Competing Visions of Islam in the United States

A Study of Los Angeles

by Kambiz GhaneaBassiri


This is the first in-depth study of the large Muslim population of Los Angeles County. It explores both immigrant and indigenous Muslims' self-identity and the role they see for themselves and their faith in the United States.

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July 1997


Pages 224
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Religion/General
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    Hardcover: £67.00/72,00€/A$111.00

This book fills a void in the study of Muslims in the United States, presenting the first in-depth study of the large Muslim population in Los Angeles County. It examines an array of issues facing the American Muslim population, ranging from gender and ethnicity to political and da 'wa (missionary) activities. This study inquires into the role Muslims see for themselves and their religious tradition in the United States and presents the diverse views of Islam held by Muslims in America today. This work will be of interest to students and scholars of Islamic culture and religion, as well as those interested in the changing face of religion in America.

Table of Contents

TablesIntroductionSome Major Muslim Organizations in the United StatesMuslim IntegrationGender Issues and RelationsAfrican-American MuslimsConclusionSelected BibliographyIndex



The American Muslim community has an internal variety little imagined by most casual obeservers. Readers of this work are treated to a clear exposition of the various institutions and alliances, both national and regional, serving Los Angeles's Muslims. Based on field research...yet suffused with understanding and empathy for both his religios tradition and his coreligionists, GhaneaBassiri's discussion of divergence of practice from beliefs about practice is particularly worthwhile. A clear picture is offered of the different aims and associations of Arabs, African Americans, Persians, and Pakistanis.... Recommended for those interested in American Islam, the transformation of American religious communities, and immigrant and African American studies.— Choice

...[T]he author exhibits true intellectual integrity when he cautions readers not to assume that his findings, based on the study of a particular city, represent the big picture. The movements that the author does cover...are discussed in a well balanced and scholarly mannner. The most important contribution of the the author's treatment of gender issues in chapter four. His approach in dealing with the controversial issue quite correctly focused upon the study of hadith as a source of societal norms regarding women in traditional Muslim societies.—Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs

....the book contains several interesting nuggets of information that make it worth reading.—Community, Environment, and Population

This is a welcome addition to texts on Islam in America.—American Journal of Sociology


A well-crafted survey of Muslims in Los Angeles, showing the tensions within this community as its members relate to the larger social world. GhaneaBassiri's research offers insight into the differing visions, styles, and identities emerging among Muslims, and especially between African Americans and recent immigrants.—Wade Clark Roof^LJ.F. Rowny Professor of Religion and Society^LUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

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