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Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11


Gaining unprecedented access to Muslim communities in America, the author traveled across the country, visiting schools, mosques, Islamic centers, ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11

Overall customer rating: 3.000

Main Street American Muslims

by BruceHH on Apr 9, 2007

The introduction of Mecca and Main Street notes American Muslims live in the heart of America but ?are solely defined by American?s perceptions of Muslims abroad.? After 9/11 American Muslims felt an urgent need to embrace their beliefs and establish an Islamic identity or a unified community. The author chose particular people to interview and discuss because they are the activists, journalist, imams and human rights activists shaping both the broader Muslim community?s standing in America and American?s views of the Islamic world. The first part of this book is about the roots of Islam in America. Muslim slaves from Africa were the first wave to come to America but because of the conditions under which slaves lived Islam was not able to take hold. With the slow collapse of the Ottoman Empire immigration between the late 1800s until 1921 (when the National Origins Act was passed) provided a second wave of Muslim immigrants. However it lacked critical size and was unable to give Islam a foothold in America. Some Black American movements had adopted symbols and terminology of Islam but not the real doctrine. After the 1965 repeal of the National Origins Act a large group of immigrants came to America from the Middle East. These immigrants tried to bring their homeland and its brand of Islam to the US. Among the first was a group of Yemenis who established the Dix Mosque in Dearborn, MI, which remains extremely fundamentalist. The author discusses some of the current ?roots? of Islam in the US. She notes the U.S. lacks a history of Islamic education and describes one of the religious sessions Hamza Yusuf, an American Imam, organizes several times a year. He imports Eastern and religious décor to turn modern hotels and restaurants in different parts of the country into temporary madrassas. These madrassas are the equivalent of mobile homes for Islamic learning. Many young American Muslims (several of which are converts) have come to see Islam as a religion that can turn the fight for equal rights and social justice into action. One of the examples given is the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, started by Rami Nashashibi, which works to help those living in poverty in the city. Another American Muslim, Adbul Malik Mujahid, established a radio show and a multimedia company to show that Muslims are just like non-Muslims. ?Women in the Changing Mosque? is the section of the book that concentrates on the activities of women who are trying to regain the roles women had in the early years of Islam but which were taken away as time passed. The author also discusses Muslim Student Associations in which moderates and young women are playing a role in bringing about a distinct American Muslim identity.

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