Published: October 24, 2014

The fastest growing major religion in the world today, Islam has some 1.6 billion followers practicing a wide array of religious traditions and speaking hundreds of different languages. And yet, even as more and more Americans convert to the faith and foreigners emigrate to the U.S. from all over the Islamic world, Muslims are still often caricatured in the American imagination. This time on BackStory, we look at the longer history of America’s relationship with Islam, from the Barbary Wars and the narratives of Muslim slaves in the New World, to the Nation of Islam and the Black Power movement of the 1960s. What has it meant to be Muslim in America — and how has the idea of Islam in the U.S. changed over time?