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War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1557288554
ISBN-10: 1557288550
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Moezzi, an American-raised lawyer of Iranian descent, proposes to tell the stories of young American Muslims, of which she is one. She notes the plight of being a Child of Fresh off the Boat (or COFOB), including being mistaken frequently as Hispanic, and feeling caught between solidarity with America over 9/11 but critical of American foreign policy choices although she criticizes the Muslim community for ignorance and severe gender segregation, among other things. Despite its promising subject matter, however, the book has an unimaginative format of one interview per chapter, with no larger framework or unifying theme. Most interview subjects are Moezzi's own friends, some of whom Moezzi even quotes as praising her. Some readers, particularly Muslims, may be offended by an incident in which the author smokes marijuana with an interview subject, as well as other scenes in which she and her friends present themselves as self-indulgent. Although it is engaging and well written, the book lacks academic rigor and comes across as merely anecdotal. The title is never really explained, and Moezzi's conclusion—that American Muslims will lead the next Islamic Renaissance—though an appealing thought, is underdeveloped. (Dec. 10)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Engaging and well-written." —Publisher's Weekly "A thoughtful and moving effort to come to terms with being an American Muslim from a positive and proactive perspective.” —From the foreword "These voices should be heard and these stories must be told.” —Suzanne Blum, coauthor of Translating Culture: A Rhetoric for Ethnographic Writing in the Composition Classroom
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press (October 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557288550
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557288554
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,884,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I decided to read this book there were 6 reviews, all of them 5 stars, so my expectations were high. I was very disappointed. I found it hard to make it to the end. I wondered why my opinion would be so different from the others, so I looked at other reviews from these 6 reviewers. I found that for most of them, this was the only book they had reviewed. This leads me to suspect that most of the 6, if not all, know the author personally and the reviews are not fair and unbiased. That irritates me. Maybe I'm wrong, but if you have a personal relationship with the author or an interest in the success of the book, that should be disclosed in your review.

I expected this book to give me more insight and understanding of what it means to be an American Muslim, but I don't feel I understand much more than I did before I read the book. The book consisted of 12 interviews of people the author knew, or knew someone who knew them - and most of them were academics, writers or well off - so I didn't get the impression they were representative of the general American Muslim population. I would have preferred more interviews with a larger cross section of people. The book would have been better if there was more detail about the life of the people being interviewed. Instead there was too much narrative about how great the author believes they are, how great they think the author is, or the author's opinion or thoughts on whatever seems to come to her mind. I found most of this very boring.

Several times the author stressed that the discrimination toward women is not based in Islam religion, but she never explains how this started. For example when and why did it start that women were not allowed to pray with men?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used this book for a course I teach on Islam to help students relate to being a Muslim in America. Diverse, touching, relatable stories. VERY readable, and accessible to anyone regardless of their background knowledge of Islam.
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The author, an attorney, was motivated by the events of 9/11 to write a book of interviews clarifying who American Muslims are, what they believe and why. For non-Muslims, there are insights into the Muslim faith and the conflicts between being an American and ethnic roots. Whether these twelve Muslims are a representative sample or not is perhaps debatable, but the message is a powerful statement of courage, faith and compassion in the post-9/11 world of suspicion and the Patriot Act.

This book was received in exchange for an honest review.
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Format: Paperback
Here is a good book about Muslims in the United States. Melody writes about her friends and their friends. She appears as fully rounded in the story as those she writes about. She deftly characterizes inner lives, lives in intimate relations, lives in transnational networks, and public lives. She renders all these lives in change and in submission to God. Melody locates the ummah solidly within the middle class, with candor and good cheer. Readers will draw their own conclusions. I sure do. Highly recommended.
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I don't think I was able to breathe the whole time I read this book, which was okay, because I was able to read it all in almost just one sitting. The book was very involving and interesting, but I was nervous about reading another book claiming it was breaking stereotypes of American Muslims. Quite often, books of this sort only manage to hold onto the accepted "norm" of what both "typical" Muslims and non-Muslims think Islam should be and never begin to approach "outside of the box" writing. War on Error went inside, outside and around the proverbial box.

Melody Moezzi takes the reader on an unapologetic journey into an amalgamation of individual Muslims' spiritual and personal journeys and the author's experiences with those individuals. The result easily moves into the readers' conscious and drives one to consider how each story connects to one's own reality.

At the end, I kept having fantasies of War on Error as just Volume I of a series of profiles I could keep on reading for days. I expect this book to be just the beginning of a longer journey both for the author and the reader.
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I can only speak for non-Muslims, but speak to you I will: you need to read this book. Although I like to keep abreast of current affairs, I tend to shy away from lengthy, dry nonfiction titles crammed with facts, which is why i loved this read.

The premise of this book is simple: it is a series of short, biographical vignettes that showcase an incredibly diverse and interesting collection of Muslim-Americans. The purpose? The vignettes show us that the vast majority of Muslim-Americans are not terrorists but normal people, normal Americans, just like the vast majority of Christians are not snake-handlers (and I am not equating snake handlers to terrorists). The author does it, however, in a much more effective manner than the preaching I have seen before on this issue: through example, she shows us. She makes us feel. The purpose of the book is also to remind everyone that no matter what race, group, religion, gender, culture or ethnicity to which one belongs, we are all possessed of the same elemental humanity, and should be treated as such -- and should treat others as such.

I can't say enough to recommend this book. The writing is simple yet elegant, easy to read yet resonant. It moved me. Read it.
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