By Umar F. Abd-Allah
Conflicts and controversies at domestic and in a foreign country have led americans to target Islam greater than ever earlier than. furthermore, an increasing number of in their associates, colleagues, and buddies are Muslims. whereas a lot has been written approximately modern American Islam and pioneering reports have seemed on Muslim slaves within the antebellum interval, relatively little is understood approximately Islam in Victorian the US. This biography of Alexander Russell Webb, one of many earliest American Muslims to accomplish public renown, seeks to fill this gap.
Webb used to be a critical determine of yank Islam in the course of the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries. a local of the Hudson Valley, he was once a journalist, editor, and civil servant. Raised a Presbyterian, Webb early on started to domesticate an curiosity in different religions and have become fairly enthusiastic about Islam. whereas serving as U.S. consul to the Philippines in 1887, he took a better curiosity within the religion and embraced it in 1888, one of many first american citizens recognized to have performed so. inside of many years, he started corresponding with vital Muslims in India. Webb grew to become an enthusiastic propagator of the religion, founding the 1st Islamic establishment within the usa: the yankee undertaking. He wrote a variety of books meant to introduce Islam to american citizens, all started the 1st Islamic press within the usa, released a magazine entitled The Moslem global, and served because the consultant of Islam on the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago. In 1901, he used to be appointed Honorary Turkish Consul normal in big apple and was once invited to Turkey, the place he acquired Ottoman medals of merits.
In this first-ever biography of Webb, Umar F. Abd-Allah examines Webb's lifestyles and makes use of it as a window by which to discover the early background of Islam in the USA. with the exception of his followed religion, each element of Webb's existence used to be, as Abd-Allah indicates, quintessentially attribute of his position and time. It used to be simply because he was once so generally American that he used to be in a position to function Islam's ambassador to the USA (and vice versa). As America's Muslim group grows and turns into extra seen, Webb's lifestyles and the virtues he championed - pluralism, liberalism, common humanity, and a feeling of civic and political accountability - exemplify what it capacity to be an American Muslim.