"The first in-depth and objective analysis of some of the major uniquely American communities identifying themselves as . . . Islamic. Meticulous and objective."--Tamara Sonn, St. John Fisher College
"A major contribution.... The authors have brought their extensive knowledge and previous experience to this study to achieve a work of very high quality."--Barbara Aswad, Wayne State University
Islam in the United States has developed a fascinating and diverse range of interpretations. Based in large part on community documents and on interviews and correspondence with community members, this study is the first look at these sectarian movements in the hundred-year history of Muslim religious development in the United States.
Mainline Sunni and Shi'i response to each of the five groups examined has varied from wariness to condemnation. Of the groups--the Druze, the Ahmadiyya Community of North America, the Moorish Science Temple of America, the Ansar Allah Community, and the United Submitters International--two have sprung up among African-Americans, two are immigrant communities that have transplanted their faith to the United States, and one, whose Egyptian leader has proclained himself a Messenger of God, is a genuine North American Islamic interpretation.
This groundbreaking book provides important insights into religion in North America and into contemporary Muslim issues of interest to students and scholars. Not only does it raise fundamental religious questions (Who is a true believer? Who can rightfully interpret the faith? Who decides such issues?), it also documents events from the lives of members of sectarian groups and the concerns they face in U.S. communities.
Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad is professor of Islamic history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is associate editor of the Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, author of Contemporary Islam and the Challenge of History, and coeditor of The Muslims of America.
Jane Idleman Smith is professor of history of religions and vice-president and dean of academic affairs at Iliff School of Theology, Denver. She is the author of The Concept "Islam" in the History of Our'anic Exegesis and the editor of Women in Contemporary Muslim Society. The two are coauthors of The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection.
"Reveals the diversity inherent in a religion that most regard as united in belief and practice. By examining a number of these variations eithin North American Islam, not only do Haddad and Smith teach us of the complexity of Islam but they also reveal to us the contested nature of its longstanding tradition....a handy resource for courses in new religious movements."
--Religious Studies Review