Many people perceive America’s relationship with Islam and Muslims as a twentieth-century phenomenon. In reality, America’s relationship with Islam predates the creation of the United States and reflects America’s European, African, and Middle Eastern heritage. Islam was also a key component of Atlantic history in both the eastern and western hemispheres as a rival civilization and a vehicle for religious and political reform. This article will discuss the role of Islam at three crucial turning points in Atlantic history: the Protestant Reformation, the emergence of European nation-states, and the rise of notions of universal human rights.


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