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Islam after Liberalism$
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Faisal Devji and Zaheer Kazmi

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190851279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190851279.001.0001

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Revival, Reform, and American Exceptionalism

(p.219) 11 Islamotopia
Islam after Liberalism

Michael Muhammad Knight

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the idea of American Islam, a unique expression of Islam articulated by a range of American Muslim thinkers. Special attention is given to the ways in which constructions of American Islam intersect with notions of U.S. exceptionalism to imagine the U.S. as a setting in which Muslims can recover and revive the “true” and “original” Islam. The claim that American Islam would thus be the most authentic and universal Islam, informed by the racial history of the U.S. and white privilege, has been employed to diverse ends by a variety of actors that includes conservative neo-traditionalists, progressive and feminist Muslims, and Muslim supporters of George W. Bush. This chapter investigates the development of these discourses to argue that notions of American Islam ultimately privilege white convert men as the ideal embodiments of universal Islam.

Keywords:   American Islam, American Muslim thinkers, American exceptionalism, White privilege, Universal Islam, White convert men, Authentic Islam

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