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Epilogue

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2012

Kambiz GhaneaBassiri
Affiliation:
Reed College, Oregon
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Summary

In the last chapter I argued that the challenge facing American Muslims in the future is not to settle a struggle between a “good Islam ” and a “bad Islam, ” but to bridge the gap between the reality of their lives and the stigmatizing context in which they were interpolated by a polarizing discourse on “Islam and the West. ” Just as Muslims face the challenge of conforming their circumstances to the realities of their day-to-day lives, the academic study of Islam in America also faces a challenge in developing effective analytical categories and a vocabulary that allows for a representation of the historical realities of Islam in America. Much of the existing scholarship furthers the politicized dichotomy of “Islam and the West ” by inquiring primarily into the assimilation of Muslims in the United States rather than focusing on the histories of their institution and community building efforts, which, as I have shown, were persistent and significant.

In the nineteenth century, increased travel and communication between cultures and the greater accessibility of visual and textual sources on the lives of others forced any understanding of an American national identity to necessarily grapple with alterity. During this time, however, very few Americans actually interacted with the non-Christian other. Americans ’ contact with Muslims at this time was limited for the most part to their interactions with enslaved West African Muslims. Most Americans only encountered non-Christians in the abstract, in books and magazines.

Type
Chapter
Information
A History of Islam in America
From the New World to the New World Order
, pp. 379 - 382
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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  • Epilogue
  • Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, Reed College, Oregon
  • Book: A History of Islam in America
  • Online publication: 05 August 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511780493.010
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  • Epilogue
  • Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, Reed College, Oregon
  • Book: A History of Islam in America
  • Online publication: 05 August 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511780493.010
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Epilogue
  • Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, Reed College, Oregon
  • Book: A History of Islam in America
  • Online publication: 05 August 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511780493.010
Available formats
×