Kecia Ali, Omid Safi, Precious Rasheeda Muhammad, and Michael Wolfe — Progressive Islam in America
July 28, 2005

In the years since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, scrutiny of the religion of Islam has become part and parcel of our public life. In forums of all kinds, often guided by non-Muslim pundits, we ask, what does terrorism have to do with the teachings of the Qur'an? Can Islam coexist with democracy? Is Islam capable of a reformation, or has it fallen into hopeless decay?

We pose these questions to a spectrum of American Muslims who describe themselves as devout and moderate. Our guests take us inside the way Muslims discuss such questions among themselves, and they suggest that when we consider "the Muslim world" we must look first at Islam in this country. In this open society, they say, Islam has found a home like no other.

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Selected Readings

Selected Lyrics by Bob Dylan

Omid Safi describes his reasons for using the lyrics of "The Times They Are A-Changin'" in the introduction to his book Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism. Listen and read the lyrics to Bob Dylan's modern folk classic.

Malcolm X's Letter to Elijah Muhammad

Read a letter Malcolm X wrote to Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam, after his departure from the organization and view an actual copy of the typewritten letter.

Selected Audio

Audio Essay by Muhammad

Listen to Precious Rasheeda Muhammad, founder and president of the Journal of Islam in America Press and founder of the Islam in America conferences at Harvard Divinity School, read from her essay "Oh Allah, Operate on Us!" Islam and the Legacy of American Slavery, which appears as part of a collection of essays Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith, edited by Michael Wolfe.

About the Image

On March 18, 2005, Amina Wadud (right, kneeling), a professor of Islamic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, leads both men and women in prayer at Synod House at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. Her action has drawn sharp criticism from Muslim religious leaders.

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Voices on the Radio

is Kay Fellow in Islamic Studies and Women's Studies at Brandeis University.

is associate professor of Islamic Studies at Colgate University, co-chair of the Study of Islam Section at the American Academy of Religion, and editor of Progressive Muslims.

is a columnist, filmmaker, and editor of Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith.

Precious Rasheeda Muhammad

is founder and president of the Journal of Islam in America Press and founder of the Islam in America conferences at Harvard Divinity School

Production Credits

Host/Producer: Krista Tippett

Managing Producer: Kate Moos

Executive Producer: Bill Buzenberg

Senior Producer: Mitch Hanley

Associate Producer: Colleen Scheck

Associate Producer: Jody Abramson

Web Producer: Trent Gilliss