"There has never been an America without Muslims"—so begins Amir Hussain, one of the most important scholars and teachers of Islam in America. Hussain, who is himself an American Muslim, contends that Muslims played an essential role in the creation and cultivation of the United States. Memories of 9/11 and the rise of global terrorism fuel concerns about American Muslims. The fear of American Muslims in part stems from the stereotype that all followers of Islam are violent extremists who want to overturn the American way of life. Inherent to this stereotype is the popular misconception that Islam is a new religion to America. In Muslims and the Making of America Hussain directly addresses both of these stereotypes. Far from undermining America, Islam and American Muslims have been, and continue to be, important threads in the fabric of American life. Hussain chronicles the history of Islam in America to underscore the valuable cultural influence of Muslims on American life. He then rivets attention on music, sports, and culture as key areas in which Muslims have shaped and transformed American identity. America, Hussain concludes, would not exist as it does today without the essential contributions made by its Muslim citizens.
Introduction: The American Ideal and Islam1. Islam in America: A Short History2. Blues for Allah: Music3. The Greatest: Sports4. American Mosques: CultureConclusion: The Poetry of Ordinary American Muslim Lives
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<P>In recent times of rising Islamophobia, rampant misinformation about Islam, and political rhetoric against Muslims, books showcasing the positive aspects of Muslims in America are very welcome. Hussain’s book <I>Muslims and the Making of America</I> may be a very short read but it is a much needed one, packed with facts that destroy myths and remove stereotypes.</P> - New York Journal of Books
Amir Hussain is Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.