Covering Islam and Muslims in America by Dr. Sherman Jackson
Muslims in America are locked into a hidden battle over who will get to decide what Islam means in the modern world. Keynote speaker Sherman Jackson, a professor of Arabic and Islamic studies in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan and a specialist in Islamic law and theology, discussed the history behind this predicament, and what it means for media coverage of Islam in the United States. Jackson began by defining Muslims in America as an amalgamation of ethnicities, races, classes, and histories – all of which are only loosely bound by their common commitment to basic religious and theological postulates. There exists an ongoing exchange about what that means and how that will affect Muslims’ search for a dignified existence in America. Jackson said that Islam’s authority crisis is exacerbated in the United States because groups are competing for the authority to define and speak for Muslims in America.