Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America after 9/11

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Islam is America's fastest growing religion, with more than six million Muslims in the United States, all living in the shadow of 9/11. Who are our Muslim neighbors? What are their beliefs and desires? How are they coping with life under the War on Terror? In Mecca and Main Street, noted author and journalist Geneive Abdo offers illuminating answers to these questions. Gaining unprecedented access to Muslim communities in America, she traveled across the country, visiting schools, mosques, Islamic centers, radio stations, and homes. She reveals a community tired of being judged by Americans' perceptions of Muslims overseas and eager to tell their own stories. Abdo brings these stories vividly to life, allowing us to hear their own voices and inviting us to understand their hopes and their fears. Inspiring, insightful, tough-minded, and even-handed, this book will appeal to those curious (or fearful) about the Muslim presence in America. It will also be warmly welcomed by the Muslim community.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Geneive Abdo's work captures in great detail the immense hardships Muslim face in the post-September-11th world and offers hope for their success and co-existence in America. Her book shatters stereotypes about Muslims and teaches us that more understanding of Islam is needed for global peace." --Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

"Given rising anxiety about the possible alienation of American Muslims, a readable book offering a responsible yet sympathetic profile of that community should be welcomed. Five years after 9/11, Geneive Abdo, who has reported skillfully on Islamism in Egypt and Iran, has produced just such a book. Abdo's description of the neo-traditionalism of this community is fascinating. She depicts a typical 'enclave culture,' a religious community that sees itself as beleaguered and is therefore preoccupied by boundaries--between us and them, male and female, real Muslim and impostor."--The Washington Post

"There is no better time and no better book to understand the American Muslim experience today than Mecca and Main Street. Abdo has written an important, insightful and provocative book. 'Must reading' for anyone who wishes to engage American Muslims in their faith and rich diversity." --John L. Esposito, University Professor and Founding Director of the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, and author of What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam

"Honest, perceptive, and nuanced.... Introduces a Muslim community that is both an American immigration success story and a population struggling to define itself under unprecedented circumstances." --Christian Science Monitor

"Abdo has written a book that succeeds in striking a very difficult balance; it is simultaneously honest, highly informative, critical, thought provoking, entertaining, and very readable--in fact once picked up, the reader will have a hard time putting the book down. This is one of the few studies on the subject that is firmly grounded in the realities and dreams of American Muslims. The author insightfully elucidates both the internal and external strife and challenges that plague Muslims living in the United States in particular, but also more generally, those living in the West. Muslims and non-Muslims alike will benefit greatly from reading Mecca and Main Street." --Khaled Abou El Fadl, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law, and author of The Search for Beauty in Islam and The Great Theft

"Going beyond abstract debates about what Islam does or doesn't say, Geneive Abdo vividly describes the many concrete ways in which American Muslims practice their religion. Shunning the clich├ęd opposition of 'good' liberal Muslims to 'bad' fundamentalist or conservative Muslims, Abdo shows how the new generation is shaping a truly Western, yet still orthodox, Islam. Contradictions, compromises, and tensions between U.S-born and immigrant Muslims accompany an ongoing shift from diverse ethnic communities to a common faith community--a faith community that is definitively Western. Mecca and Main Street fills a vacuum in the study of American Muslims." --Olivier Roy, author of Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah

"Islam is the fastest growing religion in America, yet for most Americans the lives of their Muslim neighbors remain shrouded in mystery. In this rich and probing book Geneive Abdo provides an intimate account of American Islam; its roots, beliefs and the challenges that confront it today. With an eye for detail and nuance, sharpened during years of reporting from Egypt and Iran, Abdo lays bare the diversity of this community of migrants and converts as it balances faith with modernity in post-9/11 America. Well-written, engaging and sophisticated, this is a must read for all Americans and Muslims." --Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195332377
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/10/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 805,562
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Geneive Abdo is the Liaison for the Alliance of Civilizations at the United Nations. A recognized authority on Islamic political movements and the author of well-received books on Islam in Egypt and Iran, she is also a respected journalist. During nearly a decade as a correspondent in the Islamic world, her work was featured in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, The Economist, and The International Herald Tribune. She has been a commentator on numerous news programs, including the BBC, NPR, CNN and PBS.

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Table of Contents

1. History of Muslims in America
2. Muslim Life Today
3. The Traditionalists
4. Spreading the Faith
5. Women
6. The Converts
7. Muslim Voices
8. European Muslims
9. Conclusion

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