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Muslim Journeys: American Stories

Bridging Cultures Bookshelf

This guide was created to accompany the Muslim Journeys Bridging Cultures Bookshelf exhibit and events during 2013-2014.  They contents are not currently being updated, other than maintaining links.  We hope you enjoy the information within!

Books from the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf

American Stories

"While the large presence of Muslims in the United States dates to the 1960s, Muslims have been a part of the history of America since colonial times. American Muslims’ stories draw attention to ways in which people of varying religious, cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds interact to shape both their communities’ identities and our collective past.

Although Muslims did not attain a sizable presence in the United States until the 1960s, they have been part of American history since colonial times. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, tens of thousands of Muslims were captured in Africa and brought to America to be sold as slaves. Through their religion, these Muslims fought both to survive slavery and to make sense of their new circumstances.

By the 1910s, an estimated 60,000 Muslims from South Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East had immigrated to the United States, finding employment as factory workers, farmers, and merchants, and it was not long before they began rooting themselves in the United States by founding mosques and community centers. This was also a time when many black Americans converted to Islam; some would even form distinct movements in its name (e.g., the Nation of Islam).

History books often divide the world into a “modern West” and a “traditional Orient,” ignoring the history of Muslims in America. American Muslims’ stories fly in the face of that strict opposition of East and West. By virtue of being both American and Muslim, the stories listed here draw attention to the ways people of varying religious, cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds interact with one another to shape and reshape their individual lives and American society. As such, they open new vistas on the formation of Muslim and American identities in the modern world."

(This section of the bookshelf was selected by Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, Reed College.)

Other Resources on Muslims in the United States

"Islamophobia: Ground Zero, Burning Books and Americas Future

The University of Toledo's Initiative for Religious Understanding hosted a lecture series titled "Islamophobia: Ground Zero, Burning Books and Americas Future." The lecture was held at the University of Toledo Law Center on November 9, 2010.

Dr. Ovamir Anjum, UT Imam Khattab Endowed Chair of Islamic Studies, spoke about the history and the future of phobias about Islam in America.

His lecture was followed by Benjamin Davis, UT associate professor of law, who talked about Islamophobia and civil rights.

David Yonke, the religion editor for The Blade newspaper, discussed Islamophobia in the Toledo area.

The final panelist, Ed Heilman, pastor of Park Congregational United Church of Christ, addressed the Christian perspective of this issue.

(Full information at the WGTE Knowledge Stream site.)

Excerpt from "Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in America" on Toledo

An excerpt from Abdo Elkholy's 1959 study of the history of Muslims in Toledo. (pg. 76-85, courtesy of Google Books).

Other Books & Films on Muslim Americans

To find items in the UT Libraries collections on Muslim Americans, use the subject heading search: Muslims - United States.  Some of our favorites are listed here.