A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell Webb
This book is the first biography of Alexander Russell Webb, a journalist and diplomat who converted to Islam in 1887 and led an early effort to educate Americans about the faith. Abd-Allah, a former professor of Islamic studies and Arabic and student of the esteemed Fazlur Rahman, uses sources ranging from contemporary newspaper articles to Webb’s own writings to portray an enterprising journeyman who exemplified, in a unique way, both American individualism and Muslim collectivism. Abd-Allah frames Webb’s story within the context of the 1893 Chicago’s World Fair, where Webb was apparently the sole Muslim representative at the first meeting of the World’s Parliament of Religions. Webb confronted many of the same issues American Muslims still face today: funding, organization and unity within the community.