A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell by Umar F. Abd-Allah

By Umar F. Abd-Allah

Conflicts and controversies at domestic and out of the country have led american citizens to target Islam greater than ever sooner than. moreover, progressively more in their pals, colleagues, and neighbors are Muslims. whereas a lot has been written approximately modern American Islam and pioneering experiences have seemed on Muslim slaves within the antebellum interval, relatively little is understood approximately Islam in Victorian the USA. This biography of Alexander Russell Webb, one of many earliest American Muslims to accomplish public renown, seeks to fill this gap.Webb used to be a principal determine of yankee Islam throughout the past due 19th and early 20th centuries. a local of the Hudson Valley, he used to be a journalist, editor, and civil servant. Raised a Presbyterian, Webb early on started to domesticate an curiosity in different religions and have become rather desirous 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 turned an enthusiastic propagator of the religion, founding the 1st Islamic establishment within the usa: the yank challenge. He wrote a number of books meant to introduce Islam to americans, all started the 1st Islamic press within the usa, released a magazine entitled The Moslem global, and served because the consultant of Islam on the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago. In 1901, he was once appointed Honorary Turkish Consul common in long island and used to be invited to Turkey, the place he bought 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 in which to discover the early background of Islam in the United States. with the exception of his followed religion, each element of Webb's existence was once, as Abd-Allah exhibits, quintessentially attribute of his position and time. It was once simply because he was once so more often than not American that he was once in a position to function Islam's ambassador to the United States (and vice versa). As America's Muslim neighborhood grows and turns into extra noticeable, Webb's existence and the virtues he championed - pluralism, liberalism, common humanity, and a feeling of civic and political accountability - exemplify what it capability to be an American Muslim.

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Webb, who seems to have been part of Webb’s extended family, although the relationship is not clear. Later, Franklin Webb became an independent printer in Hudson and author of a noted Claverack history. 97 The 1860 census valued Alexander Nelson Webb’s estate at $5,000, a substantial sum at the time. 101 The Webbs of Hudson were known as printers. 102 During the early period of American journalism, most newspapers were weeklies. The Hudson Daily Star had begun as a weekly but was one of the earliest newspapers in America to print a daily edition.

Webb completely rejected traditional faith in the early 1870s but became newly interested in religion in the 1880s with exposure to novel forms of spirituality and, eventually, to Oriental traditions, which ultimately brought him to Islam. Webb’s Family Family ties were greatly valued in Victorian America, and personal fulfillment was generally sought in domestic life. Children were an essential part of the home, but guests and boarders were welcomed. The Victorian family unit was more cohesive than was the typical family unit in the preceding period.

The yankee mohammedan 17 No one knows better than I the many difficulties that surround such efforts as yours, and I trust that the day is coming when all Islam will recognize the services you are rendering to the cause we all have at heart. If our Moslem brethren generally could grasp the true value of your labors, they could not but enter heart and soul into the task of aiding you, and I trust and hope that the time is not far off when they will do so; till then you must only labor on, but ever with the certainty that the best and surest reward awaits you in the hereafter.

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