Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs
Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb, John A. Lant, Emin (Leo) Nabakoff, First Society for the Study of Islam, Islam in New York
In late 1893, the nascent Indian-backed American Islamic Propaganda movement, led by Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb, fell into discord. Emin L. Nabakoff and John A. Lant left the movement and formed their own Muslim group, the First Society for the Study of Islam in America. For the next two years the leaders of the bitter rival organizations continued to conduct business. However, they also fought a very public war of words in the newspapers, leveling charges and countercharges against each other’s character, integrity, and Islamic legitimacy. The quarrel spread abroad to India and Britain where each side tried to gain supporters and financial patronage. In the end, the constant fighting and suspicions it raised turned most willing financial backers away from both groups. When progress among American Muslims depended on unity, only fractious disarray was present. This essay explores the history of the rivalry and ultimate demise of late nineteenth century Islamic movements in the United States and examines the profound implications of the whole affair for the budding American Muslim community.
Singleton, Brent D., "Brothers at Odds: Rival Islamic Movements in Late Nineteenth Century New York City" (2007). Library Faculty Publications & Presentations. 16.