"There has never been an America without Muslims"--so begins Amir Hussain, one of the most important scholarsand teachersof Islam in America. Hussain, who is himselfanAmerican Muslim, contends that Muslims played an essential role in the creationand cultivationof the United States.Memories of 9/11 and the riseofglobal terrorismfuel concerns about American Muslims. The fear of American Muslims in part stems from the stereotype that all followers of Islam are violent extremists who want to overturn the American way of life. Inherent to this stereotype is the popular misconception that Islam is a new religion to America.In Muslims and the Making of America Hussain directly addresses both of these stereotypes. Far from undermining America, Islam and American Muslimshave been, and continue to be, important threads in the fabric of American life. Hussain chronicles the history of Islam in America to underscore the valuable cultural influence of Muslims on American life. He thenrivets attention on music, sports, and culture as key areas in which Muslims have shaped and transformed American identity. America, Hussain concludes, would not exist as it does today without the essential contributions made by its Muslim citizens.
Amir Hussain is Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.