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A Muslim in Victorian AmericaThe Life of Alexander Russell Webb$
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Umar F. Abd-Allah

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195187281

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195187288.001.0001

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 Manhattan Beginnings

 Manhattan Beginnings

(p.159) 7 Manhattan Beginnings
A Muslim in Victorian America

Umar F. Abd‐Allah

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Webb's life following his return to New York in February 1893. He moved in with a friend, Samuel Brown of Jersey City, and immediately launched his mission from Brown's parlor with a well-publicized talk on Islam. Webb called his mission by various names, which reflected its evolution over about half a decade. The “American Mission,” “American Islamic Propaganda,” and “American Moslem Brotherhood” were the most prominent, but it is difficult to assign a single designation to the mission as a whole. From beginning to end, he conceived of his work as a movement and frequently alluded to it as “the movement” or, when addressing sympathizers and co-workers, “our movement.” Webb tried to avoid the press after his arrival in Manhattan in the winter of 1893, but the New York Times brought a quick end to his anonymity. Although Webb was initially “disinclined to talk,” the paper finally obtained a full interview, and Webb's mission soon appeared on the front pages of the city's leading newspapers. With his prominence — an American consul embracing Islam — Webb had even gained some notoriety in the American press before his return to America.

Keywords:   Alexander Russell Webb, mission, Islam, Muslim American

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