AMST 2501 Muslim Religious Liberty in Early America

The legal history of religious liberty in the United States reveals a simple fact: there has never been an America without Muslims.

Peaceful CoexistenceReligious Literacy + Legal Literacy =
Peaceful Coexistence

We’ve crafted the following educational experiences based on our theory of change: religiously literate and legally literate professionals are uniquely positioned to promote peaceful coexistence.

In this interactive course you will explore the social and legal history of Muslims in early America. You will interact with primary historical sources that demonstrate how the founders of colonies and authors of the U.S. Constitution and first Presidents defended the rights of Muslims. You will study research from the nation’s leading religion historians, including from curators at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.Founders of colonies and framers of the U.S. Constitution explicitly advocated for the rights of Muslims. Overall, you will measure the impact of the legal developments of our First Amendment rights and reflect on how they informed what we know today as civil and human rights.

After cultivating your content knowledge, you’ll engage your colleagues in a social learning community that you can access from your phone, tablet, and computer. We look forward to learning from and with you!


Dalia Mogahed MA

Director of Research
Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Meira Neggaz MALD

Executive Director
Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Dr. Nathan C. Walker

President, 1791 Delegates

Precious Rasheeda Muhammad MTS

Independent Scholar
The History Detective,

Dr. Amir Hussain

Professor of Theological Studies
Loyola Marymount University

Brittany R. King MA

Delegate, 1791 Delegates
Learning Management System Administrator, ZERO TO THREE

+1 enrolled
Not Enrolled
$56 single course
3 hours

College, Graduate, Professional Development

Download ISPU 2501 Course Pack A. Origins of Muslims in America


Download ISPU 2501 Course Pack B. Religious Liberty Frameworks


Download "Muslims and the Making of America" by Precious Rasheeda Muhammad (Muslim Public Affairs Council)

Civic Education for a Common Good

We apply the U.S. Department of Education’s Consensus Statements about Constitutional Approaches for Teaching about Religion

▸ Our approach to religion is academic, not devotional;
▸ We strive for student awareness of religions, but do not press for student acceptance of any religion;
▸ We sponsor the study about religion, not the practice of religion;
▸ We expose students to a diversity of religious views, but may not impose any particular view;
▸ We educate about all religions, we do not promote or denigrate any religion;
▸ We inform students about religious beliefs and practices, it does not seek to conform students to any particular belief or practice.

We apply the American Academy of Religion’s “Religious Literacy Guidelines”

▸ “Religious Literacy Guidelines for College Students.” American Academy of Religion, 2019.
▸ “Teaching About Religion: AAR Guidelines for K-12 Public Schools.” American Academy of Religion, April 2010.

We apply the National Council for the Social Studies C3 Frameworks for Religious Studies

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards, “Religious Studies Companion Document for the C3 Framework.” Silver Spring, MD: National Council for the Social Studies, 2017.