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A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell by Umar F. Abd-Allah

By Umar F. Abd-Allah

Conflicts and controversies at domestic and overseas have led americans to target Islam greater than ever sooner than. moreover, a growing number of in their associates, colleagues, and acquaintances are Muslims. whereas a lot has been written approximately modern American Islam and pioneering stories have seemed on Muslim slaves within the antebellum interval, relatively little is understood approximately Islam in Victorian the United States. This biography of Alexander Russell Webb, one of many earliest American Muslims to accomplish public renown, seeks to fill this gap.Webb used to be a relevant determine of yank Islam in the course of the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries. a local of the Hudson Valley, he was once a journalist, editor, and civil servant. Raised a Presbyterian, Webb early on started to domesticate an curiosity in different religions and have become really occupied with Islam. whereas serving as U.S. consul to the Philippines in 1887, he took a better curiosity within the religion and embraced it in 1888, one of many first americans identified to have performed so. inside many years, he all started corresponding with vital Muslims in India. Webb turned an enthusiastic propagator of the religion, founding the 1st Islamic establishment within the usa: the yankee project. He wrote quite a few books meant to introduce Islam to americans, all started the 1st Islamic press within the usa, released a magazine entitled The Moslem international, and served because the consultant of Islam on the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago. In 1901, he was once appointed Honorary Turkish Consul basic in ny and used to be invited to Turkey, the place he obtained Ottoman medals of merits.In this first-ever biography of Webb, Umar F. Abd-Allah examines Webb's existence and makes use of it as a window in which to discover the early heritage of Islam in the United States. apart from his followed religion, each point of Webb's existence used to be, as Abd-Allah exhibits, quintessentially attribute of his position and time. It was once simply because he was once so commonly American that he used to be in a position to function Islam's ambassador to the USA (and vice versa). As America's Muslim neighborhood grows and turns into extra seen, Webb's lifestyles and the virtues he championed - pluralism, liberalism, common humanity, and a feeling of civic and political accountability - exemplify what it ability to be an American Muslim.

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Shakers taught hard work, and every member perfected a selection of crafts and skills. 38 In addition to physical labor, Shakers devoted themselves to cultivating their minds and educating others. They developed excellent schools and libraries, replete with the latest newspapers and magazines as well as religious and secular literature. Attainment of true simplicity was the fundamental goal of Shaker spirituality and was reflected in everything about them, especially their matchless carpentry and architecture.

Comparisons between Islam and Mormonism—generally at the expense of both—continued to be drawn well into the twentieth century. In 1917, Bruce Kiney published a highly prejudicial work titled Mormonism: The Islam of America. ’’ Zwemer carried the comparison further: Mormonism has also had its Hegira, makes much of its sacred book, which also is often unintelligible because of its stilted and diffuse style. Yet like the Koran, the book of the Mormons is the keystone of their religion; it also has glaring discrepancies which are accounted for by a doctrine of abrogation.

30 New York’s religious movements manifested characteristics typical of the evangelical individualism of the Second Awakening, combining a powerful sense of personal biblical authority with original interpretation. This independent evangelical spirit empowered ordinary Christians to take direct part in the world of preaching, revival, and missionary work. ’’ They were predictably nationalistic and made little attempt to maintain ties with their denominational brethren across the Atlantic. ’’32 The Hudson Quakers were theologically active before and during Webb’s life and had important affinities with the Columbia County Shakers, a Quaker offshoot who were at the heart of the American Shaker movement.

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