Muslims in America represent almost every variety of Islamic thought and experience. The heavily secular and prosperous Iranian community in Southern California has little in common with orthodox Yemeni laborers near Detroit. College-educated white converts whose interest in New Age concepts leads them to the spiritual Sufi branch of Islam do not resemble poor black prison inmates who embrace Muslim beliefs behind bars as a source of discipline and solace. Indeed, as Business Week Assistant Managing Editor Paul M. Barrett explains in his new book, American Islam, the U.S. can be seen as a vast experiment in how Islam can adapt to the West.
Business is good these days at The Arab American News. The bilingual weekly newspaper in Dearborn, Mich., bulges with dispatches on strife in the Middle East. Its columnists bristle over what they see as America's many misdeeds in the region. And, boosted by readers' anxiety over bloodshed in Iraq, Gaza, and Lebanon, circulation has risen 60% over the past year, to 36,000, says Osama Siblani, the publisher and editor-in-chief. More advertisers have come with the growing readership, and among employers buying substantial help-wanted ads is the U.S. Homeland Security Dept., which desperately needs Arabic linguists. A fierce critic of American foreign policy, Siblani acknowledges the irony of his profiting from the U.S. security establishment. "It seems like the niche we have is working for us," he deadpans.