The hope remains to restore the culture and faith that was destroyed during the era of slavery.
During the s and 40s, Arab immigrants began to establish communities and build mosques. African-American Muslims had already built their own mosques, and by there was more than 1, in North America. After a 30 years of excluding most immigrants, the United States flung open its doors again in and an entirely new group of Muslims came from places such as Palestine many had come in after the establishment of Israel , Iraq, and Egypt.
The s saw waves of South-east Asian Muslims also making their way to America. Muslims also came from Africa, Asia and even Latin America. The estimated number of Muslims in this country varies, depending on the source. The American Muslim Council claims 5 million, while the non-partisan Center for Immigration Studies believes the figure is closer to between 3 to 4 million followers of Islam. Over the years, the nation gained public prominence due to famous members like Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali. In short, American Muslims and the organizations they create are part of the fabric of American public life.
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Islam is a religious tradition, and adherents to Islam are called Muslim. Of course, American Muslims, like Americans from other religious groups, participate in American political life. American Muslim voting patterns generally mirror the broader American population. American Muslims are Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, liberals and conservatives.
There is no one political platform or agenda for those who practice the religion of Islam in the United States. Many American Muslim leaders and organizations have repeatedly denounced extremist violence in the strongest possible terms. Of the many statements and actions taken by American Muslims to condemn and counter terrorism, the fatwa religious ruling from the Fiqh Council of North America an Islamic juristic body captures the views of the vast majority of American Muslims:.
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There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. A comprehensive collection of condemnations of terrorism and extremism by American Muslims, including theological arguments, may be found on The American Muslim, a publication that has been providing information about the American Muslim community since Most American Muslims, like most other Americans, are deeply concerned about the problem of extremist violence committed in the name of Islam.
According to the most reliable data we have, the overwhelming majority of American Muslims is well integrated into American society and reports criminal activity.
Muslims of early America
Many American Muslim leaders, educational institutions and advocacy groups have repeatedly spoken out for freedom of expression and are actively involved in promoting religious liberty for all people both in the United States and abroad. We are even more concerned and saddened by threats that have been made against individual writers, cartoonists, and others by a minority of Muslims.
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In , a number of conservative politicians and policy analysts began calling for a ban of sharia law in U. Sharia is essentially Islamic law , governing everything from religious practice and personal conduct to civil and criminal code. It is open to wide interpretation and varies globally based on culture. Many experts say that there is little evidence that there is widespread support from the U.
Muslim community for sharia law, or that if hard-line Muslims tried to implement it, they would be successful. In March , Republican Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, held a controversial hearing on whether Muslim communities were being uncooperative with law enforcement at the behest of leaders and groups such as CAIR. However, the August Gallup report suggests a large majority of Muslims do not acknowledge prominent groups, like CAIR, as their representatives and a Pew report shows that U.
Muslims feel their leaders have not done enough to speak out against extremists. Other experts and commentators say Islamophobia in the United States resembles bigoted stances of the past. In a June CFR meeting on Islam in America , Eboo Patel of Interfaith Youth Core says that "the way that sharia is talked about right now in American political and public discourse is almost identical to the way that the Catholic hierarchy was talked about fifty years ago.
Reports in September showed that some FBI counterterrorism briefings for agents conflated terrorism with mainstream Islam Wired , which other law enforcement experts said could not only harm anti-terrorist efforts but add to tensions with the Muslim community. Muslims are best positioned to defeat terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.
Skerry says that mainstream American institutions should no longer "routinely and uncritically engage with Muslim leaders and organizations" that have not answered questions about the "compatibility of their views with American values and political principles. Backgrounder by Jonathan Masters August 12, In Brief by Brad W.
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Backgrounder Current political and economic issues succinctly explained. This publication is now archived. Muslim Demographics The U. More From Our Experts. James M.