Islam in the Mind of American Courts: 1800-1960

34 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2011 Last revised: 25 Jan 2013

Date Written: May 1, 2011


This article surveys references to Islam and Muslims in American court opinions from 1800 to 1960. It argues that American judges as a group portray an ambivalent attitude toward Muslims, some treating Islam disparagingly or as an exotic and fanciful religion, and others emphasizing the religious equality that Muslims deserve.

Keywords: Islam, Muslims, legal history, religious liberty, religious minorities

JEL Classification: J7, K00

Suggested Citation

Failinger, Marie A., Islam in the Mind of American Courts: 1800-1960 (May 1, 2011). Boston College Journal of Law & Social Justice, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2012, Available at SSRN:

Marie A. Failinger (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States

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