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

Sumbul Ali-Karamali

White Cloud Press,  September 2008

What if you could sit down at a kitchen table with an American Muslim mom and ask anything you wanted about her faith and religious practice? Conveyed through anecdotes and stories about growing up Muslim and female in the West, author Sumbul Ali-Karamali answers the perennial questions:

  • What are the day-to-day practices of Muslims and how does Islam fit into the Judeo-Christian tradition?

  • Where do the rules come from in Islam and why is quoting the Qur'an problematic?

  • Who's who in Islam (Sunni, Shi'a, the Nation of Islam, Sufis) and why do dervishes whirl?

  • Are Muslim women really oppressed, veiled, and willing to share their husbands?

  • How do most Muslims feel about holy war and fundamentalism?

  • How did American Muslims react to the September 11th attacks?
The Muslim Next Door clears away the misconceptions about Islam and why they flourish -- media distortion, confusion about what is cultural rather than religious, the language barrier, and the old tall tales that still persist after thirteen centuries.

paperback | ISBN: 9780974524566 | Publication Date: September 2008

"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 . . . 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 Tamedy, Author, Cane River (An Oprah's Book Club Pick)

"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."
--John L. Esposito, University Professor and Director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, author of What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam

"[W]ho 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, University Professor and Director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University

"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."
--Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, Professor of Islamic Law, UCLA School of Law

"There are few books that I would genuinely recommend to everybody I know, and you are holding one of them. Sumbul Ali-Karamali has written a lovely, lyrical, and learned book about living Islam. Whether you are an expert in the subject or a novice, a skeptic or a believer, you will find this book a treasure."
--Dr. Eboo Patel, Executive Director, Interfaith Youth Core

"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 polarized 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 U.S. and beyond, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike."
--Chibli Mallat, Ph.D. in Islamic Law; Professor of Law and Politics of the Middle East, SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah

"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. For anyone who truly wants to know what Muslims believe, this is the perfect book."
--Reza Aslan, Author, No God But God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam

"Sumbul Ali-Karamali has produced an intelligent, sensitive and highly readable study of Islam as it is experienced and interpreted by most Muslims. An important work that challenges the distorted views of the extremists and the prejudices of Islamophobes."
--Dr. Ali Asani, Professor of the Practive of Indo-Muslim Languages and Cultures at Harvard University; Advisory Board of The Pluralism Project at Harvard University

"SumbulAli-Karamali provides refreshing insight into an impressive range of issues concerning Islam. Her book is the journey of an American Muslim woman struggling with her identity, her tradition, and most importantly, her desire to simultaneously flt in with American culture while preserving her faith. Through the use of both personal anecdotes and extensive evidence from the Islamic tradition, she provides easy-to-read, credible, and thought-provoking analysis.
--Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Author, What's Right With Islam

"Sumbul Ali-Karamali lives according to her faith, with humor, good grace, and brilliance, so when she shares her insights, they ring true. I was a Catholic nun in my early life, so took particular interest in this modern, savvy woman's faith, which was, to be frank, a little scary to me. This book is fascinating; I couldn't put it down. I recommend it whole-heartedly to people of good will who are grappling with questions about Islam and Muslim in America today.
--Ann McCormick, Ph.D., Founder of The Learning Company

"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."
--Dr. Carole Hillenbrand, Professor of Islamic History, University of Edinburgh