The Gülen Movement: A Sociological Analysis of a Civic Movement Rooted in Moderate Islam

Springer Science & Business Media
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The terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, marked a watershed event not only for the United States but globally. Within hours of the events in New York and Washington, Muslims were targeted as the perpetrators. Suddenly, Americans r- eted to their television and computer screens learned that Muslims were not only some amorphous group in the Middle East but lived in American neighborhoods, worked in American workplaces, and went to school in American universities and even with their children in grammar and high schools. People all over America were asking: Who are these people? What do they believe? How can a religion promote the destruction of thousands of human lives? Suddenly, the news media as well as people all over the United States were fixated on a religion that was foreign to most of them. The following day, September 12, President Bush, while announcing his “war on terror,” warned the American people that not all Muslims are terrorists and that Islam is a peaceful religion which does not condone violence. He took the lead in framing the previous day’s events as the actionsof a radical, extremist group within an otherwise peaceful religion. He called on Americans not to retaliate by attacking Muslims in their cities and neighborhoods.
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About the author

Helen Rose Ebaugh, professor, University of Houston, received her Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University in 1975 with specialties in organizational sociology and the sociology of religion. In addition to five research monographs and two edited books, she has published numerous articles in scholarly journals, including The American Sociological Review, Social Forces, The Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Sociological Analysis and The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. She served as president of the national Association for the Sociology of Religion, helped organize and served as the first chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on the Sociology of Religion and is past president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Ebaugh received two consecutive research grants from the Pew Charitable Trusts to study religion and the new immigrants in the United States. With a major grant from the Lilly Endowment, she studied inter-faith coalitions and their provision of social services. She routinely teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in the sociology of religion and the study of world religions.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Dec 1, 2009
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Pages
134
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ISBN
9781402098949
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / General
Religion / General
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / Anthropology / General
Social Science / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Nearly seven million Muslims live in the United States today, and their relations with non-Muslims are strained. Many Americans associate Islam with figures such as Osama bin Laden, and they worry about “homegrown terrorists.” To shed light on this increasingly important religious group and counter mutual distrust, renowned scholar Akbar Ahmed conducted the most comprehensive study to date of the American Muslim community.

Journey into America explores and documents how Muslims are fitting into U.S. society, placing their experience within the larger context of American identity. This eye-opening book also offers a fresh and insightful perspective on American history and society. Following up on his critically acclaimed Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization (Brookings, 2007), Ahmed and his team of young researchers traveled for a year through more than seventyfive cities across the United States—from New York City to Salt Lake City; from Las Vegas to Miami; from the large Muslim enclave in Dearborn, Michigan, to small, predominantly white towns like Arab, Alabama. They visited homes, schools, and over one hundred mosques to discover what Muslims are thinking and how they are living every day in America.

In this unprecedented exploration of American Muslim communities, Ahmed asked challenging questions: Can we expect an increase in homegrown terrorism? How do American Muslims ofArab descent differ from those of other origins (for example, Somalia or South Asia)? Why are so many white women converting to Islam? How can a Muslim become accepted fully as an “American,” and what does that mean? He also delves into the potentially sticky area of relations with other religions. For example, is there truly a deep divide between Muslims and Jews in America? And how well do Muslims get along with other religious groups, such as Mormons in Utah?

Journey into America is equal parts anthropological research, listening tour, and travelogue. Whereas Ahmed’s previous book took the reader into homes, schools, and mosques in the Muslim world, his new quest takes us into the heart of America and its Muslim communities. It is absolutely essential reading for anyone trying to make sense of America today.
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