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White Muslim: From L.A. to New York...to Jihad? Paperback – February 28, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"White Muslim" is a fine and fascinating book. -- Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2006

About the Author

Brendan Bernhard is a cultural reporter for The LA Weekly. His journalism has won numerous awards, including a PEN Center USA Literary Journalism Award, as well as numerous honors from the Los Angeles Press Club and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 187 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House; 1st edition (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976658356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976658351
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,480,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Bernhard, whose book was praised in the Los Angeles Times, has an excellent writing style as he profiles the conversion of a white Torrance kid in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. He does a good job of showing the hunger for values in the Western world's often hedonistic emptiness and how that hunger seeks out religious faith in the strictest brand of Islam. Unfortunately, out of the 185 pages, only about a third are devoted to the white convert. The other hundred pages or so are exposition about different types of Muslims and their clash with American culture. As a result, this profile, which was an excellent article in its original LA Weekly publication, seems watered down and padded just so it could be book length. As a result, the profile is half-baked and void of necessary depth and details. However, the writing style is adroit and the analysis of Islam's clash with the United States is poignant and relevant.
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Format: Paperback
I stumbled across this book in a bookstore on a Sunday afternoon. I had never heard of the book or the author before (way to go amazon recommendations...you should have told me about this one). I started reading when I got home and finished the book before I went to bed, only stopping for dinner. Granted the book is relatively short, but that misses the point.

White Muslim looks at the topic of Americans converting to Islam after 9/11. This wasn't a topic that had really crossed my mind before, but I couldn't put this book down. Bernhard mixes the more straight up journalism and current events writing with personal stories of individuals he meets while on this journey.

Some facets of this subject include how and why these individuals made this choice and how groups like al-qaeda look to new converts to the religion as some tend to be ripe for recruitment. The chapter on how Europe is handling the increasingly large numbers of Muslim converts and immigrants was particularly interesting.

This is a topic that is just begging to be studied further. Bernhard has produced a wonderful starting point for what should be an important and interesting body of research. This particular book is amazingly easy to read; anyone who is remotely interested in Islam and its intersection with the "west" should read this book.
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Format: Paperback
Saw the terrific review in the LA Times and picked it up. The idea that someone would convert to Islam after 9/11 and all that's happened since seemed like a truly perverse idea at first. But this is a very complex tale, with all kinds of other converts profiled and studied. It is written in a nice, conversational style and without talking to all the usual eggheads or government fools, so it is both refreshing and compelling. The phenomenon of conversions is a strange, intriguing story that I haven't anyone reporting on before, but this really made me feel as if I had some new insight into the headlines. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Brendan Bernhard's book, "White Muslim" is a well written portrait of a young white man who became infatuated with the religion of Islam and converted to the faith. Mr. Bernhard's view is perceptive and frank, refreshingly unburdened by the overly familiar political considerations of correctness that tend to suppress the expression of what one really experiences and wants to say. It is the very liveliness of the author's descriptions of Islamic life in Manhattan that makes this book stand out.

I would like to see "White Muslim" present pros and cons less, and stick to recounting the author's observations of the converts and their milieux, pre- and post-conversion, all the more. Overall, "White Muslim" is a fascinating and important book.
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Format: Paperback
What a ridiculous thing to say anything about this book is "nazi" like. That shows you the kind of Muslim extremism Americans should, rightly, fear. I got this book after reading about it in the LA Times, in a review that noted it would be a shame for anyone to use this brave discussion divisively, rather than as an interesting study of the attractiveness of Islam to many Americans at a time when you wouldn't think it was attractive. And the facts speak for themselves: record numbers of "white" Christian and Jewish Americans did convert to Islam in the immediate aftermath of 9-11. That's fascinating, and this sensitive discussion of why is totally absorbing.
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