All Volumes (2001-2008)


Volume VI, 2007

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The Jacksonville Islamic Center is uncommon; its unique qualities are illustrative of the social and cultural issues that accompany a minority status in terms of both religion and nationality or ethnicity. Over the course of the past year (2005-2006), I have conducted ethnographic research within the Muslim community of Jacksonville. My research focuses primarily around the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida (ICNEF) which serves as both mosque and community center, yet my research extended into wider circles of the American Muslim experience, including a conference in Washington D.C. that dealt with issues surrounding Islamophobia and Anti-Americanism in the media hosted by CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations). I have conducted formal interviews as well as participant observations while staying abreast of the current scholarship regarding Islam in American. It is my proposal that my data will demonstrate that the experience of Muslims in Jacksonville who attend the ICNEF is unique, both in context of the larger Muslim world and in contrast to other American Muslim communities. This is in larger measure due to Jacksonville’s Muslim population being large enough to warrant a strong community center and a thriving mosque, but not sizeable enough where there are separate mosques for separate groups of people who might otherwise be divided along such variables as ethnicity, theological/sectarian differences, language, etc. Instead, there is a veritable cornucopia of diversity within the ICNEF, a diversity worthy of examination. This research and subsequent article will present the ways I which this diversity presents itself, navigates through the larger needs and requirements of the community, and participates in interface with the larger, non-Muslim Jacksonville community.