For a full answer to this and other questions, see Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam
The “Yankee Mahomet”, according to 19th century American commentators, referring to the Prophet Muhammed, was none other than Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Mormon faith.
When Joseph Smith declared his faith, many people took notice. As early as 1842, the New York Herald editorialized that Joseph Smith “indicates as much talent, originality, and moral courage as Mahomet, Odin, or any of the great spirits that have hitherto produced the revolutions of the past ages”. From its birth, the founder of the Mormon Church was compared to the Prophet of Islam—approvingly by Mormons and dismissively by their critics. The American public began calling him “Yankee Mahomet” and or “backwoods Mahomet.”
Many, many comparisons can be made between the Muslim and Mormon communities. We explore this fully in the book, with an entire chapter devoted to Mormons and Muslims—a fascinating and important comparison.
Order Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam.
Next: Why did the State Department ban The Selected Works of Thomas Jefferson?
We’ve been having a great time traveling the south. Hailey (from Texas) and I (from Alabama) have felt right at home and have loved showing off the hospitality and friendliness of the south. Ambassador Ahmed likes the south a lot; Frankie and Craig (Yankees) are starting to embrace it slowly. Other than our car being broken into in Atlanta, its been a terrific trip.
We’ve been through Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Tennesee so far on this leg. We still have a lot of travel left so keep checking the blog.
Ambassador Ahmed was on “Live at 9” on Memphis Channel 3, WREG this morning. We’ll post the link as soon as they update the website.
Here’s a link to our friends at The Case Foundation. They blogged about the project and linked to a lot of our videos.
By Craig Considine – The American identity is a complex concept to comprehend partially because of the Northern and Southern cultures that differ significantly from one another. The North, where I’m from, is associated with great univierisites and Wall street. The South, where I’m about to visit for the first time, is apparently very different. I have seen Gone With the Wind, I love college football, and I love hearty food, so it will interesting to see how my experience in the South alters (or doesn’t alter) my notion of the American identity.
Before you view this video, you must understand this: these are NOT our personal beliefs. They are simply the most general stereotypes that are expressed in American culture today. This conversation took place at Reagan National Airport before we boarded our flight to Sanibel Island, Florida to kick off our fourth leg of the journey. Stereotypes are important to this study because we are examining the American social fabric and the attitudes and perceptions that Americans have of one another. Enjoy the video. Be sure to follow us through the next week as we journey through Florida, then the rest of the south.
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Tagged Akbar Ahmed, civil war, Craig Considine, Islam, Journey into America, north, redneck, Religion, south, stereotype, yankee