Al-mughtaribun: Law and the transformation of Muslim life in North America
The purpose of this dissertation is to analyze the experiences of North American Muslims (estimated at over 4 million) as their claims for religious tolerance and inclusion in a pluralistic society have emerged. It traces a historical shift in consciousness of a religious minority precipitated by interactions with the legal institutions of the dominant culture.
As members of a minority faith living in a non-Islamic context, Muslims have been subject both to what Islam teaches about 'marginality' and what the North American civil tradition promises about religious liberty and racial equality. The focus of this work has been on the gradual transformation of North American Muslims' perceptions and self-identification coaxed by the often subtle ways civil law has penetrated and come to dominate their daily lives. It shows how the normative ordering of Muslim life in North America has replicated certain aspects of the legal order, and where legal mechanisms have been 'subverted' by those at the margins who wish to express their autonomy from the state, to assert and protect their religious freedom.
North American Muslims' decisions whether and how to maintain a corporate life in a non-Muslim society have been viewed differently by Muslims over time and through different types of contacts with North American institutions. Chapters of this dissertation examine the erection of immigration and naturalization barriers at the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth in the United States and Canada, and the responses of immigrants from the Muslim world to the emerging standards for citizenship; the religious liberty claims under the First Amendment of Black Muslims in prisons in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s; federal 'hate crimes' legislation at the close of the 1980s and the inclusion of mosques as protected religious property; and municipal zoning practices negotiated by Muslims in two American cities where they built mosques in the 1980s and 1990s.
Minority & ethnic groups;
0631: Minority & ethnic groups