Renowned Muslim Anthropologist Taking One-Year Sabbatical to Examine
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 1, 2008)—Akbar Ahmed, renowned anthropologist and Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies in American University’s School of International Service, is taking a one-year sabbatical to research Muslims in America and the attitudes and perceptions of Americans regarding their Muslim neighbors. The cross-country ethnographic study will take Ahmed and his team of five young Americans to more than 30 American towns and cities between September 2008, and summer 2009.
Throughout the trip, the team will be posting their thoughts as well as photos and videos from their experience to their blog, www.journeyintousa.blogspot.com.
Ahmed, who traveled throughout the Muslim world with four young Americans while writing Journey Into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization, will be joined by three from that group and two newcomers as he travels through America. The trip will include meetings with religious leaders of all denominations, in-depth interviews with Muslims and their non-Muslim neighbors and interfaith dialogues at leading universities across the country. From a mosque in Cedar Rapids, Iowa—the oldest existing mosque in the United states—to the bright lights of Las Vegas, Ahmed and his students will visit religious centers, community centers and schools in small-town, rural America and big cities.
Ahmed will set out to explore the Muslim community, but also to rediscover American identity. With his team, he will examine culture, society and politics making comparisons with other commentators like Alexis De Tocqueville.
Following the trip, the results of in-depth interviews, questionnaires and observations will be compiled and analyzed for a new book, Journey into America.
Ahmed’s study has received widespread support from politicians, think tanks, religious leaders and academics. The
“I believe that this study proposal contains the promise of another groundbreaking piece of scholarship,” said Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to the United States Congress. “In order to have a peaceful Muslim world and a secure
Ahmed is the former high commissioner of