Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past


Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.3 X 1.4 inches | 1.4 pounds

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About the Author

Sally Howell is assistant professor of history and Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She is co-author of Citizenship and Crisis: Arab Detroit after 9/11 and editor of Arab Detroit 9/11: Life in the Terror Decade.


"Sally Howell's book makes a substantial and impressive contribution to scholarship and in particular to those studies that address early twentieth-century Muslim communities . [A] rich analysis of early Detroit Old Islam in Detroit is a valuable contribution to scholarship on American Islam. It is thoroughly researched and includes interviews with early Muslim settlers and their families. Such rich sources enhance the book and provide insights into the experiences of Detroit's early Muslim pioneers. Howell's work offers a comprehensive and rich analysis of Muslim life in Detroit in the twentieth century."--Journal of American History

"The early twentieth century witnessed the institutionalization of mainstream Islam in America. Its history, however, has been overlooked until recently. I can think of no place more central than Detroit to understanding the complex racial, sectarian, civic, and political relations of American Muslims in this era. And no scholar is more familiar with Detroit's Muslims than Howell. Her book is a major step forward in the study of American Islam." --Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, Associate Professor of Religion and Humanities, Reed College

"Only in the twenty-first century have scholars begun to provide full and accurate histories of Muslim communities. Sifting through previously unexplored archives and interviewing elders to complete this saga, Howell's well-written, richly illustrated text provides students of Islam in America with a story of multiple communities, their interactions and their formation of American Muslim identities. It will become a classroom staple for teaching about Islam in America." --Aminah Beverly McCloud, Professor, Islamic Studies, DePaul University

"Howell recovers a lost chapter of U.S. religious history. This highly-readable analysis explains why Muslims and non-Muslims alike have forgotten about the first American mosques. Old Islam in Detroit is a major contribution to the study of Muslim America." --Edward E. Curtis, IV, author of Muslims in America: A Short History

"This book challenges almost everything we thought we knew about the early history of Muslims in Detroit and beyond, transforming our understanding of the American Muslim past and present. Howell's thorough research, including priceless interviews with early settlers, shows that those first mosques were mosques, that they were both translocal and transcommunal, and that women played key roles in building them. Howell provides particularly significant material relating to gender issues, African American Sunnis, and the recurring criticism of, and then accommodation to, Muslim American institutions by successive cohorts of Muslim immigrants." --Karen Leonard, author of Muslim Identities in North America: the State of Research