Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion” as Want to Read:
American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion

3.57  ·  Rating Details  ·  110 Ratings  ·  18 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about American Islam, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about American Islam

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 310)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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 Jwayyed
Jun 22, 2014 Oraynab Jwayyed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 01, 2012 Hin Tung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 04, 2009 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 23, 2007 liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 R.
May 08, 2012 Carl R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 14, 2014 Deni Aria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 !
Aug 16, 2012 Readnponder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 04, 2009 Katrina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 12, 2009 Crystal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 liked it
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
Jan 23, 2011 Nur Asyiah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
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...
Jun 20, 2007 Ayesha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fairly interesting look at the diversity of the American Muslims population.
Tuscany Bernier
This book was just at the library and I ran out of time. Lol
Aug 27, 2007 allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: journalism, religion
A great survey. Even-handed, generous, well-researched.
Jan 21, 2009 Perri rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think I'm tiring of books about Islam.
Ola marked it as to-read
Apr 29, 2016
Yizel marked it as to-read
Feb 23, 2016
Abu Khalilah Reese
Abu Khalilah Reese rated it it was amazing
Feb 15, 2016
Vincent Rivas-Flores
Vincent Rivas-Flores marked it as to-read
Feb 14, 2016
Jenn Aviles
Jenn Aviles marked it as to-read
Feb 01, 2016
Faisalna Faisalna
Faisalna Faisalna marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2016
Tamara added it
Jan 17, 2016
Lauren Blair
Lauren Blair marked it as to-read
Dec 26, 2015
Hany Kalash
Hany Kalash marked it as to-read
Dec 20, 2015
Nightocelot rated it did not like it
Dec 08, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Daughters of Another Path: Experiences of American Women Choosing Islam
  • The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists
  • The Hadj: An American's Pilgrimage to Mecca
  • What's Right with Islam Is What's Right With America: A New Vision for Muslims and the West
  • Islam and the Blackamerican: Looking Toward the Third Resurrection
  • Scattered Pictures: Reflections Of An American Muslim
  • Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure
  • The Prayer of The Oppressed
  • Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism
  • Struggling to Surrender: Some Impressions of an American Convert to Islam
  • Muhammad
  • Mourad: New Moroccan
  • Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic Thought
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam
  • A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century: Shaikh Ahmad al-Alawi
  • I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim
  • The Book of Assistance
  • Tell Me How This Ends: General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way Out of Iraq
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
More about Paul M. Barrett...

Share This Book