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American Muslim Politics


This overview of American Muslim politics surveys the major communities and organizations of Muslims in the USA and their discourses before and after 11 September 2001. African Americans, Arab Americans and South Asian Americans are the three largest groups, and, after setting out their differences, the political discourses and practices drawing them together in American politics are analyzed. The important conflict between the many new, western-educated professional leaders of the Muslim political coalitions in the US, whose knowledge of classical Islamic civilization and law is not great, and the fewer numbers of classically-trained legal scholars is discussed, leading to a review of personal issues that are also intensely political, particularly those concerning gender roles. 11 September produced challenges to the new professional leadership from the mainstream American media and government officials, opening up the field of discourse about Muslims in America. This has led to a greater focus on US domestic issues and perhaps a larger role for the young generation of American Muslims. The overall trajectory is that of an evolving and distinctively American set of Muslim discourses and practices.

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