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Finding Mecca in America: How Islam Is Becoming an American Religion

Mucahit Bilici

272 pages | 10 halftones, 6 line drawings, 3 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2012

The events of 9/11 had a profound impact on American society, but they had an even more lasting effect on Muslims living in the United States.

Once practically invisible, they suddenly found themselves overexposed.

By describing how Islam in America began as a strange cultural object and is gradually sinking into familiarity, Finding Mecca in America illuminates the growing relationship between Islam and American culture as Muslims find a homeland in America. Rich in ethnographic detail, the book is an up-close account of how Islam takes its American shape.

In this book, Mucahit Bilici traces American Muslims’ progress from outsiders to natives and from immigrants to citizens. Drawing on the philosophies of Simmel and Heidegger, Bilici develops a novel sociological approach and offers insights into the civil rights activities of Muslim Americans, their increasing efforts at interfaith dialogue, and the recent phenomenon of Muslim ethnic comedy.

Theoretically sophisticated, Finding Mecca in America is both a portrait of American Islam and a groundbreaking study of what it means to feel at home.

Review Quotes

Robert Wuthnow | author of America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity “Interpretations of Muslim assimilation have gravitated between two

arguments: that Muslims will remain as permanent outsiders or that Muslims will blend in with little difficulty at all. Mucahit Bilici demonstrates how wanting these arguments are. Finding Mecca in America takes us into the uncharted territory of what it is actually like to be Muslim immigrants in the United States. I am especially impressed by the study’s theoretical depth and empirical insights.”

José Casanova | Georgetown University

“A work of considerable originality, Mucahit Bilici offers a well crafted and insightful analysis of the complex process of integration that Muslim immigrants face in the United States since 9/11. Bilici’s look at Islam as a religion in the American system is rich and rewarding.”

Christian Smith | Center for the Study of Religion and Society, University of Notre Dame “A very insightful and important book that helps us think better about a badly understudied subject of immense importance, the meaning of Muslims in America. Bilici’s insights help to break through simplistic stereotypes and deepen our understanding of Islam in the United States, while expanding our imagination concerning the presences of minority religions in a Christian/secular nation.”