By Umar F. Abd-Allah

Conflicts and controversies at domestic and out of the country have led americans to target Islam greater than ever ahead of. additionally, a growing number of in their associates, colleagues, and associates 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 US. This biography of Alexander Russell Webb, one of many earliest American Muslims to accomplish public renown, seeks to fill this gap.Webb was once a imperative determine of yank Islam in the course of 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 relatively enthusiastic 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 american citizens identified to have performed so. inside many years, he all 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 undertaking. He wrote a variety of books meant to introduce Islam to american citizens, begun 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 common in big apple and used to be invited to Turkey, the place he acquired 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 during which to discover the early heritage of Islam in the United States. aside from his followed religion, each element of Webb's lifestyles used to be, as Abd-Allah exhibits, quintessentially attribute of his position and time. It used to be simply because he was once so as a rule American that he was once in a position to function Islam's ambassador to the USA (and vice versa). As America's Muslim group 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 potential to be an American Muslim.

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Mother Ann’’ Lee, originally a radical English Quaker, established the movement’s first colony at Watervliet, New York, in 1774. After her death, the movement’s national center moved to Mount Lebanon in the northeastern corner of Columbia County, about thirty miles from Hudson; it remained the center throughout the movement’s history. The Shakers reached their zenith around the time of Webb’s birth and continued to flourish until the Civil War, but their prevalence began to diminish during the 1870s in the wake of the Civil War and the rise of American industrialism.

In Webb’s time, Claverack was still dominated by the Dutch Reformed Church, although its population was an even mix of Dutch and British American Protestants. 57 Palatine Germans made up the fundamental ethnic stratum of Germantown, about 25 miles southwest of Hudson, having been brought to America by Queen Anne during the colonial period. 58 Hudson’s economy benefited from considerable investments in southern slavery, based on Hudson manufactured goods that were shipped by sea to southern ports.

Between 1901 and 1910, almost nine million immigrants were admitted to the United States, the great majority of whom were Catholics and Jews. In Webb’s time, Harlem was an elite white suburb in Upper Manhattan. Only shortly before his death did Harlem’s demographics begin to change. 56 Hudson and Columbia County presented a cross-section of the primary groups that made up nineteenth-century America. The city’s founders and core population were, of course, British Americans from New England. Claverack, a township lying a few miles east of Hudson, was originally a Dutch settlement, and it was in Claverack that Webb completed his formal education.

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