From Publishers Weekly
Near the end of this fascinating and carefully researched portrait of Islam in contemporary America, a California mosque experiences a surprisingly heated internal debate about whether to host a fireworks celebration on the Fourth of July. Somehow, the "canopies of red, white, and blue that for a moment illuminated the minaret and dome" of the mosque crystallize many of the tensions that Barrett describes, particularly how so many individuals struggle to be faithful Muslims and patriotic citizens during troubled times. One great contribution of the book is the diverse portrait it offers of Islam in America today, but as Barrett shows, such ideological and racial diversity haven't been easy: Pakistani immigrants are sometimes at odds with African-American converts and (mostly white) Sufi spiritualists; feminists draw angry fire as they strive for greater equality; and self-proclaimed progressive Muslims feel at odds as American mosques become increasingly conservative and strident. Barrett is an engaging writer who puts a human face on all of these issues. The book is remarkably evenhanded, but Barrett can also be critical at times, whether analyzing the shortcomings of the Patriot Act or pointing to the inconsistency of a self-starting New York imam who works for justice but also praises Muslim extremists. Balanced and insightful, this grassroots journalistic account mines the complexity and depth of American Islam. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Paul M. Barrett has written a rich book full of insights into a religion many Americans don't know enough about."--Chicago Tribune
"A thoughtful exploration that is both comforting and alarming . . . American Islam reveals the variety of Muslim experience in the U.S., as well as profound aspects of Islam that are underappreciated in this country."--The Wall Street Journal
"These seven lives, and all the others they represent, heighten my sense that we should be practicing a more complicated patriotism, one with a pluralistic gaze."--Los Angeles Times
"Well wrought and engaging . . . A welcome antidote to the wide spread Islamophobia that has infected so many Americans over the last five years . . . The book makes a compelling argument that the greatest tool in America's arsenal in the 'war on terror' may be its own thriving and thoroughly assimilated Muslim community."--The Washington Post Book World
"Timely and engaging."--The New York Times
"This is a smart, careful look at America in the post-9/11 world. It is definitely worth the time of anyone wondering where the country is going."--Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
"[American Islam] fills a real need and does so remarkably well. . . . It delivers a set of powerful insights about Muslim life in the United States and the tensions that are shaping the community . . . Barrett's carefully crafted approach is a smart one."--Slate.com