The 9/11 tragedy caused the growth of Islam in America to accelerate greatly. One of the clearest indications of this is that after the attacks, the Qur'an became the best-selling book in many states for a long time. American interest in the Qur'an increased to such an extent that Penguin Books, one of the best-known publishers of the Qur'an in English, reported that it had printed 20,000 extra copies after 9/11.
USA Today reported on this intense interest in "People Want to Know, so Koran is Bestseller," saying that sales of the Qur'an had increased by five times.When asked for his view on this matter, a leading expert in Islam, John Esposito, emphasized an important point:
|Newsweek devoted eight pages in its February 2001 issue to an examination of the Qur'an. In the report entitled "In the Beginning There Were the Holy Books," it emphasized that God revealed each holy book and that there was no room for religious conflict. Among the issues treated were Qur'anic morality, how Muslims regard Christians and Jews, and Islam teaches people to live. The report states that when they first read the Qur'an, many Christians are surprised to see how much is written in the Qur'an about such Prophets as Jesus, David, Abraham, and Jonah, peace be upon them all, who appear in the Bible. The report also stresses that justice, mercy, and compassion are basic to the Qur'an.||The Oprah Show, one of the top three American talk-shows, also discussed Islam. On October 5, 2001, there was an episode called "Islam 101." Participants included Queen Raina of Jordan; Prof. Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and professor of International Relations at American University in Washington; and Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States. The program's purpose was to introduce Islam to the viewers. Along with presenting their views, the program sought to show a cross-section of the daily lives of American Muslims and to help people understand Islam better. Also, the program's Internet site explained Islam's basic tenets.|
In addition to becoming a best seller, some public schools asked their students to memorize some Qur'anic verses. For example, seventh grade students in Byron, California, public school system were to take a three-week course to give them detailed information about the tenets of Islam. In this course, they were to memorize Qur'anic verses, learn about Islamic history and the life of Prophet Muhammad, and even make speeches to the class using Muslim names that they had chosen for themselves. And this program was put into effect immediately. Along with this, it was proposed that students learn how Muslims pray and what Islam's religious duties are.
People in the state of Maine had a very keen interest in Islam. A few days after 9/11, there was a large increase in sales of the Qur'an and books on Islamic history. On September 22, the Bangor Daily News reported on the people's interest in Islam in "Mainers Studying Tenets of Islam." This article said, in part:
As Americans struggle to come to terms with last week's events, Mainers apparently are turning to encyclopedias, history books, biographies, textbooks and the Qur'an itself to understand what the majority of Muslims believe. Gig Weeks of Book Marc's in downtown Bangor said Wednesday the store had sold all but one copy of the Qur'an…. She said several of the titles are on back order until publishers can reprint them. Staffers at Borders Books, Music and Café in Bangor reported they had sold five copies of the Qur'an since Sept. 11, compared with the two copies that had been sold between Jan. 1 and Sept. 10.
|(Above) Reports and documentaries dealing with Islam on American television and in the newspapers play an important role in informing people about Islam (below). The PBS series on "Observing Islam" has attracted much interest. (Middle) In the US Islamic websites are popular; since it was broadcast, Robert Gardner's documentary Islam: Empire of Faith has received a great deal of interest in America.(Below) An Islamic documentary on American TV; internet sites about Islam have received as much interest among Americans as documentaries and television programs.||(Above left) After 9/11 there was a much higher sale of Qur'ans (Above right) The Qur'an is a bestseller in the US (Below) For weeks after 9/11, the Qur'an was at the top of the best-seller list. In an Atlanta Journal report entitled "Qu'ran a best seller everywhere," well-known bookstores reported that their stocks of Islamic books were depleted and that the Qur'an was the top-selling book in almost every state.|
The article gave further information about this interest. For example, students at Bangor Theological School, who normally study about Islam toward the end of the school year, wanted to start the course right away, and so Dana Sawyer, one of the school's teachers, started a course about the Qur'an and the Prophet's life. In this course, Sawyer said that declaring all Muslims to be terrorists was the same as saying that all Christians are responsible for a crime committed by one Christian. The Guardian featured an article by Jeremy Rifkin, the well-known American economist, in which he said that he was ashamed that he had not read anything about Islam prior to 9/11, and that now he was not the only one engaged in learning about Islam:
"I'm ashamed to admit it, but before September 11, I didn't pay much attention to Islam. I had a cursory knowledge of the historical struggle between Israel and its Arab neighbors. I knew a bit about the struggle with the west over oil.... It took the deaths of 5,000 Americans in a horrific act of terrorism to get my attention. Like so many others, I have been reading up on Islam-its tenets, internal struggles, . . . visions. . . , its similarities and deep differences with Christianity and the West... I'm not alone. Seven of the 15 lead books on the New York Times paperback bestseller list are devoted to Islam. The Koran has become a bestseller. The whole world, it seems, has been converted into a classroom as we try to make sense out of the tragic events of September 11 and its aftermath."
(Left) In the "Islam and the West" section of the Economist magazine, a dialogue between Christians and Muslims appeared, entitled "The Bishop and the Imam ask, Do we really have to fight?" (Right) In a Guardian article entitled "Dialogue Is a Necessity," Jeremy Rifkin, a well-known American economist, drew attention to the importance of knowing about Islam and understanding it properly.
|A Muslim Leader Adresses A National Service of Remembrance || |
Friday Prayers in the American Congress
|A Muslim Leader Adresses A National Service of Remembrance |
At a national service of commemoration held on September 14 to commemorate those who died on 9/11, President Bush invited the Muslim leader Muzammil Siddiqi to give the address. The service at the National Cathedral was attended by George Bush and Colin Powell, members of the military, bureaucrats, and relatives of those who lost their lives. In his address, Siddiqi prayed for those who died and recited Qur'anic verses.(Above) The Qur'an was read in a cathedral, (Below) Christians and Muslims pray together in the cathedral.
|A small mosque has been set aside for Muslims working in the Congress to perform Friday prayers. In 1998, for the first time and under the initiative of Suhail Khan, Senator Tom Campbell's press secretary, Muslims started meeting once a month for conversation. A little while later, Muslims in other government departments joined and began to hold the Friday prayers in a room convenient for this purpose. When the numbers grew too large, talking with the management of the Congress building resulted in a small room being set aside as a mosque in which Muslims could meet for conversation and Friday prayers. Now, an average of 50 to 60 Muslims meet there every Friday.1. "Muslims Holding Regular Friday Prayers in U.S. Capitol," U.S. Department of State, International Information Programs, http:usinfo.state.gov./usa/islam/ a091099.htm|
American Congress opens for the first time with
a reading from the Qur'an
American official institutions teach the Qur'an
|(Above) American Congress opens for the first time with a reading from the Qur'an (Middle) The US Congress will open with a reading from the Qur'an; In 2001, another historical event occurred. Every year when Congress begins its new session, there are readings from the Bible. This year, there was a reading from the Qur'an. This was an important event for all Muslims, and no one could have guessed only a few years ago that the Qur'an would be recited in the political heart of the world's only superpower. This is an example of how much Islam has grown in America.(Below) Maryland State Senate opens with a reading from the Qur'an.||American official institutions teach the Qur'an; Because of the increasing numbers of Muslims in America and Islam's increasing influence in American social life, various institutions, among them the FBI, have begun to educate their employees about Islam, (Below) FBI learns about Islam|
The Number Of Muslims Is Increasing In Hawaii
Islam Is Spreading Among Latin American Immigrants
|As in other parts of America, the number of Muslims is increasing in Hawaii. The majority of converts in Hawaii are military personnel. One of them is Heather Ramaha, who works for the navy at Pearl Harbor. Her husband is a Muslim, and she decided to convert after 9/11. Hakim Ouansafi, president of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, reported that after 9/11, there was a visible increase in the number of Muslims in Hawaii. According to him, before 9/11 only about 3 Muslims converted a month; in the two months after the attacks, 23 people converted.(Above) Reports about Muslims in Hawaii newspapers. In the report on the left, the president of the Muslim Association of Hawaii condemns the 9/11 attacks. The report on the right is about the rising conversion trend in Hawaii since 9/11.||(Above) Latin-America streams to Islam, Latino-Islamic currents, The densest wave of immigration to America is from Latin America. In many states today, Spanish and English are the majority languages. It is estimated that more than 40,000 Latin American Muslims live in Los Angeles, New York, Newark, and Chicago. The public assistance programs organized by Latin American Muslims have attracted interest. For example, the Alianza Islamica, whose members are mostly from Harlem, has achieved much success in the last few years in their struggle against drugs, AIDS, and crime. 1. Hisham Aidi, "Olé to Allah: New York's Latino Muslims," http:www.africana.com/DailyArticles/index_19991101.htm|