By Umar F. Abd-Allah
Conflicts and controversies at domestic and overseas have led american citizens to target Islam greater than ever sooner than. moreover, increasingly more in their friends, colleagues, and pals are Muslims. whereas a lot has been written approximately modern American Islam and pioneering stories have seemed on Muslim slaves within the antebellum interval, relatively little is understood approximately Islam in Victorian the United States. 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 through the past due 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 quite thinking 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 americans identified to have performed so. inside 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 venture. He wrote a number of books meant to introduce Islam to american citizens, all started the 1st Islamic press within the usa, released a magazine entitled The Moslem international, 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 got Ottoman medals of merits.In this first-ever biography of Webb, Umar F. Abd-Allah examines Webb's existence and makes use of it as a window by which to discover the early historical past of Islam in the United States. aside from 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 ordinarily American that he was once capable of function Islam's ambassador to the United States (and vice versa). As America's Muslim neighborhood grows and turns into extra noticeable, Webb's lifestyles and the virtues he championed - pluralism, liberalism, common humanity, and a feeling of civic and political accountability - exemplify what it skill to be an American Muslim.
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Additional info for A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell Webb
He never became deeply learned in Islam yet was creative in his application of what he knew. With an instinctive 20 a muslim in victorian america American naturalness, he assumed authority in the interpretation of his adopted religion, rejected ‘‘fanaticism’’ and bigotry, and never felt himself duty-bound to follow any ‘‘irrational or backward’’ formulations associated with the faith wherever he might encounter them. Webb founded his life and his vision for Islam in America on the same broad spiritual ethos through which he himself initially made his journey to the faith.
Like other Hudson youths, he could have recounted at length an array of river stories and legends, including those of the Nantucket whalers who ﬁrst settled his town. Like most of the city’s children, however, he saw the river not as a historical symbol but as a focal point of fun. Throughout the year, it offered a variety of sports and games. Year-round ﬁshing opportunities included ice ﬁshing when the river froze over. The river was excellent for swimming and boating, and, in the dead of winter, it provided ice skating and ice boating.
Abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison vindicated the Declaration of Independence and the right of all humans to resist the state on grounds of conscience. ’’ In 1854, when Webb was a boy, the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, an action that effectively opened Kansas for settlement but left the issue of slavery in the settlers’ hands. 70 During Webb’s childhood, Frederick Douglass, the celebrated black orator and human rights advocate, was based in Rochester, New York.
A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell Webb by Umar F. Abd-Allah