic law, was developed to provide specific guidelines for all areas of life, from religious ritual (e.g., requirements in prayer) to sexuality (e.g., no premarital sex) to political principles (e.g., rules of war) to dietary restrictions (e.g., no pork, no alcohol). Of course, the shariah is based on interpretation of the Quran, the remembered history of Muhammad's actions, and the cultural customs of the geographic regions in which the shariah developed during the eighth and ninth centuries. It is not surprising that a major area of contemporary discussion among Muslims is the issue of reinterpreting the shariah in light of considerations of modernity. The variety of Islamic "revival" and "reform" movements that have emerged in the contemporary Islamic world (often inaccurately lumped together under such terms as "radical" or "fundamentalist") (5) have tended to see the political, social, and economic ills of the Islamic world as indications that Muslims have fallen away-because of infatuation with the West or corruption of their own leaders from the moral and civic principles of the shariah, and that a return to an "Islamic" way of life, the shariah, would revitalize both Islamic society and, ultimately, the world community. However, it is this same activist spirit that has led to disagreement over "what," or "whose," version of Islam is correct, as well as how the shariah should be implemented. (6) The issue of interpretation is particularly crucial in the area of the rights and treatment of women. Muslim women writers, both in America and abroad, often point to the curtailed role of women in the post-Muhammadan community in comparison with the egalitarian thrust of the Quran itself and the more active participation of women in the early Muslim community. (7) Thus, the issue of "women and the veil" is symbolic of discussions that have become particularly important for Muslims in America. In addition to the shariah, many customs have spread throughout the Islamic world which Muslims see as rooted in the example of Muhammad, and which they feel incumbent to cultivate-for example, modesty, hospitality, and respect for teachers and elders.

Two major branches of Islam developed early in the community's history in response to the question of succession of authority after Muhammad's death. Sunni Islam and Shi'ite Islam reflect two approaches to politics and rule. Shi'ites believe that Muhammad's charisma--and hence, political and spiritual guidance--was continued in the bloodline of Ali (Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law) and his descendants, the Shi'ite imams (leaders). Shi'ites believe in the continued guidance from the final imam (although different sects of Shi'ites disagree on whether that was the fifth, the seventh, or the twelfth in the line of succession), and tradition maintains that he will return as the mahdi to usher in the Day of Judgment. About 20 percent of all Muslims, mostly from Iran and southern Lebanon are Shi'ites. (8) The other 80 percent, the majority of Muslims, are Sunnis, for whom selection of leaders is supposed to take place through representatives (originally the tribal elders) of the people. (9) Both Sunnis and Shi'ites are considered "orthodox."

Within both Sunni and Shi'ite communities of Islam there emerged spiritual confraternities, the Sufi groups, or tariqas, which were centered on the teachings of certain pious individuals. These charismatic figures taught a "subtle wisdom" tradition of interpreting the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet. The Sufi groups developed a variety of approaches to Islamic spirituality--ecstatic, contemplative, devotional, poetic, musical, chivalrous--the goal of which was both purity of devotion and attainment of a unitive experience of God. The Sufis contributed much to the development of the esoteric sciences of the medieval period (alchemy, subtle psychology), popular forms of piety, and the arts-literary, visual, musical, and poetic. While the Sufis at times strained the boundaries of "orthodoxy" with some of their teachings, their presence has been a historical constant in Islamic societies. They are recognized for their importance as transmitters of Islam to lands far from the original "heartland" of Islam. See "Sufism in America" in this volume.

The beliefs and practices of Sunnis and Shi'ites, of Sufis and non-Sufis, came to the shores of America with the arrival of immigrant populations, traditions brought by slaves, and popular Sufi teachers from "the East."

Muslims in America--Immigrant Communities

About two thirds of all Muslims in the United States are immigrants and their descendants. (10) Muslim immigrants, both Sunnis and Shi'ites, arrived in waves beginning in the late 1800s, the first groups coming from what are now Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine. Communities began to form in the industrial centers of the Midwest-Toledo, Cedar Rapids, Detroit, Michigan City, and Chicago. Most of these immigrants were uneducated and unskilled workers who sought economic opportunities in the United States. The extended families of these immigrants became the founders of the first mosques in North America. These first mosque communities functioned primarily to maintain social bonds, offer solidarity in this new land, and provide community space for rites of passage. (11)

Another wave of immigrants arrived between 1947 and 1960 and included Muslims from the Middle East as well as from India, Pakistan, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union. Some were children of ruling elites; some were refugees; many came solely for higher education. (12)

The individuals comprising the last wave, from 1967 to the present, have come for both political and economic reasons. Many, especially Pakistanis and Arabs, are educated professionals. Substantial numbers of Iranians came prior to and after their country's revolution. A number of other countries are represented in this wave: Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Turkistan-Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. (13) The most recent arrivals are from the Sudan, Uganda, Guyana, Bermuda, and the former Yugoslavia.

Development of Islamic community life in America corresponded to the political and social concerns of particular immigrant groups. Earlier Muslim immigrants saw mosque life mostly in terms of social needs, and imams (leaders) of local congregations were not always trained as religious teachers. Thus, little emphasis was placed upon strict observance of traditional mosque functions. Adaptations were made to conform to American church patterns, such as scheduling congregational prayers on Sundays and allowing "mixed" (men and women) social functions, such as dances.

Later groups of immigrants brought the heightened religious and political self-consciousness that has been part of the legacy of the loss and occupation of Palestinian lands. (14) These Muslims came with commitments to a variety of religio-political ideologies and with more religious training, usually more conservative, than their predecessors in America. Tension points developed in some of the earlier mosque communities as more recent and conservative Muslim arrivals attempted to correct their more Americanized brothers and sisters in areas of Islamic practice and custom.

In general, Muslims in America who have been raised in traditional Muslim cultures speak of the tension they experience in trying to remain close to linguistic, cultural, ethnic, and religious roots while trying to develop a sense of belonging in their adopted home. American societal patterns are often at odds with needs of Muslim life and practice: Work schedules do not easily allow for the five-times-daily salat prayers or Friday congregational prayers. Institutional eating facilities (schools, prisons, military) are not set up for Muslim dietary practices. The pervasiveness of alcohol in America and the cultural acceptance of sexual permissiveness and immodesty (in clothing and comportment) are seen as negative influences on the faith community, particularly on its young people. (15) The shariah, however, continues to be held as the ideal pattern of life to be striven for, somehow, in the midst of contemporary American culture.

Mosque governance in America appears to be taking the pattern of some Protestant denominations, such as the Baptists, in which each community has autonomy in deciding its local leadership and ideological orientation, but in which each member and each community shares a commitment to sacred scripture as the ultimate source of guidance in areas of belief and practice. (16) American mosques, unlike mosques in Islamic countries, are self-supporting, and therefore they must rely on membership contributions or fund-raising activities. The imam of the American mosque often finds himself in a role that goes beyond the traditional function of reciter of prayers. He may assume additional roles, common to American pastors, such as administrative and counseling responsibilities.

There are a variety of styles and emphases in mosque communities of the United States. Some mosques function in the way of America's small, urban ethnic churches, in which ethnic ties are emphasized, cultivated, and preserved. These communities function as centers for learning and sharing information about surviving in America as much as they function as centers for prayer. Other mosques, while being centers for prayer and social activities, also emphasize "outreach," utilizing the Islamic cultural tradition of hospitality in order to establish communication and goodwill with the surrounding community. (17) Mosques in the Midwest, such as the Islamic Center of Toledo, Ohio, are known for this approach. More recently established mosque communities, such as the Islamic Society of Central Jersey, have taken this approach as well, particularly in light of escalating fears of Islam and Muslims. (18) The focus of their work is in correcting misunderstandings about Islam by inviting non-Muslim groups to their facilities and by offering lectures and programs. Finally, a new trend has emerged in America: the large "mega-mosques" that serve the needs of large, rapidly growing, racially and ethnically diverse communities, such as in the Los Angeles area. (19) These mosques most clearly reflect the historical pluralism within the Islamic community as well as the continually widening ethnic pluralism of the United States.

There are a number of active Islamic organizations that exist alongside the mosque communities. In the middle of this century, the Muslim population was still small and dispersed over the continent. The need for a unifying organization led second-generation Muslim immigrants to form a federation of mosques that would provide a pooling of resources and contact with other communities. (20) It was originally called the Federation of Islamic Organizations; today it is the Federation of Islamic Associations in the United States and Canada, and its headquarters are in Detroit.

While the federation of mosques was taking shape within the earlier ethnic communities, Muslim student organizations were forming on college campuses. In 1963 the Muslim Student Association (MSA) was created to coordinate activities of the student groups. The MSA symbolized the international diversity of Islam as well as the ideological concerns of a more activist Islam worldwide. For these students, Islam was a way of life, a mission, and the organization's goal was to help create an ideal community and to serve Islam. (21) The MSA is still one of the largest and most well-organized Islamic organizations, and it has led to the creation of a number of other service and professional organizations designed to meet the needs of Muslims beyond the student community. Among them are the Muslim Community Association, American Muslim Social Scientists, Muslim Youth of North America, American Muslim Scientists and Engineers, Islamic Teaching Center, Islamic Medical Association, and the American Muslim Mission. These and other groups are now under the umbrella organization of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The groups have their own committees and boards, but their administrative, legal, and financial affairs are linked at the center by ISNA's legislative body, the Majlis al-Shura. (22) ISNA groups sponsor national, zonal, and profession-specific congresses, where members engage in social, business, and intellectual exchange while maintaining connections with the larger international Islamic community.

One of the most important developments that characterizes the current Islamic community in America is the movement in the direction of political activity in the United States. While ISNA's leadership always tended to be individuals with affiliation to or backing by politically minded "Islamist" groups, such as the Ikhwan al-Muslimin and the Jammati-Islami, (23) there was never agreement on the appropriateness or the form of political action in the United States. Some of the more "ultraorthodox" movements (such as the Salafiyya, comprised mainly of Gulf Arabs and some African Americans) and some of the African-American "utopian separatists" felt reluctant to participate in the kufr ("unbelieving") American governmental system. (24) Nevertheless, in trying to offer some balance to the influence of the many pro-Israel political action committees, a number of Muslim PACs have emerged since 1985, including ISNA's own ISNA-PAC. In addition, a number of Muslim groups, such as the United Muslims of America and the Islamic Society of Greater Houston have encouraged participation in such mainstream American activities as registering and voting in elections, actively supporting candidates, and even running for office. One of the results of this public visibility in the political system is that Muslim candidates sometimes find criticism coming from conservative elements within the Muslim community for such things as not using an Islamic name, dressing in an "overly Western" manner, or making other concessions to American secular culture. (25) There are a number of Muslim organizations and activities which are not specifically political. Among them are da'wa (missionary, education, ministry) oriented groups, such as the Muslim World League and the Shi'ite-based Islamic Societies of Georgia and Virginia; the Muslim "thinktanks," such as the International Institute of Islamic Thought, formed in 1982 to promote "Islamic" scholarship and methodologies; and the National Committee on Islamic Affairs, which has begun to utilize the media as a forum for Muslim discussion on affairs in the Middle East.

There are also many Muslim "activist-scholars" in America who are engaged in critical examination of a wide variety of issues and assumptions related to "tradition" and "modernity" in Islam. These scholars often find themselves caught between cultures: they find it difficult to take scholarship back home to countries where ideological concerns rule the academic discourse; but they also find it difficult to challenge ideological assumptions that exist in American academia.

African-American Islam

Most of the "non-immigrant" Muslims in America are African-American converts to Islam. For many African Americans, Islam has become a means of self-definition and of "choosing" to identify with a religio-cultural system that was other than the one (the Christian West) that had failed in establishing a truly racially inclusive society. (26) Certainly the phenomenal growth of Islam among African Americans, even the injection Of Islamic themes into black popular culture (such as rap music), (27) is related to the meaning that "Islam" holds for many African Americans, namely, identifying with a religious faith that has affirmed their African heritage.

The roots of a "black Muslim" perspective can be traced back to Timothy Drew (Noble Drew Ali) and the founding of the Moorish American Science Temple in Newark in 1913, as well as to the emergence of the Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. Certainly the most well-known convert to the Nation of Islam was Malcolm X, whose expositions of Elijah Muhammad's teachings were most influential in bringing membership to the Nation. (See Timothy Miller, "Black Jews and Black Muslims," this volume.) There were/ are some themes taught in the Nation of Islam that reflect traditional Islamic teachings: submission to Allah, the repudiation of such vices as alcohol, sex outside of marriage, the eating of pork, and gambling. However, such teachings as the "white man as devil" and the quasi-scientific theory of the origins of human history run counter to traditional Islamic accounts of human history and purpose. It was Malcolm X's pilgrimage to Mecca and his experience of a "universal brotherhood" in submission to Allah without color lines that helped make permanent his break with Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam in favor of what he regarded as "true Islam." Malcolm X's teachings after his trip to Mecca became a major catalyst for moving many African Americans in the direction of "orthodox" Islam. Elijah Muhammad's own son, Warith Deen Muhammad, was one of these.

After the death of his father, Warith Deen Muhammad took over the Nation and formally brought the organization into mainstream Islamic belief and practice. He rejected the preaching of racial hatred, including the "white man as devil" idea. He instituted the use of traditional Islamic rituals, and he repudiated teachings that identified Elijah Muhammad as a prophet. The organization went through a number of name changes. It had been the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in the Wilderness of North America, then the Nation of Islam. It then became the American Bilalian Community, then the World Community of Islam in the West, and, finally, the American Muslim Mission. In 1985, Warith Deen Muhammad decentralized the organization, delegating the central responsibilities to local imams. He encouraged the merging of African-American Muslims into the worldwide Islamic community. These directives were not accepted by all members of the Nation. Louis Farrakhan is the best-known current spokesman for Elijah Muhammad's teachings, maintaining both the name, the Nation of Islam, and the centralized form of the organization. Farrakhan tends to draw more media attention than the American Muslim Mission, confirming the conviction of many Muslims, African American and immigrants alike, that normative Islam is rarely depicted in the U.S. media.

In reality, there are hints of an increased public awareness of African-American Muslim activity beyond Farrakhan's "Nation." There is increased reportage on mosques being built in American cities. Furthermore, the American Muslim Mission's nationwide system of schools, the Clara Muhammad Schools, has received media attention for the positive contribution to the quality of life and education they are providing in the larger urban areas where they are situated as alternatives to the public schools. There are over sixty of these academically certified schools. Also of significance in the development of American Islamic communities is the fact that these schools are drawing children of recent immigrants into already established African-American communities, thereby fostering a sense of community across ethnic lines. The teachers tend to be immigrants themselves, often with advanced degrees in their native countries. Islamic studies are interwoven with subjects such as English, history, and science, and Arabic is taught from kinder-garten. They espouse a philosophy that is racially inclusive and religiously tolerant. (28) The Clara Muhammad Schools are an example of the growing ties emerging between indigenous and immigrant Muslims. As mentioned, tension does occur when new immigrants attempt to make changes in already established mosque communities, whether they are predominantly African American or immigrant, and this friction has become somewhat heightened in the present climate of growing emphasis on cultural self-affirmation of minority groups in America (mirroring the worldwide self-affirmation of ethnic identity). However, the larger pattern that seems to be emerging is one of increased cooperation, interaction, and even intermarriage between indigenous and immigrant Muslims. Another important segment of the African-American Muslim population that must be mentioned in any consideration of current developments in America is the unprecedented numbers of African Americans who are converting to Islam while in prison. For these (mostly) men, Islam is an important means of identity formation. Many mosques, including Sufi communities, are involved in ministry to prisons, forging community support systems for these prisoners. Furthermore, Muslims in prison are raising important legal questions with regard to freedom of expression of religion for "non-conventional faiths" within prison walls. Issues of whether Muslim prisoners should be entitled to consideration in terms of space and time for worship, dietary restrictions, and wearing beards are being argued in the courts presently. Certain accommodations in the area of religious expression are already permitted in the case of Christian and Jewish prisoners. (29)

The Islamic community in America includes the many mosque communities which are attempting to find ways to accommodate both traditional religious norms and changing constituencies within the cultural context of American society. It includes Muslim "conservatives" and "traditionalists," whose ideologies put them at odds with American secular values, and Muslim "modernists" who wish to be transmitters of Islamic values while working within the framework of the American democratic tradition. The Islamic community includes individual Muslim women and men in every American mosque community who are struggling with the tension between traditional practices and modern secular Western views about the rights and role of women. American Muslims include African-American groups who have chosen to be integrated in the larger Islamic community, but who seek affirmation and respect for their African-American cultural identity. There are those African-American and immigrant Muslim communities that are combining their resources to improve the conditions of recent immigrants and the marginalized poor of the inner cities. Finally, it is evident that the distinction between immigrant and indigenous Islam is rapidly becoming meaningless as "foreign-born" Muslims and their American-born children share mosque community life with growing numbers of American-born Muslims and their children. The Islamic community in America is becoming the major melting pot of the wide variety of racial and ethnic groups that constitute the "traditional" Islamic world. Islam has long been regarded by Westerners as the religion of "the other." Clearly, this perception of Islam will undergo revision in America as Muslim communities grow, and as America comes to re-define itself in terms of its increasingly multicultural and multireligious nature.

This article originally appeared as Chapter 21 of America's Alternative Religions Edited by Timothy Miller Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995


1. "Mosque," the Muslim "house of prayer" is derived from the Arabic masjid, "place of prostration.'

2. Terms such as "indigenous" and "immigrant" are categories of differentiation that are currently under scrutiny as they become less helpful in describing sociological changes that have taken place in Muslim communities. "Immigrant' communities are becoming "establishment," children are growing and intermarrying, foreign-born Muslims are becoming American citizens, demarcation between the "older" immigrants and the new African and Asian immigrants taking on racist overtones. However, until there is a consensus in the scholarly community on this issue, these terms will be used.

3. The term "orthodoxy" is understood to mean the beliefs and practices that became normative in the community. However, in Islam there is no official body or council that defines "orthodoxy."

4. "Allah" is simply the Arabic word referring to "God." Christians whose native language is Arabic also speak of God as "Allah."

5. As John Esposito points out in Islam: The Straight Path (New York: Oxford Press, 1991), there are a number of variations of "fundamentalist"-or "back to the fundamentals"-movements in the Islamic world, from "moderate" voices who seek reconciliation of traditional Islam and certain aspects of the modern West, to "radical" voices who see the West as a major enemy of Islam with no reconciliation possible, and who condone the use of violence to bring about an Islamic society. See chapter 5.

6. See Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, chapters 5 and 6.

7. See Fatima Mernissi, The Veil and the Male Elite (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1991) and Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992).

8. "Twelver Shi'ism" is the largest of the Shi'ite groups; other sects include the Ismailis (the "Seveners") and the Druze. See Annemarie Schimmel, "The Shia and Related Sects," in Islam: An Introduction (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992).

9. Fredrick Denny, An Introduction to Islam (New York: Macmillan Publishing, Co., 1985), 135-36.

10.Yvonne Haddad and Adair T. Lummis, Islamic Values in the United States (New York: Oxford Press, 1987), 3ff.

11. Ibid.

12. Ibid. Among the immigrants were a number of Palestinians who went to Puerto Rico. It is estimated that there are ten thousand Muslims in San Juan alone.

13. Ibid.

14. Ibid., 14.

15. John Voll, "Islamic Issues for Muslims in the United States," in The Muslims of America, ed. Yvonne Haddad (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 205 ff.

16. Frederick Denny, "Emerging Forms of the Muslim Community' (paper delivered at the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies Annual Meeting, 1992).

17. Frederick Denny, Islam (San Francisco Harper and Row, Publishers, 1987), 111 ff.

18. At the time of this writing, the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade center had just occurred.

19. Frederick Denny, "Emerging Forms of Muslim Community" (paper delivered at the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies Annual Meeting, 1992).

20. Gutbi Mahdi Ahmed, "Muslim Organizations in the United States," in The Muslims ofamerica, 12.

21. Ibid., 14.

22. Ibid., 15-16.

23. Steven A. Johnson, "Political Activity in Muslims in America,' in The Muslims of America, 112. These are very ideologically oriented Islamic revivalist groups with roots in Egypt and Pakistan, but they have to a great extent become "mainstream" in these countries, renouncing violence as they seek their goal of creating a modern "Islamic" society. There are a small but clearly significant number of Islamic "extremist" groups who affirm the use of violence as a means of fighting "the satanic West." In light of the bombing of the World Trade Center, investigations are underway to locate possible formal connections between American Muslim individuals or groups with these most extremist of "Islamic" groups.

24. Ibid., 113.

25. Ibid., 114-19.

26. See Abubaker al-Shingiety, "The Muslim as the 'Other': Representation and Self Image of the Muslims in America" in The Muslims of America.

27. See Prince-a-Cuba, "Black Gods of the Inner City," Gnosis Magazine, no. 25, (Fall 1992): 56-63.

28. Ari Goldman, "Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Arabic," New York Times, 3 October 1992.

29. Kathleen Moore, "Muslims in Prisons: Claims to Constitutional Protection of Religious Liberty" in The Muslims of America, 150-51.

Suggestions for Further Reading

Denny, Frederick. An Introduction to Islam. New York Macmillan Publishing Co., 1985.

------. Islam. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1987.

Haddad, Yvonne, ed. The Muslims of America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Haddad, Yvonne, and Adair T. Lummis. Islamic Values in the United States. New York: Oxford Press, 1987.

Haddad, Yvonne, and Jane Smith, eds. Muslim Communities in North America. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994.

Prince-A-Cuba. "Black Gods of the Inner City.' Gnosis Magazine, no. 25 (Fall 1992): 56-63.