United StateS department of State / BUreaU of international information programS

Being Muslim inAmerica
introdUction
“I Am
An

AmerIcAn WIth

A

muslIm soul” ........... 2

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he young women pictured on our cover are both Muslim. They live near Detroit, Michigan, in a community with many ArabAmerican residents. Each expresses her faith in her own way, with a combination of traditional and modern dress. Here, they compete fiercely on the basketball court in a sport that blends individual skills and team effort. They — along with the other men, women, and children in this publication — demonstrate every day what it is like to be Muslim in America.

photo eSSay
BuIldIng
A lIfe In

AmerIcA ........... 4

profileS

Young muslIms mAke theIr mArk ........... 30

A stAtIstIcAl PortrAIt ........... 48 neIghBorhood mosques ........... 52 tImelIne of keY events ........... 56 BIBlIogrAPhY ........... 63

reSoUrceS

SUpplement

dId You knoW?/Performers mInI-Poster

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of Hindu temples. In fact, there are now more M u s l i m s i n Am e r i c a t h a n E p i s c op a l i a n s , t h e f a i t h p r of e s s e d b y m a n y of Am e r i c a ’s F ou n d ing Fathers. O n e h u n d r e d y e a r s a g o, t h e g r e a t Af r i c a n A m e r i c a n s c h o l a r W. E . B . D u B o i s w a r n e d t h a t t h e p r ob l e m of t h e c e n t u r y wou l d b e t h e c ol or l i n e . Th e 21s t c e n t u r y m i g h t we l l b e d om i n a t e d b y a d i f f e r e n t l i n e — t h e f a i t h l i n e . Th e m os t p r e s s i n g q u e s t i on s f or m y c ou n t r y ( A m e r i c a ) , m y r e l i g i o n ( I s l a m ) , a n d a l l G o d ’s people may well be these: How will people wh o m a y h a v e d i f f e r e n t i d e a s of h e a v e n i n teract together on Earth? Will the steeple, the minaret, the synagogue, the temple, and the sanga learn to share space in a new city on

Ag e s , m y s ou l spre ad to the East and We st, p r a y i n g i n t h e m osque s and study ing in the l i b r a r i e s o f t h e great medieval Muslim cities of C a i r o, B a g h d ad, and C ordoba. M y soul wh i r l e d wi t h Ru m i, re ad A ristotle w ith Av e rr oe s , t r a v e l e d t hrough C e ntral A sia w ith N asir K h u s r ow. I n t h e colonial e ra, m y M uslim soul w a s s t i r r e d t o j ustice. It marched with Abdul G h a f f a r K h a n a nd the Khudai Khidm atgars in t h e i r s a t y a g r a h a to free India. It stood with F a r i d E s a c k , E b rahim M oosa, R ahid Om ar, a n d t h e M u s l i m Youth M ov e m e nt in the ir strugg l e f or a m u l t i c u ltural S outh A frica. I n on e e y e I c arr y this ancie nt M uslim v is i on on p l u r a l i s m ; in the othe r e y e I carr y the A m e r i c a n p r o m ise. And in my hear t, I pray t h a t we m a k e r e al this possibility : a city on a h i l l wh e r e d i f f e re nt re ligious com m unitie s re s p e c t f u l l y s h a r e space and collectively ser ve t h e c om m on g oo d; a w orld w he re div e rse nat i on s a n d p e op l e s com e to k now one anothe r i n a s p i r i t o f b r otherhood and righteousness; a c e n t u r y i n w h ich we achieve a common life t og e t h e r.
Author Eboo Patel is executive director of the Inter faith Youth Core in Chicago, Illinois. He is a leader in the inter faith movement.

“I Am An AmerIcAn WIth A muslIm soul”

a hill? I t h i n k t h e Am e r i c a n e t h os — m i xi n g t ol e r a n c e a n d r e v e r e n c e — m a y h a v e s om e t h i n g s p e c i a l t o c on t r i b u t e t o t h i s i s s u e . Am e r i c a i s a g r a n d g a t h e r i n g of s ou l s , t h e v a s t m a j or i t y f r om e l s e wh e r e . Th e Am e r i c a n g e n i u s l i e s i n a l l owi n g t h e s e s ou l s t o c on t r i b u t e t h e i r t e xt u r e t o t h e Am e r i c a n t r a d i t i on , t o a d d n e w n ot e s t o t h e Am e r i c a n s on g . I a m a n Am e r i c a n wi t h a M u s l i m s ou l . M y s ou l c a r r i e s a l on g h i s t or y of h e r oe s , m ov e m e n t s , and civilizations that sought to submit to the wi l l of G od . M y s ou l l i s t e n e d a s t h e P r op h e t M u h a m m a d p r e a c h e d t h e c e n t r a l m e s s a g e s of Islam, tazaaqa and tawhid, compassionate j u s t i c e a n d t h e on e n e s s of G od . I n t h e M i d d l e 3

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Am eri ca

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be-

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W i n t h r o p ’s

Christian

c a u se I a m un de r th e i l lusi o n tha t it is per-

faith, and no doubt he imagined his city on a hill with a steeple in the c e n t e r. Throughout the cen t ur ies , A me r i c a h a s r e mained a deeply religious c o u n t r y, w h i l e b e c o m i n g
Eboo Patel

f e c t , b u t b eca use it allow s m e — the chi ld of M uslim i m m i grants from India — t o pa r ti ci p a te i n its progr e s s , to ca r ve a plac e in its p r o m ise, to play a role in i t s po ssi b i li ty. J o h n Winthrop, one of the earliest Euro p e a n s e t t l ers in America, gave voice to this s e n s e o f po ssi b i li ty. He told h is compatriots t h at t h e i r so ci ety wo uld be like a c ity upon a h ill, a be aco n fo r the world. It w as a h ope r o o t ed 2

a r emar k ably p l u r a l on e . I n deed, w e ar e t h e mo s t r eligio u s l y d e v ou t n a t i o n i n t h e We s t a n d t h e m o s t r e l i g i o u s l y div er s e co un t r y in t h e w o r ld. T h e s t e e p l e a t t h e cen t er o f t h e cit y o n a h ill i s n ow s u r rounded by the minaret of Muslim mosques, the Hebrew script of Jewish synagogues, the ch an t in g o f B uddh is t s an gas , an d t h e s t a t u e s

BuIldIng

A lIfe In

AmerIcA
Abdul and Majida Alsaadi shop at a Wal-Mart in Dearborn, Michigan.
mmigrants have come to America from every corner of the globe. The people are diverse but their reasons similar: Some sought to escape an Their initial reception was frequently mixed. These new Americans found a vast new land hungry for their labor. But some, unfamiliar with these newcomers’ customs and religions, treated the new Americans as outsiders and believed they could never be real Americans. They were wrong. With freedom, faith, and hard work, each successive wave of immigrants has added its distinctive contributions to the American story, enriched our society and culture, and shaped the ever-dynamic, always-evolving meaning of the single word that
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old way of life, others to find a new one. Some were escaping violence, others the shackles of custom, poverty, or simple lack of opportunity. They came largely from Europe in the 19th century and from the rest of the world — Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South America — in the 20th and 21st. They arrived with hope, and often little else.
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binds us together: American. And today, this story is the Muslim-American story too. arrived in a nation very different from the one experienced by 19th-century immigrants, but today’s n 1965, a new immigration law reshaped profoundly the inward flow of new Americans. No longer would national-origin quotas determine new Americans face the old immigrant challenge of defining their place in America’s social, economic, and political fabric. Consider two sisters, Assia and Iman Boundaoui. Their parents are from Algeria, and the girls were raised near Chicago, Illinois, as Muslim Americans. As reported by National Public Radio (NPR), Assia and Imam grew up watching both the
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who could come. In their place were categories based on family relationships and job skills. With this change, immigration numbers soared, bringing the first significant numbers of Muslims from South Asia and the Middle East to the United States. They

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Opposite page: Top left, Sadaf Butt adjusts her hijab; above left, Muslim congressional staff members take a break from their work on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. This page: Above, clothing designer Brooke Samad compares fabric swatches; right, Tahqiq Abbasi at his textile shop in Union City, New Jersey.
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children’s Nickelodeon station and the news channel Al Jazeera. When they got takeout food, they sometimes chose Kentucky Fried Chicken and sometimes their favorite falafel restaurant. “In America, we would say we’re Muslim first, because that’s what makes us different, I guess,” Assia, age 20, told NPR. “But in another country, like in a Muslim country, we would say we’re American.” Their story is both remarkable and not so, for there is nothing more American than new generations — from kaleidoscopic combinations of ethnicity and religion — defining themselves as Americans. “America has always been the promised land for Muslims and non-Muslims,” observes IranianAmerican Behzad Yaghmaian, author of Embracing the Infidel: Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West. She told the New York Times, “They still come here because the United States offers what they’re missing at home.” The tales of Muslim Americans track a familiar arc, but individually they add immeasurably to the vibrant diversity of a nation founded not on common ancestry, but on the shared values of freedom, opportunity, and equal rights for all. “In every era of U.S. history, women and men from around the world have opted for the American experience,” writes historian Hasia Diner. “They arrived as foreigners, bearers of languages, cultures, and religions that at times seemed alien to America’s essential core. Over time, as ideas about U.S. culture changed, the immigrants and their descendants simultaneously built ethnic communities and participated in American civic life, contributing to the nation as a whole.”
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Clockwise from left, Abdi Mohamed says evening prayers in his Omaha, Nebraska, grocery store; at home in Brooklyn, New York, a family searches the Internet; Susan Fadlallah prepares the meal to break the Ramadan fast. Center, butcher Nehme Mansour grinds halal meat in Michigan.
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migrant groups, Muslim Americans cannot be defined by race or nationality; in this sense, they more closely resemble the Hispanic Americans whose origins lie in Spain, the many nations of Latin America, and the islands of the Caribbean. Muslim American diversity may be greater still, encompassing origins in South Asia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe’s Balkan region, and Africa, as well as a small but growing group of Hispanic Muslims. Because the United States does not track population by religion, there is no authoritative count of its Muslim population. Estimates range widely, from 2 million to 7 million or more. Of that number, approximately 34 percent are of Pakistani or South Asian origin and 26 percent are Arab. Another 25 percent of Muslim Americans are indigenous, largely African American, and this adds still more layers to the rich Muslim-American experiPhoto

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uslim Americans possess a diversity that is extraordinary even by American standards. In sharp contrast to other im-

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ence. In other words, the Muslim-American saga is not just one of immigration and Americanization, but part of one of the most powerful themes in American history: the struggle for racial equality. There are mosques and Muslim social and cultural institutions throughout the country, in urban centers and rural communities alike. Want to visit the International Museum of Muslim Culture — the first Islamic history museum in the United States? Forget about traveling to New York or Washington; instead you must head for the Arts District of Jackson, Mississippi. Dearborn, Michigan, is home to the nation’s largest Arab-American population. Muslims from South Asia and Africa form vibrant
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Clockwise from left, Dr. Maya Hammoud holds the medical handbook in Arabic that she wrote; Samiul Haque Noor, winner of New York City’s annual Vendy Award for best street vender food; Mohamad Atwi’s Wal-Mart name tag is in two languages.
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“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter their color; equal in importance no matter their texture.” — Maya Angelou

and growing communities in the New York-New Jersey area. Somalis have settled in substantial numbers in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, and Southern California is home to the country’s largest Iranian-American population. Yet even these ethnic communities are hardly monolithic. Many of the Arabs living in Dearborn and elsewhere are Christian, not Muslim, and a number of Iranian Americans living in Los Angeles are Jewish. Generalizing about such a diverse a population can obscure more than it explains. Better, perhaps, to study representative experiences.
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“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry,” says the noted African-American poet Maya Angelou, “and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter their color; equal in importance no matter their texture.” Iman Boundaoui of Chicago, for example, found that freedom involved her decision to wear a head scarf. She recalls a vivid incident during a high school trip to Paris, France, when her group talked with girls at a private Muslim school founded in response to a French law banning head scarves in public schools: “And me and my friends were

Clockwise from left, former director of the National Institutes of Health Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni gives a presentation; comedian Maysoon Zayid does her stand-up routine; Sacramento Kings forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim goes up for a jump shot; Staff Sergeant Magda Khalifa in her U.S.Army uniform.
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looking at them,” Boundaoui told NPR, “and at that moment we were like, ‘Thank God we live in America,’ that I can walk down the street with my scarf on without having to decide to take it off because I have to go to school.” For Pakistani immigrant Nur Fatima, freedom inPhoto stead means that after moving to an area of BrookgAllerY lyn, New York, known as Little Pakistan, she could choose to remove her head scarf, reveling in the fact that Americans generally regard these social and religious choices as private matters. “This is a land of opportunity, there is equality for everyone,” Fatima told the New York Times. “I came to the United States because I want to improve myself. This is a second birth for me.” Today, in a thousand different circumstances, Americans of Islamic faith embrace their heritage as a crucial part of a self-fashioned identity in which they choose from among all the possibilities of freedom that this land bestows upon all its citizens. As they explore the possibilities, they discover that they, too, have become Americans. “We stress the American Muslim identity, that home is where my grandchildren are going to be raised, not where my grandfather is buried,” Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, told California’s Sacramento Bee newspaper.

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Clockwise from bottom left, A Somali immigrant casts her ballot; young Muslim activists brainstorm ways to solve problems in their community; Farooq Aboelzahab talks about the diversity at his mosque; religious leaders gather to celebrate peace and tolerance; Sarah Eltantawi answers questions at a news conference.
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ith growing numbers, confidence, and organization, Muslim Americans contribute in every field, from

business and scholarship to sports and the arts. Their stories range from Pakistan-born Samiul Haque Noor, whose spicy halal dishes earned him the 2006 award for best food street vendor

in New York City, to Dr. Elias Zerhouni, from Algeria, head of the National Institutes of Health from 2002 to 2008; from Newsweek commentator and editor Fareed Zakaria, to actor and hip-hop artist Mos Def; from professional basketball star Dikembe Mutombo of the Houston Rockets, to Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim member of the U.S. Congress. A new generation of Muslim Americans enriches American medicine, science, and literature. Obstetrician and gynecologist Nawal Nour, born in Sudan and raised in Egypt, pioneers women’s health issues as founder of the African Women’s Health Center in Boston, Massachusetts. She received an esteemed MacArthur Fellowship (nicknamed the “genius grant”) in 2003 and Stanford University’s Muslim Scholar Award in 2008. Iranian-American scientist Babak Parviz of the University of Washington has made exciting breakthroughs in nanotechnology — ultra-small electronic and biological applications at the cellular and molecular level — including tiny devices that can assemble and reassemble themselves independently. Writer Mohja Kahf, who came from Syria as a child, has skewered American culture generally and Muslim Americans themselves with gentle irony and razor-sharp observations in her poetry (E-mails From Scheherazad ) and an autobiographical novel set in Indiana (The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf) — books that have drawn fervent admirers, especially among younger Muslim-American women. She also writes a frank online column about relationships and sex for younger Muslims and be-

Imam Hashim Raza leads the prayers during a funeral at the al-Fatima Islamic Center in Colonie, New York, for Mohsin Naqvi, a U.S. Army officer killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
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lieves that with such works as The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner Muslim-American literature can now legitimately be considered a distinct genre.

Fady Joudah, born to Palestinian parents in Texas, grew up to become an emergency-room physician, now working in Houston, and has served with Doctors Without Borders at refugee camps in Zambia and in Darfur, Sudan. He is also a major new poet and winner of the prestigious Yale Series of Younger Poets competition for his collection The Earth in the Attic. “These are small poems, many of them, but the grandeur of conception inescapable,” wrote poet and critic Louise Glück in her introduction to Joudah’s book. “Fathers and brothers become prophets, hypothesis becomes dream, simple details of landscape transform themselves into emblems and predictions. The book is varied, coherent, fierce: impossible to put down, impossible to forget.”

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new, truly American Islam is emerging, shaped by American freedoms, but also by the aftermath of the September 11, 2001,

attacks. Even as surveys by the Pew Research Center and others show that Muslim Americans are better educated and more prosperous than the average, the terrorist attacks — planned and executed by non-Americans — raised suspicions among other Americans whose immediate responses, racial profiling among them, triggered in turn a measure of Muslim-American alienation. Sadly, suspicions of this kind are not uncommon — in the United States or in other nations — during wartime or when outside attack is feared. But 2008 is not 2002, when fears and suspicions were at their height. Context is also important: Every significant immigrant group has in the United States faced, and overcome, a degree of discrimination and resentment. Nur Fatima, for example, celebrated her newfound freedom in a New York Pakistani communi18

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Above, students and advisers paint a mural that recognizes diversity in faith in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Right, Yasmine Asfoor answers a question in government class at Mountain Pointe High School near Phoenix, Arizona.
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This page: Clockwise from left, Sister Hala Hazimi, standing, assists Zeinab Ghanem with a math problem in Michigan; Adnan Kasseem bows during a class on prayer etiquette in New Mexico; on a field trip, students visit the International Museum of Muslim Culture in Jackson, Mississippi. Opposite page: Clockwise from top, high school basketball players prepare for a game in Michigan; in North Carolina, Ruhi Brelvi, at left, and Hebah Sedak prepare their basketball uniforms for game day; Laila Alkahlout, front, and Sasha Khaffed battle for a basketball during a national youth tournament in Florida.
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ty where, a few years earlier, fear was high and both businesses and schools closed in the wake of 9/11, according to the New York Times. By the time Fatima arrived, Little Pakistan had recovered under the leadership of local businessman Moe Razvi, who helped start English and computer classes, opened a community center, and led community leaders to meet and improve relations with federal authorities. “The annual Pakistan Independence Day parade is awash in American flags,” the Times reported. “It is a transformation seen in Muslim immigrant com22

munities around the nation.” Among the healthy responses to the tensions triggered by the terrorist attacks is an expansion of the interfaith dialogue in the United States. “Anytime you share a space with someone of another culture, you are bound to grow as an individual and learn to see things from another perspective,” said Kareema Daoud, a doctoral student in Arabic language and literature at Georgetown University who has served as a volunteer citizen ambassador for the Department of State. “There is beauty in diversity,” Daoud concludes.
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Clockwise from left, Mohamad Hammoud prays at the Islamic Center of America mosque in Dearborn, Michigan; Mariam Motala, at right, prays at the Islamic Center of Hawthorn, California; a young boy hopes to join in on prayers in Brunswick, New Jersey; the Islamic Center of Cleveland, in Parma, Ohio, is home to more than 300 worshippers.

The 9/11 attacks also galvanized the MuslimAmerican community to become more active in civic and political activities — to advocate for issues of concern, to build alliances with non-Muslim organizations — and to confront intolerance and threats of violence. “Active engagement and involvement in politics reflects the fact that American Muslims are part of the social fabric of America, and also reflects their patriotic concern for this country,” says editor and writer Nafees Syed of Harvard University in a commentary on the free-wheeling discussion Web site altmuslim.com Paraphrasing President John F. Kennedy, Syed continues, “The question is not only how taking part in the political process will aid American Muslims, but how American Muslims can help this country.” Like the global population, the majority of American Muslims are Sunni, although there are large numbers of Shia and groups who actively follow Sufi traditions. Despite this diversity, says Paul Barrett, author of the 2007 book American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion, “distinctions that possibly loomed larger elsewhere are instead in America ‘diluted’ in the deep pool of pluralism that characterizes American society. ... Many immigrants have taken the ambitious step of crossing continents and oceans because they want to escape old-world antagonisms, to pursue education, economic betterment, and a more hopeful life for their children.” Progressive forms of belief, a more prominent role for women, even the recent evolution of “megamosques” resembling in size the large evangelical Christian churches — are among the characteristics of a rapidly evolving, uniquely American Islam.
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Above, top, children attend evening prayers; above, women worship at Masjid Al-Rahman in California. Opposite page: Top, Muslims pray in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.; bottom, men gather during the annual meeting of the Islamic Society of North America in Chicago, Illinois.
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“I have found that Muslims in America are melding their faith, ethnic background, and the folkways of their adopted land in many different ways,” Barrett said in an interview on altmuslim.com. “There Photo is no one formula, just as there hasn’t been a forgAllerY mula for past immigrant groups. ... I’m confident that there won’t be one story about how Muslims assimilate. There will be many stories.”

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Clockwise from above, Nawal Daoud holds the Quran over the heads of girls as they walk underneath it during a Takleef ceremony; Hafiz Azzubair posts a sign urging people to vote; Rutgers University students Lelia Halwani, at left, and Nadia Sheikh attend a reception at the interfaith dorm where they live in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

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“I have found that Muslims in America are melding their faith, ethnic background, and the folkways of their adopted land in many different ways. ... I’m confident that there won’t be one story about how Muslims assimilate. There will be many stories.”
— Paul Barrett

This page: Clockwise from bottom left, halal turkey is served for Thanksgiving dinner in St. Louis, Missouri; girls in Paterson, New Jersey, break the Ramadan fast with dates; Fawad Yacoob speaks during the Blessing of the Waves ceremony in California; in Tyler, Texas, men embrace during Eid al-Fitr celebrations. Opposite page: Members of the Malaysian Students Association celebrate their graduation from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
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AmerIcAn ProfIles
Young muslIms mAke theIr mArk
Top row, from left, Imam Khalid Latif; filmmaker Lena Kahn; artist Heba Amin. Bottom row, from left, businessman Moose Scheib; fashion designers Nyla Hashmi and Fatima Monkush; singer Kareem Salama; journalist Kiran Khalid. Opposite page, far right, Bedouin Girl by Heba Amin.
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Artist heBA AmIn
Th e c on t e m p or a r y artist Heba Amin, 28, has b e e n d r a wi n g f or a s l on g as she can r e m e m b e r, but pursuing art full-time did not occur to her until she was a junior in c ol l e g e . At t h e t i m e , Am i n , wh o n ow l i v e s i n M i n n e a p ol i s , wa s a m a t h m a j or a n d f i r s t e n v i s i on e d h e r s e l f a s a n a r c h i t e c t . Amin was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. Her late father was an interior designer; her m ot h e r, a n a d m i n i s t r a t i v e wor k e r a t t h e p r i v a t e Am e r i c a n s c h ool Am i n a t t e n d e d f r om k i n d e r g a r t e n t h r ou g h 12t h g r a d e . Af t e r h i g h s c h ool , Am i n t r a v e l e d t o t h e United States to attend Macalester College, a p r i v a t e , l i b e r a l a r t s s c h ool i n St . P a u l , M i n n e s o t a . B y h e r t h i r d y e a r, A m i n r e a l i z e d t h a t her heart lay in art, not math, and in 2002 s h e e a r n e d a b a c h e l o r ’s d e g r e e i n s t u d i o a r t , wi t h a c on c e n t r a t i on i n oi l p a i n t i n g . Living in the United States, she told Fayeq O we i s , e d i t or of t h e E n c y c l o p e d i a o f A r a b Am e r i c a n Ar t i s t s , a l l o w e d h e r “ t o t a k e t h e r o l e of the outside obser ver” and opened her eyes
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t o t h e r i c h n e s s o f A rab and Egy ptian culture t h a t s h e h a d “ p re v iously ov e rlook e d or tak e n f or g r a n t e d . ” F or s e v e r a l y e ars, A m in’s w ork re v olv e d a r ou n d p or t r a i t s of B e douin w om e n, w ho, she s a i d , “ a r e k n ow n for the ir e m broide re d and beaded crafts. “ Th e E u r op e a n Union had a program de s i g n e d t o p r e s er v e the se crafts, funding the w o r k a n d e n c o uraging older women to teach y o u n g e r o n e s . I became interested in that and s t a y e d wi t h d i f f e re nt tribe s to se e the proce ss wor k i n g . I a l s o appre ntice d w ith a B e douin a r t i s t wh o c r e a t e d sand paintings.” A s A m i n s p e nt time with dif ferent Bedouin t r i b e s , s h e r e a l i z e d she w as e v e n m ore inte re s t e d i n t h e i r way of life than the ir craft. “ I wa s s t r u c k by how attache d the y w e re t o t h e i r s u r r o u n dings and the land, and how s a d i t wa s t h a t the ir culture w as de te riorating d u e t o u r b a n s p rawl and moder nization,” she recalled. A m in be gan painting brightly colored por traits of B e douin w om e n juxtapose d w ith urban ge om e tric patte r ns. “ The patte r ns ov e r w he lm the paintings, representing how the city is tak ing ov e r the B e douin culture ,” she said.

“I f o un d t h at pain t in g w as a l i t t l e r e s t r i c t iv e — I co uldn ’t r eally r elay t h e e m ot i on I w as af t er,” s h e s aid. “I w an t ed t o m ov e i n t o s o met h in g t h at w as mo r e ex per ien t i a l . I n s t a l lat io n ar t allo w ed me t o cr eat e a s p a c e t h a t ex pr es s ed t h e emo t io n al ideas I wa s a f t e r. ” A m i n ’s w o r k h a s b e e n s h o w n a t a n u m b e r o f galler ies in Min n eapo lis , New Yor k , a n d Wa s h i n g t o n . “I lo o k at cit y in f r as t r uct ur e as r ep r e s e n t a t i on o f t h e pr o gr es s io n o f a s o ciet y,” s h e wr ot e on h e r We b s i t e . “ U r b a n p l a n n i n g i s i n d i c a t i v e o f a s o ciet y ’s po lit ical s it uat io n , a n d I a m i n t er es t ed in in v es t igat in g Middle E a s t e r n c i t i e s where the infrastructure is an obstacle and a bur den t o peo ple’s daily liv es . I am i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e c i t y ’s e f f e c t o n p e r s o n a l s p a c e , w h e r e city structure begins to take precedence over E v e ntua lly, Am in ’s Be douin pain tin gs led h er i n a di f ferent a r tistic direc tion , tow ard t h r eed i m e nsional installation pieces. “As I di d t h e p or t r a i ts, I fo u nd I w as really in te re ste d in t h e c i t y stru cture fo r mat,” sh e ex plain ed. T h e next time she was in Cairo, Amin s a i d , “ I n oticed how many abandoned stru c t u r e s t h e r e were — ex pan sive masse s of lan d w er e c ov e red wi th unfin ish e d buildin gs. I took ph o t o s o f these struc tures, and then star ted d o i n g a s e ries of works about them, investig a t i n g t h e m . Wha t they were, w h y th ey were aban d on e d , thei r ef fe ct on people.” Amin became fascinated with the thought of the city as an emotional idea, rather than a structural one, and that led her to a different medium. individuality and where buildings and humans begin t o o v er lap an d lay er o n t o p of on e a n o t h er in s t ead o f co ex is t in g. “These installations are simply intended to a d d r e s s t h e i d e a t h a t o n e ’s s u r r o un d i n g s p l a y an immen s e r o le in beh av io r,” s h e wr ot e . I n addit io n t o h er in s t allat io n s , Am i n r e cently illustrated a book that profiles Muslim w o men in h is t o r y called E x t r a o r d i n a r y Wo m e n f r o m t h e Mus lim Wo r ld. In spite of her artistic success, Amin is reluctant to depend on her art for her living. “I’m not focused on selling my work,” she s aid. “A n d t h at f r ees me f r o m t h e ob l i g a t i on of making work that other people want. I’ve been in s ch o o l n o w f o r 1 0 y ear s , a n d u l t i mat ely, I ’ d lik e t o s t ay in academi a . ” A s f o r liv in g in t h e U n it ed St a t e s , s h e
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said, “I love it. I love being in the academic e n v i r on m e n t , wh e r e I h a v e t i m e t o e xp l or e m y i d e a s a n d h ow t o e xp r e s s t h e m . ”

n i n g a n a m b i t i ous fundraising campaign that h e h o p e s w i l l allow him to hire a full-time s t a f f a n d a p p oi nt a scholar- in- re side nce w ithi n t h r e e t o f i v e ye ars. H o w e v e r, Latif never forgets that he is, a b ov e a l l , t h e spiritual le ade r of a y oung a n d v a r i e d c ongre gation. M ost are stude nts s e e k i n g t o f i n d the ir spiritual path as M uslim s wh i l e f a c i n g t h e challe nge s of y oung colle ge a g e p e op l e a n y w he re . I n 2007, h e w as nam e d as only the se con d M u s l i m c h a plain to the N e w York Police D e p a r t m e n t . L a t if, w ho se r v e s w ith C atholic, P r ot e s t a n t , a n d J e w ish cle rgy, alre ady has b e e n c a l l e d t o hospitals se v e ral tim e s to com f o r t i n j u r e d o f f i cers and their families, none of wh om h a s h appe ne d to be M uslim . L a t i f g r e w u p in Edison, New Jersey, the son of P a k i s t a n - b or n pare nts. H e w as one of only a s m a l l n u m b e r of M uslim stude nts at school. B u t i n a p a t t e r n that has carrie d on through h i s l i f e , L a t i f a l s o sought out w ide r le ade rship p o s i t i o n s , b e c o ming student council president a n d c a p t a i n of his football and track te am s. inquiry into FAith L a t i f m a j or e d in M iddle Easte r n and I slam ic s t u d i e s a t N e w York Univ e rsity and found him s e l f c o n t i n u i n g his inquir y into his faith and h i s r ol e a s a M uslim A m e rican in pe rhaps the m os t e t h n i c a l l y and re ligiously div e rse m e trop o l i t a n a r e a i n the world. H e a l s o b e gan to pe rce iv e the e xtraordin a r y d i v e r s i t y of I slam itse lf. “ A s a fre shm an, I m e t a n I n d o n esian with a scraggly beard — a n d a s u r f b oa rd. That w as som e thing ne w.
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imAm k hAlId lAtIf
At the age of 25, Imam Khalid Latif already has achieved tant i m p or leadership

r e s p on s i b i l i t i e s a s c h a p l a i n a n d d i r e c t or of t h e I s l a m i c C e n t e r a t N e w Yo r k U n i v e r s i t y (NYU) and the Muslim chaplain for the New Yor k P ol i c e D e p a r t m e n t . “ Th e u n i v e r s i t y a n d p ol i c e d e p a r t m e n t a r e ob v i ou s l y v e r y d i f f e r e n t , ” L a t i f s a i d . “ B u t t h e y ’r e a l s o v e r y s i m i l a r a s Am e r i c a n i n s t i t u tions with growing Muslim populations who a r e t r y i n g t o f i n d t h e i r wa y. ” L a t i f i s d e e p l y c om m i t t e d t o i n t e r f a i t h d i a logue and community ser vice as integral parts of wh a t i t m e a n s t o b e M u s l i m i n a m od e r n , multicultural world. “Each of these interactions c a n b e a n op p or t u n i t y f or s p i r i t u a l g r owt h , ” he said. As head of the rapidly growing Islamic C e n t e r a t N e w Yor k U n i v e r s i t y, L a t i f i s p l a n -

Above, installation piece Root Shock by Heba Amin.

t h e n o n den o min at io n al H ar t f o r d S e m i n a r y i n Connecticut, the only accredited program of i t s k i n d i n t h e c o u n t r y. A r o un d t h e s ame t ime, L at if v o l u n t e e r e d a s t h e f ir s t ch aplain o f NY U ’s I s lamic C e n t e r. H e also co-taught courses on conflict resolution at A br ah am’s Vis io n , a Mus lim- Je wi s h i n t e r f ait h o r gan iz at io n f o r y o un g peo p l e . I n 2 0 0 6 , L at if accept ed a par t - t i m e p os i t i o n a s t h e f i r s t M u s l i m c h a p l a i n o f Princeton University in New Jersey; s o o n h e w a s c o m m u t in g bet w een Pr in cet o n an d NY U . B ot h s c h ool s o f f er ed h im f ull- t ime po s it io n s , an d L a t i f a c c e p t e d N Y U ’s o f f e r t o s e r v e a s d i r e c t o r o f i t s I s lamic Cen t er. sChool ChAplAin In many respects, Latif is a pioneer at a t ime w h en t h e gr o w in g Mus lim s t u d e n t p op u lat io n , co upled w it h lar ge n umbe r s of i n t e r n at io n al s t uden t s , h as gr eat ly in c r e a s e d t h e n eed f o r Mus lim ch aplain s o n cam p u s . Bu t I a lso m et M uslims wh o were Af r ican A m e r ican, African, conver ted Muslims, a n d t h e c hi ld ren o f con ver ts.” T hro u g ho ut his un iversity years, Lati f co n t i n u e d his infor mal study of Islam, and a t a g e 1 8 h e was cajoled into giving his first se r m o n . “ I t s eemed to go fairly well, and I was a s k e d t o g i v e them o n a regular basis,” h e said. I n 2005, after graduating from NYU , L a t i f e n t e r ed the Islamic Chaplaincy Progra m a t O n e o f L a t i f ’s m o s t s u c c e s s f u l u n d e r t a k i n g s was almost an afterthought: podcasts of his 2 0 - min ut e Fr iday s er mo n s . A f r ien d s u g g e s t e d t h ey r eco r d an d po s t t h em o n t h e Is l a m i c C e n t er Web s it e. T h e r es po n s e f ar ex ceeded exp e c t a t i on s . T h e po dcas t Web s it e av er ages 1 5, 000 v i s i t s a mo n t h . H e h as lis t en er s f r o m 4 0 t o 50 d i f f er en t co un t r ies , n o t ably I n do n es i a a n d M a lay s ia, alt h o ugh h e als o r eceiv es a p p r e c i a t i v e mes s ages f r o m s ch o o lt each er s an d f ol l owe r s in E ur o pe. L at if r egar ds h is co mmit men t t o i n t e r f a i t h act iv it ies as cen t r al t o h is mis s io n a s a n i m a m
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i n t o d a y ’s m u l t i c u l t u r a l w o r l d . “ I n t e r f a i t h w o r k can be frustrating at times,” Latif said, and r e q u i r e s b ot h t i m e a n d h a r d wor k . H e c i t e s a t r i p t o N e w O r l e a n s wi t h m e m b e r s o f t h e I s l a m i c C e n t e r a n d N Y U ’s J e w i s h B r on f m a n C e n t e r t o h e l p wi t h H u r r i c a n e K a t r i n a r e c ov e r y e f f or t s . B y wor k i n g a n d l i v i n g t og e t h e r ov e r a p e r i od of t i m e , h e s a i d , t h e y ov e r c a m e t h e i r m i s t r u s t “ a n d t h e y a l l l e a r n e d n ot t o d e f i n e students by religion or background as the ‘O t h e r. ’” “ Th i s i s r e a l , e f f e c t i v e c h a n g e , ” L a t i f s a i d , “change that can emanate into the broader c om m u n i t y. ”

a r e s t u f f e d wi t h giz m os, gadge ts, and curio s i t i e s t h a t h e l p make the magic of cinema. We a r i n g a p a l e gre e n he ad scar f and a de m u r e b e i g e c a rdigan, Khan discov e rs and u n s h e a t h e s a t wo-foot long ninja sword with a m i s c h i e v o u s l ook on her round, pale face. “ Th i s wi l l wor k , ” she say s. T h o u g h s h e defies expectations of what a f i l m m a k e r s h ou l d look lik e — she is y oung, fe m a l e , d e v ou t l y Muslim , and I ndian A m e rican — t h e 24- y e a r - old film school graduate w rite s a n d d i r e c t s m u sic v ide os and shor t film s, as w e l l a s c o m m e rcials for a restaurant called C r a v e . ( I n on e ad, a ninja throw s w hirling s a m os a s ) . K h a n won $5,0 0 0 for B asse m is Tr y ing, a on e - m i n u t e s h or t that hum orously de m onstrate s h o w a M u s l i m - American man tries to fit in — f or i n s t a n c e , b y blasting hip- hop m usic on h i s c a r r a d i o. He r thre e - m inute shor t A Land C a l l e d P a r a d i s e, essentially a music video set

FilmmAker

lenA khAn
On in a Los parched Angeles, Khan the Hand peProp aisles August afternoon Lena ruses of

t o a s on g of t h e sam e nam e by M uslim count r y s i n g e r K a r e em S alam a, w on a $ 2 0 ,0 0 0 g r a n d p r i z e f r om One N ation, a M uslim adv oc a c y g r ou p t h a t sponsore d the film com pe tit i o n . K h a n d i r e c ted dozens of men and women of d i v e r s e b a c k grounds to hold up handw ritt e n s i g n s t h a t e xpre ss m e ssage s the y w ant the wor l d t o k n ow about the m as M uslim A m e ric a n s . Th e s t a t e m e nts are as w him sical as “ I , t o o , s h o p a t Vi c toria’s Secret,” and as serious a s “ M y s i s t e r d i e d on S e pte m be r 1 1 .” O n e of t h e j udge s for the 2 0 0 7 One N at i on c om p e t i t i on, for m e r profe ssional bask e tb a l l p l a y e r K a r e e m A bdul- J abbar, gav e A Land C a l l e d P a r a d i s e high marks for its “beautiful
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Room, a company that supplies stage props f or m a j or H ol l y wood m ov i e s s u c h a s Th e Av i a t or a n d Th e D e p a r t e d . F r om f a u x m e a t c a r c a s s e s t o b r on z e Th a i B u d d h a s , t h e s h e l v e s

Above, the cover of Newsweek magazine featured American Muslims from all walks of life. Khalid Latif is at center left in cap and police uniform.

cin emat ic lan guage,” w h ile jo ur n a l i s t M a r i an e Pear l co mmen ded t h e f ilm “for i t s f r e s h ness and sense of humor while addressing v it al emo t io n s f elt by t h e Mus lim p op u l a t i on an d t h e r es t o f us .” Pullin g o f f A L an d Called Par a d i s e w a s a majo r ef f o r t , Kh an r ecalled. T h e p r oj e c t s t a r t ed w it h a ques t io n : “I f y o u co uld s a y s om e t h in g t o ev er y bo dy in t h e w o r ld wh o i s n ot Muslim, what would you say?” “I sent out e-mails; I went to mosques; I used ever y major Muslim Listser v I could think o f ,” s h e s aid. T h e f ir s t r es po n s e Kh an r eceiv e d wa s “ I s l a m i n h i b i t s m y s u i c i d a l t h o u g h t s . ” “ T h a t ’s w h en I k n ew t h at t h is w as t h e v ide o I wa s g oi n g t o d o , ” s h e s a i d . “ I w o u l d n ’t ha v e t h o u g h t of that. I was tr ying to fix the representations o f M u s l i m s , b u t I d o n ’t t h i n k I c a n s p e a k f o r all of them. And this was my first clue. I got 2,500 responses, collected them, narrowed t h em do w n , an d made t h e v ideo .” S in ce t h e v ideo ’s laun ch , Kha n h a s r e ceiv ed h un dr eds o f e- mails f r o m p e op l e wh o s a y t h e v i d e o h a s m a d e t h e m c r y, i n s p i r e d t h em t o o pen a dis cus s io n abo ut I s l a m wi t h their families, or broken down walls built by s t er eo t y pes . T h e v ideo als o o pe n e d p r of e s s io n al do o r s f o r Kh an , s uch as a m e e t i n g wi t h t h e do cumen t ar y f ilmmak er Mo r ga n Sp u r l oc k . T h e Mus lim Public A f f air s Co un cil, a t a d i n n e r in Hollywood, recognized her as a filmmaker t o w at ch . “ I f I h a d n ’t e n t e r e d t h e c o n t e s t , I ’ d b e a t the same place as I was before,” said Khan, a graduate of the University of California,
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L os An g e l e s ( U C L A) f i l m s c h ool . Khan became interested in cinema as a f or m of s oc i a l a c t i v i s m , wh i c h s h e c on s i d e r s a n i m p or t a n t t e n e t of h e r f a i t h . B e c a u s e s h e i s a b ou t t o g e t m a r r i e d , s h e wa s e xp e c t e d t o a c c e p t a d i a m o n d e n g a g e m e n t r i n g . “ I d i d n ’t want to have anything to do with the diamond i n d u s t r y, t h e b l o o d d i a m o n d s . I t ’s j u s t r e a l l y bad,” Khan said. “My parents are like, ‘Why a r e y ou b e i n g s o l a m e ? J u s t g o b u y a d i a m on d . I t ’s n ot t h a t b i g a d e a l . ’ B u t I d o t h i n k i t ’s a b i g d e a l . I t ’s a t e s t t o s e e i f y o u c a n s a c r i f i c e y ou r own t h i n g s f or ot h e r p e op l e . ” Sh e c h os e a b i g m oi s s a n i t e r i n g i n s t e a d . And when shooting on location, she insists on u s i n g c a t e r e r s wh o c ook on l y f r e e - r a n g e chicken. “My brother always makes fun of me a n d c a l l s m e L i s a Si m p s on , ” K h a n s a i d , r e f e r r i n g t o t h e w o n k y, i n t e l l e c t u a l y o u n g e r s i s t e r from the American cartoon television series Th e Si m p s on s . As an undergraduate majoring in political science and histor y at UCLA, Khan noticed that students would become interested in g e n oc i d e s s u c h a s t h os e i n Rwa n d a a n d D a r f u r on l y i f t h e y s a w a m ov i e a b ou t t h e t op i c or if an actor publicized the cause. She also was tired of seeing Hollywood films such as Th e Si e g e a n d B l a c k H a wk D own u s e i m a g e s t o c on n e c t t e r r or i s m t o r i t u a l a b l u t i on s a n d t h e c a l l t o p r a y e r. “These things ate at me. So I decided that i n s t e a d of c om p l a i n i n g a b ou t t h e m , I wou l d enter the field and do something about it,” Khan said. “I wanted to make movies about s oc i a l i s s u e s b e c a u s e i t s e e m s l i k e m ov i e s a r e
37

t h e b e s t wa y t o te ll a stor y — that’s w he n pe op l e r e a l l y l i s t e n and relate to people who are g o i n g t h r o u g h t hose things.” She went on to g e t a m a s t e r of ar ts de gre e in film at UC LA . B a c k a t H a nd Prop Room, Khan digs into a b o x o f n i n j a stars. Once she has selected h e r p r o p s , s h e hops in her dusty red Toyota P r i u s a n d d r i v e s ov e r the H olly w ood H ills to We s t e r n C o s t u me Company in search of ninja masks and suits.

I n a d d i t i o n to her ninja commercials, her f u t u r e p r oj e c t s include a se t of com m e rcials a b o u t t h e p r e s idential election and another m u s i c v i d e o f or S alam a. B u t w h e n i t comes to a 40-minute personal f i l m t h a t s h e i s making, she said only, “They e xp e c t s om e t h i ng big and popular. S o y e ah, I h a v e a l i t t l e b it of pressure there.” It’s up to K h a n t o m a k e i t look lik e m agic. L e n a K h a n ’s v ide os B asse m is Tr y ing and A L a n d C a l l e d Paradise can be se e n on YouTu b e . c om .

Top, still frame from Bassem is Trying . Below, three stills from A Land Called Paradise . Opposite page, filming Bassem is Trying .

lat er w r o t e, “S uch ex per ien ces ... i n s t i l l e d i n me an unwavering passion for the pursuit of k n o w ledge an d jus t ice.” T h e f amily o f s ix immigr at ed t o t h e U n i t e d

B u t Sc h e i b p e r s e v e r e d a n d s u c c e e d e d . H e received an award for public ser vice from the Ar a b Am e r i c a n I n s t i t u t e i n 2004 a n d s e r v e d a s a c l e r k f or a N e w Yor k Su p r e m e C ou r t justice. In 2005, Scheib joined the prestigious N e w Yo r k l a w f i r m P r o s k a u e r R o s e L L P. H e valued the business and legal experience he g a i n e d t h e r e — e v e n t h ou g h h e k n e w t h e c or p o r a t e w o r l d d i d n ’t r e p r e s e n t h i s l o n g - t e r m future.

g a v e h e r t h e g i ft of be ing able to quit w ork f or g ood . “ M y p a r e n t s sacrificed so much for us,” he s a i d . “ Th e y g a ve up a good life in Le banon f or u s , t h e i r c h i ldre n, and I w ante d the m to k n ow t h a t t h e s a crifice s had be e n w or th it.” I n 2 0 0 6 , S c h eib retur ned home to Dearbor n t o l a u n c h h i s b u sine ss v e nture , LoanM od.com . L o a n M o d r e n e gotiates home mor tgages to a v o i d f o r e c l o s u res in a “win-win” manner that b e n e f i t s b o t h t h e homeowner and the bank or f i n a n c i a l i n s t i t u tion holding the m or tgage . W i t h a s u c c essful re structuring of the m or tg a g e l o a n — u sually a simple lowering of the i n t e r e s t r a t e — the fam ily stay s in its hom e a n d t h e b a n k a v oids the m uch highe r e xpe nse of t a k i n g c on t r o l of a fore close d prope r ty. S c h e i b b e l ieves his company is the first o f i t s k i n d i n t h e countr y. “We pioneered this b u s i n e s s , s t a r t i ng by helping my uncle out, t h e n f r i e n d s , a nd re aliz e d that w e had a v ia b l e b u s i n e s s m ode l,” he said. T h e c o m p any has completed more than

BusinessmAn moose scheIB
It could be a s c e n e from a movi e . A young man, the son of immig r an t s , ex c els in h is s t udie s, atte n ds a dis t i n g u ished law school, and lands a j o b a t a t op la w fi r m . On e day, h e w alks int o t h e r e s t a urant where his mother has worked a s a c oo k fo r yea rs, take s of f h is gloves, an d s ay s : “ Mo m, co m e ho me w ith me. You’ re n e ver go i n g t o ha ve to w ork again .” B ut it’s not a movie. It is par t of the s t o r y o f Moose Scheib, 28, who today hea d s a c o m pany that has saved thousands of fa m i l i e s f r om lo si ng thei r h omes th rough f ore clos ur e. “ The m a i n th in g is to be able to h elp p e o ple stay in their homes — that is the m o s t e x c i t ing thi ng fo r me,” Sc h eib said. sChool Work

S t at es w h en S ch eib w as s ev en y e a r s ol d , l i v in g f ir s t in To ledo , O h io , an d t he n i n D e a r bo r n , Mich igan . W h en h is f at h er s u f f e r e d t h e f ir s t o f s ev er al s t r o k es , S ch eib’s m ot h e r b e came a f ull- t ime r es t aur an t co o k . “My mother never complained,” he said. “ ’ Yo u r f a t h e r c a n ’t d o i t , I w i l l , ’ s h e s a i d , a n d took a tough job at minimum wage. ... All s h e t o ld us w as t o f o cus o n o ur edu c a t i on a n d mak e s ur e t o get s ch o lar s h ips , ‘ as m on e y f or co llege is s o met h in g I do n ’t h av e f or y ou a t t h is po in t in o ur liv es .’ ” S ch eib gr aduat ed w it h h o n or s f r om Al bio n Co llege in Mich igan , w h er e h e f ou n d e d t h e Mus lim S t uden t A s s o ciat io n , th e n a t t e n d e d C o l u m b i a L a w S c h o o l i n N e w Yo r k C i t y, where he ser ved as a board member for the Mus lim L aw S t uden t s A s s o ciat io n . S ch eib’s o n e es cape f r o m t he u n r e l e n t in g pr es s ur es o f w o r k an d s t udy wa s s p or t s — especially American-style football. “On the f i e l d , I s h e d b a r r i e r s t h a t l a n g u a g e , p o v e r t y, an d r ace h ad pr ev io us ly impo s ed on m e , ” h e w r o t e in h is law s ch o o l applicat ion .

“ O n e of t h e f a c t or s t h a t l e d m e t o P r os k a u e r i s b e c a u s e i t ’s t h e l a r g e s t J e w i s h l a w f i r m in the world,” he said. “I’m all about building b r i d g e s b e t we e n ou r d i v e r s e c om m u n i t i e s . ” s Av i n g h o m e s

5, 000 s u c c e s s f ul ne gotiations that hav e all o w e d f a m i l i e s t o keep their homes and banks t o a v o i d t h e h igh costs of foreclosure. The c o m p a n y a n t i c i pates completing 20,000 loan m od i f i c a t i on s b y the e nd of 2 0 0 9 .

the legAl WorlD Scheib found law school a challenge. “The co mbin at io n o f law s ch o o l an d th e b i g c i t y was a big shock — and Columbia was the mo s t co mpet it iv e en v ir o n men t I ’ d e v e r b e e n in ,” h e s aid.

I n O c t ob e r 2005, wi t h l a w s c h ool b e h i n d him, Scheib decided the long-anticipated day h a d a r r i v e d . H e we n t t o t h e r e s t a u r a n t wh e r e his mother had cooked for so many years and

looking AheAD Sc h e i b p l a n s to hav e m ore than 1 0 0 pe op l e on s t a f f t o m e e t the incre asing ne e d for h i s s e r v i c e s . As gov e r nm e nt puts pre ssure on l e n d e r s a n d m or tgage ser vicers to modify t h e i r p o r t f o l i o s to help homeowners avoid f o r e c l o s u r e , L o anmod.com is well-positioned
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Schei b wa s bor n in Beirut, Le ban on, an d s o m e of his early memories are of the s h o c k a n d s tra ng eness of a c h ild’s lif e durin g w ar t i m e . In his application to law school, S c h e i b
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Above, Moose Scheib, center, celebrates his graduation from law school with members of his family.

w i t h its network of 19,000 notaries in a l l 5 0 s t at e s . “Our co un se lors w ill guide h om eo w n e r s t hrough the loan mod process, an d o u r n ot a ri es wi ll help th e m properly e x ec ut e t h e p ap e r wo rk a t their kitch e n table,” h e sa y s . “ Help i ng p eople save th e most imp o r t an t m a t e rial thing in their life is the best rew a r d o f a l l ,” S chei b sa i d . “Wh e n you save a h ome, it h e l p s the nei g hborh ood, th e commun ity, an d u l t i ma tely the whole c oun tr y.” S cheib has big changes happening c l o s e t o h i s ho m e a s w ell: A daugh ter, n amed S o p h i a June, was bor n in 2008. Scheib g r e w u p i n the same D earbor n neighborhood a s h i s w i f e , N a ta li e, w h o is h alf Leban e se and h alf Am e ri ca n Ind i a n. “ I a m luck y ... an d truly ble ssed, n o d o u b t,” Scheib said. “But I’ve also foun d t h a t t h e h a rd er I wo rk , th e luc kier I am.” Nyla Hashmi, 23, and Fatima Monkush, 25, are uncommon women with a lot in common. T h ey gr ew up bes t f r ien ds in H ar t f or d , C on n ect icut . B o t h o f t h em h av e Mus l i m f a t h e r s from South Asia and American mothers who co n v er t ed t o I s lam. A n d n o w, bo t h ar e co mmit t ed t o d e s i g n i n g ch ic clo t h in g t h at o f f er s Mus lim w om e n a wa y t o dr es s bo t h mo des t ly an d f as h io n a b l y. The two hope to launch their new clothing lin e, called E v a Kh ur s h id. A lt h o u g h t h e d e s ign er s h av e a s pecif ic mar k et in m i n d , t h e y als o h o pe t o r each a br o ad bas e of p ot e n t i a l cus t o mer s . “T h e n ame w ill be r eco gn iz ab l e a s M u s lim, but an y w o man w o uld lo o k g r e a t i n ou r c l o t h e s , ” s a i d H a s h m i . S h e d e s c r ib e s t h e l i n e as “A mer ican clo t h in g f o r w o r k in g wom e n 25 t o 3 4 y ear s o ld w it h an o n - t h e- go l i f e s t y l e . ”
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Clothing DilemmAs H a s h m i a n d M on k u s h f i r s t b e c a m e i n t e r e s t e d i n c l o t h i n g d e s i g n i n t h e i r t e e n s . H a s h m i ’s f a m i l y m ov e d t o P a k i s t a n i n 1995, wh e n s h e

v e r y c on s e r v a t i ve hom e , and m y pare nts w e re a d a m a n t a b o u t dressing modestly,” Hashmi e x p l a i n e d . “ I eventually found my comfor t z on e . I wi l l wear shor t sle e v e s, but nothing l o w c u t o r b o d y hugging. Ever yone has their own c om f or t l e ve l.” M on k u s h ’s a pproach “ is not about rule s, b u t a b o u t w h a t feels right,” she said. “For m y s e l f , I ’ m n o t going to walk around in a t a n k t op or a s hor t dre ss — I ’ m just not com f o r t a b l e . I d o c over my hair and have since I wa s 14. ” groWing up m i x e D F A m i ly

FAshion Designers nYlA hAshmI

wa s 10, a l t h ou g h s h e c on t i n u e d t o s p e n d s u m mers in Connecticut. (The family moved back t o t h e U n i t e d St a t e s p e r m a n e n t l y a f t e r t h e t e r r or i s t a t t a c k s of Se p t e m b e r 11, 2001. ) “When we came back the summer I was 13, I went through a huge culture shock,” H a s h m i s a i d . “ I s a w h ow d i f f e r e n t t h e P a k i s t a n i a n d Am e r i c a n a d ol e s c e n t c u l t u r e s we r e . My parents wanted me to start dressing more m od e s t l y, b e c a u s e I wa s g r owi n g u p . I wa n t e d t o d r e s s c ool l i k e t h e ot h e r k i d s , b u t t h e r e wa s n ot h i n g i n t h e s t or e s . ” M on k u s h h a d a s i m i l a r e xp e r i e n c e . “ I t wa s really difficult to find anything ready-made t h a t I c o u l d w e a r, ” s h e s a i d . T h e g i r l s o f t e n resorted to layering, “the Muslim girl's best f r i e n d , ” M on k u s h s a i d wi t h a l a u g h . Both Hashmi and Monkush learned to sew from their mothers. “My mom taught me to f ol l ow a p a t t e r n a n d a l s o t o c h a n g e i t t o c r e a t e s om e t h i n g c om p l e t e l y d i f f e r e n t , s om e t h i n g that was exactly what I wanted,” Monkush s a i d . “ I wa s 16 wh e n I s t a r t e d m a k i n g a l l m y own clothes. That was the summer Nyla and I s e t ou r c ou r s e . ” ComFort Clothes

And fAtImA monkush

in A

Nyla Hashmi’s mother was raised a Catholic. Her father, a Pakistani, came to the United States in the 1970s and is a U.S. citizen. “ M y m ot h e r wa s s t u d y ing to be a nurse w he n she m e t m y f a t h e r, who's a hear t surgeon. My m ot h e r wa s s o i nspire d — he is so k ind and g e n e r ou s — t h a t she be cam e inte re ste d in his r e l i g i on a n d c onv e r te d,” H ashm i said.

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B ot h wom e n h a v e d e v e l op e d t h e i r own d e f i n i t i on s of a p p r op r i a t e a t t i r e . “ I g r e w u p i n a

Above, Moose Scheib, wife Natalie, and daughter Sophia June pose for a family portrait.

Right, Fatima Monkush models one of her designs for Elan magazine.
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H ashm i a ttend e d Islamic sc h ool on Sun day s i n H ar tfo rd , a lo n g w ith h e r th ree siblin g s . Mo nkush’s fath er is f rom Ban glade s h . H e c am e to the Uni te d States in 1971 to sta y w it h a c o usin in Wes t Virginia. Monkush’s m o t h e r m e t him while visiting a friend, and she , t o o , c on v e r ted to Islam be f ore th e tw o married. p At h FAshion WorlD

— but bo t h w o men ar e co mmit te d t o t h e i r dream. The thought behind their clothing extended to their choice of a name. “Eva is the name of Fat ima’s mat er n al gr an dmo t h er,” H a s h m i e xp l a i n e d , “ a n d K h u r s h i d i s m y d a d ’s m o t h e r ’s name.” Like their designs, it marries the two cult ur es . H a s h m i a n d M o n k u s h a r e n ’t q u i t t i n g t h e i r day jo bs jus t y et , but t h ey ’ r e h o p e f u l t h e i r c o l l e c t i o n w i l l f i l l a n e e d i n t h e i n d u s t r y. “ We w an t t o be t h e bigges t an d bes t in wh a t we ’r e do in g,” H as h mi s aid. “T h is is n o t l i k e a n y ot h er br an d.”

“ O k l a h o m a, like me, is a place where c u l t u r e s m e e t a nd dance,” Salama wrote on h i s We b s i t e . “ Ok lahom a is a hy brid of southe r n , we s t e r n , a nd N ativ e A m e rican culture ,

to the

After public high school, Monkush w e n t t o t h e Uni versi ty of C on n e cticut an d Cen t r al C o n necti cu t S ta te Un ive rsity, wh ere she maj o r e d in ar t. After graduation she mov e d t o N e w Yo rk Ci ty an d sh ared an apar tme n t t h at f i r s t summer with Hashmi, w h o wa s a stude n t at th e F as h i o n Insti tu te of Te ch n olo g y ( FIT). A r med with a bachelor’s d e g r ee from FI T, Hashmi f ou n d a j o b creatin g wome n ' s swea ters for n oted Isr a e l i d esi g ner Elie Tah ari. Mo n ku sh, w o r k ing h i p - h op to o , in h as bee n first fashion,

songWriter kAreem sAlAmA
F or K a r e e m Sa l a ma, home is the Am e r i c a n tr y music Sou t h p r owe s t , wh e r e c ou n vides much of the soundtrack to daily life. But home also meant growing up in a devout Muslim household and studying the rich textures of classical Arabic l i t e r a t u r e a n d p oe t r y. So wh e n Sa l a m a , 30, s t a r t e d wr i t i n g a n d singing his own songs, it was quite natural that he would combine a sensibility rooted in h i s M u s l i m f a i t h wi t h a c om p e l l i n g v oi c e a n d a distinctive southern accent — even if others f i n d t h e c om b i n a t i on s t a r t l i n g . oklAhomA musiC

a n d t h a n k s t o m y mother's insatiable desire to l e a r n a n d e x p e rience new things, she made s u r e t h a t I a n d e v e r y one in m y fam ily w as im mersed in it.” FAith musiC

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A t t h e s a m e time, Salama's parents didn’t n e g l e c t h i s M u s lim religious training. Despite h i s d i s t i n c t i v e s o uthe r n acce nt and A m e rican m u s i c s t y l e , h e is serious about his faith and d r a ws on i t s r i ch re ligious and cultural he rit a g e i n h i s c o m positions. H i s s o n g s a re neither over tly political nor r e l i g i o u s , b u t t hey do reflect his remarkable b a c k g r ou n d , which the We b site altm uslim . c om c a l l s “ a l i ving dichotom y ” on the A m e ric a n m u s i c a l l a n dscape . I n on e s ong de aling w ith the the m e of t o l e r a n c e , f o r example, Salama quotes the p r ov e r b of t h e note d I slam ic scholar and poe t I m a m S h a f i ’ e e : “I am like incense — the more y ou b u r n m e , t h e m ore fragrant I be com e .” H e a c k n owl e d ge s how his fathe r's e xam ple s h a p e d b ot h h i s outlook and m usic: “ H e liv e s t h e m a x i m ‘ B e hard on yourself, but easy on ot h e r s . ’” H e f i n d s t h e songw riting proce ss de e ply i n t e r t w i n e d w i t h his faith. “I pray before and a f t e r I w r i t e a s ong,” he said in a University of I owa i n t e r v i e w. “ I choose e ach w ord care f u l l y. I t r y t o b e v e r y hone st and hope that G od b r i n g s t h i s song into pe ople ’s he ar ts.”
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w i t h Coogi, which makes urban menswear, a n d t hen with Married to the M o b , an edgy streetwear l a b e l for women, where she i s t od a y. Hashmi and Monkush h av e b een wo rkin g in th e e v e n ing s a nd o n wee ke n ds t o p ut together their fledgling collectio n . I t ’s a s t r u g g le — H ash mi lives in Que en s an d Mo n ku sh li ves i n Brooklyn w ith h e r h us ban d
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Sa l a m a ' s p a r e n t s a r e E g y p t i a n s wh o m ov e d to Oklahoma, where they raised him along w i t h t w o b r o t h e r s a n d a s i s t e r. A s a c h i l d , Sa l a m a t r a v e l e d t o r od e os , c ou n t y f a i r s , a n d I n d i a n p owwows , a n d h e wa s e xp os e d t o t r a -

Above, Fatima Monkush, second from right, gathers with other young Muslim fashion designers at a photography session for Elan magazine.

d i t i on a l b l u e g r a s s a n d c ou n t r y m u s i c i n p l a c e s l i k e B r a n s on , M i s s ou r i , a n d t h e l e g e n d a r y G r a n d O l e O p r y i n N a s h v i l l e , Te n n e s s e e .

Country ConneCtions S a la m a 's perspe ctive on coun tr y mus ic c an be surp ri si ng, espec ially f or th ose f amili ar only wi th the domin an t commercial s t r ain t h a t l eans toward lyrics celebrating the o p e n r o ad , ho nky to nk bars, an d lost loves. “ There is a kind of soul in countr y m u s i c ... s o m ethi ng that comes from deeper down. ... Yo u ca n sti ll he ar somet h i n g ver y old and ver y t r a d i tional,” Salama said i n an a ltm u sli m i n ter vie w. In fa ct, S a la m a is draw i n g on a m u ch olde r trad i t i o n that heark ens back t o t h e ro o ts o f so-c alled b l u e g ra ss fro m th e A ppalac h ian region o f t h e s ou t hea ster n Uni ted State s. S ala m a a lso studied En glish lite ratur e, es p e c i a lly a celeb rated spiritual poe m by Jo h n D on n e (15 72 -1631) , “A Vale dic tion : Fo r bidd i n g Mo u r ni ng , ” f or w h ic h h e wrote a m elo dy t o h e lp hi m self me morize it. Composing perForming

en ces in t h e U n it ed S t at es an d Eu r op e , a c co mpan ied by Mih alo pulo s o n t h e g u i t a r. Wit h h is t r im go o d lo o k s , co n s er v a t i v e h a i r cut , an d co un t r y - clas s ic black co wb oy h a t , S alama r eco gn iz es t h at peo ple ma y c om e f or t h e n o v e l t y o f a M u s l i m c o u n t r y - m u s i c s i n g e r.

He is now working on a commercial debut album that will feature the best material from t h e f i r s t t wo a l b u m s a n d s e v e r a l n e w s on g s . But Salama is not focusing exclusively o n a s i n g i n g c a r e e r. H a v i n g c o m p l e t e d l a w s c h ool , h e i s p r e p a r i n g f or t h e l i c e n s i n g ( b a r )

television JournAlist kIrAn khAlId
A s a child, according to he r m other, Kiran Khalid use d to sit inside a cardboard box facing outward — “ so that I w as lite r a l l y i n a TV, i f not on it,” Khalid said. S ince t h e n , K h a l i d , 3 5, has pursued a career as a t e l e v i s i on j ou r n alist, ne w s broadcaste r, and p r o d u c e r t h a t h as taken her from local news r e p or t i n g t o c ove ring m ajor national and int e r n a t i on a l n e ws e v e nts. “ I w a s t h e f i rst Pakistani-American woman i n b r oa d c a s t n e w s in the Unite d S tate s,” she s a i d . “ I f I ’m wr ong about that, I w ould lov e to m e e t t h e t r u e p ione e r be cause as far as I ’ v e b e e n t ol d , m y r oad w as untrav e le d.” groWing up texAs

He hopes they’ll stay because they find his s o n gs co mpellin g. He may be succeeding. On his summer 2 0 0 8 t o ur in E ur o pe, S alama play e d t o e n t h u s ias t ic Mus lim an d n o n - Mus lim a u d i e n c e s i n London, Berlin, Paris (at Euro Disney), Rome, Gen o a, an d A ms t er dam. Salama's first album, Generous Peace, appeared in 2006, followed by This Life of Mine a year later. His song “A Land Called Paradise” provided the soundtrack for an award-winning music video celebrating the diversity and vitality of the American-Muslim community.
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e xa m i n a t i on s a n d i s i n t e r e s t e d i n p r a c t i c i n g p a t e n t l a w. H e s u m m a r i z e s s om e of h i s t h ou g h t s a b ou t h i s m u s i c on h i s M y Sp a c e p a g e : “ M y h op e i s t h a t m y wor d s wi l l f a l l u p on e a r s a n d h e a r t s that may be seeking the same thing I am seeking … the inspiration to live a virtuous life t h a t i s p l e a s i n g t o G od . ”

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S ala m a wro te son gs an d lyric s w h ile ear n i n g a n eng i neeri ng degree at th e U n ive r s it y o f O k l a homa and then attending law scho o l a t t h e U ni versi ty o f Iow a, wh ere h e met mus ician Ar i s t o tle Mi ha lo pulos. I n a quintess ential American momen t , t h e s on s o f E g yp ti a n an d Gre ek immigrant s dec i d e d to collaborate on American co u n t r y m u s i c. Over the n ex t se veral years, Salama p e r f or m ed b efo re pre domin ately M uslim audi-

in

K h a l i d ’s f a t h er w as bor n in N e w De lhi, I n-

Above left, the cover for Kareem Salama’s second CD release , Th i s L i f e of M i n e . Above, in concer t in Berlin, Ger many, 2008.
45

d i a , a n d h e r m other in Karachi, Pakistan, but K h a l i d h e r s e l f grew up in suburban Houston, Texas, where her father was a land developer.

Co r pus Ch r is t i pr o v ided man y n e ws op p or t un it ies — s t o r ms , dr ug s muggling , a n d i m migr at io n — but t h e s t at io n h ad a n t i q u a t e d equipmen t , w h ich made w o r k dif f i c u l t . “S t ill, I en jo y ed t h e w o r k , be i n g i n f r on t o f t h e camer a,” s h e r ecalled. “I j u s t k n e w I co uld be go o d at t h is .” At another TV station in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Khalid found the reverse situation: s t at e- o f - t h e- ar t equipmen t but a r e l a t i v e l y q u i et n ew s en v ir o n men t . “I w o r k ed h a r d a n d b e came t h e w eek en d an ch o r,” s h e s a i d . S h e f o cused o n jour n alism e arly in lif e. “My i n t e r e st wa s i g n ite d th rough a love of w r it i n g ,” she sa i d . “I was of te n busy writin g s h o r t s t or i e s g ro wi ng up.” K halid, like her two brothers and her s i s t e r, e x c e lled i n scho ol. T h e siblin gs’ h igh p er f o r m a n ce helped them overcome the stra i n o f b e i n g the only minority family in their s m a l l c om m uni ty. “ I t wa s o ften a situation wh ere you s imply a c c e p ted tha t that’s th e w ay th e w orld w as ,” s h e said, “and I’m grateful for those e a r l y e n c o unters because they prepared me fo r t h e p os t -9/11 b a cklash .” l o C A l tv n e W s Kha li d g ra duate d with a major in jo ur n a l i s m from the University of Texas in A u s t i n , w h e r e she said she fell “for the immedia c y o f t e l e v ision, the idea of being on the ai r w i t h b r e a k i ng news. ” I n 19 96 , she w en t to w ork f or th e lo cal C B S station in Corpus Christi, Texas, a j o b t h a t she found both exciting and frustra t i n g .
46

FreelAnCing In 2005, Khalid reported on the grim lives of subsistence farmers threatened by famine i n N i g e r a n d M a l i . H e r d oc u m e n t a r y, T h e H u n g e r G a p , wa s a f i n a l i s t i n a U n i t e d N a t i on s f i l m f e s t i v a l . In the United States, Khalid worked as a field producer for a ver y different kind of n e ws op e r a t i on , C ou r t TV, wh i c h c ov e r s m a j or criminal and civil trials. Khalid also became an active member of t h e Sou t h As i a n J ou r n a l i s t s As s oc i a t i on ( SAJ A) .

a n d I k n e w i t wa s now or ne v e r to be par t of t h e s t or y. ” F l u e n t i n U r d u, she traveled to Pakistan and b e c a m e o n e o f the first Wester n jour nalists t o r e p o r t f r o m inside the Pakistani religious s c h ool s , or m a d rassahs, that m any accuse d of e n c ou r a g i n g t e r rorism . I n 2007, K h a lid re tur ne d for he r m ost dang e r o u s a s s i g n ment, to film a documentar y, c a l l e d We Ar e N ot Fre e , on m e dia ce nsorship a n d a t t a c k s o n jour nalists by the Musharraf g ov e r n m e n t i n P ak istan. I n a n i n t e r v i e w w ith A siaM e dia, she said, “ Th e t h i n g t h a t r eally struck m e w as how brav e t h e y w e r e . . . willingly to put their safety at r i s k i n or d e r t o pursue w hat the y think is a noble calling.” S i n c e J a n uar y 2008, Khalid has been w o r k i n g a s a p roducer for one of television’s m os t p op u l a r ne w s and fe ature program s, AB C ’s G ood M or ning A m e rica (GM A ). “ I l i k e t h e i n tensity of the work,” she said, wh i c h m a y m e a n pre paring a stor y on gas p r i c e s on e d a y and one on the 2 0 0 8 pre sid e n t i a l c a m p a i gn the ne xt. “ G M A h a s af forded me the oppor tunity t o w r i t e a n d p r oduce stories that are seen by

S h e als o became s o met h in g o f a l oc a l c e l e b r i t y. “ Wa l k i n g i n t o t h e m a l l w o u l d b e l i k e walking on stage,” she said with a laugh. “E v er y bo dy s eemed t o r eco gn iz e m e . ” I n Mo bile, A labama, Kh alid w a s on t h e a i r as man y as f o ur o r f iv e t imes a d a y, b u t s h e f o un d h er s elf ex h aus t ed. “I f elt I wa s j u s t g oin g in cir cles .” S h e decided t o t r y t h e r i s k i e r but f r eer lif e o f a f r eelan ce jo ur n a l i s t . L o o k in g back , “t h e mo s t gr a t i f y i n g a s pect o f lo cal n ew s is co n s umer in v e s t i g a t i v e r epo r t in g,” Kh alid s aid. “H o ldin g s h a d y b u s i n es s es an d peo ple acco un t able for t h e i r a c t io n s t h r o ugh t h e glar e o f a t elev i s i on l e n s i s a co mmun it y s er v ice lo cal n ew s p r ov i d e s t h a t is o f t en o v er lo o k ed.” S h e added, “T h e pr es s ur es ar e of t e n i m mense as more and more news outlets value t h e br eak in g- n ew s mo del o v er t h e v i r t u e of s ubs t an t iv e, t h o ugh t f ul r epo r t in g.” “ I ’m v e r y p r ou d of m y r ol e on SAJ A’s b oa r d , ” K h a l i d s a i d . “ I l ov e wor k i n g wi t h a n or g a n i z a t i on t h a t d oe s s o m u c h f or y ou n g j ou r n a l i s t s , s u c h a s m e n t or i n g a n d s c h ol a r s h i p s . ” p A k i s tA n AmeriCA

m i l l i on s , ” s h e s a id. “ I n 1 0 y e ars I hope to still b e w o r k i n g o n stories that are relevant and s e r v e a g r e a t e r purpose .”

Above left, Kiran Khalid stuck in mud on assignment in Africa, 2005. Above right, interviewing singer John Mayer at the annual Save the Music Foundation Gala, 2007 .

AnD

F ol l owi n g t h e Se p t e m b e r 11 t e r r or i s t a t tacks in 2001, Khalid quickly recognized that “ P a k i s t a n w a s g o i n g t o b e a c e n t r a l p l a y e r,
47

level of edUcation

annUal hoUSehold income
general pUBlic 9% 16% 29% 30% 16% $100,000 $75,000 - $95,000 $50,000 - $74,999 $30,000 - $49,999 leSS
than

muslIms

A stAtIstIcAl PortrAIt

In

AmerIcA

mUSlimS gradUate college Some high no
StUdy

mUSlimS 16% 10% 15% 24% 35%

general pUBlic 17% 11% 16% 23% 33%

10% 14% 23% 32% 21%

gradUate

college School diploma

high School diploma

$30,000

T

oday’s Muslim American population is an extraordinary mosaic of ethnic, linguistic, ideological, social, economic, and reli-

the immigrants come from Muslim-majority countries and inevitably go through a period of adjustment as they learn the ways of a pluralistic society. The size of the Muslim-American population has proved difficult to measure because the U.S. Census does not track religious affiliation. Estimates vary widely from 2 million to 7 million. What is clear, however, is that the Muslim-American population has been growing rapidly as a result of immigration, a high birth rate, and conversions. According to a 2007 survey by the Pew Research Center, 65 percent of the Muslim-American

population are first-generation immigrants, and 61 percent of the foreign-born arrived in the 1990s or this decade. Seventy-seven percent of Muslims living in the United States are citizens, with 65 percent of the foreign-born being naturalized citizens. As a point of comparison, 58 percent of foreignborn Chinese living in the United States are naturalized citizens. A recent study by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University’s School of Law found that many Muslims were among the more than 40,000 people who have waited more

than three years for a decision on their naturalization applications, a process that should take no longer than 180 days. Estimates of the African-American Muslim population have ranged from approximately one-fifth to one-third of the total for all Muslim Americans. The other major ethnic groups are Arabs and South Asians (Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and Afghanis). Even though most Americans identify Islam primarily with Arabs, two-thirds of Arab Americans are Christian. However, most Arab immigrants

gious groups. Native Muslim Americans are well integrated into American society, while many newcomers are just beginning to adapt to American life. In terms of religious devotion, Muslims range from highly orthodox to moderate to secular. Muslims resemble Christians, Jews, Hindus, and other American religious communities in that many of them seek full political and social integration, while others prefer to live primarily in the context of their communities and cultural practices. Many of

in what regionS do mUSlimS live in the United StateS?

age and gender diStribUtion of mUSlimS in the United StateS

U.S. moSqUeS by dominant
ethnic groUp

how important iS religion in yoUr life? (all faithS)

age 18 - 29 age 30 - 49 SoUth northeaSt midweSt weSt 32% 29% 22% 18%
48

29% 48% 18% 5% 54% 46% SoUth aSian african american SoUth aSian araB all
other comBinationS and

28% 27%
mixed evenly

very not not

important important

72% 18% 5% 4% 1%

age 50 - 64 age 65+ male female

Somewhat

araB,

16% 15% 14%

too important at all important know

don’t

since World War II have been Muslims, and Muslims are the fastest-growing segment of the ArabAmerican population. South Asians constitute the fastest-growing Muslim community, perhaps accounting for a quarter of all Muslim Americans. The Muslim population of the United States also includes Turks, Iranians, Bosnians, Malays, Indonesians, Nigerians, Somalis, Liberians, Kenyans, and Senegalese, among others. In addition, there is a small but growing population of white and Hispanic converts, many of them women who have married Muslim men. Although Muslims live in every corner of the nation, many have settled in major metropolitan areas along the two coasts and in the Midwest: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Detroit/ Dearborn. The 10 states with the largest Muslim populations are California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Ohio, and Maryland. There are also established communities near state universities, which often have sizable numbers of foreign-born Muslim students and faculty. The 2007 Pew survey found that Muslim Americans generally mirror the U.S. public in education and income levels, with immigrant Muslims slightly more affluent and better educated than native-born Muslims. Twenty-four percent of all Muslims and 29 percent of immigrant Muslims have college degrees, compared to 25 percent for the U.S. general population. Forty-one percent of all Muslim Americans and 45 percent of immigrant Muslims report annual household income levels of $50,000 or higher. This compares to the national average of 44 percent. Immigrant Muslims are well represented among higher-income earn50 Mosques in each of the

ers, with 19 percent claiming annual household incomes of $100,000 or higher (compared to 16 percent for the Muslim population as a whole and ME NH NY PA IL KS MO TN AR MS TX AK HI LA FL AL GA SC IN OH WV KY VA NC VT MA RI CT NJ DE MD DC 17 percent for the U.S. average). This is likely due to the strong concentration of Muslims in professional, managerial, and technical fields, especially in information technology, education, medicine, law, and the corporate world. There is some evidence of a decline in the wages of Muslim and Arab men since 2001, although more recent data suggest the trend might be reversing. The Muslim-American journey is unique in that it is part of two quintessentially American experiences: the African American and the immigrant. Immigrant Muslims and African-American Muslims have worked to establish their voices in politics and society, sometimes together, but more often on their own. While they share an identity as Muslims, their racial, cultural, socioeconomic, and historical circumstances have differed widely. In working toward full political participation, immigrant Muslims have a great deal to learn from the successes of African-American Muslims, particularly in building institutional capacity and communicating effectively with other Americans.

WA MT OR ID WY NV CA NE UT CO IA ND MN SD WI MI

United States 100 to 200 50 to 99 20 to 49 10 to 19 0 to 9

AZ

NM

OK

MOSQUE diStribUtiOn in thE UnitEd StatES
Calling itself the Global Muslim eCommunity, IslamiCity.com has compiled information about Muslims in the United States since 1995. Its online database tallies more than 2,300 mosques, Islamic schools, and organizations in the 50 states. Listed here by state is the number of mosques in the IslamiCity.com database in December 2008. The statistic for the District of Columbia is from the Islamic Center of Washington, DC. The total is 1,018.
Al Ak AZ Ar Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas 20 0 10 1 198 8 17 2 8 42 40 1 3 Il In IA ks kY lA me md MA mI ms Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Mississippi 43 14 5 2 9 17 1 18 13 55 3 9 7 mt ne nv nh nJ nY NC nd oh ok or PA Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania 2 1 3 3 56 7 131 20 4 41 8 10 43 51 rI sc sd tn tX ut VT vA Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia 2 12 2 10 58 5 0 27 10 3 13 1

cA California co Colorado ct de FL hI Id Connecticut Delaware Florida Hawaii Idaho

nm New Mexico

dc District of Columbia gA Georgia

WA Washington Wv West Virginia WI Wisconsin WY Wyoming

mn Minnesota mo Missouri

Sources: Statistical data excerpted from Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream Pew Research Center, May 22, 2007. Text for this article excerpted from Strengthening America: The Civic and Political Integration of Muslim Americans, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, © 2007.

neIghBorhood mosques
Masjid Abu-Bakr (Colorado Muslim Society) 2071 South Parker Road, Denver, Colorado With a weekly prayer attendance between 2,000 and 3,000 people, the Colorado Muslim Society is a pillar of Islamic life in Denver. It recently undertook a large expansion project that doubled the size of its prayer space in order to accommodate an increasing population of Muslims in the area. Located on one of the area’s busiest thoroughfares, the society serves as the hub for Muslim civic life, especially for its younger members. Young adults serve as teachers in the society’s Islamic Sunday school. In addition to the Sunday lessons, the society is involved with Islamic education through the Crescent View Academy. Educating Muslims and non-Muslims from kindergarten through eighth grade, the academy places strong emphasis on learning Arabic and general Islamic knowledge. Masjid Abu-Bakr Al-Siddiq 4425 David Drive, Metairie, Louisiana

Islamic Community Center / Tempe Masjid 131 E. Sixth Street, Tempe, Arizona A cultural center, masjid, and school located just north of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, the Islamic Community Center welcomes members from more than 75 nationalities and all socioeconomic backgrounds. The center was founded in 1984 to bring together Muslims who had previously worshipped in small groups in homes across the area. About 300 attend Friday prayers, but the mosque is actively involved in both the Muslim Student Association at Arizona State and in the community at large. The center maintains a small library with resources on Islam and gives tours of the mosque, which is modeled after the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, for the general public. Providing social services such as marriage ceremonies and burials, the center also operates the Phoenix Metro Islamic School for elementary students.

Islamic Society of Central Florida 1089 N. Goldenrod Road, Orlando, Florida The Islamic Society of Central Florida had modest beginnings in Orlando in the early 1970s. The first mosque, Masjid al-Rahman, or Mosque of the Merciful, was built in the early 1980s. Rapid growth in the area led the society to expand. Today, the society has nine mosques throughout the area, serving 40,000 Muslims from ethnically diverse backgrounds. In 2001, the society founded the Center for Peace, which works to dispel stereotypes about Muslims and promote peace and understanding among people. The Islamic Society of Central Florida also supports the Muslim Student League at the University of Central Florida.

The architecture of the Masjid Abu-Bakr al-Siddiq is unique, as it is the only mosque in the New Orleans area that was built specifically as a mosque, with a geodesic dome and minaret. The 250 to 300 worshippers are mostly first- and second-generation Americans from Pakistan, India, and the Middle East. Twenty percent of the congregation are recent immigrants and converts. The mosque serves Muslims from bordering Kenner, Lousiana, and Orleans Parish. Fortunately, the mosque suffered little damage from Hurricane Katrina. Most members have returned to their homes, and the mosque has retained most of its members.

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Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City 8501 E. 99th Street, Kansas City, Missouri A group of residents in Kansas City began planning for a mosque in the early 1970s after the first Salah (prayer) for Eid al-Fitr. Ten years later, the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City opened the doors of its mosque to the public and was incorporated as a nonprofit. The society has been expanding ever since, acquiring property for a community park and a Muslim cemetery. A fulltime Islamic school opened at the center in 1987 and has more than 100 students. The society estimates that it serves more than 8,000 Muslims in the Kansas City area, but its reach extends into the non-Muslim community. Visits to the center are encouraged, and the center opens its study sessions on Arabic language, Islam, and the study of the Quran to the public.

Masjid Al-Muslimiin (Islamic Center of Columbia) 1929 Gervais Street, Columbia, South Carolina Five hundred Muslims worship at Masjid al-Muslimiin in downtown Columbia, South Carolina. With its close proximity to the University of South Carolina, the center, which began operation in 1981, often works with students to bring prominent Islamic speakers to the area. The center offers many services to its members, including Sunday school for Muslim children in Quranic recitation and Islamic history and a women’s forum for educational development, health, and social activities. Actively involved in spreading the Muslim faith to the community at large through its prison outreach program, the center hopes to improve its transitional living assistance to Muslim ex-offenders and all Muslims new to the community. The center also plans to develop a Muslim community food co-op.

Masjid Al-Islam 40 Sayles Hill Road, North Smithfield, Rhode Island The largest masjid in Rhode Island, Masjid al-Islam was built in 1994 to serve the needs of the growing Muslim population in North Smithfield. The masjid openly welcomes Muslims of all religious affiliations from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, but holds primary the Quranic scriptures and the Sunnah. Governance of the mosque is democratic; a committee of six congregants attends to administrative matters, but all major issues are brought before the community before a decision is finalized. Masjid al-Islam works to build interfaith dialogue and actively reaches out to the Christian and Jewish communities for collaboration on community programming. Future plans include partnering with local hospitals for yearly health screening, as part of a health education day for the community. About 250 attend Jumah prayers, but no formal membership is required.

Albanian Islamic Center 19775 Harper Avenue, Harper Woods, Michigan The Albanian Islamic Center was founded in 1962 by the Albanian-Muslim population in the Detroit area. Located in the suburbs of Wayne County, the center serves about 150 families of Tosk and Gega Albanians, as well as Iranians, Palestinians, Maltese, Arabs, and Indians. Worship styles have fluctuated with immigration. Tosk Albanians, from the southern region of the country, are considered reformed Muslims and have lived in the United States since the 19th century. Their worship style and social norms are more relaxed. The Gega Albanians, who are from northern Albania, tend to reflect more traditional Islamic practices. As immigration patterns have changed, so has the style of worship.

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A tImelIne of keY events
1 9 1 9 Th e f i r s t I s l a m i c a s s o1908 Muslim 1 6 19- 1800s An estimatc i a t i on i s f ou n d e d i n H i g h Large numbers of l a n d P a r k ou t s i d e of D e t r oi t , M i c h i g a n , wh e r e m a n y i m m i g r a n t s f ou n d wor k i n a u t o manufacturing plants. immigrants begin 1934 be com e s Elijah Muhammad S upre m e M inis-

to enter the United States from parts of the Ottoman Empire, 1796 Pr es iden t Jo h n A d1 8 9 8 Kaw k ab A m r i k a ( S t a r o f A mer ica) , t h e f i r s t Ar a b i c newspaper to appear in the U n it ed S t at es , beg i n s d a i l y publicat io n , as r e p or t e d b y t h e New Yo r k Time s a b ov e . Syria, including Lebanon, t o d a y ’s Jordan, ed 10 million Africans are brought to North America as slaves. Approximately 30 percent are Muslim.

ter of the Nation of Islam (NOI), a black nationalist organiz ation adhe ring to som e I slam ic practice s.

a n d Tu r k e y.

ams s ign s a Tr eat y o f Peace an d F r ien ds h ip w it h t h e B ey and S u b j e c t s o f Tr i p o l i o f Barba r y.

1 9 2 4 Th e J oh n s on - Re e d I m m i g r a t i on Ac t i m p os e s n a t i on a l q u ot a s t h a t r e s t r i c t sharply the number of new immigrants St a t e s . 1957 of The Islamic Center a to the United

1913

Noble Drew Ali founds the

(1886-1929) 1 7 75 Fo r m er slave Pe ter 1819 Fr eed by h is mas de1 9 0 7 Tat ar immigr a n t s f r om Po lan d, R us s ia, a n d L i t h u ania found the American M o h a m m e d a n S o c i e t y, t h e n at io n ’s t h e f ir s t M u s l i m or gan iz at io n .

Washington,

D.C.,

Moorish Science Temple of America (MSTA) in Newark, New Jersey. This religious group claims to be an Islamic sect but incorporates influences from many religions. 1 9 3 4 The Mother Mosque, the first building built specifically to be a mosque, is established in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

m osque and I slam ic cultural center, is dedicated, with Pre side nt Dw ight D. Eise nhower and First Lady Mamie Eisenhower in attendance.

S a l em (Saleem) fights in the B a t tle of Bunker Hill and t h r oughout the American R e v o luti o n. Muslim A me ric ans ha ve ser v ed w ith dist i n cti o n i n a ll U .S. w ars.

ter in m i d d l e a g e , Ya r r o w ( M am o ut ) Mar mo o d, pic ted h er e in 1 8 1 9 , es t ablishes h i m s e l f a s a p r o p e r t y owne r a n d b a n k i n v e s t o r i n Geor g e t o w n , t o d a y p a r t o f Wash in gt o n , D.C.
56

57

1 9 65

Presi d en t Lyn don B. an d the Nation national-

1993

A bdul- R as h e e d M u is appo i n t e d as 2005 St a t e s , Chi, is The first Muslim Gamma founded Gamma by team the of 2006 K e i t h E l l i s on b e n a t i on a l s or or i t y i n U n i t e d

J o h nson signs into law the Im m i g ra ti o n a bo li shes origin a l i t y Act o f 1965, w h ic h q uo ta s establish ed 1991 The I s lamic Cul-

h ammad ch aplain .

t h e U . S . A r m y ’s f i r s t M u s l i m

i n 19 24 , a nd spurs n on -Eur o p ean immigration to the U n i ted S ta tes.

tural Cen t er in New Yo r k City i s c o m p l e t e d . I t i s t h e f irst buildin g er ect ed as a mosq u e i n N e w Yo r k C i t y an d r egular ly dr aw s mo r e th an 4 ,0 0 0 f ait h f ul f o r Fr iday pr ay er s . 1 9 9 6 T h e f i r s t ce l e b r a t i o n o f E id al- Fit r is h e l d a t t h e White House.

mother-daughter

I m a n i Ab d u l - H a q q a n d D r. Al t h i a F. Al i t o h e l p i m p r ov e the image of Muslim women and Islam in general.

c om e s t h e f i r s t M u s l i m e l e c t e d t o t h e U . S. C on g r e s s , a s a m e m b e r of t h e H ou s e of Re p r e s e n t a t i v e s n e s ot a . 2008 Imam Warith Deen f r om Min-

Mohammed dies. Known as “ A m e rica’s I m am ,” he w as the first M uslim to of fe r the U.S . S e nate ’s He at inv ocation of fered Bill pray e r (1990). prayers C linton’s also

President

1 9 65

Pub li shed soon af te r

2006

C a n a d i a n - b or n I n 2007 President Geroge

inte r faith

i t s subject’s assassination in F e b ru a r y 1 96 5, T h e A utobio g r ap hy o f Malc olm X tells t h e sto r y o f o ne man ’s con v e r sion to Islam in the larger c ontext o f the A f rican -A me ri c a n exp eri ence . It remain s o n e o f the m ost in f lue n tial b oo ks o f the 20th ce n tur y.
58

g r i d M a t t s on i s e l e c t e d t h e f i r s t f e m a l e p r e s i d e n t of t h e 1991 Ch ar les B ilal is elect ed may o r o f Ko un t z e, Tex as, th e f i r s t M u s l i m t o h e a d a U .S . mun icipalit y. 2001 T h e U .S . P os t a l Se r v ice is s ues t h e f i r s t s t a m p h o n o r i n g a M u s l i m h o l i d a y. T h e 3 4 - cen t E id s t a m p i s par t o f t h e H o lid a y C e l e br at io n s s er ies .
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ser vices and headed The Mosque Cares, a dawah project.

Islamic America.

Soc i e t y

of

N or t h

W. B u s h p a r t i c i p a t e s i n t h e c e l e b r a t i on of t h e 50t h a n n i v e r s a r y of t h e I s l a m i c C e n t e r o f Wa s h i n g t o n , D . C .

BiBliogrAphy
Abdo, Geneive. Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. Barrett, Paul. American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. Cesari, Jocelyne, ed. Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007. Cesari, Jocelyne. When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Strengthening America: The Civic and Political Integration of Muslim Americans. Report of the Task Force on Muslim American Civic and Political Engagement. Chicago: The Council, 2007. Esposito, John L., and Dalia Mogahed. Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think. New York: Gallup Press, 2008. Hammond, Andrew. What the Arabs Think of America. Oxford; Westport, CT: Greenwood World Publishing, 2007. Hasan, Asma G. American Muslims: The New Generation. New York and London: Continuum, 2000. Huda, Qamar-ul. The Diversity of Muslims in the United States: Views as Americans. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2006. Pew Research Center. Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream. Washington DC: Pew Research Center, May 22, 2007. Strum, Philippa, ed. Muslims in the United States: Identity, Influence, Innovation. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2005. Yazbeck, Yvonne Haddad, Jane I. Smith, and John L. Esposito, eds. Religion and Immigration: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Experiences in the United States. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2003. Fazlur Rahman Khan Web site http://fazlurrkhan.com Gamma Gamma Chi Sorority, Inc. http://gammagammachi.org Heba Amin http://hebaamin.com
Inter faith Youth Core

photo CreDits
All photos © AP Images except the following: Page 2: courtesy Eboo Patel. 14: (bottom) © Chris Fitzgerald / Candidate Photos / The Image Works. 29: © Mohammad Muhaimin Aminuddin. 30: (top, left to right) © Ricardo Barros, courtesy Serena Kim; (bottom, left to right) courtesy Moose M. Scheib, courtesy Nyla Hashmi and Fatima Monkush, courtesy Kareem Salama, courtesy Kiran Khalid. 31: (top) courtesy Kitty Aal; (bottom) courtesy Heba Amin. 32: courtesy Kitty Aal. 33: © Ricardo Barros. 35: courtesy Serena Kim. 36-37: (all) courtesy Lena Khan. 38-39: (all) courtesy Moose M. Scheib. 40: (left) courtesy Moose M. Scheib, (right) courtesy Nyla Hashmi and Fatima Monkush. 41-42: (all) courtesy Carolina Rivera, Elan Magazine. 43-44: (all) courtesy Kareem Salama. 45-47: (all) courtesy Kiran Khalid. 52-55: (all) courtesy Omar Khalidi, The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 56: (left, bottom) Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division; (middle, top) Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division; (middle, bottom) portrait of Yarrow Mamout by Charles Wilson Peale, courtesy The Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection, Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia. 57: (left, top) Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division; (left, bottom) courtesy Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc.; (middle, center) Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division; (right, top) courtesy The Mother Mosque of America. 58: (middle, top) Omar Khalidi, The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; (middle, bottom) courtesy Charles Bilal; (right, top) courtesy Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad. 59: (left, top) Gamma Gamma Chi Sorority, Inc.; (right) courtesy The Chicago Tribune. Supplement, page 2: (top) courtesy Dalia Ghanem; (third from bottom) courtesy Yasmin Khan Byron.

http://ifyc.org

The Islamic Center at New York University http://icnyu.org IslamiCity http://www.islamicity.com Kareem Salama http://kareemsalama.com LoanMod.com http://loanmod.com The Mother Mosque of America http://mothermosque.org Pew Research Center http://pewresearch.org The Pluralism Project at Harvard University http://pluralism.org Dalia Ghanem’s t-shirtat.com http://t-shirtat.com

WeB sites
The following web sites were used in the development of this publication:

proDuCtion
Executive Editor: George Clack Editor-in-Chief: Michael Jay Friedman Managing Editor: Chandley McDonald Contributing Editor: Raphael Calis Photo Editor / Designer: Tim Brown Writers: Howard Cincotta, Deborah Conn, Serena Kim, Meghan Loftus Researcher: Martin Manning Photo Researcher: Joann Stern

The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology http://web.mit.edu/akpia/www

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A supplement to

Being Muslim in America
DiD you knoW?
Sixty-five percent of the Muslim American population are first-generation immigrants, and 61 percent of the foreign-born arrived in the 1990s or later. Muslim Americans spend about $170 billion on consumer products annually, according to a 2007 figure by advertising agency JWT, and this figure is expected to grow. Iftar dinners at the White House during Ramadan have become regular occasions since the mid1990s. An imam can serve in several different roles in the United States. In most African-American mosques, the imam operates in both spiritual and administrative capacities. In predominantly immigrant mosques, however, the imam is more likely to be a spiritual leader only. Children’s books bring the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, like other holidays, into the American mainstream. The largest mosque in the United States, opened by the Islamic Center of America in 2005, is in Dearborn, Michigan.

government
Muslim Americans work in federal, state, and local governments throughout the United States. At left, from top to bottom, is a sample. Keith Ellison became the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, as the representative from Minnesota’s Fifth District, in 2006. He took his oath of office on a copy of the Quran once owned by Thomas Jefferson. André Carson, a member of the Indianapolis CityCounty Council, became the second Muslim member of Congress after winning a special election in March 2008 to become the congressman for the Seventh District of Indiana. Diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad has served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan. Doctor Elias A. Zerhouni was director of the National Institutes of Health from 2002 to 2008. Ambassador Shirin Tahir-Kheli served as senior advisor to the United States Secretary of State. Representative Saqib Ali represents part of Montgomery County in the Maryland General Assembly’s House of Delegates.

Business
Muslim Americans contribute to all aspects of U.S. business. Pictured at right, starting at the top, is a sampling. New York fashion designer dalia Ghanem, gives Arab traditions an American twist. Scientist ahmed Zewail of the California Institute of Technology won the Nobel Prize for chemistry.

sports
Sports in the United States have been an important route to prominence for many American Muslims.

At top, a young Muhammad Ali, who became heavyweight champion of the world in 1964. The boxer had changed his name and converted to the Nation of Islam. Later Ali became a Sunni Muslim, and he now practices Sufism.

The books of author Yahiya Emerick present Islamic themes and history to non-Muslim audiences.

The basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, at far left, is also a Muslim convert. Jabbar, who retired from professional basketball in 1989, is the National Basketball Association’s all-time leading

The innovations of structural engineer Fazlur r. Khan, honored on this postage stamp from Bangladesh, led to Chicago’s 110-story Sears Tower, the world’s tallest building when completed in 1974. Journalist Fareed Zakaria is the editor of Newsweek International magazine and host of the CNN interview program Fareed Zakaria GPS.

scorer.

Jihad Muhammad, in the white headband, is another basketball player who recently starred for a top college team, the University of Cincinnati.

Professional football player Az-Zahir Hakim, leaping to catch a pass, had a 10-year career in the Hollywood producer and director Moustapha akkad filmed stories of Islamic history such as The Message and Lion of the Desert, and the popular Halloween movies. Boxer Bernard Hopkins learned his craft in prison as a young man and was later the middleweight champion for more than 10 years. He still competes. National Football League.

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Being Muslim in America

Q-Tip Rapper, producer

Maysoon Zayid Comedienne, actress The RZA Hip-hop music artist

Mos Def Rapper, actor

Everlast Singer-songwriter

Dave Chappelle Comedian Shohreh Aghdashloo Actress Aasif Mandvi Actor, comedian Ahmad Jamal Jazz pianist

Ronald Bell Singer, Kool & the Gang

Performers Mini-Poster