While there are relatively few cases from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that mention Muslims or Islam, an analysis of these cases discloses three common themes. First, Islam was seen as a decidedly non-American religion. Second, Islam was often used to illustrate worldwide acceptance of a legal principle, reflecting on core common values between people of different faiths. Third, religious tolerance extended beyond traditional Christian ideologies to encompass Islam, at least in theory if not in practice. These three themes display how judges used often-faulty notions of Muslims and Islam to justify their conclusions, and highlight the genesis of many stereotypes and insensitivities still prevalent in the modern era.
Marie A. Failinger,
Islam in the Mind of American Courts: 1800 to 1960,
B.C.J.L. & Soc. Just.