Saturday, July 06, 2013

A History of Islam in America

by Kambiz GhaneaBassiri

One nice thing about sending your children to college is that they bring home interesting books. In one sense, A History of Islam in America didn't quite live up to its title--the lives and beliefs of American Muslims haven't been all that well documented over the centuries. But some of what Professor GhaneaBassiri did find I found fascinating, especially Islam in antebellum America and the milieu at the turn of the 20th Century. Muslims before the Civil War were mostly Africans, taken from their homes and people, enslaved and transported to North America. For many, with no mosque or community to support it, their religion became a strictly private thing, with nothing but an occasional ritual passed on to younger generations. The chapter about the era after the Civil War was fascinating in how it presented American Protestant culture from the perspective of an ethnic and religious outsider. It's easy to gloss over the sins of one's forebears if the history has been written by said sinners. As I read the book, I heard echoes of Lies My Teacher Told Me and A People's History of the United States.

Check it out!
LibraryThing link


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