IIA Conference – Keynote

Here are my notes on Karen Leonard’s keynote address. Please keep in mind that this is a stream of consciousness capture of my interpretation of what she had to say. (sorry for the terrible formatting – no time to fix it right now)

3 issues of interest for her talk

  • race
  • religion
  • nation


  • african american muslims
    • rejected black and slave identities
    • tried to redefine themselves as asiatics

  • arab muslims
    • from the ottoman empire

    • 1910 called them asiatics

  • south asians
    • hindus (Geographic marker)

    • denied citizenship in 1923

  • people in the US denied citizenship on the basis of not being
  • interesting USDOT memo
    • don’t single out arab, middle eastern,
      south asian, muslim, and sikh

    • these are cultural and religious, not

  • muslims are not a racial category
  • religious descrimination has a long history in america


  • irish became white
  • jews became white
  • catholics built a separate social structure and thereby became
  • did these people have separate sub cultures?
  • american religious landscape
    • christians change their religious
      affiliation fairly fluidly

    • women in america have an increasingly
      influential role

  • muslims in context of expanding and increasingly politicized
    • african american Muslims were initially

      • they looked for
        identity outside the US

      • some groups now have
        some worldwide recognition

        • WD Muhammad

  • Islam trying to be part of the official national religious
    • on the basis of population and abrhamic
      common history

  • australian police pamphlet
    • cultural and religious guidelines for
      police officers, helping them be sensitive and appropriate

  • decline in denominational division?
    • seems that they might increase

  • women are playing an increasing role
  • arab muslim women in detroit and toledo important for
    establishment of mosques
  • gender jihad is having much influence


  • african american muslims opted out of nation
    • gave up rights and responsibilities

    • harshest critics of US, but also among
      most engaged in society

  • arab muslims
    • engaged and more successful in large
      settlement areas

    • many took a long time to decide about

    • after 1980’s when they decided to be
      citizens, the movement has been exciting

  • shift underway before 9/11
    • toward rights and responsibilities of
      muslims in this nation

    • insistance on civil rights and