In 1975, Leo Rosten published his Religions of America, an exhaustive compilation of statistical information on every major and minor group of believers in the country. In retrospect, it may seem surprising that the book contained no discussion of Islam. But this was not an oversight; for at the time Muslims in America were a statistically insignificant minority, numbering fewer than one thousand individuals. By contrast, Islam is today the second-largest and fastest growing religion in America, with more than six million adherents.
In the first half of the book, the author traces the beginnings of Islam in this country, in particular the rise and influence of the Nation of Islam among African Americans. He emphasizes the impact of the 1965 Hart-Cellar Act, which abolished national-origin quotas and led to successive waves of Muslim immigrants, who entered this country from Palestine, Kuwait, Iraq, Southeast Asia, Africa, Turkey, and other parts of the world.
In the second half, Williams considers statistical studies of American Muslims regarding age groups, family size, professional affiliations, annual income, and religious and political commitments. He also addresses a number of disturbing concerns about some aspects of the Muslim presence in America. These include: the connections between many American mosques with Saudi benefactors who promote an ultra-orthodox, anti-Western agenda; the existence of Muslim paramilitary training grounds recruiting ex-convicts;