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Changing constructions of religious visibility: The case of an African American Muslim community in South Central LA


Journal abstract

Through a case study of a mosque in Los Angeles, I examine how changing constructions of space affect the ways a religious community comes together to engage faith. I show how as the neighborhood was undergoing dramatic change, so too were the ways believers at the mosque interpreted Islam. I divide my analyses into three parts, following the major chronological shifts of religious praxis in this African American Muslim community: (1) early days as members of the Nation of Islam (1950–1975); (2) ‘transition’ from the Nation to Sunni Islam in the mid 1970s; (3) and the post-transition period of rebuilding that continues into the present day. Together they produce a historical interaction effect of economic, demographic (immigration) and internal religious changes that lead to current dilemmas mosque members must address.

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