Religion, ethnicity and politics: Hindu and Muslim Indian immigrants in the United States

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86 Scopus citations


This article focuses on the political struggles between Hindu and Muslim Indian immigrant groups in the United States over the definition of "Indianness". Hindu Indian American organizations define India as a Hindu society and are strong supporters of the Hindu nationalist movement in India. Muslim Indian American organizations, on the other hand, view India as a multi-religious and multicultural society. They are striving to safeguard India's secularism and towards this end, have entered into coalitional relationships with lower caste groups. Both types of organizations are working to influence American and Indian politics in line with their respective interests, leading to an exacerbation of the conflict between the two immigrant groups. This article examines the reasons for this development and its implications, both for the development of an Indian American community in the United States and for religion and politics in India.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-293
Number of pages31
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Asian Indian Americans
  • Ethnicity
  • Hindu immigrants
  • Hindu nationalism
  • Immigrant politics
  • Muslim Indian Immigrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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