Lesson Plan: Unity in Diversity
Exploring Islam in the United States
The following materials offer more information on the Muslim community in the United States.
“A Muslim In Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell Webb,” by Dr. Umar F. Abd-Allah
This biography (Oxford University Press, 2006) chronicles the life and times of journalist Alexander Russell Webb, contemporary of Mark Twain, and the first known Victorian American convert to Islam.
Prince Among Slaves
This PBS documentary traces the roots of Islam in America to the slave trade, and especially West Africa. The website also includes a teacher’s guide.
Frontline: Portraits of Ordinary Muslims in America
PBS offers a look at ordinary Muslims in various parts of the world. This segment focuses on Muslims in America. A teacher's guide is available, as well.
Change the Story
Resources at this educational website include “What is Islam?” and “Islam 101” as well as a downloadable PDF quiz, “The Millionaire Quiz” and a timeline of Islam.
Reporting on Religion: A Primer for Journalists
Religion Newswriters provides a thorough introduction to Islam for religion journalists. This may also be helpful in the classroom.
Muslims, by Paul D. Numrich
This entry from the Encyclopedia of Chicago examines Chicago as a microcosm of the theological, ethnic and cultural diversity of Islam.
U.S. Religious Landscape Survey
Based on interviews with more than 35,000 American adults, this extensive survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details the religious makeup, religious beliefs and practices as well as social and political attitudes of the American public, including the Muslim community.
“Mosque, Possibly Oldest in Bakersfield, Follows a Unique Path,” by Louis Medina
The article from “The Bakersfield Californian” examines the Bakersfield Muslim Center in California, a storefront mosque with a largely African American congregation of converts to Islam.
“A Crown Jewel”, by Zerqa Abid
This article from Islamic Horizons magazine (see page 42) features the Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Central Ohio, a mosque built primarily by immigrant Muslims. Members of the congregation speak on how the mosque is a ‘symbol’ and an expression of their identities as Muslims in America.
“The Dome and the Grid,” by Jerrilynn D. Dodds
The diversity that is New York is reflected in its mosques. This article in Aramco World Magazine explores how architectural space has been used to create an identity for Muslims who represent such diverse cultures and languages. She explores how these buildings represent Islam as a distinct way of life and an integrated part of New York's secular landscape.
“Don’t Forget African American Muslims,” by Dr. Aminah McCloud
In “Common Ground News,” Dr. Aminah McCloud argues that African American Muslims, being part of the American ethos for centuries prior to the arrival of immigrant Muslims, are best positioned to bridge gaps between Muslims and America.
“Black Slaves Brought Arabic literacy, Islamic faith to America,” by Rachel Hamm
This article from North Texas Daily student newspaper reviews a talk given by Dr. Yushau Sodiq, Texas Christian University Religion Professor, that provides insights and dispels myths about African slaves.
“Imam W. Deen Mohammed Dies at 74, His Embrace of Traditional Islam led to Rift with Nationalists”, by Margaret Ramirez and Manya A. Brachear
This article from The Los Angeles Times looks at the single most important man in the African American Muslim community, Imam W. Deen Mohammed. It explores how he established his own identity, forgoing that of his father and the Nation of Islam and illustrates how one person can serve as a catalyst to reinvent, and redirect, a whole community, in this case African American Muslims of America.