Publishers Weekly review of All-American: 45 American Men on Being Muslim

Greetings from Lahore, where I and the family are currently visiting in-laws and trying to stay hydrated.

I’m happy to report that Publishers Weekly has a starred review of the book I recently contributed to, “All-American: 45 American Men on Being Muslim.”

The review:

All-American: 45 American Men on Being Muslim
Edited by Wajahat Ali & Zahra T. Suratwala. White Cloud (PGW, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (238p) ISBN 978-1-935952-59-6

This latest volume in the I Speak for Myself series offers short, readable, personal essays by 45 men on being Muslim in America. Some were born into the faith, others converted, and they are an amazing variety of ethnicities and races. But they are all self-aware, happy with their faith, and as American as every other New York Yankees fan or kid who grew up with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. These men have followed different faith journeys, and their stories introduce readers to the diverse branches within Islam. This simple, friendly, and necessary book belongs on high school and public library shelves. Would it could be required reading for the half of Americans who have an unfavorable view of Islam. (June)


If you care about getting authentic voices out into the national conversation about Islam that showcase the diversity of Islam in America, please pick yourself up a copy and spread the word!


  • Mustafa Howard

    The only problem with such a book is that it ignores the plight of many converts: we have no community, particularly white American men. The immigrant Muslims are so busy enjoying life in America and fighting over who will rule the masjid that they don’t have time to think about real issues.

    Most Americans enter Islam by leaving our families, friends, and living counter-culture to our society. We don’t fit in with Arabic or Urdu speakers, and the Arabic and Urdu speakers quite frankly don’t care. They have their communities. Meanwhile, 85% of American converts end-up leaving the community, and no one cares. So, until the immigrant “muslims” decide to get serious about implementing Islam and thinking about something beside themselves, there won’t be much expansion of Islam into the American population. Then, they will have to answer to Allah why they did not fulfill their purpose, which is to open the door of Islam for all of humanity.

    • Svend White

      Thanks for the great comment, Mustafa. As I know only too well, having grown up feeling out of place in some mosques, you’re right. I don’t have much good to say about the way a lot of mosques are run–though it should be kept in mind that this isn’t something sinister; it’s human nature to be clannish and insular, as you discover in ANY expat community–and for that reason generally prefer (non-Salafi) black mosques. Black Muslims understand that mosques need to be havens for the marginalized, like the black churches they often grew up in.

      However, things ARE improving. Take a look at the Taleef Collective, for example. This exciting project seems to get what we’re talking about. And, more globally within the American Muslim community, I think there is a widespread awareness that the reins need to be passed over to American-born Muslims if they want to keep the youth engaged. Things are improving, and think the appearance of this book is a sign of that welcome trend.

    • darby

      I think you also have the responsibility of integrating withthe greater Musilm community, and make an effort to introduce yourself , ask for support. If you don’t how is the uma going to know you don’t have a support? It is not easy but it can be done.