Indiana’s First Mosque? Syrian Shi’a Muslims in Michigan City

Michigan City, Indiana, was likely the site of Indiana’s first formal mosque. Muslim immigrants from the Ottoman Empire, especially from what today are the countries of Syria and Lebanon, immigrated to the state in the 1890s, if not before. But it was only in the twentieth century that Islam in Indiana began to develop as an institutionalized American religion that, like other American religions, created self-sustaining … Continue reading Indiana’s First Mosque? Syrian Shi’a Muslims in Michigan City

Indianapolis’ Homegrown Islam: The Moorish Science Temple of America

Originally posted on Invisible Indianapolis:
This week’s post comes to us from Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts and Professor of Religious Studies at the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, Edward E. Curtis IV In May, 1939 the Moorish Science Temple advertised a Decoration Day (Memorial Day) dance in the Indianapolis Knights of Pythias Hall (click for an expanded view). In the 1930s… Continue reading Indianapolis’ Homegrown Islam: The Moorish Science Temple of America

Why We Love our Kids’ D-Rated School

Originally published Dec. 18, 2016 in the Indianapolis Star: I am a college professor, so I take education very seriously. I also send my two school-aged children to a D-rated neighborhood school in Indianapolis. My school choice reflects our family’s deepest hopes for our own children and for all children. Am I doing my fourth-grader and my kindergartner a disservice? Am I just a simple-minded … Continue reading Why We Love our Kids’ D-Rated School

My Op-Ed on Muslim Veterans in the “Detroit News”

Originally published in The Detroit News, Nov. 10, 2016: Pvt. Omer Otmen’s Company K was ordered to join the first wave of the 360th Infantry’s attack against German forces, including the division called the “Kaiser’s favorites.” This was part of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the U.S. military’s most important campaign in World War I. Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing led over a million troops in … Continue reading My Op-Ed on Muslim Veterans in the “Detroit News”

Curtis to Gingrich: Sharia is not what you think

Originally published in the Indianapolis Star, July 18, 2016: “We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background,” former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich declared during a recent television program. “And if they believe in Sharia they should be deported.” On the one hand, it is difficult to believe that Gingrich really means what he says. This kind of religious … Continue reading Curtis to Gingrich: Sharia is not what you think