Islam L.A. style: Talking back to America through Islamic discourses

Ehsan Estiri


In this article, I explore distinct ways in which Iranian American mosque-goers in Southern California understand and define Islam. I argue that rather than relying on authoritative Islamic sources and discourses, Iranian Angelenos primarily characterize Islam to counter Islamophobic perceptions of their religion propagated in American media and political discourse. Based on ethnographic research, I present four modalities of Islam that I call Aryan Islam, Unitarian Islam, Individual and interpretive Islam, and Jurisprudential/Sectarian Islam, and discuss how they are produced in response to harmful discourses against Muslims, especially Muslim Iranian Americans, in the United States.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/730130