The diverse Muslim community in Atlanta reflects the spirit embodied by President Obama, that a new page of inclusiveness has been turned in American history, an Islamic scholar said during a recent GlobalAtlanta interview.
The Georgia capital was the 50th out of 60 cities Akbar Ahmed is visiting as part of his “Journey Into America,” a yearlong trip to study attitudes about Islam throughout the U.S.
He and a team of assistants are conducting research, interviews and films to assess how Muslims feel about their life in the U.S. and how America’s lofty ideals of pluralism and cultural acceptance are holding up in the post-9/11 era.
Dr. Ahmed, a former Pakistani ambassador to the United Kingdom, is on sabbatical from his position as Ibn Khaldun chair of Islamic Studies at American University. The findings from his study will be compiled in a book and documentary film.
On his first trip to Atlanta, Dr. Ahmed said he found a global city living up to the billing that internationally known corporate symbols like CNN and Coca-Cola represent.
What impressed him most were not tall buildings or economic vitality, however. It was the welcoming and diverse nature of the city’s Muslim community.