Alexander Russell Webb (1846-1916) was a central figure in the early history of Islam in America. A native of the Hudson Valley, Webb was a journalist, editor, and civil servant. Raised a Presbyterian, Webb early on began to cultivate an interest in other religions. While serving as U.S. consul to the Philippines in 1887, he became fascinated by Islam as he saw it practiced and began corresponding with leading Muslims. He converted in 1888, one of the first Americans known to have done so. Webb became an enthusiastic propagator of the faith, founding the first Islamic institution in the United States: the American Moslem Brotherhood. He wrote numerous books intended to introduce Islam to Americans, started the first Islamic press in the United States, published a journal entitled The Moslem World, and served as the representative of Islam at the 1893 Worlds Parliament of Religions in Chicago. In this first-ever biography of Webb, Umar F. Abd-Allah examines Webbs life and uses it as a window through which to explore the early history of Islam in America. In every aspect of his life except his adopted faith, Abd-Allah shows, Webb was quintessentially a man of his place and time. It was because he was so typically American that he was able to serve as Islam's ambassador to America (and vice versa). As Americas Muslim community grows and becomes more visible, Webbs life and the virtues he championed pluralism, liberalism, universal humanity, and a sense of civic and political responsibility exemplify what it means to be an American Muslim.

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