This is an annotated edition of Webb’s Islam in America. It contains the complete text of Webb’s text with sources referenced and important people, places, and texts fully referenced.
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Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb (1846-1915) was one of the first converts to Islam in the United States. According to his book The Three Lectures, he started life as a Presbyterian but had given up any concept of religion before converting to Islam. As early as 1881, he started a search for his true faith by reading from a well stocked library of over 13,000 volumes starting his study with Buddhism and later studing Islam. In 1886 he began to correspond with several Muslims in India including Ghulam Ahmad and Budrudin Abdulla Kur of Bombay. In 1888, he formally declared himself Muslim. He had yet to meet a Muslim but was put in contact with several Muslims in India by a local Parsi businessman:these included Badruddin Abdulla Kur (a newspaper publisher of Bombay), and Hajji Abdullah Arab who saw letters by Webb in Kur's newspaper and went to Manila to see Webb. Following the visit, Webb resigned his post and toured India and giving speeches on Calcutta, Rangoon, Bombay and Poona. He then return to the U.S. to propagate Islam. Webb’s wife, Ella G. Webb, and their three children had also accepted Islam. Webb’s family settled in New York, where he established the Oriental Publishing Company at 1122 Upper Broadway. This company published Webb's writings including his work Islam in America which dealt with the ways to present Islam in the United States. Webb's press printed his Moslem World (May-November 1893) dedicated to "The Interests of the American Islamic Propaganda" and "To spread the light of Islam in America". He later published a 3 issue newspaper named The Voice of Islam and a 14 issue run of the newspaper The Moslem World and the Voice of Islam. He spoke at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago delievering the speeches "The Influence of Islam upon Social Conditions" and "The Spirit of Islam". On Broadway, in Manhattan, he founded a short lived mosque in NYC and opened study circles in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Newark, Manhattan, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland (Mecca Study Circle No. 1 (NYC), Qur’an Study Circle, Capital Study Circle No. 4, etc.).
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