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Mosque in Cleveland
Society and Community:
Muslims in America
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A number of Arab and Islamic scholars and public figures have been attempting to clarify what it means to be Muslim and American. Here is some of what they had to say on NPR's TALK OF THE NATION on November, 15, 2001:

"I would say half of the American Muslim community is recent immigration. And it takes a while for immigrants to be rooted in the country and to establish themselves and integrate themselves into the rest of society. ½So there was an element of seclusion going on. But I think that now everybody realizes that we can't afford to be hiding ourselves. We have to be out in public fulfilling our roles."
imam Anwar al-Awlaki, leader of the Dar al-Hijra mosque in Falls Church, Virginia

"[The idea of a strictly American Muslim identity] evolved about 20 years ago, when we said we don't want to be in America as an appendage of the Middle East or the Far East. We'd like to be here as full-fledged American citizens, part of the American pluralism, that part that happened to be Muslim and is guided by the values of Islam. And so we were very keen to say that American Muslim identity is not attached organically to any other country or any other Muslim organization. This is home, because home is not where my grandfather is buried but where my grandson is being brought up, and we deliberately chose America to be home, to join those who have been born in America as Muslims, and we felt that this is an identity of its own. Similar to an Egyptian Muslim identity or a Pakistani Muslim identity, there is an American Muslim identity. We defended that concept very, very enthusiastically, and I think it took roots."
Dr. Maher Hatout, leader of the Islamic Center of Southern California

Azizah Y. al-Hibri is an associate professor of law, specializing in securities regulation, corporate finance, and Islamic jurisprudence at the University of Richmond, in Virginia. She is the author of the Modesty entry in the Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World (Oxford University Press, 1995) and is the founder and former president of Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights. a member of the editorial board of "The Journal of Law and Religion," and editor of Women and Islam. Professor al-Hibri participated in Bill Moyers' groundbreaking interfaith documentary series Genesis.


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