The Muslim Next Door: The Qur'an, the Media, and That Veil Thing

Overview

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 yet academically sound answers to these questions while also dispelling commonly held misconceptions. Written from the point of view of an American Muslim, the book addresses what readers in the Western world...
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The Muslim Next Door: The Qur'an, the Media, and That Veil Thing

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Overview

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 yet academically sound answers to these questions while also dispelling commonly held misconceptions. Written from the point of view of an American Muslim, the book addresses what readers in the Western world are most curious about, beginning with the basics of Islam and how Muslims practice their religion before easing into more complicated issues like jihad, Islamic fundamentalism, and the status of women in Islam. Author Sumbul Ali-Karamali’s vivid anecdotes about growing up Muslim and female in the West, along with her sensitive, scholarly overview of Islam, combine for a uniquely insightful look at the world’s fastest growing religion.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Ali-Karamali, a lawyer and scholar of Islamic law, confronts the myriad stereotypes and falsehoods about Islam and Muslims in her first book. Although the chapters can feel disjointed, she tackles timely topics, such as misogynistic attitudes among Muslims (which she says are the result of culture and not theology) and violence; she notes that less than 1% of the Qur'an references fighting. Ali-Karamali insists that the Qur'an, where appearing controversial, must be read in context or in light of the variety of possible Arabic translations. She is not shy about criticizing Muslims for such practices as gender-segregated prayers, stoning for postmarital adultery, coercive pressure to wear hijab, and the building and funding of Wahhabi mosques by the wealthy Saudi Arabian regime. The Western media worsens the situation by failing to cover stories where Muslims have shown progressive attitudes, such as the wholesale condemnation of the 9/11 attacks by Muslims or legal reform in Islamic nations to improve the plight of women. Though this survey is understandable and useful, the author's determination to cover every topic makes it feel rushed. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780974524566
  • Publisher: White Cloud Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 688,530
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sumbul Ali-Karamali grew up in California, balancing her South Asian, Muslim, and American identities. Often the only Muslim her acquaintances knew, she had ample practice answering questions about Islam and Muslims. ("What do you mean you can't go to the prom because of your religion?") While working as a corporate lawyer, she was repeatedly asked to recommend books on Islam, so she decided to write a book that was both academically reliable and entertaining to read. Consequently, she moved to London and earned her L.L.M. in Islamic Law from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies. She served as a teaching assistant in Islamic Law at SOAS and a research associate at the Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law in London, and then she wrote The Muslim Next Door for everyone who ever asked — or wanted to ask — a question about Islam.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Everyday Islam: How Muslims Practice Their Religion 5

Chapter 2 Some Basic Islamic Concepts and How Islam Fits into the Judeo-Christian Tradition 33

Chapter 3 The Story of an Arab, an Angel, and the God of Abraham: Muhammad and the Birth of Islam 48

Chapter 4 The Qur'an: What It Is and Why Quoting It Can Be Problematic 62

Chapter 5 Who's Who in Islam: From Ayatollahs to Whirling Dervishes 83

Chapter 6 Religious Hierarchy: Who Makes the Rules in Islam? 99

Chapter 7 Women in Islam: Marriage, Divorce, Polygamy, and that Veil Thing 117

Chapter 8 Jihad and Fundamentalism: Not the Same 167

Chapter 9 Theft and Adultery in Islam: Reflections on Disney's Aladdin 198

Chapter 10 An American Muslim Reaction to September 11th 210

Chapter 11 Why the Misconceptions Persist: Separating the Reality from the Murky Mythology 217

Questions for Discussion 248

Chronology 249

Notes 255

Suggested Reading List 274

Index 279

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2008

    A reviewer

    The Muslim faith was a little scary to me so I thought it was important to read this book and learn first hand about an American Muslim's experience. I was surprised how deeply Sumbul's straightforward expression of her beliefs touched me, since they were so much like mine, though I'm a Christian and former nun. I started to wish she really did live next door so we could compare ideas and share stories. I recommend this book as a good read, especially at this time in US and world history.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2008

    The book about Islam I have been waiting for

    This is a wonderfully written book by an American Islamic legal scholar who writes about Islam in a light, conversational style that captured my attention and made we want to keep reading. Ali-Karamali cuts through much of the misunderstanding and misconception about Islam 'propogated by Muslims and non-Muslims alike' by often going directly to the verses of the Koran and placing the verses and their subsequent interpretation in the proper context. She is not afraid to take on difficult and controversial issues and presents a balanced perspective in areas where the authorities disagree. Despite the sometimes meaty topics covered, The Muslim Next Door is a pleasure to read because it is intermixed with anecdotes and examples of Muslim practices and customs -- overall, I was left with the impression of a pleasant and illuminating conversation with the author. I have tried reading quite a few other books about Islam, and have been unable to make it all the way through. Not the case with this one!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2010

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