THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY IN NORTH
Edited by Baha Abu-Laban, Regula B. Qureshi and Earle H. Waugh.
Volume 11 Number 6.
This publication consists of fifteen studies addressed to the relatively recent phenomenon of Muslims residing in North America, their adaptation to an often alien way of life, as well as the problem the larger North American community faces in not only accepting but also benefiting from the existence of this new group.
Most of the papers were presented at a symposium on Islam in North America, held at the University of Alberta from May 27 to 31, 1980. In this book the studies are grouped under six major headings: "Islam and the Modern World," "Muslims in North America: Dynamics of Growth," "Muslim Immigrant Communities: Identity and Adaptation," "Islam and the Educational Establishment," "Indigenous Muslims," and "Statements from within the Tradition."
As a first, this is an excellent introduction to a subject of great interest, fraught with problems and needing further in-depth research. The intellectual leaders of the North American Muslim community must be congratulated for their foresight and dedication. Looking at the study as an outsider, I am happy to state I learned a great deal. The articles of greatest interest to me are the ones dealing with education by Adams and Fahlman. The former discusses the problems that must be surmounted in Canada to be able to establish academic centres of reputable scholarship for the study of Islam.
The latter, who is a counsellor with the Edmonton School Board, presents a survey done in the Edmonton schools in order to assess culture conflict experienced by Islamic students in the classroom.
The three articles by Qureshi, Nanji, and Haddad dealing with the Muslim immigrant communities are most informative and could be used for discussions in classes in sociology, civics, religious studies or history.
The two articles by Lincoln and Mamiya dealing with indigenous Muslims try to explain the reasons that many blacks in North America have rejected Christianity and why they have identified with Islam. The authors traced the development of this movement during the last half century and the effect it has had on blacks in defining their own identity and goals. Both of these articles I found to be most enlightening.
Al-Faruqui's article on "Islamic Ideals in North America," should perhaps not have been included in an academic publication of this calibre. It tends towards stridency and thus destroys the open-door policy the other authors so earnestly foster.
The appendices consist of: directories of Muslim associations in Canada, the United States, Muslim student associations, mosques, Masjid Muhammads, sources of publications, a glossary and a bibliography. They should be most helpful to Muslims trying to keep in touch with their traditions, as well as to non-Muslims trying to obtain information concerning the various aspects of this tradition.
Ingrid M. Haase, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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