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The Muslim Next Door 1st (first) edition Text Only Paperback – 2008

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Paperback, 2008
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • ASIN: B004S966FC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,474,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

All public libraries ought to have a copy of this book!
It is a well-written and candid book that uses scholarly evidence and personal stories to dispel the many misconceptions that exist about Islam and Muslims.
Ghazala Siddiqui
I personally feel this book can be a great instrument in understanding a religion and people that may seem different than oneself and own belief.
kelly abdel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 86 people found the following review helpful By R. Faught on October 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
Sumbul Ali-Karamali has written a prayer, and modestly called it a book. It is "The Muslim Next Door: The Qur'an, the Media, and that Veil Thing."

I don't care who you are or what faith tradition you follow, this book is necessary. I use the word necessary because it's the only one that fits. Really. This book should be required reading in America. Ms. Ali-Karamali has written gently, and repectfully, with humor, and also with an authoritative scholarly voice. I can't remember the last time I carried a book around with me the way I have carried this book. Part of the power of this book for me has been in the experience of carrying it with me and encountering the interest and puzzlement of other people simply in reaction to the title. Always with the "Why are you reading that?" as a kind of subtext. I have enjoyed carrying the book with me as a social experiment, and as a way to enter into the suggested topics for discussion in the back of the book. This book will stay with me a long time.

I read a previous review of the book that said something like it was a quick read. I would say, instead, that this book is very approachable while maintaining its scholarly integrity. It provides citations, easily notated by chapter, an historical chronology, and recommendations for further reading. It should be taught. How lucky would be the students of the author herself. She should tour. Seriously. At the least, this book should be required reading in curricula around the country.

I have gone over my copy carefully and have dog earred and post-it marked and highlighted and underscored. I have read the chapters in order and returned to them again. I have sat thinking deeply about the questions for discussion at the end of the book.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Shauna Rockson on January 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a public middle school teacher I had searched for accessible information on Islam for my students since 1993. In light of American media bias and the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, my intent as a teacher of ancient cultures has been to illustrate the shared history, cultures, personalities, and beliefs of the three great monotheistic religions. Prior to 9/11, there were no books written for general public consumption or as student resources. There were erudite PhD treatises available online, but nothing that could be used in a secondary classroom. Following 9/11, many books were written in an attempt to explain Islam and Muslims to the Western world. Again, I found many of the texts to be either dry historical overviews or agenda-ridden commentaries on faith.

Finally, a book appeared that was, literally, the answer to my search. Sumbul Ali-Karamali's book, "The Muslim Next Door:the Qur'an, the Media, and that Veil Thing", provides a clear, comprehensive and often entertaining explanation of the religion of Islam and the life of a practicing Muslim. I give full credit to her for adding critical depth and breadth to my, and my students', understanding of Islam and what it shares with Judaism and Christianity.The longest chapter in the book is dedicated to women's status in Islam, providing a powerful counterbalance to media coverage of Saudi Arabia and the Taliban's treatment of women. Ms Ali-Karamali's impeccable academic and professional credentials, as well as her knowledge of Arabic, allows her to identify and correct many misconceptions and misinterpretations of the Qur'an. Her informal writing style, with personal anecdotes to which young people and adults can equally relate, illuminates complex aspects in a clear, understandable way. Not only is this book an invaluable educational tool and a primer for building understanding among different cultures and religions, it will have a profound personal impact on anyone who reads it.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jody Buckley on December 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
So many books on Islam, you say? Well this one stands out as ultimately readable -- even funny at times -- with profound and touching insight about what it is to be a Muslim HERE and TODAY. Ms. Al-Karamali relies not just on her own experience as a Muslim raised in Southern California but as an educated Islamic scholar to shed light on what is not-so-mysterious and certainly not-to-be-feared about Islam and those who practice it. These topics are complicated and can often be inaccessible, but this book manages to be an enjoyable read while leaving you with a genuine better understanding of our Muslim neighbors.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Cole on December 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
I was an undergradute at UCLA when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. In the ensuing months I was very deeply troubled when I saw my classmates forced to leave school and move to Relocation Centers for no other reason than that they were of Japanese ancestry. It was a total violation of their Constitutional rights and of the values on which those Constitutional rights are based. The stain that those actions put on our nation I feel as deeply today as I did then.

During the 1980's and '90's there was a growing sense of fear and hostility throughout this nation toward people from the Middle East. With the attack of 9/11 these feelings shifted to focus largely on Muslims wherever they lived. Some Americans who had given little thought to Muslims and Islam began to feel deeply threatened by anyone who embraced that faith.

When I saw Ali-Karamali's book in a local bookstore I knew immediately that I wanted to read it. I am not a Muslim but I already knew the fundamentals of that religion, because I have tried to understand the basics of major world religions. I am enormounsly glad that I did read it and have repeatedly recommended it to others.

Her book is very carefully researched and documented. Her experiences as a Muslim growing up in America, the nature and breadth of her education and her talent as a writer have left her wonderfuly qualified for the task she set for herself. She explains to her readers what the Koran endorses and importantly, what it rejects as to how one should live one's life as a Muslim, about warfare, about religious practices and, in her longest chapter, the rights of women. She does this with a light touch and with a wonderful way of reminding you, from time to time, how completely American she is.
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