American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Dec 26, 2007 - Religion - 320 pages

Vivid, dramatic portraits of Muslims in America in the years after 9/11, as they define themselves in a religious subculture torn between moderation and extremism

There are as many as six million Muslims in the United States today. Islam (together with Christianity and Judaism) is now an American faith, and the challenges Muslims face as they reconcile their intense and demanding faith with our chaotic and permissive society are recognizable to all of us.

From West Virginia to northern Idaho, American Islam takes readers into Muslim homes, mosques, and private gatherings to introduce a population of striking variety. The central characters range from a charismatic black imam schooled in the militancy of the Nation of Islam to the daughter of an Indian immigrant family whose feminist views divided her father's mosque in West Virginia. Here are lives in conflict, reflecting in different ways the turmoil affecting the religion worldwide. An intricate mixture of ideologies and cultures, American Muslims include immigrants and native born, black and white converts, those who are well integrated into the larger society and those who are alienated and extreme in their political views. Even as many American Muslims succeed in material terms and enrich our society, Islam is enmeshed in controversy in the United States, as thousands of American Muslims have been investigated and interrogated in the wake of 9/11.

American Islam is an intimate and vivid group portrait of American Muslims in a time of turmoil and promise.


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American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion

User Review  - Book Verdict

In an urgent plea for reform and moderation of extremism, Barrett depicts seven American Muslims from different walks of life, offering a diverse portrait of the ways Islamic faith can manifest in America. (LJ 6/15/06) Read full review

AMERICAN ISLAM: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion

User Review  - Kirkus

"In America, Muslims do not think and act alike any more than Christians do." So writes Business Week editor Barrett (The Good Black, 1999) in this timely survey of America's six-million followers of ... Read full review


INTRODUCTION Muslims in America
ONE The Publisher
TWO The Scholar
THREE The Imam
FOUR The Feminist
FIVE The Mystics
SIX The Webmaster
SEVEN The Activist
Selected Bibliography

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About the author (2007)

Paul M. Barrett, for eighteen years a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal, where American Islam originated, currently directs the investigative reporting team at Business Week. He is the author of The Good Black: A True Story of Race in America.

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