The Mosque and its Controversies in the United States

March 26, 2019 - 6:30pm
University of Arizona Poetry Center, 1508 East Helen Street (at Vine Avenue)

The Department of Religious Studies & Classics presents the 2019 Robert A. Burns Lecture, "The Mosque and its Controversies in the United States.”

Featured guest Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, Professor of Religion & Humanities at Reed College, will deliver the lecture at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, at the UA Poetry Center (1508 East Helen Street, at Vine Avenue).

The daily ritual prayer in Islam requires Muslims to recite the words of God as they have been preserved over time in the Qur’an. The utterance of these divine words in their original Arabic in ritual prayer sensualizes God in individual Muslims’ lives, and its congregational performance in mosques embodies a community marked by its practice of sensualizing God in space through ritual. Given this central role that ritual prayer plays in shaping individual Muslims’ lives and in structuring Muslim publics, this lecture asks how the institutionalization of prayer through the building of mosques in the United States has shaped an American Muslim public. Furthermore, by focusing on the 2010 national controversy surrounding a proposed mosque in Lower Manhattan, it inquires into what non-Muslim Americans’ social and political anxieties about mosques reveal About the conceptualization and practice of religious freedom in contemporary United States.

Kambiz GhaneaBassiri is the author of A History of Islam in America: From the New World to the New World Order (Cambridge University Press). A Carnegie Scholar and a Guggenheim Fellow, he is currently working on a book titled The Mosque in Islamic History.