American Muslims / Edition 2

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Twenty-five-year-old Asma Hasan describes herself as a Muslim feminist cowgirl (she was raised in Puebo, Colorado). Convinced that Muslim Americans are the victims of mistaken identity Hasan breaks through the stereotypes and generalizations to talk about the religion and the believers she knows from the inside.While the book provides a lot of basic information about Islam in America, the major emphasis is on the sheer normalcy of American Muslims. Like other Americans, they are very keen on family values, religious freedom, and the opportunities the U. S. has always afforded new immigrants.Moreover, says Hasan, American Islam, as it grows and evolves, will offer a model to Islam in the rest of the world: a purer Islam, one more conscious of the difference between the essence of Islam and its accomodations to various cultures over time.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hasan, a 25-year-old American-born Muslim with Pakistani parents, stridently explains the need for greater understanding of Muslims in America, decrying media stereotypes of Muslims as terrorists and fundamentalists. She is especially clear that as a young Muslim woman, she is free to be a feminist. ("Here I am writing a book on Islam in America," she declares. "Do I seem oppressed to you?") She has studied the Qur'an's teachings and decided not to don the hijab, the head covering some Muslim women wear, though she expresses respect for women who choose to do so. Brief chapters present factual information about topics such as the sects of Islam, the Five Pillars and the growth of Islamic schools, as well as Hasan's strong opinions on subjects ranging from what she sees as the anti-Islam lyrics of the Disney film Aladdin to the increasing Muslim presence in America. Hasan argues that American Islam, which lacks the cultural baggage of Islam in other countries, is actually more religiously pure than anywhere else in the world--"a return to the Qur'an without the influence of pre-Islamic Arab culture." The book has its flaws; Hasan's writing too often favors the rhetorical, and some of her comparisons are unskilled (as when she says that the Five Pillars are "almost like the sacraments in Christianity"). But her insistence upon Islam's fundamental compatibility with American values is well taken, and she provides memorable personal examples throughout. (Dec.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Brought up in a small town in Colorado, Hasan describes herself as a "Muslim feminist cowgirl." She discusses the many and varied ways in which the Muslim community in the United States lives out its faith and the way in which most Americans view Muslims. She explains why the term "fundamentalist Muslim" has no true meaning yet is paired in most minds with the word "terrorist." She shares an FBI statistic that "from 1980 until February 1996, only 2 of the 170 terrorist acts committed in the United States were carried out by radical Muslims." An especially thought-provoking chapter is titled "Generalizations and Stereotypes: Muslims and the American Media." Here, Hasan explains why movies such as Disney's Aladdin have had such a negative impact on the Muslim community and shows why "Media treatment of Muslims causes potentially damaging stereotypes to persist." Another highly interesting chapter is on the role of women in Islam. "While all Muslims agree on the basic tenets, we have different values we emphasize, and different customs and traditions." Hasan often sees a great difference between cultural treatment of women and what the Qu'ran teaches about the treatment of women. Hasan is decidedly articulate and writes in an easy-to-read and conversational tone. Although not a report-material book, Hasan's book provides an excellent stepping-off point for discussions about religions and stereotypes. Index. Biblio. Source Notes. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P J S (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Continuum, 200p, . Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Ann BouriciusSOURCE: VOYA, June 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 2)
Library Journal
A daughter of Pakistani immigrants, the author was aghast to hear the terrorist bad guy of a Hollywood blockbuster announce that his name was Hasan--the same as hers. A self-described "Muslim feminist cowgirl," Hasan writes this compelling work to help Americans overcome anti-Muslim stereotypes and to learn something about America's fastest growing religion. At the same time, she gives an engaging first-person account of what Islam may become as the American-born children of immigrants adapt their faith to American culture: a "de facto Reform Islam." While valuable scholarship on American Muslims has been produced by Jane Smith (Islam in America) and Yvonne Haddad (Islamic Values in the United States, among others), Hasan's account is aimed at a more popular level. Readers should prepare to encounter appealing discussions of the place of women in Islam, "CyberIslam," the virtues of permitting Muslim young people to date, and a critique of strict gender separation in mosques. Very highly recommended.--Steve Young, Montclair State Univ., NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A law student at New York University, Hasan describes the tensions in her identity as a Pakistani-American Muslim, between the religion learned at her mother's knee and the American culture she has absorbed in school and through the all-pervasive mass media. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826414168
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Edition description: Study Guide
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Asma Gull Hasan is the author of American Muslims: The New Generation. She calls herself a Muslim Feminist Cowgirl, a title that reflects her upbringing and, more specifically, her Colorado home. Born in Chicago, the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, she considers herself an all-American girl. Asma graduated from the preeminent Groton School magna cum laude in 1993 and then from Wellesley College, magna cum laude and a Durant Scholar, in 1997. Asma is a columnist for the US-based Pakistan Link newspaper and is a regular guest on the Fox News cable show "Hannity and Colmes" and the nationally syndicated talk radio show, "The Bev Smith Show." She has also been featured in the following media: CNN, "Politically Incorrect," The New York Times, "Fresh Air with Terry Gross" on National Public Radio, "Morning Edition" and "Weekend Edition" also on National Public Radio, KTLA, Ladies Home Journal, and the Voice of America radio network among many others. Her short stories have been featured in the youth literary magazine Merlyn's Pen and The Susquehanna Review, as well as in the book Taking Off: Coming of Age Stories. She has won several speaking awards and graduated from New York University School of Law in May 2001, where she was a staff editor on The Review of Law and Social Change. She has accepted an offer with the world's largest law firm, Clifford Chance Rogers &Wells to work in international corporate law beginning September 2002. Her language abilities include fluency in Spanish and Urdu. Her hobbies include collecting Ozma of OZ books and Barbie dolls and, until a recent knee injury, skiing and snowboarding. She currently resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and is working on her second book tentatively titled Paradise.
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition: American Muslims after September 11, 2001
Acknowledgments 1
Preface to the First Edition: The American Muslim Dream 3
1 Mistaken Identity 9
Close-Up: Islam and Slavery in Early American History: The Roots Story 14
Close-Up: The Sects of Islam 23
2 The American Muslim 27
Close Up: Hijab and the Single Girl: Will Men Ever Learn to Control Themselves? 35
Close-Up: We've Come a Long Way, Baby 45
3 Jesus and Jihad 48
Close-Up: Jesus - Islam's Messiah at the End of the World 58
Close-Up: The Meaning of the Five Pillars of Islam 59
4 Farrakhan's Choice: Militancy or Moderation 62
Close-Up: In Shahada: Conversion and Renewal in Prison from Malcolm X to Mike Tyson 74
5 Generalizations and Stereotypes: Muslims and the American Media 80
Close-Up: Movie Muslims: Myth versus Reality 98
6 American Muslim Women: Between Two Worlds 107
Close-Up: Free to Be a Muslim Feminist 124
Close-Up: The Long Road for Female Converts to Islam 125
Close-Up: Hijab in America: Why Won't Westerners Understand? 126
7 Growing Up in America: Creating New World Islam 130
Close-Up: Whither Reform Islam? What American Muslims Can Learn from American Jews 143
Close-Up: Full-Time Islamic Schools: Making Growing Up Muslim in America Easier 145
8 Muslims and American Politics: Creating Unity from the Inside Out 149
Close-Up: Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, the American Flag, and Islam 161
9 Sizzling Sex ... and Bacon 166
10 Where American Islam Is Going 175
Close-Up: A Direct Relationship with God 180
Notes 181
Index 198
Study Guide 201
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2002

    a voice of reason

    I was in the bookstore one day and I was searching for a book on Islam. Thankfully, I came across Asma Gull Hasan¿s American Muslims. After reading it I thought, finally, a personal account from a strong, educated Muslim woman! So many stereotypes fill our culture with misconceptions about Muslims in general. Miss Hasan is brave for speaking out and destroying the myth that all Muslim women are oppressed and submissive. This is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the lives everyday American Muslims. She mixes humor, wit and intelligence to tell two stories¿her own personal story as the daughter of Pakistani immigrants and the story of Islam in America. She proves that American values (tolerance, freedom and basic human rights) are perfectly compatible with Islamic values and in fact pre-date them by at least 1400 years! (Example: the Koran gave women many rights that American women didn¿t receive until the early 20th century.) She defines the differences between true Islam and the oppressive, PRE-Islamic practices in some Muslims countries. Islam is not the problem. Culture is the culprit. This book is crucial in these times of misunderstanding and cultural gaps and it is young women like Hasan who are willing to build bridges and show people the true goal of Islam¿the unity and compassion for all mankind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2002

    Good insight for everyone

    A beautiful aspect of this book is that it provides good insight to everyone who reads it, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, parent or child, immigrant or American born. - Muslims who read the book can get a first hand look of the thoughts and opinions of a second generation Muslim woman who was raised in the U.S. - Non-Muslims who read the book can get good information about how diverse Muslims are, and that just like there is only one thing that unites all Americans, their adherence to the U.S. Constitution, there is only one thing that unites all Muslims, their adherence to the belief in only one god, Allah, and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger. - Parents can learn about how the experiences of Muslim children raised in the U.S., especially in public schools, shape and mold their views and opinions as adults. - Children/Adolescents growing up in the U.S. can compare their experiences with those of the author, and examine the reasons why some of the experiences are shared, and why some experiences may be different. - Immigrants get a measure of the significance of culture on youth, and how much culture can contribute to the resulting differences between the values of immigrants and the values of those raised in the U.S. - American born Muslims can take away many things from this book, including information about other Muslims of their generation, an identity of themselves as a group, and the beginning of a healthy dialogue between all members of the generation to build on what we have in common, our American experience, and the most important commonality, the belief that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger. My sincere appreciation to the author for her hard work.

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