In recent years, world events have trained a harsh spotlight on the Muslim religion and its adherents. The misunderstanding and bias against Muslims in the United States not only persists but has deepened. In this detailed study of an immigrant community in Chicago, Garbi Schmidt considers the formation and meaning of an 'American Islam'. This vivid portrait of the people and the institutions that draw them together contributes to the academic literature on ethnic and religious identity at the same time as it depicts an immigrant community's struggle against bias and forces that threaten its cohesion. Chicago has long been home to Muslim immigrants from numerous countries in the Middle East and South Asia. For some members of these groups religion carries more weight than ethnic identity in the American context and enables them to form and participate in a broad spectrum of institutions that support their religious and social interests. Schmidt offers her observations of the schools and student associations that serve young Muslims as well as the social, religious, and political organizations that serve adults.
By looking at the ways in which children, adolescents, and adults come together in these institutions, she is able to show the dynamic process in which a variegated American Muslim identity takes shape. Readers will come away from this book with a better understanding of the ideological and cultural differences among Muslims and a greater appreciation of their struggles in becoming Americans. Garbi Schmidt is a senior researcher and coordinator of the ethnic minorities initiative at the Danish National Institute of Social Research, Copenhagen.
Acknowledgments A Note on Transliteration 1. Introduction 2. The History of Muslims in Chicago: An Overview 3. Between Michael Jordan and Muhammad: Muslim Children in Chicago 4. The Circle and the Cutting Edge: Muslim Colleges and Students' Associations 5. The House of God and Beyond: Understanding Islam, Islamic Identities, and Islamic Authority among Adults 6. Muslims in America: E Pluribus Unum Notes Glossary of Arabic Words and Phrases Index