Edward E. Curtis "finds Islam" in the American experience through an unusually personal selection of essays and documents. Sampling from speeches, interviews, editorials, stories, song lyrics, articles, autobiographies, blogs, and other sources, Curtis creates a patchwork narrative of Muslims from diverse ethnic and class backgrounds, religious orientations, and political affiliations. He begins with a history of Muslims in the United States, featuring the voices of an enslaved African Muslim, a Syrian Muslim sodbuster, a South Asian mystic-musician, and Malcolm X. Then he explores contemporary issues concerning Islam and gender, the involvement of Muslims in American politics, and emerging forms of Islamic spirituality.
In constructing his history, Curtis draws on the work of Muslim feminists, social conservatives, interfaith activists, missionaries, and politicians, as well as Muslim rappers and legal experts. He also includes records from the large-scale migrations of the 1880s; racial, ethnic, and religious trends of the 1960s; writings from second-generation and African American Muslims; and discussions of Islam in the public square. Intimate and highly informed, this sourcebook not only provides a crucial corrective to the rhetoric of suspicion and fear surrounding current discussions of Muslims in the United States, but it also emphasizes the continuing impact of Muslims on American society and culture.