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American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  94 ratings  ·  17 reviews
There are as many as six million Muslims living in the United States, and in American Islam, Paul M. Barrett takes us into their homes, mosques, and private gatherings, from West Virginia to Los Angeles, depicting a population of striking variety. In vivid, subtle, artful prose, Barrett tells seven stories of American Muslims in all their stereotype-defying complexity. The ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by Picador (first published 2006)
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Alena Rajwani
American Islam is a book that is full of explanations and examples. It captivates the reader through its variety of points of views. As a female, the chapter I enjoyed the most was the Feminist. Asra Nomani is a Muslim woman who takes it upon herself to change the etiquette in American mosques. She introduces the idea of mixed prayers and promotes equalization of women's rights in the Muslim community. Her critiques walk all over her and try to break her down yet, she doesn't stop supporting the ...more
Oraynab Mohamad
After the 9-11 attacks, journalist Paul Barrett set out to understand American Muslims and their reaction to the attacks. He interviews seven Muslims, none of whom fall under the typical stereotypes. From diverse backgrounds and professions, their only common bond is their religion and the criticism they endured from both their Muslim and American cultures.

The book is an eye-opener to the lives and struggles of American Muslims. What we find is their struggle for an identity has been prevalent l
Hin Tung
This book focuses on 7 people who are Muslim and live in America. But the book goes beyond these 7 people and explains the different perspectives of people.

When I began the book I probably had views similar to most Americans albeit a more moderate position. I knew a little bit about Islam, and of course understood that not all terrorists are Muslim, and vice versa. What struck me about the book was all the different interpretations people have of Islam and the Qur’an.

Abou El Fadl, or the schola
The Sub-title says it all. The book is about religious controversy within Islam. On the book cover are pictures eight people, but you meet more than them in this work. The eight are used as the core of each of the chapters but others are brought in as there relationships are explored. They are used to introduce other individuals and the issues that they address. There is a wide spectrum one meets. There is the scholar who calls for a more modern, rational interpretation of the Koran and Hadith. ...more
This book is set up as profiles of seven American Muslims, and he really gets a fascinating cross-section, divided into types of "characters". While there aren't any rabid fundamentalists, he covers Asian and Middle-Eastern Muslims, as well as white ex-hippie Muslims and an African-American imam (fascinating! It's amazing how much I didn't know about that!). One thing that really impressed me was that as much as Barrett obviously admires the Muslims who are trying to push and/or modernize their ...more
Carl Brush
American Islam, and/or books like it, is an important read. There are only six million Muslims among three hundred million Americans, so most of us don’t have the opportunity to meet American Muslims; fewer still have the opportunity for substantive conversations. Thus, Paul M. Barrett’s profiles (with extensive sociological/historical background) of seven contemporary U.S. Muslims provides an opportunity to get behind cartoonish media depictions.
Before I read the book, a friend posed an inter
Deni Aria
A very vivid view of how Islam is perceived and live by American Moslem post 9/11 which is also honest, and unbiased to see their identity as believer in which they have also to struggle to speak out that Islam is the faith bringing us to peace !
This book is bit dated (postscript in 2007), but is still probably accurate. The author, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, offers seven profiles on Islamic Americans in various walks of life. He features a newpaper publisher in Michigan, a feminist in West Virginia, a Nation of Islam convert in NYC, a Sufi, a grad student tried and found not guilty for supporting terrorism and a former activist. Immediately, the reader sees that Islam is not monolithic. People fall along an entire spectrum ...more
I liked the structure of this book, with each chapter centered on a different Muslim in the U.S. -- some converts, some immigrants -- all of different stripes. It is a nice showcase of the variety within Islam as well as the debates going on among Muslims, especially around issues of gender and extremism.
Unbiased, honest and very revealing. Barret shares his interviews of several different immigrants and Americans, men and women of the Islam faith. Unbiased at least til the concluding chapter then I wanted to throw it! lol
Feb 16, 2008 Rumana rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
As a Muslim, I was surprised to find this book informative and interesting. The author was not biased, to my relief, and did his research. A nice but short portrait on the various colors of Islam in America.
Allison Laird
Mar 13, 2008 Allison Laird added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
This book was great. It gave a realistic and varied perspective on contemporary issues regarding Islam and Muslims in the United States, as well as global issues. I loved and appreciated it.
Nur Asyiah
Kalo liat dari ringkasannya, buku ini sepertinya memang buku yang cukup menarik, tapi sayangnya terjemahannya g enak banget, jadi aga males lanjutin euy :p
It was kinda dumb and not very engaging. I never got past page 40. I guess I'll never know...
Fairly interesting look at the diversity of the American Muslims population.
A great survey. Even-handed, generous, well-researched.
I think I'm tiring of books about Islam.
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PAUL M. BARRETT I'm an assistant managing editor and senior feature writer at Bloomberg Businessweek. I've written two other books: American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion and The Good Black: A True Story of Race in America. I'm currently writing my 4th book about the fascinating legal battle in Ecuador pitting big oil against indigenous people and campesinos, not to mention a one ...more
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