Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America after 9/11
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Islam is Americas 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 American 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.
nationalists and they said, No, ‘Islam has a much more emancipatory framework,’ I started to reconsider. I confronted Jaleel about this and he was the first person I ever really had a serious conversation with about Islam. “It wasn’t an epiphany. It was a long process.” For Rami, becoming a devout Muslim meant significantly altering his life. At the time, he lived near Hyde Park, a middle-class area of trendy bars and restaurants and fifty-year-old brownstones. Like many typical young men, he
American rights and the plight of the ghetto than on religion. African American youth growing up in the 1980s had at least heard about the Nation and Warith Deen’s breakaway movement. Their greatest hero, though, was Malcolm X. Malcolm X’s legacy differed greatly from his image during his lifetime. For the younger generation, Malcolm was a hybrid of Farrakhan and Warith Deen Muhammad—someone who sought to practice Islam within the tradition of orthodox Sunni Islam but who also championed African
readers were told in often-breathless terms, indicate a coming Tehran Spring. Media coverage mirrors the U.S. government’s persistent misunderstanding of what Muslim women want. Even now, after the United States has maintained an armed presence in the heart of the Islamic world, old habits die hard. In September 2005, Karen P. Hughes, charged with spreading the American message in the Muslim world, was embarrassed on trips to Turkey and Saudi Arabia after Muslim women told her she didn’t
head of the local Shiite mosque, knew many Muslims in San Antonio. He helped me arrange several interviews by phone before I traveled to Texas, and he gave me Chris’s phone number. Chris arrives at the Islamic center for our noon appointment while Sheikh Ali is giving a religious lesson. The sheikh urges us to talk privately in an enclosed room. Chris and I sit on a newly carpeted floor; as in many Islamic centers, there is no furniture. As soon as he begins telling me his story, I can tell that
for war. But he found this argument hard to make once it became well established that, in fact, Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. His views are unlike those of the majority of Muslims I have met; most openly criticize the U.S. invasion and the rise of Islamic militancy it has caused across the Muslim world. They did not support Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, but do not find American colonialism to be much of an improvement. Many Muslims think the occupation could have been avoided if