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Abstract

As I was recently reminded after listening to an imam repeatedly reject ISIS on Vermont Public Radio, the ‘long shadow’ cast upon the religion by the events of 9/11 and subsequent acts of terror remain scarlet letters that must be expunged from the chests of each individual Muslim. For the past 15 years, Muslims as a whole have been at the forefront of a discussion of ‘modernity’ in newspapers, television shows, and digital news feeds; in a sense, Islam has been subject to a sort of asynchronous ‘digital labor’ that serves to construct the identities of Muslims in absentia. Within such an environment, Muslim Americans have continued to participate as productive members of society, “with 40 percent holding a college degree or higher, compared to 29 percent among the general American public” (Mir, 2014, p. 3). Indeed, as Shabana Mir demonstrates in Muslim American Women on Campus, even within the most pluralistic spaces, Muslims are negatively stereotyped, marginalized, and essentialized; in the same spaces, however, Muslims work to positively self-define, seek out compromise, and sensitively negotiate infringements on personal autonomy.