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A History of Islam in America


  • 19 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 458 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.62 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521614870)

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$34.99 (G)

Muslims began arriving in the New World long before the rise of the Atlantic slave trade. The first arrivals date to the turn of the sixteenth century when European explorers and colonists crossed the Atlantic in search of new horizons and trading routes. Kambiz GhaneaBassiri’s fascinating book traces the history of Muslims in the United States and their different waves of immigration and conversion across five centuries, through colonial and antebellum America, through world wars and civil rights struggles, to the contemporary era. The book tells the often deeply moving stories of individual Muslims and their lives as immigrants and citizens within the broad context of the American religious experience, showing how that experience has been integral to the evolution of American Muslim institutions and practices. This is a unique and intelligent portrayal of a diverse religious community and its relationship with America. It will serve as a strong antidote to the current politicized dichotomy between Islam and the West, which has come to dominate the study of Muslims in America and further afield.


Introduction; 1. Islam in the 'New World': the historical setting; 2. Islamic beliefs and practice in colonial and antebellum America; 3. Conflating race, religion and progress: social change, national identity, and Islam in the post-Civil War era; 4. Race, ethnicity, religion and citizenship: Muslim immigration at the turn of the twentieth century; 5. Rooting Islam in America: community and institution building in the interwar period; 6. Islam and American civil religion in the aftermath of World War II; 7. A new religious America and post-colonial Muslim world: American Muslim institution building and activism, 1960s–80s; 8. Between experience and politics: American Muslims and the 'new world order', 1989–2008; Epilogue.


“This book offers a much needed and richly detailed overview of the story of Islam and Muslims on this continent from earliest times to the present. An invaluable work.” –Leila Ahmed, Harvard Divinity School

"This remarkable book draws on a broad range of primary and secondary sources to develop a new synthesis. It deepens our appreciation of Islam’s internal diversity, reveals some of the different ways that Muslim identity has been improvised in inter-religious exchanges in America, and debunks stereotypes about what it means to be Muslim and American. This is a careful work of scholarship and a fascinating narrative history." -- Christopher G. White, Assistant Professor of Religion in America, Vassar College

"A History of Islam in America is a major step forward in understanding the encounters and exchanges between Muslims and non-Muslims in the US. This richly documented and fascinating analysis provides a powerful challenge to stereotypes that exclude Islam from the orbit of 'the West.' -- Carl W. Ernst, William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"This book is the most comprehensive historical monograph yet written about Islam in the United States." -Edward E. Curtis, Journal of American History

"...this scholarly book is a valuable and welcome contribution to the historical study of Islam in the West in general, and the United States in particular. The book’s core thesis is the complexity and diversity of American Muslims’ experience in the new world.The book is highly recommended,for it serves specialists and non-specialists alike." -Digest of Middle East Studies

"Professor GhaneaBassiri does an excellent job, and his encyclopedic, erudite, and objective study deserves to be read widely, and its arguments deserve to be taken seriously by others in the field." -Journal of Church and State

"GhaneaBassiri modestly pens not The History of Islam in America, but A History of Islam in America splendidly." -Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

"Of all the books under review, GhaneaBassiri’s is the most self-conscious and rigorous in its methodology." -Middle East Journal

"GhaneaBassiri provides a timely, informative, scholarly, and well-documented book that sheds new light on the history and experience of Muslims in the United States, refuting the naive notion of a clash of civilizations." -El-Sayed El-Aswad, Digest of Middle East Studies

"GhaneaBassiri…addresses the production of knowledge about both Muslims and the United States that allows for…dichotomizing logic. In doing so, he disproves suppositions that Muslims’ lives are intrinsically or historically distinct from “America” while demonstrating that a scholar of Islamic traditions can also be a thorough and theoretically sophisticated Americanist, and vice versa. GhaneaBassiri’s extraordinary collection and redaction of materials, combined with his historiographical and methodological insights, constitute a major intervention into several oft-segregated fields." -Rosemary R. Hicks, Journal of the American Academy of Religion; Tufts University

"When we come to GhaneaBassiri’s volume, I believe that we have one of the best books available today describing how Muslims from the earliest days of their presence in America to the very contemporary period have both participated in and have been molded by the flow of American history." -Jane I. Smith, The Journal of Religion

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