Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Ronald E. Brown


A significant degree of public opinion research has been conducted on Muslim Americans, but very little has focused on their perceptions. This study explores how opinion leaders address the question of patriotism, Americanness, hyphenated identities, and the implications of such a discourse. The study is confined to Wayne County, MI, because of the significant role Muslim Americans have played in labor struggles, local culture, civil rights, and their visibility. This study is significant because ongoing issues have triggered media attention on Muslim Americans and questioned their patriotism and Americanness, such as the "Ground Zero Mosque" debate, the "anti-Sharia" bill proposals, the Patriot Act, the NDAA, the NYPD's spying on MSAs, and the increase of hate crimes occurring at varying places of worship. This study explores how messages of Americanness and patriotism are transmitted from opinion leaders to their followers among Muslim Americans. Through interviewing opinion leaders from a "perspectival" approach, archetypes (classifications) of what it means to be an American Muslim will be developed as well as conceptual patriotism continuum.

Keywords: patriotism, patriot, Muslim, American, Muslim-American, americanness, identity, political identity, opinion leaders, Wayne County, hyphenated identity, double-consciousness, citizenship, loyalty, nation, nationalism.