It is necessary to examine the historical context of Muslim terrorism in the United States to understand the evolvement of Muslim extremism today. Juergensmeyer (2003) supports this stance by stating that contemporary acts of violence are influenced by historical violence perpetrated in the religious past. The assumption could be made that Muslim extremism in the United States is a more recent phenomenon; on the contrary, this is not true. By understanding history enlightens to where foundations and structures were built to support Muslim extremism and terrorism activities that exist in the United States today.
One of the first elements of Muslim influence in the United States occurred in the early 20th century with the formation of the Moors Science Temple founded in 1913 by Noble Drew Ali in Newark, New Jersey and then later reorganized in Chicago in 1919 (Vidino, 2009; Dannin, 2002). Ali’s interpretation of Islam mixed Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroaster and Confucius (Vidino, 2009). In 1929, Ali was charged with and imprisoned for murdering Claude Greene an opponent within the organization (Dannin, 2002). Shortly after being released from bail, Ali disappeared and was presumed dead because he was never found (Dannin, 2002).
With the influence of the Moors, the Nation of Islam, another unorthodox organization of Islam, was founded in 1930 by Wallace Farad in Detroit. Farad claimed he was a prophet to “awaken a dead nation in the West; to teach them the truth about the white man” (George and Wilcox, 1996, p. 317).Only for a short time as the leader, Farad disappeared without a trace in 1934 and was replaced by Elijah Mohammed (Vidino, 2009; George and Wilcox, 1996). Elijah Mohammed established...
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... may be exaggerated but has some validity because the majority of American mosques are funded by Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabia funding is supported by the doctrine of Wahhabism, which supports the ideology of extreme purity in Islam through violence.
A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2006 found that 68 percent of American Muslims expressed an unfavorable opinion of al Qaeda (Jenkins, 2010). The remaining responders of the poll included 27 percent that declined to offer an opinion and five percent that offered support for al Al Qaeda. This poll illustrates; there is a mixed message of whether the extremism is coming from the mosques or actually from more lone-wolf and smaller groups of people. The history or Muslim extremism and violence clearly reflect a past of vitality and illicit activity, which makes it a pertinent threat in today’s world.
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