American Muslims Are Beginning to Establish Group Identity

July 9, 2001


On July 9, 2001, reported that "Muslims living in America are beginning to discover new points of convergence between what is known as the birthplace of freedom and the birthplace of Islam’s founder, the Prophet Muhammad...'There is no other place on earth outside of the U.S. where dialogue of the sort we’re experiencing is happening,' observed Shabbir Mansuri, founding director of the Council on Islamic Education...Muslims in America are experiencing an evolution of identity that could only occur in a place where activities like examination, skeptical inquiry, dialogue, and political participation — the substance of democratic society — are encouraged rather than snuffed out or brutally punished...The outcome...may be a viable constituency that is distinctly Islamic and American, wielding influence in U.S. policy and exporting influence in the larger Muslim world...'The American Muslim community is like a baby being born,' said Mansuri...'Getting people from 80-plus ethnic backgrounds to merge into a single community is a phenomenal process,' [American Muslim Association president] Saeed commented...Various organizations and Islamic centers...are taking a systematic approach to waking their members out of a state of political somnolence." Islamophobia in America helps to unite Muslims; divisions between African-American Muslims and Muslim immigrants hinder unity.