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Old Islam In Detroit

Old Islam In Detroit

Rediscovering the Muslim American Past
Autore/i: Howell Sally
Editore: Oxford University Press
pp. XVI-366, New York

Detroit, Michigan, is home to several of the nation’s oldest, most diverse Muslim communities. In the early 1900s, thousands of Muslims from Eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire, and British India built the nation’s first mosque in Detroit. By the 1930s, new Islam-oriented social movements, like the Nation of Islam, were taking root among African Americans. By the 1950s, Albanians, Arabs, African Americans, and South Asians all had mosques and religious associations in the city, and they were confident that Islam could be, and had already become, an American religion. This book explores the rise of Detroit’s earliest Muslim communities and documents the culture wars and doctrinal debates that ensued as these populations confronted Muslim newcomers in the 1960s and 1970s. These newcomers were a product of liberalized immigration laws and African American converts. Together they rapidly became the majority of US Muslims. For them, Detroit’s old Muslims and mosques seemed oddly Americanized, even unorthodox. By looking closely at this historical encounter, the book provides a new interpretation of the possibilities and limits of Muslim incorporation in American life. It shows how Islam has become American in the past and how the anxieties many new Muslim Americans and non-Muslims feel about the place of Islam in American society today are not inevitable but are part of a dynamic process of political and religious change that is still unfolding.

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