DPI 397: Islam in the American Public Sphere: A Case Study for Strategic Diversity Leadership

Instructor: Khalil Abdur-Rashid

This course will examine Islam and the American Muslim community as a case study which reveals the challenges and perspectives emerging from the encounter of a global faith community in America with the intersection of race, religion, and politics in America. Islam and being Muslim has been treated in America in religious, racial and political tones. However, because the nature of race has been and continues to be central to the American political project, the religious impact of racial identities is too often overlooked.

The course will focus on three sets of questions that emerge from analyzing the state of affairs of Islam in the American public sphere. The first question deals with race and asks, drawing on the history of the Black American Muslim community and its impact on the Muslim community at large, how does the politics of race and ideology impact religious communities of color in the United States and globally? The second, about religion, asks, drawing from the incredible diversity of American Muslims, American Islam, and the reception of Islam in America, what can we learn about how to decide policy regarding public life in a way that resolves conflicts between competing values? The third question is on politics and asks, what can we learn from the encounter of Islam in the American public sphere that will help counter biased viewpoints and foster a more meaningful and tolerant debate about rights and political activism directed at more effective governing.