Chapter

Multiple Identities in a Pluralistic World: Shi'ism in America

Liyakat Takim

in Muslims in the West

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195148053
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849277 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195148053.003.0015
Multiple Identities in a Pluralistic World: Shi'ism in America

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Most discussions on Islam in America have focused on Sunni Muslims, thereby neglecting the experience of Shi'i Muslims. As a matter of fact, it is correct to state that, even in academic discourses, most studies seem to equate Islam in America with Sunnism in America. This monolithic view has obscured the proper recognition and understanding of the religious experience of a significant religious minority in America. While most of the Shi'is in America during the early part of the 20th century were Lebanese, the present American Shi'i community is composed of highly diverse ethnic and cultural groups, most of whom have come in large numbers since the 1970s. Various factors have influenced their emigration, including the revolution in Islamic Iran. This chapter examines the early history and contemporary religious, social, and political experience of Shi'i Muslims in America. Much of this information comes from interviews conducted with representative of the American Shi'i community.

Keywords: Islam; America; Shi'is; Muslims; Sunnism; emigration; Iran; minority

Chapter.  8394 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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