Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pg. 99: Sumbul Ali-Karamali's "The Muslim Next Door"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Sumbul Ali-Karamali's The Muslim Next Door: The Qur'an, the Media, and that Veil Thing.

About the book, from the publisher:
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.
Among the early praise for the book:
“I wish I could send a copy of The Muslim Next Door not just to every Muslim extremist, including Bin Laden and his likes, but also to the President of the United States and his staff, to all policy makers, and also to every single Islamophobe or self-hating Muslim in the world. If they read and understood this book, most certainly our world would become a much better place to live. Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the publishing world has generated a virtual flood of books on Islam and Muslims, and the vast majority of what has been published is no better than pseudo-intellectual drivel. In my view, however, The Muslim Next Door is solid intellectual gold! This book easily ranks as one of the best three books published on the Islamic faith in the English language since the tragedy of 9/11. It is a profoundly eloquent, consistently reliable, comprehensive, insightful, and often brilliant testament of what it means to be a Muslim and what the religion of Islam is all about. Refreshing in its honesty, accessibility, and humility, and truly impressive in scope and depth, this is an indispensable book. Indeed this book is a necessary read not just for those who are interested in learning about Islam, but even more so for those who believe that they have learned all there is to know about Islam.”
--Khaled Abou El Fadl, Professor of Immigration, Middle Eastern, and Islamic Law, UCLA School of Law, and author of The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists

“Post 9/11 has seen an explosion of publishing on Islam. For many, the question is who do I read if I only have a limited amount of time and want to know what and why Muslims believe what they believe. The Muslim Next Door is an excellent place to start. Sumbul Ali-Karamali presents Islam as a living and lived faith. She combines scholarship with an engaging and accessible style and frank self-criticism that crystallizes the faith and commitment of a majority of mainstream Muslims in its unity and diversity."
--John L. Esposito, Professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University and Director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown

"Sumbul Ali-Karamali has provided me with a tremendously valuable window of insight into what it means to honor and live Islam in America's everyday world. The Muslim Next Door is both immensely personal and intellectually grounded, and it presents an informed dialog I would not normally be privy to. One of the most valuable weapons against fear and hatred is exposure to the Other, and this conversational book becomes part of a much-needed, ongoing discovery."
--Lalita Tademy, author of Cane River (an Oprah’s Book Club pick) and Red River

“Sumbul Ali-Karamali has written a book which is gripping, comprehensive and essential. With wit, honesty, and scholarship, she offers an account of what being Muslim means in a polarised world where the fault line is as grave as it is prejudiced. A masterpiece of simplicity that offers a groundbreaking testimony that will find its way to every household, in the US and beyond, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike."
--Chibli Mallat, Professor of Law and Politics of the Middle East, SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah; EU Jean Monnet Chair in European Law, Université Saint-Joseph, Beirut

“This is a refreshingly frank and wonderfully accessible account of what it means to be an American Muslim woman today. Sumbul Ali-Karamali speaks from the heart as well as the head and she dispels many misconceptions about Islam today.”
--Carole Hillenbrand, Professor of Islamic History, University of Edinburgh

"A beautiful book. At a time when most Americans are bombarded with misinformation about Islam and, in particular American Muslims, Ali-Karamali has written an elegant corrective -- a paean to the faith, practice, values, and beliefs of the world's second largest religious community. For anyone who truly wants to know what Muslims believe, this is the perfect book.”
--Reza Aslan, author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
Read an excerpt from The Muslim Next Door, and learn more about the book and author at Sumbul Ali-Karamali's website.

Sumbul Ali-Karamali is a corporate lawyer with degrees in law, Islamic law, and English.

The Page 99 Test: The Muslim Next Door.

--Marshal Zeringue