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Mohamed's Ghosts: An American Story of Love and Fear in the Homeland Hardcover – April 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568584288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568584287
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,906,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In May 2004, the FBI and local Philadelphia police raided the Ansaarullah mosque and arrested its imam, Mohamed Ghorab, on the charges that his first marriage had been fraudulent; he was eventually deported to Egypt. The incident is the focus of Salisbury's harrowing but shapeless book, which examines the devastation of Philadelphia's Muslim community after the government investigation and anti-Arab hysteria after 9/11. A Pulitzer Prize–winning staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Salisbury builds the text around the personal stories of the many people he interviewed over four years; along the way, he delivers harsh criticism of the government's investigative techniques and draws explicit parallels to his own family's experiences with government surveillance in the late 1960s. Though digressive and anecdotal, the text acquires cumulative power, especially in its vivid portrayals of Imam Ghorab, whom it follows from his childhood, and his wife, Meriem Moumen, who discovered religion as a single mother in her 20s. Their heartbreaking story gives this frequently diffuse text a human center. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Philadelphia Inquirer
“[A] sympathetic, eloquent account.”

Star-Tribune
“Salisbury is a skilled investigative journalist.”


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Josephine on April 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This incredible story uncovers the hidden costs of the domestic war on terror. It asks the tough questions -- what kind of democracy have we become when the instruments of war are the commonplace and accepted realities of everyday life? Who is the enemy? Informers are in places of worship and in ordinary neighborhoods; laws and regulations are manipulated, employed not so much to protect as to give the appearance of protection; neighborhoods have been decimated in New York and Philadelphia, in California and elsewhere as people have fled in fear or have been snagged in dragnets and shipped out of the country; use of solitary confinement and humiliation of Muslims, many not even charged with crimes, in U.S. jails has become virtually routine. And lurking behind it all is the anti-immigrant passion that broke out in awful violence in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11th and which has festered around the country to this day. That's the backdrop. But the emotional punch comes from the author's intimate and painstaking portraits of the families, the husbands, wives and children caught in the web of the federal government's prosecution of supposed terror cases. Mohamed Ghorab, arrested, for no real reason, in front of his daughter's whole school early one morning, is hustled away without criminal charge, never to return home. His wife, Meriem, tries frantically to hold together mosque, family, life itself. Her American daughter is consumed with humiliation and anger. The family flies apart like a broken vessel. Then there is the poignant story of the love of Atef and Rrahime, their marriage transformed into something ominous in the minds of prosecutors, and utterly destroyed.Read more ›
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Levin on May 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mohamed's Ghosts: An American Story of Love and Fear in the Homeland is a powerful and moving investigation into how the `war on terror' descended on a small mosque in a poor Philadelphia neighborhood. The devastation the follows in the wake of frivolous Federal charges and minor immigrations transgressions destroys individuals, families and a community. This indictment of political repression and paranoia is all the more effective because it focuses on one obscure case. The story is methodically told, with heart and passion, by a skilled journalist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
MOHAMED'S GHOSTS: AN AMERICAN STORY OF LOVE AND FEAR IN THE HOMELAND tells of an imam in a working-class Philadelphia neighborhood whose congregation became the subject of scrutiny by federal agents who arrested him and stormed his mosque. Terrorizing its members and holding Mohamed Ghorab without criminal charges for eighteen months before he gave up his fight against deportation, this attracted the attention of journalist Stephan Salisbury, who chronicles civil rights abuses in the War on Terror in a startling revelation recommended for any collection.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Vickery on December 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although the book Mohamed's Ghosts was published in 2010,scrutiny of ordinary Muslims living in the United States has not abated, as evidenced by recent protests against FBI activities in New York City.

At the time of 9/11 and until summer of 2003, I was actually living in the Middle East, the West Bank of Palestine to be precise. For that reason I was NOT subjected to the constant televised drumbeat of anti-Muslim propaganda that most westerners were exposed to for years.

I found Stephan Salisbury's book both informative and quite shocking at times, given that I had had years of experience living and working with Muslims in Palestine and had come to empathize with their struggle to some extent, and I should point out that at no point did I ever feel in danger.

Even now, at the end of 2011, I find the thinking of many Americans puzzling to say the least, when it comes to the subject of Muslims and Islam. They could well benefit from reading Mohamed's Ghosts; those with an open mind, that is.
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