HISTORIC EVENTS AND PEOPLE THAT SHAPED THE AMERICAN MUSLIM COMMUNITY - update 2/9/13
Posted Feb 9, 2013

HISTORIC EVENTS AND PEOPLE THAT SHAPED THE AMERICAN MUSLIM COMMUNITY


INTRODUCTION

There have been a number of lists published (see bottom of this collection) over the years, but most were somewhat exclusive, focusing on particular segments of our American Muslim community.  This list is the beginning of what I hope will be a much expanded list.  If you have information about people, organizations, historical incidents, firsts, etc. that should be included here (and can provide a link or a reference from a book to document that information), or if you know about something that occurred earlier than what I have listed as a first, please send that information to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 

The American Muslim community is possibly the most diverse in the world.  Our community includes Sunni and Shia and Sufi, and every madhab.  It includes immigrants and native-born, and every race, nationality, and ethnic group imaginable.  It includes many movements, and people who have multiple identities.  It includes conservative and liberal points of view.  It includes traditional as well as heterodox movements and splinter groups.  At this point in time, a majority of the American Muslim community is native born, converts and second-generation or multi-generation individuals and families.

There are events listed that had a negative impact on the American Muslim community, or that provided serious challenges.  There are individuals and organizations listed that some members of the community believe to be deviant or even “not Muslims”, but they were involved in events that had an effect (positive or negative) on the wider community nevertheless, in many cases because the American public is not aware of the distinctions between these various groups.  This is the reality, and the American Muslim community is in the process of creating community structures, organizations, and support systems to deal with this incredible richness and variety.  For some, this process is uncomfortable.

Some of the events listed created controversies and were well-publicized at the time. Some of the events influenced the attitudes of the American public toward Islam and Muslims (good and bad), some led to serious internal discussions in the American Muslim community, some led to a need for a response from the community.

Some of the events were political or cultural events that the American Muslim community was forced to deal with, although they came from outside of our community.

Even in those cases when mistakes were made in our response to particular events or issues, those can become an opportunity for growth if we look back at them and use those examples to improve our responses in the future.  **  The attitudes of the American public towards Islam and Muslims have fluctuated over the years. 

This is meant to be the beginning of a truly comprehensive list.  I would like to hear from Muslims who have information (with sources) about other events that should be included.  Please send these to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


THE LIST


1500’s to 1700’s

— Estevan of Azamor (or Estevanico) may have been the first Muslim to enter the historical record in North America. Estevanico was a Berber originally from North Africa who explored the future states of Arizona and New Mexico for the Spanish Empire in the 1530’s.

— In 1586. That year, Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596), the famous English seaman, discoverer, and privateer, brought at least two hundred Muslims (identified as Turks and Moors, which likely included Moriscos) to the newly established English colony of Roanoke on the coast of present-day North Carolina. The Roanoke settlement was England’s first American colony and constitutes the first chapter of English colonial history in the New World and what ultimately became the history of the United States. Only a short time before reaching Roanoke, Drake’s fleet of some thirty ships had liberated these Muslims from Spanish colonial forces in the Carribbean. They had been condemned to hard labor as galley slaves.

—  Anthony “The Turk” Janszoon van Salee  may have been the first Muslim settler in the New World..  New Utrecht, one of the original six towns settled on Long Island, was in the Bensonhurst area (84th Street between 16th and 18th Avenues, roughly). Jacques Cortelyou, a surveyor, began selling lots in the area to create New Utrecht starting in 1655-1657. One of the first, if not THE first, houses built in the town was the Nicasius De Sille house which stood at (roughly) 18th Avenue and 84th Street. Anthony Janszoon van Salee was a free black Moroccan who settled in New Utrecht in 1630 and became a prominent merchant and landowner.

— It is estimated that between 15 and 30% of the slaves forcibly brought to America were Muslims.  The first slave ship landed in 1619 with about 20 African slaves. That means that of the estimated 500,000 African slaves in America, 75,000 to 150,000 were Muslims.  A few well-documented cases were Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn SoriAyuba Suleiman Diallo 1701-1773 (about whom the film Prince Among Slaves was made — Omar Ibn Said 1770-1864 — Yarrow Mamout who bought his freedom in 1797 and whose portrait was painted by renowned early American artist Charles William Peale, and it resides at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

— In 1732 Ayyub ibn Sulaiman Jallon, (aka Job bin Solomon) a Muslim slave in Maryland, was set free by James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, and provided transportation to England. He arrived home (Boonda, Galumbo) from England in 1735.  He was one of the few slaves ever to make the voyage both ways and return to his home.  **   

—In 1739, When Benjamin Franklin helped establish a non-denominational religious meeting house in Philadelphia, he emphasized its non-sectarian nature by stating that “even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service”. **

—In 1776, John Adams published “Thoughts on Government,” in which he praises the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a “sober inquirer after truth” alongside Confucius, Zoroaster, Socrates, and other thinkers. **

—The first country to officially recognize the independence of the United States was Morocco, in 1777. This was a year before the second country, Holland, recognized the United States’ independence and six years before Britain and most of the rest of Europe did. This early recognition led many of the founding fathers of the U.S. to have an extremely positive view of Islam and the Arabic world in general. **   

—Between 1785 and 1815, over a hundred American sailors were held captive for ransom by Barbary pirates in Algiers. Several wrote captivity narratives of their experiences that gave most Americans their first view of the Middle East and Muslim ways, and newspapers often commented on them. The views were generally negative.  Piracy was widespread during this period in history, however this particular group of pirates were somehow seen as more of a threat. 

1800’s

— 1826 U.S. Marine Corps officers began wearing the “Mameluke Sword” in commemoration of 1stLt Presley O’Bannon’s assault on Derna, Tripoli.  It is still worn today.  **

— In 1828 Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori, a former prince from West Africa and now a salve on a Georgia plantation, is freed by the order of Secretary of State Henry Clay and President John Quincy Adams. He was known to many during his lifetime as “The Prince of Slaves.” A drawing of him, done by Henry Inman, is displayed in the Library of Congress.  Unity Productions Foundation has produced a film about his life.  **

— In 1831 Omar Ibn Said, an educated native of West Africa, wrote the only known American slave narrative in Arabic**

— 1839 “Sayyid Sa’id”, ruler of Oman orders his ship “The Sultana” to set sail to America on a trade mission, reaching New York, April 30, 1840. And although the voyage was not a commercial success, it marks the point of Muslims successful friendly relations with America, which still continues to exist between many of the Islamic nations and the United States of today.  **

— 1839-1840 The Amistad Trials a very important trial involving definitions of “slavery”, “property”, legal and illegal importation of slaves, International law, etc. “On March 9, 1841, the Supreme Court announced its decision.  Justice Story, speaking for the Court, said that the Amistads were “kidnapped Africans, who by the laws of Spain itself were entitled to their freedom.” As justification for the Court’s decision, Justice Story relied largely on the narrower arguments of Roger Baldwin, rather than the “interesting remarks” of John Quincy Adams. (LINK TO SCT DECISION) The Africans were free: they could stay or they could return to Africa. (The decision was, of course, by no means a repudiation of slavery, and clearly implied that if the Amistads had been brought from Africa prior to the 1820 treaty banning importation of slaves, they would have been considered property of Ruiz and Montes and been returned to Cuba.)”  **

— Small-scale migration to the U.S. by Muslims began in 1840, with the arrival of Yemenis and Turks

—In 1846, Emir Abd el-Kader of Algeria was well respected worldwide for his struggle against French colonization. He was called the Algerian George Washington. The town of Elkader, Iowa was named after him. It is the only town in the U.S. named after an Arab. **

— 1846 Tunisia became the first Arab country to abolish slavery.  The abolition of slavery in Tunisia preceded the abolition in the U.S. by almost 20 years.  **

— 1854 the Ottomon Empire sent a gift to be included in the Washington Monument. Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid sent a marble plaque that helped to build the Washington Monument. Inscribed in the plaque was a poem that began with a few simple words: “So as to strengthen the friendship between the two countries”. Over 150 years have passed since those words were carved into marble. Our nations have changed in many ways. But our friendship is strong, and our alliance endures”.  This stone is on the 17th floor of the Washington Monument.  **

— Bilali Muhammad (1770-1857), a slave on Sapelo Island, Georgia, wrote the first and only extant book of Islamic Law written in America, called the Bilali document, prior to 1857. 

— Hajj Ali (Hi Jolly) the only truly legendary Old West figure of Arab origin. Born in Syria, he arrived at Camp Verde with the second shipment of camels in 1857 and helped the Americans handle their camels on Beale’s trek to California. His easygoing nature—and Americans’ ignorance of Arabic—left him with the nickname “Hi Jolly,” and after the westward trek he took part in numerous camel projects throughout California and Arizona.

— There are recorded instances of Muslims in the United States military during the American Civil War, for example,  Muhammad Ali ibn Said (also known as Nicholas Said),  came to the United States in 1860 where he found a teaching job in Detroit. In 1863, Said enlisted in the 55th Massachusetts Colored Regiment in the United States Army and rose to the rank of sergeant. He was later granted a transfer to a hospital department, where he gained some knowledge of medicine. His Army records state that he died in Brownsville, Tennessee in 1882.  Another Muslim soldier from the Civil War was Max Hassan, an African who worked for the military as a porter. 

— In 1865, during the Civil War, the Union burned The University of Alabama.  A copy of the Qur’an was the only book saved from the University Library.  A copy of the Quran dating from 1853, its spine missing, its pages browning and its front cover almost detached, sits today in a library at the University of Alabama.  **

— Four years after Canada’s founding in 1867, the 1871 Canadian Census found 13 European Muslims among the population.

— Ross, North Dakota is the site of the first documented Muslim Cemetery with tombstones dating from 1882 **.  There was an early mosque but it was torn down, and a new mosque was built in 1929.  The immigrants came there because the Homestead Act gave people up to 160 acres of land after taking care of it.

— The first American convert to Islam that we know about was Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb (1846-1916)  He founded the American Islamic Press as well as one of the earliest mosques in New York City, established in 1895. His organization Muslim Mission, which he founded in Manhattan in 1893, was among the first Islamic Missions in the United States.  He was the only Muslim attending the 1893 Parliament of the World’s Religions. 

— The first Muslim periodical in the U.S. was called Moslem World and published by Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb in 1893.

— A New York Times article, headlined “New-York’s First Muezzin Call” and published December 11, 1893, documented the “melodious” call that sonorously floated out from the third-story window of the Union Square Bank building at 8 Union Square East.  John Lant, the muezzin was affiliated with Alexander Russell Webb’s group. After the congregation prayed that day, the inaugural meeting of the Society for the Study of Islam ensued. Fittingly, the meeting closed with a discussion on “Islam in America.”  **

— In 1893 Muslim immigrants from the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, etc. begin to arrive in North America. They are mainly Turks, Kurds, Albanians, and Arabs.

— 1896 to 1900 The Library of Congress Dome includes a mural “The Evolution of Civilization” which acknowledges important contributions to the development of civilization.  Those acknowledged include:  Judea for religion, Greece for philosophy, Rome for administration, Islam for physics.**

—When the Spanish-American War ended in 1898, Spain ceded all of the Philippines to America, including the Moro land that they did not own. The U.S. fought the Philippine-American War between 1899 and 1913 in order to make the Philippines which had only recently declared its independence from Spain an American colony. Mark Twain wrote about one incident in this war with the Moros in an article entitled Incident in the Philippines. All of this led to a great of negative anti-Moro (anti-Muslim) propaganda and publicity in the U.S.  Public opinion was so negative that Twain’s article was one of those he asked to be published after his death.  This was one of the first cases of falsely conflating political issues with religion, particularly involving protagonists who were Muslim.  **

1900 to 1919

— Between 1903 and 1908, about 6,000 Punjabis from India entered North America (Canada) and nearly 3,000 crossed into the United States. The first group of immigrants can be divided into two general groups. The majority was illiterate and semiliterate laborers from agricultural and/or military backgrounds. The second, very small group was the educated elite group of professionals and students. The laborers were mainly peasant Sikhs and some Muslims from Doaba and Malwa regions of Punjab province in Northwest India, while the later was composed of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims from throughout upper India. The working class South Asians left very few written records of their early experiences. In contrast, the educated group wrote prolifically on issues such as immigration and citizenship rights.  They worked on farms and on roads, and railroads.  **

—In 1904, at the St. Louis Exposition and World Fair, merchants and visitors came from all over the world, including the Arab world at which time an Arab used a waffle to create an ice cream cone.
**

— The Dzemijetul Hajrije (The Benevolent Society) of Chicago, Illinois was established in 1906 to preserve the Bosnian Muslim community’s religious and national traditions as well as to provide mutual assistance for funerals and illness. The organization established chapters in Gary, Indiana, in 1913 and Butte, Montana, in 1916 and is the oldest existing Muslim organization in the United States.

— Lipka Tatar immigrants from the Podlasie region of Poland founded the first Muslim organization in New York City, the American Mohammedan Society in 1907.  They established what may have been the first mosque in the U.S. in New York City the same year on Powers Street in Brooklyn (Tatar/Polish) **

— In 1910, The town of Indio in the Coachella Valley of California imported date palms from Arabia. The town now produces 95% of the nations dates. The date industry developed at a time when Americans were fascinated with Arabia, a fascination that influenced the history and architecture of this area. The communities of Mecca and Oasis take their names from that Middle East connection, as did two communities that have since vanished – Arabia and Edom. The names of early business establishments reflected the Arabian theme, such as the Ali Baba Theatre and the Caravan Lounge, as well as street names such as Oasis, Deglet Noor, etc. **

— In 1913, Timothy Drew (Noble Drew Ali) established an organization in Newark, NJ, known as the Moorish Science Temple of America (MSTA). Drew Ali reportedly was commissioned by the Sultan of Morocco to teach Islam to African-Americans. Many other African-American Muslim groups grew out of the MSTA. 

— The first well-known and popular Sufi figure in the United States was Hazrat Inayat Khan.  He blended aspects of Sufism and Islam with other spiritual, musical and religious concepts and practices. He did not actually consider his group a Sufi group and preached a Universalist spiritual movement. Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Sufi Order in America, called ‘The Sufi Order in the West’ was founded in 1910. The Order continued through his disciples Rabia Martin and Samuel Lewis.

Biddeford, Maine mosque established in 1915 (Albanians)

1920’s

First American Muslim Charity, the Red Crescent, modeled after the Red Cross established in Detroit in 1920

— In 1923, Khalil Gibran’s book the Prophet was released. It became very popular in the 1960’s with the counter-culture. In the U.S. Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time. The Prophet has never been out of print since 1923. **

— In 1926 Duse Muhammad Ali, mentor of Marcus Garvey and the person who had a considerable impact upon Garvey’s movement, establishes an organization in Detroit known as the Universal Islamic Society. Its motto was: “One God, One Aim, One Destiny.”

—  Ross, North Dakota mosque built in 1929 (Syrian/Lebanese). 


1930’s and 1940’s

— Muhammad University of Islam Schools (originally NOI), later called Clara Muhammad Schools (under ministry of W.D. Muhammad) founded in 1934 in Chicago, IL.  The first Islamic schools in the U.S. 

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Mother Mosque of America is on the National Registrar of Historic Places.  The first building built specifically to be a mosque. - 1934(Syrian immigrants)

— Sheikh Dawood founded the Islamic Mission Society on State Street in 1934 Brooklyn.  His writings and theories are contained in his self-published books al-Islam the Religion of Humanity (1950) and Islam the True Religion of Humanity (1965). The shortcoming of the work of such early homegrown Sufi groups was that they failed to train proper successors and the movement died with them. [Ottley, Roi, `New World A-Coming’, Arno Press, New York, 1968, pp. 116-9.]

—In 1935, the U.S. Supreme Court Building was completed.  Friezes on the North and South walls depict the greatest lawgivers of history including the Prophet Muhammad holding a copy of the Qur’an. **

Dearborn, Michigan, Dearborn Mosque - 1937 (Lebanese)

New York City, Islamic Mission of America Mosque - 1937

— The first Canadian Mosque, the Al Rashid Mosque in Edmonton, Alberta - 1938

Art Blakey aka Abdullah Ibn Buhaina (1919-1990) first American Muslim jazz musician and grammy award winner, and first celebrity Muslim musician.  He converted to Islam in 1948.

— In 1948, Haj. Yahya William Aossey set aside and donated 12 acres of land in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, establishing the First National Muslim Cemetery in North America. **

1950’s

— In 1952 Muslims in the Armed Services sued the federal government to be allowed to identify themselves as Muslims. Until then, Islam was not recognized as a legitimate religion.

— 1952 C.E. The McCarren-Walter Act relaxed the U.S. ban on Asian immigration. Muslim students come to the U.S. from many nations.

— Religious and Cultural Home Mosque in Chicago, Illinois established in 1957 (Bosnian)

— The Dzemijetul Hajrije opened the first Islamic Sunday School with curriculum and textbooks under Bosnian scholar Sheikh Ćamil Avdić (Kamil Avdich) (a graduate of al-Azhar and author of Survey of Islamic Doctrines) in 1957.

— In 1957, the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., the first mosque in D.C. was dedicated.

1960’s

— Mohamed Zakariya first American Muslim to earn title of “Hattat” in calligraphy.  He began studying in the 1960’s. 

— The Muslim Journal (originally called Muhammad Speaks, and for a short time called The Bilalian News) was founded in 1960 by Elijah Muhammad, and taken over by Warith Deen Muhammad in 1975. This year marks its’ 52nd year of publication.  The Muslim Journal is still published.

— In 1961, Marghoob Quraishi (1932-2005) established the first Muslim Youth Camps in Southern California.  They are still ongoing, and focus on shaping Muslim community values that are in harmony with an American cultural and political identity.  **

— The Islamic Center of America in Dearborn celebrated its 50 year anniversary in 2012.  It was founded in 1962, and was the first Shia Mosque in the U.S., and is also the largest mosque in the U.S

— The Dar-ul-Islam movement, another important group among the African American Muslim community began in 1962. Until its disappearance in 1982-1983, it made a serious impact upon the development and practice of traditional Islam in America.

Muslim Student Association of the U.S. and Canada MSA was established in 1963. It was originally an organization for foreign students.  Later it was reorganized as an organization for all Muslim students.  Over the years, many organizations grew out of this early group.  The MSA also held its first national American Muslim convention in 1963.  ISNA was not founded until 1982, but considers this 1963 convention as the first of its annual conventions.

— Malcolm X went on Hajj and subsequently broke with the NOI and joined mainstream Sunni Islam in 1964.  He was assassinated in 1965.

— Cassius Clay publicly announced that he was now Muhammad Ali and a Muslim in 1964.  Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) was the first American Muslim celebrity.

— Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore considered by many to be the first American Muslim poet laureate.  His first book of critically acclaimed poetry released in 1964.

— In 1968, Sirhan Sirhan assassinated Sen. Robert Kennedy.  Although Sirhan was a Christian Arab, the fact that he was an Arab, and the public misperception that Muslim and Arab are interchangeable terms led to this issue of “Muslims killed Kennedy” to be raised many times over the years.  **


1970’s

Be Here Now by Ram Dass, a book sometimes called the “Bible of the counter-culture movement of the 1970’s, and published by the Lama Foundation.  The Lama Foundation was founded by Barbara and Stephen Durkee aka Asha Greer and Noorudeen Durkee who are American Muslims. 

— The Sears Tower, the tallest building in the U.S. was completed in 1974.  It was designed by an American Muslim, Fazlur Rahman Khan (1929-1982). 

— Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the military and declared that he was a conscientious objector, and served time in prison 1967

— In 1971, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen came to the U.S. and established the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship in Philadelphia.  There are branches across the U.S. and Canada.  The Fellowship in Pennsylvania now includes a mosque and a farm. 

— The Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers is established in 1971

— The Association of Muslim Scientists is established in 1972.

— S. Abdallah Schleffer became the first American Muslim to head a major news bureau, as the bureau chief for NBC News Cairo from 1974 to 1983.  **

— Muhammad Ali announced his conversion to Sunni Islam 1975

— In 1975, Vilayat Inayat Khan founded The Abode, the central residential community of the Sufi Order International in New Lebanon, New York.  The community continues with approximately 50 living there currently. 

— W.D. Muhammad’s disbanding of NOI and conversion to Sunni Islam in 1975 was an important event.  The majority of NOI members, estimated at 20,000, followed him, leading to perhaps the largest single mass conversion in America.

—  In 1976, the American Society of Muslims/Mosques Cares/Ministry of W.D. Muhammad was established (after separation from NOI which was est. in 1934)

Mustapha Akkad (1930-2005) first well known film producer and director (The Message, The Lion of the Desert, Halloween series).  The Message was released in 1977.

Mustapha Akkad’s  film The Message (aka Mohammed, Messenger of God) made it to the 100 most controversial films of all time list.  The film was banned in much of the Arab world, and the Hanafi Black Muslim extremist group led by Hamas Abdul Khaalis staged a heavily-armed siege siezing three office buildings in Washington, D.C., killing a radio reporter, wounding 13 people and taking 134 hostages. The three offices the gunmen took over were the international headquarters of B’Nai B’rith, the Jewish organization; the Islamic Center and Mosque; and the District of Columbia’s city council offices.  One of their demands was cancellation of the film. 1977

Kazi Publications, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois by Liaquat Ali in 1978 is the oldest existing Islamic publisher and book distributor in North America.

— In 1978, Edward Said published Orientalism, the first critical analysis by an Arab of the culturally inaccurate representations and stereotypes prevalent in the Western studies of the Middle East. 

— In 1978 “The Arab World: A Handbook for Teachers” was published by Audrey Shabbas, after a review of social-studies textbooks being considered for use in the California public schools.  Out of these efforts grew “The Arab World Notebook,” of which Shabbas was principal author and co-editor with Dr. Ayad Al-Qazzaz.  In 1990, Shabbas founded AWAIR providing the first educational workshops for teachers on the topic of Islam and Muslims, many of which were held at Dar al Islam in Abiquiu, NM **

— In 1979, the Iran Hostage Crisis began in which 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days during the Presidency of Jimmy Carter.  The reactions to the crisis and the explanations for “why” it happened were an example of mutual misunderstanding and distrust. 

1980’s

— In 1980, Dar al Islam in Abiquiu, New Mexico was founded by Abdullah Nooruddeen and Nura Durkee as the first planned Muslim village and residential community.  The mosque and retreat/meeting center remain as well as a few families. 

— In 1980, Sheikh Jelaluddin Loras began teaching Mevlevi training in Northern California. He was sent to America by his father Hazrat Murshid Suleiman Hayati Dede, Mevlevi Sheikh of Konya, Turkey.

— In 1980, it was estimated that there were 506 mosques in America.

— Dr. Robert D. Crane, first American Muslim Ambassador (to the UAE) 1981

— The first American Islamic library established in Plainfield, Indiana in 1982

— American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee AAADC was established in 1982, the first Arab anti-discrimination organization.

Islamic Society of North America ISNA (developed out of MSA) was established in 1982 by four organizations - The Muslim Students Association of the US and Canada (The MSA), Islamic Medical Association (IMA), the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS), and the Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers (AMSE).  As with many other organizations, other organizations separated and formed new groups.  ICNA and the MAS are two such groups that are both much more conservative than ISNA.  One of the pioneers of this effort to establish ISNA as a separate entity was Sayyid Syeed.

—  Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America IFANCA established in 1982 to provide resources about halal food and was the first organization to provide third party certification for halal food products.  **

— In 1982, the National Islamic Committee on Scouting (NICS) was established.  It was the first official Islamic Scouting organization.  Primarily, the NICS is responsible for formulating policies that govern the formation of Scouting in Islamic organizations and for guiding their cooperation with the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. [url=http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/02-928.pdf] 

American Islamic College established in Chicago, IL 1983 (not accredited)

— In 1983, Abidullah and Tasneema Ghazi founded IQRA’ International Educational Foundation. IQRA’ was the first publishing company devoted to preparing a comprehensive and systematic integrated system of Islamic Studies for Islamic schools in the U.S. which includes 150 books covering syllabi, textbooks, workbooks, teacher’s guides etc. **

— In 1984, Sayyid Syeed founded the quarterly American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences (AJISS), one of the first academic publications.

— Thomas B. Irving aka Al-Hajj Ta’lim ‘Ali (1914-2002), an American Muslim, translated and published the first translation of the Qur’an into “American English” in 1985

— In 1985, the West Coast office of the Arab-American ADC was attacked with a pipe bomb, and Alex Odeh was killed. The FBI classified the murder a terrorist act and suspected members of the Jewish Defense League of carrying out the attack. The JDL denied any involvement and no one was ever charged or prosecuted. Odeh’s case remains open. **

— The Muslim American Public Affairs Council MPAC was established in 1986.  It was the first Muslim Civil Rights organization

— In 1986, Prof. Ali Mazrui produced a book and television documentary series The Africans: A Triple Heritage shown on BBC and PBS.  The triple heritage was Islamic, indigenous, and Western.  Conservatives, led by National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) chairperson Lynne Cheney, condemned the series for what they perceived as an anti-Western bias.  The controversy triggered a national debate.  **

— The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) (affiliated with ISNA) was established in 1986 to interpret Islamic law on the North American continent. FCNA traces its origins back to the Religious Affairs Committee of the MSA, then to the Fiqh Committee of ISNA, then to FCNA **  It still exists but it’s website has been in the process of “restructuring” for some years and most of the links don’t work, including those for “Fataawah” and all previous fatwas that were at one time posted on the ISNA site have been offline for some years. **

— 1986 “Dr. Isma’il R. al-Faruqi,” the founder of the “American Muslim Social Scientists” organization and the International Institute of Islamic Thought, and his wife are murdered in their home outside Philadelphia. Dr. Faruqi and his wife are the authors of the Cultural Atlas of Islam and many other books. His murder was predicated without name by the president of Jewish Defence League one week before his death in the Village Voice, New York by claiming that within a week an outspoken Palestinian professor will be eliminated. **

— In 1987, Amir and Mary Ali established the Institute of Islamic Information and Education III&E in Chicago.  It was the first organization to produce an extensive series of pamphlets aimed at explaining Islam to non-Muslims.  **

—In 1987, A 22-cent commemorative stamp honoring the bicentennial of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Kingdom of Morocco was issued in Washington, DC. On the same day in Rabat, the Moroccan postal administration issued a 1-dirham stamp with a similar design. **

— 100 influential religious leaders signed the historic Williamsburg Charter (a reaffirmation and reappraisal of the First Amendment/First Freedom of the U.S. Constitution, the freedom of religion).  Imam W.D. Mohammed was the only Muslim signer thus representing the entire American Muslim community.  1988

— Sound Vision was founded in 1988 by Abdul Malik Mujahid.  It was the first organization to produce high quality educational programs for children.  Adam’s World was a pioneering children’s educational series featuring animated puppets.  Over the years, they expanded to producing many other forms of media.  **

— In 1988,  Khadijah Rivera formed one of the first organizations for Hispanic Muslims - PIEDAD.  PIEDAD focused specifically on Muslim women, but from her work came many other organizations.  **

The American Muslim TAM began publishing in print in 1989.  It began in 1987 as the American Muslim Convert Support Newsletter of the Convert Support Group in Villa Park, Illinois.  This was the first convert support group we know about in the U.S. founded by Nancy Ali and Sheila Musaji.  The American Muslim is still published online, but not in print. 

— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, with 38,387 points.  In 1989, the time of his retirement, Abdul-Jabbar was the NBA’s all-time leader in points scored, games played, minutes played, field goals made, field goal attempts, blocked shots, defensive rebounds, and personal fouls.  He was the first American Muslim celebrity basketball player. 

— Following the 1989 California social studies textbook adoption, Shabbir Mansuri formed the Council on Islamic Education conducting research and analysis on public school textbook information on Islam and other world religions and to provide accurate information for consideration. 


1990’s

Fons Vitae publishing house established in Louisville, Kentucky, by Aishah Gray Henry the first to publish peer-reviewed academic books on Islam and spirituality.  **

— The National Islamic Shura Council (NISC) was established in the early 1990’s.  This was the first attempt to develop a coalition of major American Muslim organizations that would work cooperatively on issues of concern to the entire American Muslim community.  NISC no longer exists.  **

— Imam Siraj Wahhaj was first Muslim to offer an invocation (opening prayer) to the United States House of Representatives in 1991

— In 1991, the Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC) held the inaugural American Muslim Achievement Award (AMAA).  This year will mark 22 years of these awards.  **

— The Muslim Members of the Military (MMM) organization hold their first “Unity in Uniform” conference in 1991. The conference took place at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington DC. According to the Untied States Department of Defense, there are more than 5000 Muslims in uniform on active duty in the military.

Charles Bilal, first Muslim elected Mayor of a U.S. city, Kountze, Texas - 1991

— During the Holy Land Foundation trial, a document was entered into evidence claiming to be written in 1991 by a person named Mohammed Akram (a.k.a. Mohammed Adlouni).  The document “An Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” appears to be the work of this self-described Muslim Brotherhood member, and purports to lay out the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.  It has been a source of much dispute since it first came to light. 

— In 1992, Imam W.D. Muhammad was the first Muslim to lead the invocation in the U.S. Senate

— In 1992, Dr. Azizah al-Hibri became the first Muslim woman law professor in the United States.  In 1992, she founded the
American Muslim Bar Association in DC, however this first organization for Muslim lawyers went through a number of changes and no longer exists.
**

— In 1992, Farid Numan put together the first chronology of American Muslim history.  **

— 1992 Bosnia Task Force, USA was established as an allience of ten national Muslim organizations in support of Bosnia.

— Capt. Abdul Rashid Muhammad became the first Muslim Chaplain in the U.S. military in 1993.  **

— In 1993, Maha El Genaidi founded Islamic Networks Group (ING), the first organization to offer professional training for speakers and to develop peer-reviewed presentations geared to specific audiences, to effectively present information about Muslims and Islam and to challenge stereotypes.  **

— The Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University was founded in 1993 by an agreement between the Fondation pour L’Entente entre Chretiens et Musulmans, Geneva and Georgetown University to build stronger bridges of understanding between the Muslim world and the West as well as between Islam and Christianity.  In 2005 after a large grant was given, it was renamed the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU).  **

— In 1993, Dr. Azizah al-Hibri founded KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, the first organization in the U.S. founded to support the rights of Muslim women worldwide through educational programs, jurisprudential scholarship, and a network of Muslim jurists and leaders. KARAMAH’s original research and innovative programming provides Muslim women with the essential tools and knowledge to promote reform in their own communities. **

— In 1993 MPAC condemned “fatwa” against writer Salman Rushdie. **

— Council on American Islamic Relations CAIR was established in 1994.  It was the first Muslim anti-discrimination organization

— In 1992 through 1994, The American Muslim produced the first Resource Directory of Islam in America, listing mosques, schools, organizations, etc.  It was the first directory published, and included the first Who’s Who Among American Muslims.  Sheila Musaji did the research and edited the publication.

— In 1993, Dr. Aminah McCloud worked to establish the first American Islamic collection and archive at DePaul University Library, in conjunction with the Center for African American Research.  This is an archive of information about Islam in America.  **

— In 1993, Marghoob Quraishi (1932-2005) established the first Muslim Student Network summer internship program in Washington, DC which has trained hundreds of young Muslims for careers in public and government service. **

— In 1993 to 1995, a series of Pow Wow’s were held at Dar al Islam in Abiquiu, NM.  The first Pow Wow was organized by Hakim Archuletta and Sheila Musaji.  These brought together native born and immigrant Muslims from disparate groups to discuss common problems and attempt to work together.  First truly grassroots gathering bringing together Muslims from different backgrounds to discuss how to overcome sectarianism and work cooperatively.  Many ongoing projects developed from these gatherings.

— In 1994 Mas’ood Cajee established a website called Cyber Muslim to list resources available on the Internet that contain a significant amount of information related to Islam & Muslims ** and **.  The first such collection of internet resources.

— In 1995, the first poll of American attitudes towards Islam was published by Barna Research.  71% of born again Christians view impact of Islam as negative, 24% of non-Christians view Islam’s impact as negative. **

— In 1995, Steven Barboza published American Jihad: Islam After Malcolm X, the first popular book about the religious experience of Muslims,  both immigrant and native-born, in America.  The book contained a collection of more than 50 brief interviews with Muslims from all walks of life.  **

— The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the Federal Bldg. by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols was the most destructive terrorist act on American soil before 9/11. Initially, some pundits blamed this on Muslims causing a flurry of anti-Muslim attacks on mosques. Yuba City, CA and Greenville, SC mosques were burned and Clarkson, GA, Villa Park, IL, Flint, MI, and Bloomington, IN mosques were vandalized **

— In 1995, after the Oklahoma City bombing and the anti-Muslim incidents, the newly formed CAIR published “Rush to Judgement” documenting harassment and hate crimes. **  The first report produced by American Muslims documenting anti-Muslim sentiment.

— In 1995, MPAC released debut issue of “Counterterrorism Chronicle,” a regular briefing providing an American Muslim perspective on national security issues.  **

— The first White house celebration of Eid Al-Fitr was hosted by Pres. Clinton in 1996.  These events have continued through the administrations of Pres. Bush and Pres. Obama.

— Larry Shaw (D-NC) was the first Muslim elected to a state legislature in 1996.  Shaw was the highest-ranking Muslim elected official in the United States until the election of Keith Ellison.

— Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), founded in 1996 by Rami Nashashibi, is one of the early and leading Muslim charity and social service organizations working in Chicago’s South side. 

— Wafa Dabbagh rose to the rank of Lt. Commander in the Royal Canadian Navy. In 1996 she became the first member of the Canadian military to wear a hijab. She died Tuesday (June 5, 2012) of lung cancer.

— Opened in 1996, The UMMA Community Clinic is the first independent Muslim Free Clinic in America. UMMA serves the underserved community in LA, providing free/low-cost primary care medical services such as immunizations, physical examinations, gynecology and HIV/AIDS testing.  Beyond medical care, the clinic sponsors health fairs, food and clothing distributions, public health seminars, and in the future, tutoring for area children. To date, UMMA Community Clinic has served over 20,000 patients, with an average of 170 patients filing into the clinic each week.

— In 1997, Zakia Mahasa became the first Muslim woman appointed as a circuit court judge in Baltimore, Maryland

—In 1997, a coalition of Muslim groups petitioned to have the frieze of Prophet Muhammad in the Supreme Court building sandblasted. This led to a controversy, and ultimately, a fatwa being issued by Sheikh Taha Jaber al-Alwani in which he expressed “gratitude and appreciation for those who insisted on including an image of our Prophet, Muhammad (SAAS), in that highly regarded site in the United States of America, in order to remind the whole world of the important contribution of the Prophet (SAAS). It is important that in a pluralistic culture like the United States he is symbolized as one of the select illustrious lawgivers who merit being honored.” ** 

— In 1997, the first film about the Hajj was shown on American TV.  It was broadcast from Mecca, and hosted by Michael Wolfe for Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” on ABC.  This won many awards and was seen by millions of people.

Ahmed Zewail first American Muslim Nobel Prize Winnter (Chemistry) 1999

— In 1999, Prof. Sulayman Nyang published Islam in the United States of America, the first serious study of American Muslim history by an American Muslim that included both immigrant and native-born history.  **

— Islamic Horizons Magazine of ISNA began publishing in 1999 and is still published.

— The first Muslim to be honored with a U.S. postage stamp was Malcolm X in 1999.

— In 1999, Sheikh Hisham Kabbani (Naqshbandi order) made a statement to the State Department that in his opinion 80%  of American mosques had been taken over by extremists.  This statement caused a great deal of uproar in the Muslim community, and has been used ever since by Islamophobes as if it was fact and not opinion.

— In 1999, Michael Wolfe and Alex Kronemer founded Unity Productions Foundation (UPF).  This was the first media organization founded and largely staffed by American Muslims with consistent national TV broadcasts and media reach. 

2000 to 2009

— Native Deen, first American Muslim hip hop group formed in 2000

— Hassan A. El-Amin, the first Muslim appointed to the Maryland state judiciary in 2000

— In 2000, Dr. Maher Hathout delivered the invocation at the Democratic National Convention. **

Azizah Magazine founded by Tayyiba Taylor in 2000.  The first print magazine focusing specifically on American Muslim women.

— The Islamic Chaplaincy Graduate Program at Hartford Seminary begins the first fully accredited graduate chaplaincy program in the U.S. in 2000 It was spearheaded by Dr. Ingrid Mattson. 

— In 2000, Sharifa Alkhateeb (1946-2004)  established the Peaceful Families Project, a nationwide survey of domestic violence within the Muslim community, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, VAWO Office.  This was the first national organization established to develop educational resources designed specifically for Muslim audiences and to provide awareness workshops and sensitivity training.  **

— The American Muslim Political Coordinating Council (AMPCC) was established in 2000.  The AMPCC no longer exists under that name, but has become the The American Muslim Taskforce (AMT) which does not seem to be particularly active.  **

— The tragic terrorist attack on America on 9/11/2001 had many consequences for all Americans, and for American Muslims in particular.  For example, a publication in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found evidence that the number of anti-Muslim attacks in America in 2001 increased from 354 to 1,501 following 9/11

—In 2001, the office of Arab-American Congressman Darrell Issa in California was targeted in a bomb plot. Irving Rubin and Earl Krugel of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) were arrested.

— In 2001, the University of Tennessee Muslim Student Association held the first Fast-a-Thon during Ramadan, and began a national event that included students at over 230 colleges and universities by 2006.  The event raises money to help feed the needy. 

— The Muslim Legal Fund of America was founded in 2001 to defend the civil rights of American Muslims.  **

— The first Muslim president of a non-Muslim academic college or university was Dr. Althia F. Collins, the 13th president of Bennett College, in Greensboro, N.C.  2001

— AltMuslim established by Shahed Amanullah as an online publication in 2001.  It is one of the earliest popular American Muslim internet presences, followed in 2002 by The American Muslim (TAM) online (founded by Sheila Musaji).  I would appreciate information on any earlier sites.

— In 2002, the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding (ISPU) think tank was established.  ISPU’s Center for the Study of American Muslims (CSAM) is the first major independent research center devoted exclusively to collecting, analyzing, and disseminating empirical data on the diverse spectrum of Muslim communities in the United States.

— In 2002, The American Muslim TAM began collecting information on Muslim voices against extremism and terrorism which includes fatwas, articles, statements by scholars and organizations, etc.  **

— In 2002, a Unity Productions Foundation (UPF) film called “Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet” became the first film about the Prophet Muhammad to be broadcast nationally on U.S. TV by PBS, and internationally on National Geographic.  The film has been broadcast over 500 times and distriuted to over 35,000 schools ad libraries across the U.S.

— In 2002, Michael Wolfe published “Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith,” which was the first national nonfiction collection of essays by American Muslims in response 9/11/2011.  (Many such books followed and of course the whole topic remains an issue.)  This book won the 2003 Wilbur Award for “Best Book of the Year on a Religious Theme”.

— The Holy Land Foundation (the largest Muslim charity in the U.S.) allegations and trial stretced out from 2001 to 2007, and had many ramifications including the making public of a list of individuals and organizations as “unindicted co-conspirators”.  The federal government said the organizations were included on the list in order to produce evidence at the trial, but the district court and a federal appeals court later ruled that it had been a mistake to make the list public.  This charge has been used since then to tarnish the reputations of those named.  It was also the first of a series of such allegations against at least 6 Muslim charities.  ** and **

— In 2002 Jalaluddin Rumi became the all-time bestselling poet in America, his popularity was increased by the work of Coleman Barks, Kabir Helminski and others in translating his poetry into English.  **

Dr. Elias Zerhouni first American Muslim to be appointed (by George W. Bush) as director of the National Institutes of Health in 2002.

— In 2002 a Beliefnet/Ethics and Policy Center poll of American Evangelical Protestant leaders showed that 77% had an unfavorable view of Islam; 13% had a favorable view. 72% believe that Islam opposes pluralism (in the sense of religious diversity) and democracy, 72% believe that the Sharia legal systems violate human freedom. 10% agreed with President George W. Bush that Islam is “a religion of peace.” 70% believe that Islam is a religion of violence. 17% believe that Muslims and Christian pray to the same God. 2% believe that all the world’s great religions are equally true and good. ** 

— The first U.S. Eid postage stamp was issued in 2001.  It was designed by the renowned calligrapher, Mohamed Zakariya and the project to get the stamp was spearheaded by Amina Assilmi

— The International Museum of Muslim Cultures in Jackson, Mississippi - 2001

— In 2002, Wayne Smith became New Jersey’s first American Muslim elected mayor in Irvington, NJ.  **

— The Annual Brass Crescent Awards were established by Shahed Amanullah and Aziz Poonawalla in 2004 to honor the best Muslim internet blogs and bloggers.  The award honors the best writers and thinkers of the emerging Muslim blogosphere (aka the Islamsphere).

— In 2004 Cornell University poll Cornell found that found 44 percent of Americans favor at least some restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. and [url=http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/media_and_society_research_group_msrg_survey/]** And nearly 30 percent responded favorably to the ideas of requiring Muslims to register with the federal government, having undercover agents infiltrate Muslim organizations, and permitting the government to engage in racial profiling. **

— In 2004, the Progressive Muslim Union was launched (it grew out of Muslim Wakeup MWU).  Although initially promising, within a short time there were many internal disputes, and defections by activists involved.  The organization was defunct by 2005.  In 2007, a new organization called Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) was formed by Ani Zonneveld.  Only time will tell if this organization will develop into a movement with staying power.**

— Amina Wadud was the first woman to lead mixed gender Jumah prayers in the U.S., in NY in 2005

— Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid published a call for Sunni-Shia dialogue in 2005, and he convened The First National Shia-Sunni Dialogue in America,  held on December 25, 2006 in Chicago.  This meeting issued a Communiqué of the Shia-Sunni Dialogue to Save Lives which included a resolution and recommendations for local action to counter anti-Shia and anti-Sunni prejudice and to remove hateful publications (primarily from overseas) from local Mosques. 

— In 2006, the Religion Link of the Religion Newswriters Association named 3 Muslims -  Akbar S. Ahmed, Sherman A. Jackson, and Khaled Abou El Fadl as among the top 10 U.S. experts on Islam.  This was important, as historically most of those considered “experts” on Islam have been non-Muslims.  **

— In 2005, Althia F. Ali and Imani Abdul-Haqq founded Gamma Gamma Chi, the first Muslim national sorority in the U.S. 

— Ingrid Mattson, the first American Muslim woman to be elected as President of a major national Muslim organization - ISNA in 2006 **

— In 2006 the NYPD began a surveillance program of American mosques **

— Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress - 2006

— The New Star Family Center was established in 2006 in California by Elena Meloni Moon.  It was the first official program established to place Muslim children in Muslim foster care families.  They have helped families across the country not only with foster care, but also were pioneers in helping Muslim families adopt Muslim children and in educating the Muslim community about adoptions.  ** 

— Laleh Bakhtiar, the first American Muslim woman to translate the Qur’an into English in 2007

— In 2007, the First National Summit of Imams and Rabbis was held in New York City, an event organized by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) and the Islamic Cultural Center of New York.  **

— In 2007,  Mohamed Khairullah became New Jersey’s first elected Arab-American Muslim mayor in Prospect Park, NJ, and the state’s second Muslim mayor.  **

— In 2007, a Muslim leadership in North America conference was held .  This was the first such conference that was led by formally-trained imams and scholars at the grass-roots from many different communities.  They came together to discuss issues of leadership and sectarianism, and of countering both Muslim extremists and anti-Muslim trends.  **

— In 2007, American Muslims released a statement On Apostasy and Islam: 100+ Notable Islamic Voices affirming the Freedom of Faith.  Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq spearheaded this effort **

— The Congressional Gold Medal was awarded as a group honor to the famed Tuskegee Airmen, including Major George Shade, who is a Muslim in 2007.

— In 2007,  sectarian violence reached the U.S. when attacks were carried out against at least a dozen Shia Muslim-owned businesses and mosques in Detroit.  The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) immediately condemned this and again called on leaders of the Muslim community to speak out and not only condemn such violence, but also educate their communities.   American Muslim Leaders in California signed a ‘Code of Honor’ to Promote Intrafaith Harmony, a clear public declaration that division between Sunnis and Shias will not be accepted or tolerated by American Muslims  . Many more Muslim and Shia scholars signed on in Detroit, and many more at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention.    At the ISNA Convention, this Code of Honor was read to the approximately 8,000 participants in one of the general sessions.

— In 2008 Muslim Advocates began the first Muslim charities accreditation program.  Islamic Networks Group (ING), UMMA Community Clinic, and Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) were the first three non-profit organizations to successfully complete the Muslim Charities Accreditation Program (MCAP)

— In 2008, The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) in cooperation with the World Jewish Congress and the Islamic Society of North America, organized the first Mosque/Synagogue Weekend of Twinning is an annual initiative based on synagogues, mosques and Muslim and Jewish student and young leadership groups forming partnerships and holding joint programs together with the goal of building ties of communication, reconciliation and cooperation between Muslims and Jews. **

— In 2008, Abuhena Saifulislam became the first Muslim chaplain in the U.S. Marine Corps   **

— In 2008, W.D. Muhammad died.  His importance as a bridge between the African-American and immigrant communities was obvious at his funeral.  My estimate is that there were at least 4,000 people present - so many that the afternoon prayers had to be said in shifts inside the mosque (which holds 2,000), and the janaza (funeral) prayer had to be moved outside to a large grassy field to accommodate such a large crowd.  Some of the faces that I recognized were Sulayman Nyang, Marcia Hermansen, Zaid Shakir, Malik Mujahid, Muzamil Siddiqui, Siraj Wahaj, Sherman Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, and Azhar Usman.  But, I am certain that there were many more leaders, activists, and scholars present.  Even the Naqshbandi “red turbans” turned out in full force. **

— Andre Carson (D-IN) was the second Muslim elected to Congress in 2008. 

— A 2008 study on the longer-term effect of participating in the Islamic pilgrimage found that Muslims’ communities become more open after the Hajj experience. Entitled Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam’s Global Gathering, a study conducted in conjunction with Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government found that the Hajj experience promotes peaceful coexistence, equality, and harmony.  Specifically, the report states that the Hajj “increases belief in equality and harmony among ethnic groups and Islamic community and that “Hajjis (those who have performed the Hajj) show increased belief in peace, and in equality and harmony among adherents of different religions”  **

— In 2008, Al’ America, a book by Jonathan Curiel reminded Americans that from highbrow to pop, from lighthearted to profound, there are Islamic and Arab influences before our eyes, under our noses, and ringing in our ears, in architecture, music, and more. Al’ America confirmed a continuous pattern of give-and-take between America and the Arab-Muslim world. **

— In 2009, Dr. Mehmet Oz became the first American Muslim to have a daily television program.  The program focuses on medical issues and personal health.  **

— In 2009, Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid was elected as the first Muslim chair of the Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.

— In 2009, ISNA established the first national Muslim interfaith organization, the Office of Interfaith & Community Alliances headed by Sayyid Syeed


2010 to 2019

— In 2010, American Muslims issued a statement “A DEFENSE OF FREE SPEECH BY AMERICAN AND CANADIAN MUSLIMS”  **

— In 2010 an ABC News Poll said that American attitudes toward Islam were the lowest since 9/11 **

— In 2010, the Claremont School of Theology in California began the first “theological university” in the U.S.  to train future pastors, imams, and rabbis under one roof. The experiment to end isolated clerical training brings together Claremont, the Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC) and the Academy for Jewish Religion California.  **

— In 2010, the IIIT, the Fairfax Institute, and Hartford Seminary began an Imam training program leading to a Graduate Certificate in Imam Education.  The first such program in the U.S.  **

— A 2010 survey, “2010 U.S. Religious Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study (RCMS)” found Illinois to be the most Muslim state with around 2.8 percent of the population identifying as Muslim adherents. The researchers found Montana to be the least Muslim state with only 0.034 percent identifying as Muslim adherents. **

— In 2010, Rima Fakih became first American Muslim woman to win the Miss USA beauty pageant.  **

— In 2011 a Statement Of American Muslim Imams And Community Leaders On Holocaust Denial & anti-Semitism was released **

— In 2011, the Fiqh Council of North America FCNA issued a Resolution: On Being Faithful Muslims and Loyal Americans **

— 2011 A Rasmussen report found that a majority of Americans don’t think Muslims are speaking out enough against terrorism and extremism and the percentages are highest among the GOP http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/march_2011/just_17_believe_american_muslims_are_treated_unfairly

— The results of a 2011 PEW Poll on the attitudes of American Muslims towards violence and terrorism led to an Islamophobic campaign to distort the results and give a negative impression contrary to the facts documented in that and other reports.  **

—In 2011, the Center for American Progress released an important report “Fear Inc., the Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America”, the result of a 6 onth investigative project. It showed that, contrary to the popular belief that there is a vast right-wing conspiracy behind the Islamophobia movement, the message of religious intolerance against American Muslims is being perpetrated by a small, tightly knit group of individuals sustained by money from a clutch of key foundations, and their misinformation campaign is being directed to millions of Americans through effective advocates, media partners, and grassroots organizing. **

— In 2011, a Hartford Seminary FACT survey estimated that there were 2,106 mosques in America. The survey also reveals where those mosques exist, including the 10 states with the largest number of mosques – New York (257), California (246), Texas (166), Florida (118), Illinois (109), New Jersey (109), Pennsylvania (99), Michigan (77), Georgia (69) and Virginia (62). Vermont has the least number of mosques, with one located in that state. The survey also shows that most mosques are located in metropolitan areas, with Greater New York City ranked No. 1 with 192 mosques. Southern California (120), Greater Chicago (90), Greater Philadelphia (63) and Greater Detroit (63) rounded out the top five metropolitan areas for mosque population. **

—In 2011, a series of anti-Muslim training programs, materials, and trainers being used by U.S. government and law enforcement agencies came to light **

— In 2011 Professor Azizah al-Hibri was appointed by President Obama to serve as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

— In 2011, the NYPD expanded its surveillance to Arab and Muslim individuals and businesses ** and they worked cooperatively with the CIA **

— In 2011, an ANTI-SHARIA MANIA began sweeping states across the country, instigated primarily by David Yerushalmi, Frank Gaffney, and other members of the Islamophobia industry, and promoted by elected members of Congress and the Senate who rely on the Islamophobes as “experts”.  These Islamophobes produce ridiculous reports like the Mapping Sharia projects Sharia a threat to America report and Shari’a and Violence in American Mosques report that somehow are taken seriously.  The GOP included an anti-Sharia plank in their platform adopted at the 2012 convention.   The anti-Sharia movement may have unintended consequences for other minority communities.

First Muslim sitcom in Canada or North America Little Mosque on the Prairie 2007 to 2012.

Farah Pandith is the first ever to hold the position of Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the United States Department of State.  She was appointed in 2009

— In 2010, the Cordoba House (“Ground-zero mosque”) controversy brought anti-Muslim bigotry into the mainstream.  Opposition to the mosque began the consolidation of disparate individuals and organizations into an organized Islamophobia network.  **

— In 2010, the first National Coalition of African American Muslims was established to establish networks between organizations representing those elements of the population, regardless of race or religion, who are suffering as a result of the politics of fear and exclusion.  **

Zaytuna College, first four year accredited Islamic college established in Berkeley, California by Hamza Yusuf and Zaid Shakir - 2010

— First American Muslim country/western singer, Kareem Salama from Oklahoma, (who was sent by the State Dept. on a tour of some Muslim countries in 2010)

— Dr. Mehmet Oz, Fareed Zakariya, and Aasif Mandvi, first American Muslim television celebrities - 2010’s

America’s Islamic Heritage Museum in Washington, DC - 2011

— In 2011, first Eid celebration specifically for families of children with special needs held in Alexandria Virginia and organized by MAS. 

— Imam Yahya Hendi is the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University, the first American university to hire a full-time Muslim chaplain in 2011

First Muslim television reality show All-American Muslim  2011

— Mohammad Nawaz Wahla is the first Muslim to serve as a Superior Court judge in Connecticut 2011

— Rep. Peter King’s series of hearings into American Muslim community “radicalization” had a large impact on the American Muslim community.  2011-12

— In 2012 a series of ads were published in public spaces across the country by the hate groups AFDI/SIOA.  These are ongoing and have created a great deal of controversy.  **

— In 2012, the #MyJihad twitter campaign spearheaded by Ahmed Rehab may be the first serious effort to use social media to take back the narrative about Islam and Islamic terminology from both Muslim extremists and anti-Muslim extremists.  It was begun as a response to the AFDI ads.  **

— Halim Dhanidina, first American-Muslim judge appointed in California in 2012

— In 2012, the anti-Muslim film “Innocence of Muslims” created an International incident, and created a great deal of controversy impacting even the American Muslim community.  **

— Between November of 2012 and January of 2013 there were 6 violent attacks on individuals perceived to be Arab or Muslim. Why this sudden increase in violence is unknown. **

First American Muslim Mobile Clinic Begins Services at Al-Shifa Medical Center in San Bernardino in 2012.  It was sponsored by ICNA Relief.  **

— Dalia Mogahed, first American Muslim appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2012

— The Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor was awarded to Muhammad Ali for his longtime role outside the ring as a fighter for humanitarian causes, civil rights and religious freedom.  He was the first American Muslim to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  2012

— In 2012, The Muslim 500: The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World has been published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman. In 2012, there were more Muslims from America than any other country on this list.  America’s roughly 2.6 million Muslims are a tiny fraction of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, but they took 41 spots on the 500 list.  **

— In 2012, American Muslims organized first ever national food drive.  The project was spearheaded by Muslims Without Borders (MWB) **

— In 2012, Christopher A. Bail released an important study “The Fringe Effect Civil Society Organizations and the Evolution of Media Discourse about Islam since the September 11th Attacks” **  This study looked at media coverage of Islam and Muslims between 2001 and 2008.  Bail surveyed more than “1,084 press releases about Muslims produced by 120 civil society organizations to 50,407 newspaper articles and television transcripts” during the seven crucial years after 9/11.  He discovered that mainstream media outlets predominantly featured anti-Islam organizations, leading to altered “contours of mainstream discourse.” **

— For the first time, the University of Louisville’s prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Religion, a $100,000 cash prize, will go to a female Muslim scholar. Leila Ahmed, a Harvard Divinity School professor specializing in women and Islam, will receive the 2013 Grawemeyer religion award for her 2011 book, “A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, from the Middle East to America.”  **

— In 2012 S.A. Ibrahim became the first Muslim to serve on an ADL board.  He was elected to the regional board in Philadelphia **

— In January, 2013, Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim (TAM) published this collection of historic events and people.  In February, MPAC published “Muslims & the Making of America”, a 92-page PDF report by Precious Rasheeda Muhammad which contains a great many details about particular incidents in the history of Muslims and America.  Precious Rasheeda Muhammad also began a blog on Patheos called Muslim History Detective

— Islamic Networks Group (ING) published an excellent resource A History of Muslims in America.  This curriculum was designed to supplement content standards in social studies and world history as it relates to the study of American history. The curriculum is made up of eight individual lesson plans, each of which focuses on different parts of the accompanying digital presentation, A History of Muslims in America. Each lesson includes detailed notes that describe each slide in the presentation. In addition to the notes, each lesson also features post-presentation discussion and test questions. The curriculum also includes links to related films accompanied by follow-up questions. Each lesson concludes with further resources and references.

— Indiana University Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis have begun a digital Archive of Muslim American History and Life.  In collaboration with the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, this digital archive collects and preserves documents related to Muslim American history from the colonial era to the present. It includes memoirs, newspapers, books, reports, speeches and other documents that reveal the place of Muslims in American social, political, religious, cultural, and economic life.

— 9/2013 ISNA held its 50th annual convention in Washington, D.C.  President Obama sent a congratulatory message


SEE ALSO:

A short history of Sufism and Sufi communities in America http://www.israinternational.com/component/content/article/53-sufi-way/110-a-short-history-of-sufism-and-sufi-communities-in-america.html
Muhammad Ali: The First Celebrity Muslim, Deborah Caldwell http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Islam/2002/01/The-First-Celebrity-Muslim.aspx
American Muslim History, Fareed Numan http://www.islam101.com/history/muslim_us_hist.html 
American Muslims, PBS report http://www.pbs.org/weta/crossroads/about/show_muslim_americans.html
American Muslims in the United States http://www.tolerance.org/publication/american-muslims-united-states
Archive of Muslim American History and Life http://www.ulib.iupui.edu/digitalscholarship/collections/AMAHL
Forbidden crossings: Morisco emigration to Spanish America, 1492—1650, Karoline Cook, Ph.D.  http://gradworks.umi.com/33/56/3356702.html
The Islamic Community In The United States: Historical Development, Muhammed Abdullah Ahari http://www.sunnah.org/history/islamamr.htm
Islam in America Vignettes:  To Tell the True Story of African American Muslims, Precious Rasheeda Muhammad http://preciousspeaks.com/2007/08/11/islam-in-america-vignettes-the-inaugural-article/
Islam in Canada http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Canada
Islam in the United States http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_the_United_States 
The Islamic Community In The United States: Historical Development, Muhammed Abdullah Ahari http://www.sunnah.org/history/islamamr.htm
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X: A Common Solution?  http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/liberation_curriculum/malcolmx/
Moriscos, Marranos, Columbus, and Islamophobes, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/moriscos-marranos-and-columbus
Muslims are a part of our American heritage, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/dear_mr_sheldon_your_facts_regarding_muslim_americans_are_incorrect_he
Muslims in America Resource http://www.muslimsinamerica.org/
Patterns of Muslim Immigration to the U.S., Jane I. Smith http://infousa.state.gov/education/overview/muslimlife/immigrat.htm
Timeline of Islam in the U.S. http://mediaguidetoislam.sfsu.edu/intheus/10_timeline.htm
Timeline of Muslims in America http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/6512/Muslims-in-America/#vars!date=1957-06-28_00:00:00!
Turks, Moors, & Moriscos in Early America: Sir Francis Drake’s Liberated Galley Slaves & the Lost Colony of Roanoke by Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Ph.D. http://www.scribd.com/doc/42130768/Turks-Moors-And-Moriscos-in-Early-America-by-Dr-Umar-Abdallah 
Why We Must Learn America’s Islamic History, Engy Abdelkader http://www.ispu.org/GetArticles/48/2409/Publications.aspx

ARTICLES on Islam in North America http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islam_in_america/

BOOKS:  http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/books on Islam in America and the West


First published January 2013