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Article Title

Humanitarian Islam

Abstract

In the aftermath of mass shootings by violent extremists and amid increasing anti-Muslim prejudice and discrimination, many Muslim Americans have responded to these and other social, legal, and political developments with philanthropic initiatives inspired by orthodox Islamic teachings. This humanitarian impulse in Islam, which has shaped the religion since its founding, is relatively unknown to non-Muslim Americans. Humanitarian Islam is defined here in largely oppositional terms to so-called the “radical Islam.” In contrast to the violence, aggression, death, and destruction commonly associated with “radical Islam,” selfless volunteerism, benevolence, altruism, and charitable giving in service to others are characteristic of humanitarian Islam. This Article presents interdisciplinary research in its inquiry into humanitarian Islam and employs case studies to achieve a number of objectives. First, through the unique lens of philanthropy, it reveals the Muslim lived experience in contemporary America, from countering violent extremism to challenging discrimination. Second, it explores the minority faith community’s varied contributions in geographically diverse regions of the country. Third, this Article examines the communal relations that Muslim Americans have formed with non-Muslim Americans. Fourth, it illuminates the role, extent, and influence of Islamic faith beliefs and practices among Americans who are Muslims and a distinct perspective regarding Islam in America.

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