Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie: Being Muslim in America

Overview

For many Americans, the words ‘American’ and ‘Muslim’  simply do not marry well; for many the combination is an anathema, a contradiction in values, loyalties, and identities. This is the story of one American Muslim family—the  story of how, through their lives, their schools, their friends, and their neighbors, they end up living the challenges, myths, fears, hopes, and dreams of all Americans. They are challenged by both Muslims  who speak for them and by Americans who reject them. In this ...

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Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie: Being Muslim in America

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Overview

For many Americans, the words ‘American’ and ‘Muslim’  simply do not marry well; for many the combination is an anathema, a contradiction in values, loyalties, and identities. This is the story of one American Muslim family—the  story of how, through their lives, their schools, their friends, and their neighbors, they end up living the challenges, myths, fears, hopes, and dreams of all Americans. They are challenged by both Muslims  who speak for them and by Americans who reject them. In this moving memoir, Idliby discusses not only coming to terms with what it means to be Muslim today, but how to raise and teach her children about their heritage and religious legacy. She explores life as a Muslim  in a world where hostility towards Muslims runs rampant, where there is an entire industry financed and supported by think tanks, authors, film makers, and individual  vigilantes whose sole purpose is to vilify and spread fear about all things Muslim. Her story is quintessentially American, a story of the struggles of assimilation and acceptance in a climate of confusion and prejudice—a story for anyone who has experienced being an “outsider” inside your own home country.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/11/2013
In this memoir-cum-manifesto, Idliby, a Muslim American of Palestinian and Kuwaiti origin, writes about her experiences raising Muslim children in America and being a moderate Muslim, particularly in New York City, post-September 11. Idliby is an eloquent and informed spokeswoman for her faith, and voices like hers are needed in today’s charged political climate. In this book she counters extremists on both sides, Muslim and non-Muslim, with calls for peace and rational dialogue. In particular she focuses on her children’s experiences growing up Muslim and America, with mixed success; while some anecdotes of the conflicts they face with fitting in and standing out are powerful illustrations of fear and prejudice at work, others wander into simple parental indulgence, such as her recounting of her young toddler’s sleep habits. Other aspects of the book also veer from the main focus, such as a chapter addressed to her young daughter. Readers well-versed in Islam should look elsewhere for depth and nuance, but for others it will be a light and likeable introduction to issues facing American Muslims today. (Jan. 7)
From the Publisher
"A bold, intimate, welcome examination of reconciling one’s faith in America." —Kirkus 

 

“Idliby is an eloquent and informed spokeswoman for her faith, and voices like hers are needed in today’s charged political climate.” —Publishers Weekly

"An unflinchingly intimate and honest examination of some of the most difficult issues that have come to define the ‘coming of age’ experiences of American Muslims. This is essential reading for those who have ever feared or been feared and anyone who has ever asked, ‘Where are the moderates?’" —Reza Aslan, author of Zealot and No god but God

Burqas, Baseball and Apple Pie is a lovely and lyrical look into the life of one American Muslim woman and her family. It will expand and enrich your view of Islam and America.” —Eboo Patel, author of Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice and the Promise of America

"A powerful memoir of being a Muslim woman and mother in post-9/11 America.  It touches the soul of the reader and brings home the simple truth that the heart of America and the heart of Islam can indeed beat together as one."—Kamran Pasha, author of Mother of the Believers

“Ranya Idilby is one of my best teachers and heroes. As a Jew married to a Muslim, with a daughter whom I want to raise with pride for all her rich backgrounds, I read Burqas, Baseball, And Apple Pie with poignant fascination. Ranya's exploration of bringing up her kids in a post-9/11 world is a must-read for ALL parents who want to raise compassionate, modern, global children.” —JJ Miller, Supervising Producer, HuffPost Live

"Muslims are a growing part of American society, yet most Americans know little about their values, hopes and aspirations. Ranya Tabari Idliby's book goes a long way to address that problem. This is an incisive and passionate book about the everyday struggles of Muslims Americans to be both, to bridge the divide between Islamic faith and American culture, personal identity. This is a wonderful read for all Americans." Vali Nasr, author of The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in retreat and The Rise of Islamic Capitalism, Why the New Muslim Middle Class is the Key to Defeating Extremism

"In this thoughtful and courageous memoir, Ranya Tabari Idliby takes on the intolerance of so-called ‘patriots’ and the fundamentalism of those who consider themselves religious ‘purists’ and teaches us all important lessons about what it really means to be an American and a Muslim." —James Zogby, founder and president, Arab American Institute, and author of Arab Voices

“Fearlessly honest, Ranya Idliby lifts the veil of mystery cloaking the lives of American Muslims. With powerful prose that reads like a conversation over coffee with your best friend, Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie is at once the story of an accidental Muslim woman raising her children to be proud American Muslims, the universal story of every mother who wants her children to be empowered and safe from religious barbs and bullies, and the inspirational story of our nation’s continuing struggle to find our common humanity—no matter the obstacles and hatred thrown our way.” —Joyce S. Dubensky, CEO, Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding

“This is the story of a young Muslim-American woman of Palestinian descent who took great joy in her religion and in being an American.  The story is interesting, insightful, inspiring and at the same time a bit sad, in that Ranya Tabari Idliby worked hard to manage her two identities Muslim and American both of which she loves – a task that became much more difficult after 9/11 and the intensification of stereotypes of Muslims being violent, brutal and anti-democratic.  She has spent much of her life trying to communicate the messages of peace, moderation and compassion at the core of Islam to an American public, many of whom have embraced the stereotype of Muslim terrorism, violence and hatred of the West.  That task became yet more difficult as her children grew up in the public school system and had to deal with those same stereotypes from their classmates and friends. There is no end to this story:  it is for the author and surely many other American-Muslims – still being written hopefully to achieve the values of pluralism and respect for diversity that are at the core of America.” —Carol Lancaster, PhD, Dean, School of Foreign Service, Professor of International Relations, Georgetown University

“A refreshing approach on Muslim identity! Idliby utilizes crucial aspects of motherhood to tell her tale about finding faith and empowering her children through her journey. The book delves into the difficulties Muslims endured after 9/11 by answering the arduous realities Idliby’s children face at school, in class, and on the playground. She confronts the 'Muslim Scare' head on by providing her children with essential tools to find strength in their beliefs and combat the challenges of being a Muslim in the post 9/11 America” —Daisy Khan, Executive Director, American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA)

Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-11
One woman's personal examination of Muslim and American values. In this follow-up to her comparative study of Muslim, Christian and Jewish identity (The Faith Club, co-authored with Suzanne Oliver and Priscilla Warner, 2006), Idliby hones in on her family's experiences as American Muslims immediately following 9/11. The author and her husband, then longtime Manhattanites and self-described "secular Muslims," suddenly found themselves and their children challenged by "Muslims who speak for us and Americans who reject us." Thus confronted with repeated calls to account for the whole of Islam, and skewed views of a violent Islam at that, Idliby was forced to look within at what Muslim and American values she held dear. The author charts that reflection, as this daughter of a Palestinian father and Kuwaiti mother who had spent her youth shuttling between Virginia and Dubai painfully relates to her own children's post-9/11 sense of being the "other." Hoping for better for her American-born children, Idliby tailors her remarks for a largely Islam-illiterate American audience, debunking a number of widespread misconceptions about Islam. Refusing to have her children's worldviews constricted by "clerics who peddle seventh century absolute orthodoxy as the only true Islam," Idliby strongly advocates for reading the Quran in the cultural context of its time and not as literal doctrine for 21st-century society. For example, the author explains that female head-covering is a social convention and admonishes those donning the niqab (full face covering) for opting to be "buried alive under a black tent" and, thereby, "erased of their identities." In Mecca, Islam's holiest city, Idliby also points out, "face coverings are banned," underscoring one of the memoir's central points--that "Islam is not a nationality, but a faith, as diverse and varied as its many billion adherents." Such diversity of belief, Idliby compellingly argues, aligns well with American individualism and cherished beliefs in equality, diversity and justice. A bold, intimate, welcome examination of reconciling one's faith in America.
Library Journal
05/01/2014
This impassioned, accessible book combines memoir with a critical survey of issues facing modern Muslim Americans.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230341845
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/7/2014
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 278,977
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Ranya Tabari Idliby is a writer who lives in New York City. She co-authored The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew: Three Women Search for Understanding , an intimate dialog on faith and identity in America. She has spoken in churches, temples, and mosques, as well as at interfaith organizations, the United Nations, and the State Department. She was interviewed by Diane Sawyer for a special program on moderate Muslim voices, in addition to many other media engagements, including CNN, Oprah radio’s Dr. Oz , The Diane Rehm Show, USA Today , and the Today Show.

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