Drawing on a decade of research into the community that proposed the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque," this book refutes the idea that current demands for Muslim moderation have primarily arisen in response to the events of 9/11, or to the violence often depicted in the media as unique to Muslims.
Instead, it looks at a century of pressures on religious minorities to conform to dominant American frameworks for race, gender, and political economy.
These include the encouraging of community groups to provide social services to the dispossessed in compensation for the government's lack of welfare provisions in an aggressively capitalist environment.
Calls for Muslim moderation in particular are also colored by racist and orientalist stereotypes about the inherent pacifism of Sufis with respect to other groups.
The first investigation of the assumptions behind moderate Islam in our country, Making Moderate Islam is also the first to look closely at the history, lives, and ambitions of the those involved in Manhattan's contested project for an Islamic community center.