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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/10/tzleft.frankie.martin.jpg caption="In order to see how Muslims were fitting into America—and what it meant to fit in—we would need to talk to Americans from all backgrounds and religions." width=300 height=169]
Editor's Note: Frankie Martin is Ibn Khaldun Chair Research Fellow at American University's School of International Service and is a contributor to the new book Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam.
As I got off the plane in St. Louis in September 2008, I didn’t realize I was beginning a journey that would change my life.
On that day, I–along with several researchers working with Professor Akbar Ahmed, American University’s Chair of Islamic Studies–began a grueling project aimed at studying America’s Muslim population and its relationship to American identity. Now, nearly two years, 75 cities and 100 mosques later, Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam, will be published by the Brookings Institution Press this month.
In addition to providing unprecedented insight into America’s Muslim community, it also led me to look at my own country, the United States, in a different way.
I had taken Professor Ahmed’s class on improving relations between Islam and the West as an underclassman shortly after the US invaded Iraq in 2003 and had traveled across the Muslim world with him for the book Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization, listening to Muslim voices in countries including Jordan, Pakistan, and India.
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