Islam is said to be the fastest growing religion in America, and is second to Christianity in all the countries of Western Europe. Since the events of 9-11 relationships between Muslim communities and their host nations in both America and Europe have faced new challenges. This course considers the historical and current realities of Muslims in the West, including the rise and development of Islamic institutions and forms of leadership, Islamic education and the range of issues involved in living as Muslims in a western society, and new roles for Muslim women. Attention will be given to the circumstances of immigrants and American- or European-born Muslims.
1. Books to be purchased (available in Seminary bookstore):
a. Joceylne Cesari, When Islam and Democracy Meet. Muslims in Europe and
the United States
b. Garbi Schmidt, Islam in Urban America
c. Tariq Ramadan, To Be a European Muslim.
2. Selected essays available on reserve in the library for copying and reading.
Topics of Class Sessions:
Week One (January 30): Introduction
Jane Smith and Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, “Islam in the United States of
America” [circulated on e-mail]
Week Two (February 7): Overview of Islam in America
a. Religion in America
b. American Islam
Garbi Schmidt, Islam in Urban America, chapters 1-2
Joceylne Cesari, When Islam and Democracy Meet, pp. 1-42
Karen Isaksen Leonard, Muslims in the United States, chapter one
Week Three (February 14): Immigrant and immigrant-related American Muslims
[first team meeting]
Garbi Schmidt, Islam in Urban America, chapter 3
Aminah McCloud, Transnational Muslims in American Society, pp.80-110
Yvonne Haddad, “The Dynamics of Islamic Identity in North America,”
In Haddad and Esposito, eds., Muslims on the Americanization
Path, pp. 19-46.
Week Four (February 21): African American Muslims
Jane Smith, Islam in America, chapter 4
Sherman Jackson, Islam and the Blackamerican. Looking Toward the
Third Resurrection, pp. 23-57
Joceylne Cesari, When Islam and Democracy Meet, chapter 3
FIRST WRITTEN ESSAY DUE FEBRUARY 21
Week Five (February 28): Becoming Muslim
Yvonne Haddad, “The Quest for Peace in Submission: Reflections on the
Journey of American Muslim Converts to Islam,” in Karin van
Nieuwkerk, Women Embracing Islam. Gender and Conversion
In the West, pp. 19-47.
Joceylne Cesari, When Islam and Democracy Meet, chapter 4
Week Six (March 7): American Shi‘ism; Muslim mosques and organizations
[second team meeting]
Abdulaziz Sachedina, “A Minority Within a Minority: The Case of the
Shi‘a in North America,” in Yvonne Haddad and Jane Smith,
eds, Muslim Communities in North America, pp. 3-14
Muhammad Nimer, “American Muslim Organizations: Before and After
9/11, in Philippa Strum, ed., Muslims in the United States, pp. 5-17
Akel Ismail Kahera, Deconstructing the American Mosque. Space, Gender
And Aesthetics, pp. 91-144 [read selectively]
Garbi Schmidt, Islam in Urban America, chapters 4-5
Week Seven (March 14): Muslim Women in America
Yvonne Haddad, Jane Smith and Kathleen Moore, Muslim Women in
America, pp. 3-20
Gwendolyn Zohara-Simmons, “Are we up to the challenge: The need for a radical re-ordering of the Islamic discourse on women,” in
Omid Safi, ed., Progressive Muslims, 235-48.
Amina Wadud, “The Role of Women in the American-Muslim
Community and Their Impact on Perceptions of Muslim Women
Worldwide,” in Philippa Strum, ed., Muslims in the United States,
Week Eight (March 21): What IS American Islam? and Christian-Muslim relations
[third team meeting]
M.A. Muqtedar Khan, “Living on Borderlines. Islam Beyond the Clash
And Dialogue of Civilizations,” in Zahid Bukhari and Sulayman
Nyang, eds., Muslims’ Place in the American Public Square, pp.
Garbi Schmidt, Islam in Urban America, chapter 6
Joceylne Cesari, When Islam and Democracy Meet, chapters 5-6 [NOTE:
Class discussion of Cesari Parts I and II]
SECOND WRITTEN ESSAY DUE MARCH 21
Week Nine (March 28): Overview of Islam in Europe
Peter Mandaville, “Towards a Critical Islam: European Muslims and the
Changing Boundaries of Transnational Religious Discourse,” in
Stefano Allievi and Jorgen Nielsen, Muslim Networks and Transnational Communities in and across Europe, pp. 127-145.
Week Ten (April 4): Islam in Northern Europe
a. Great Britain
b. Scandanavia (Sweden, Norway, Denmark)
Week Eleven (April 11): Islam in Middle Europe
b. The Netherlands
Joceylne Cesari, Part III [Class discussion]
Week Twelve (April 18): Islam in Southern Europe
b. Spain and Italy
Tariq Ramadan, To Be a European Muslim, Part II [Class
Week Thirteen (May 2): Lecture by Joceylne Cesari
a. Reading and class discussion of assigned texts and articles.
b. Two 3-page written reviews of assigned readings.
c. A group presentation to the class about Islam in one area of Western Europe. You will work in teams doing research and deciding on your presentation. Some basic research materials will be on library reserve; students are also expected to do research on-line. Presentations should include a description of the general situation, problems and possible solutions and (if possible) suggestions of how circumstances for Muslims in Europe compare in general with those of Muslims in America. Group presentations should be no longer than 45 minutes and must be accompanied by a brief hand-out for the class.
d. A 10-page essay on Islam in one of the countries of Western Europe.