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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 in a foreign country have led americans to target Islam greater than ever earlier than. furthermore, an increasing number of in their pals, colleagues, and pals are Muslims. whereas a lot has been written approximately modern American Islam and pioneering experiences 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 was once a imperative 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 quite 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 recognized to have performed so. inside of many years, he begun corresponding with very important Muslims in India. Webb turned an enthusiastic propagator of the religion, founding the 1st Islamic establishment within the usa: the yank undertaking. He wrote a number of books meant to introduce Islam to americans, began the 1st Islamic press within the usa, released a magazine entitled The Moslem global, and served because the consultant of Islam on the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago. In 1901, he used to be appointed Honorary Turkish Consul normal in big apple and used to be invited to Turkey, the place he got Ottoman medals of merits.

In this first-ever biography of Webb, Umar F. Abd-Allah examines Webb's lifestyles and makes use of it as a window during which to discover the early background of Islam in the USA. apart from his followed religion, each element of Webb's existence used to be, as Abd-Allah exhibits, quintessentially attribute of his position and time. It used to be simply because he used to be so normally American that he was once capable of function Islam's ambassador to the US (and vice versa). As America's Muslim group grows and turns into extra obvious, Webb's lifestyles and the virtues he championed - pluralism, liberalism, common humanity, and a feeling of civic and political accountability - exemplify what it skill to be an American Muslim.

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