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The Muslim Next Door: The Qurʼan, the Media, and That Veil Thing
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The Muslim Next Door: The Qurʼan, the Media, and That Veil Thing

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  420 ratings  ·  68 reviews
- Bronze Medal Winner of the Independent Publishers Award 2009 -

Since 9/11, stories about Muslims and the Islamic world have flooded headlines, politics, and water-cooler conversations all across the country. And, although Americans hear about Islam on a daily basis, there remains no clear explanation of Islam or its people. The Muslim Next Door offers easy-to-understand y
Paperback, First Edition, 287 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by White Cloud Press
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3.69  · 
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 ·  420 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Maddi Hausmann
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a book about an important topic that won't be read by the people who need to read it. And for the people who are open to the topic, they'll find it was written by the wrong author.

Ali-Karamali says she was encouraged to write the book because most Americans are complely ignorant on Islam and Muslim viewpoints. I can't disagree with her, but if this is your only introduction to that world, the odds are you'll stop a few chapters in and just give up. I finished it because it was for one of
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book with the intention of giving it to a devout Christian (Baptist) relative so she could understand -- even if she didn't approve of -- my conversion to Islam that happened many years ago. Ms. Ali-Karamali, a Muslim of Indian and Pakistani descent, is an approximate contemporary of mine and references some Western cultural touchstones we have in common; unlike her, however, I was raised as a Christian and became a Muslim convert in later life. _The Muslim Next Door_ is well-resea ...more
May 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Pros: I learned a lot about the history of Islam and the prophet Mohammed. I also enjoyed hearing about the author's practice of Islam and how it enriches her life.

Cons: The author is so eager to defend Islam that I found her arguments one-sided to the point that they lacked credibility. She contradicts herself many times, always in Islam's favor. At certain points of the book, when discussing destructive, violent actions committed by some Muslims in the name of Islam, she argues that those act
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Muslim Next Door - a review

Suppose you are in the bookstore, or the library, and you are looking for information on Islam. You head toward the Religion section, find Islam, and immediately, you are stumped. There are several Qur'ans, and various books claiming to have the "true" portrait of Muslims contained within its pages. But, wait, what it this? Do you want to learn about the Shi'a revival, the Sunni law making procedures, or the Sufi meditation practices?

Confused yet?

Sumbul Ali-Karamal
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
While the book is highly informative and well-written, it seems to present an IDEAL of Islam, and perhaps that's because the author is a legal expert from America who is accustomed to defending her religion. She is, I think, insufficiently critical of the Islam that is actually practiced around the world, and spends almost no time at all talking about the conflict with Israel.

Still, it is a useful guide to the basic concepts and history of the religion, and it's very readable. It also makes some
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what the heck Islam really is, to regular people who profess it as their religion, and what it isn't. Ali-Karamali, an attorney born in the US to parents who immigrated from India, clears away a lot of misconceptions promoted by ignorant people, and at every turn highlights the similarities between Islam and other religions. Religion is a human construct, thus all religions constructed by humans are going to have similarities because humans are a ...more
Bonnie Wells
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-for-school
I read this book for class, and I found it really informative and easy to understand. Really good for someone that doesn't know anything about Islam and is interested in learning. I do think at some times she was a little too uncritical (which was discussed in the class I was talking) but overall a really solid read. I enjoyed my time reading this and taking the class period. I highly recommend anyone interested in learning more about Islam to take a Muslim history class!
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book! I've always been curious about Islam as a culture and as a religion but found it hard to ask a friend without appearing ignorant. I usually am brave about asking, justifying it to myself that I'd cut off my ignorance sooner by learning the answer to my question. But aspects of this much maligned religion is controversial and somehow social events didn't seem the right time or place (the book has an example of this too). Anyhow, this book provides knowledge about the typical Musli ...more
Nura Yusof
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
The author has made learning about Islam far more accessible with this book, even for me, a sometimes practicing Muslim.

Islam is a complex religion (for me, at least). Over-simplifying it, or misinterpreting it, is what's giving it bad rep. And it also doesn't help that the media picks and chooses to highlight the 'negative' aspects of Islam which in fact, are not even Islamic to begin with.

What the author is trying to say (and which not many are paying attention to) is that, Islam is not an evi
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone in Silicon Valley
Recommended to Carolyn by: Silicon Valley Reads 2012
This is one of the 2012 Silicon Valley Reads books. I've read the first chapter and am enjoying it a lot. Her writing is informative, yet humorous and readable. It's helping me to understand what it feels like to be Muslim and American.

Now that I've finished the book, I'll add that it helped me to develop a sensitivity to the basic assumptions about Islam that we are fed by the media and our culture. A few negative incidents are highlighted while the many positives are completely ignored. This b
Ti Bryan
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Even as a lawyer in U.S., the author's defence against what she perceives as 'misconception' around the religion, was surprisingly weak.

Disclaimer: Je suis atheist. So I'm biased.
Jul 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
Childish attempt at a defense that is poorly supported and contradictory. Truly 0 stars.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is an informative book, and I don't regret having read it, although I admit I was getting fed up with it during the final chapter.
As a Jesus follower, I suspected I might not agree with everything in "The Muslim Next Door." But my point was to learn, not to argue with the book, and for the most part I succeeded.
What brought out my defensiveness was the author's attack on another community of which I am a part, the media. Her view is that the media generalize their reporting of Muslims, put
NC Weil
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
The Muslim Next Door by Sumbul Ali-Karamali
reviewed by NC Weil

Ms. Ali-Karamali’s book would be more useful if it had been written more recently. With a copyright of 2008, it cannot take into account the events of Arab Spring nor the rise of Daesh (known in this country as ISIS or ISIL) - she states repeatedly that the only examples of extremists acting in the name of Islam are Osama bin Laden and the Taliban of Afghanistan. Would that were so.
She says that “only a few” nations live under Shari
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This should be a must read for all Americans. It is a powerful, extremely well-written, Historical and also current look at at the distortions that Western culture has perpetrated against Islam.

I grew up in Kenya with many Muslim friends. I’ve worked with many Muslims, had doctors who were Muslim, have friends and Co-workers who are Muslim and I know that the practice of Islam by most Muslims is peaceful and gentle and includes community service and an emphasis on learning.

I recommend this boo
Oct 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual
I learned of this book and author from a podcast (can’t remember which one), and I thought it would help me learn what it is like, at least a little, to be an American Muslim. I knew the basic tenants of Islam, but I have to say it was illuminating to learn what it looks like practically in every day life. I learned a lot about the nature of Islam, how it relates to Christianity and Judaism, how different Islam can look in various countries, and interpretations of the Qur’an on several topics. I ...more
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I honestly and truly think if anyone one gives this book a bad review it is because they still don't approve of Islam. I cannot stress it enough, this book is fantastic!
Jackie Wayman
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
read many years ago. informative and personal.
Pat Jennings
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Muslim Next Door will serve as reference for me for all things Muslim/Islam. The tenets of Islam are much like the tenets that I hold sacred. The author wrote diligently to report what Islam is and what Islam is not. The author was successful in presenting her insights as a Muslim building clarity and understanding. Often, the book seemed a bit repetitive but overall, I am really glad that I read this book.
Erina Sumaiya
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although this book got a little bit boring at times because of the amount of information that was packed into one book, it was still really interesting to read. Being a Muslim girl myself, I have never been interested about my religion and I never learned anything about. When I saw this book, I realized that maybe it was time to learn a couple of things about my religion rather than just calling myself a Muslim. This book gave me an incite into the incredible world of Islam. The main goal of the ...more
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a book that I would recommend to those who are not familiar with Islam, and those who would like to learn Islam from a liberal Muslim lawyer. I would not recommend this book to Muslims, who have studied Islam for years, and are familiar with traditional and classical scholarship. Why? Because the author presents Islam and certain much-discussed Islamic topics according to her personal opinions and interpretations of religious texts. Her approach may be bothersome to those who have learne ...more
Feather Stone
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For about four years, I began a study on the Middle East and the lives of Muslims. Having read several books on the history of the Middle East, I have come to appreciate the complex culture of that region and the turmoil caused by shifting alliances, civil strife, and the aggression of many nations into the area. In essence, I understand why the present day Middle East is in flux, trying to find balance, peace and yet assert its right to autonomy and respect. What has endured even more than trib ...more
May 20, 2012 rated it liked it
In this eye-opening primer on Islam for non-Muslims, the author reveals the absurdity and unfairness of some of the most common Western misperceptions about Muslims. She presents a scholarly (but very readable) exploration of Islamic religious and cultural history, pointing out that a major point of misunderstanding is the tendency to equate religion and culture, rather than see them as distinct – an important point because Muslims live all over the world and come from many different cultures. C ...more
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who are interested in Islam
New immigrants tend not to have very nice anywhere, and the US, while better than most, is no exception. The Gangs of New York gives a taste of the reception of the Irish (and by extension, Catholics in general) in 19th century America. Of course, the sunny side of the story is that the US is particularly good at assimilating people and customs, the practically national status of St. Patrick's Day is a testament to how far the Irish have come.

In the Muslim Next Door, Sumbul Ali-Karamali is doing
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Islam is the most fastest growing religion. If you want to know more about Islam and why Muslims do certain things and the story behind, this book is a good place to start. It's an eye-opener anyone can use regarding the religion of Islam.
Any Muslim American Girl living in America can relate to this book. This book explains the problems that a female, Sumbul Ali-Karamali, faces in the world she lives in with many other religions around her. How she explains to her friends how come she didn't go
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Since I wrote a lengthy review on Amazon, I will try to keep this short. She seems like a very intelligent, educated and thoughtful woman, which, perhaps ironically, is why I'm so hard on this book; I think she could do way better. I am definitely sympathetic toward her unhappiness and frustration at the bigotry and ignorance of her fellow Americans, but it sometimes comes across as whiny, and I question whether her confiding tone about her personal emotional injury pairs well with the attempt t ...more
Jan 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I read this book since it is the 2012 selection for Silicon Valley Reads. Although, I'm only giving it 3 stars, I must admit that this sparked some very stimulating conversations among family and friends. Author Ali-Karamali provides a good general overview of Islam including basic facts, history of the religion, terminology, rules, etc. More interesting is her discussion of growing up in the US as a Muslim and her personal experiences of being the target of prejudice and Islamophobia. There is ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
To be honest.. I only read up to page 73 and lost interest.

Some Comments...
While trying the author didn't always make a clear distinction between religion and cultural practices. For example, she mentions polygyny was a pre-Islamic practice. From that I would infer that Muslims do not have more than one wife, but that wouldn't be true. What I think the author was trying to say was whether it be polygyny or monogamy it was not related to religion. It was a cultural practice in those regions at t
Recent events in the U.S. news have me grieving, once again, the hate that people sometimes show toward other people. The need for friendships and community building across lines of difference becomes more urgent each day, as racism and discrimination continue to cause inexcusable violence. If we hope to create a future where such crimes cannot happen, we need to affirm our common humanity, and get to know one another respectfully. In the spirit of opening a door to learning about someone of a d ...more
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