Southeastern Michigan Bibliography

A resource guide for students, educators, researchers, Michiganders, and everyone else

Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past

Howell, Sally. 2014. Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past. New York: Oxford University Press.

Immigrant groups of all kinds tend to develop narratives about their sojourns and transformations as they undergo the pressures of assimilation and identity formation.  This is certainly true of American Muslims, for whom often self-serving discourses about their own development have seeped into widely accepted historical accounts.  Howell sweeps all this clean with a meticulous historical study.  Tracing the pulses of Muslim identity and organizing in Detroit from the first mosque in 1893, she demonstrates how through a series of coups and revivals Detroit’s Muslim communities create and recreate their identities, and, to a certain extent, their histories as well. This book is controversial in some Detroit circles, but it is an essential contribution to the burgeoning history of American Muslims.



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Supported by a Carnegie-Whitney Grant from the American Library Association.


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