Monday, February 28, 2011

New Book Explores Lives of American-Born Muslim Women

(Thanks to Lisa Mabe for the following writeup about this new book which is soon to be released)

New Book Explores Lives of American-Born Muslim Women

WASHINGTON D.C. USA – February 28, 2011 – Islam has become one of the hottest of hot button topics in America. Time Magazine featured the rise of Islamophobia on its cover (August 30, 2010) and attacks on Muslims and mosques are taking place regularly across the United States. Pundits and politicians raise the stakes by questioning whether it is possible for an American to be both a good Muslim and a good citizen. Muslim American women are the subject of endless discussions regarding their role in society, their veils as symbols of oppression or of freedom, their identity and their patriotism.

In this polarized climate, a new book challenges stereotypes about being Muslim in America through the stories of forty women. I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim (May 2, 2011, White Cloud Press) brings together a diverse group of women, all born and raised in the United States, telling their stories of faith, family, and country.

The book editors are Maria Ebrahimji, executive editorial producer at CNN in Atlanta, and Zahra Suratwala, a writer and editor who owns Zahra Ink, a writing firm in Chicago. The editors want to fill a gap in current literature on American Islam by bringing out the stories of American-born Muslim women between the ages of 20 and 40. Ebrahimji notes that “As a member of the mainstream media, I am frequently exposed to the stereotyping of my faith, and this book was created to present the public with more candid, realistic portraits of a diverse group of women who are proud of their faith and their country.”

Readers of I Speak for Myself are presented with a kaleidoscope of deeply personal stories. A common theme linking these intimate self-portraits is the way each woman uniquely defies labeling, simply by defining for herself what it means to be American and Muslim and female. Each story is a contribution to the larger narrative of life stories and life work of a new generation of Muslim women.

Though the book’s official release date is May 2, it is currently available now for pre-order on, Barnes & Noble and White Cloud Press. The suggested retail price is $16.95.

The book has already caught the attention of thought leaders who are calling the book an important addition to the literature on religious pluralism
in America.

Jim Wallis, founder of the Sojourners magazine and faith community calls I Speak for Myself “a very important contribution to the growing interfaith dialogue in this country.”

Her Majesty Queen Noor notes that “By telling their stories they offer us new perspectives that are vital to the peace building process, and through their honesty and courage they are making a lasting contribution to the search for cross-cultural understanding.”

Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International says that this is “a must read for anyone curious to understand Islam from a woman’s and an American-Muslim perspective. I Speak for Myself is the story of every woman embodied in voices of today’s American Muslim woman.”

Bestselling author and school builder Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea) feels that “this collection of essays . . . is empowering and inspiring, and a vital part of any education.”

“In an era where women’s empowerment is essential, these are women who have the ability, through their stories and their work, to empower women all over the world to truly speak for themselves.” Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Winner & Founder, Grameen Bank.

For more information and dialogue on our book and American Muslim women, please join us at, and our website,

Media Contact: Lisa Mabe, Hewar Social Communications, +1 202.834.4498,


  1. "Questioning whether it is possible for an American to be both a good Muslim and a good citizen" ?
    Good gracious, what sort of a world have we come down to? Of course they can be!

    A similar debate is raging in France at the moment - our beloved President Nicolas Sarkozy is about to launch a debate about the place of Islam in our country. This is a disgrace. Peaceful believers in any faith should be welcome here!

    I guess the problem in France lies with the fact that since a law of 1905 all places of worship (churches, chapels, synagogues, temples) belong to the state. In those days there were no mosques in France. Now that we have more and more muslims, should the state fund the building of mosques? Some muslims in Paris have to pray in the streets because the mosques are too small; this seems to offend some passers-by and indeed is it fair to muslims that they have no proper places of worship?

  2. 'all places of worship (churches, chapels, synagogues, temples) belong to the state'

    I didn't know that. Why is that?How does that work? After the collection plate is passed does it go to the govt coffers?

  3. No other religion has a political agenda written into its holy book. That is the big issue with Islam. All good, observant Muslims must put Islam first and the state second. In a pluralistic, democracy this cannot be because religion and the state are separate. Therefore, it follows that if a Muslim is a true-believer he cannot also be a good citizen of the U. S. or any other democratic nation because, Islam must come first above all man-made laws.

    Additionally, many of the tenets in the Qur’an are against democracy for all people and equality of the sexes, as well as denying equality to non-Muslims via the institution of dhimma, the Islamic protection tax of jizya that must be paid by all non-Muslims. Then there are the anti-Semitic and anti-non-Muslim passages that someone like Nathalie should become familiar with.

    Perhaps Nathalie does not know about the above. She should read the Qur’an and learn that Islam is more a totalitarian, political ideology than a religion. Under true Islam, as it was practiced by the prophet and his companions, women like Nathalie would have virtually no rights, except those that her guardian gave to her. It is highly doubtful that most free, Western women would want to live as third class citizens, veiled and severely restricted, (as Susie has shown many times that she must do in Saudi Arabia) being denied the freedom to even leave the house or do anything that men are permitted to do. Six year old boys have more rights under true Islam than do adult women.

    Nathalie might also want to investigate sharia law and what that means for human rights or the lack thereof, most especially for women. She might also want to check out honor killings, and the special punishments meted out to criminals such as the chopping off or hands, feet or heads and stoning for adulterers. Being unmarried and in the vicinity of the opposite sex to whom one is not related is considered adultery, btw. The internet is full of videos of such barbaric punishments. Avail yourself, Nathalie!

    It appears that Sarkozy and Merkel as well as most of the populace of Europe and the U. S. understand what equality for Islam means—no equality for others because Islam is superior, according to Muslims and must rule as it states in the Qur’an. The more the push of Muslims for special exemptions for Islam the more the free world will push back. Only in the West can Muslims worship as they choose. That right is denied them in many Islamic lands. Sunnis believe that Shia are at best lesser Muslims and at worst apostates. Both sects have disdain for the other sects of Islam such as Suffis. Many Muslims persecute each other and non-Muslims alike. Not a day goes by without murders of brother Muslims in the name of religion. One need only read the papers of Islamic nations such as: Malaysia, Indonesia, the middle east, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan and so on to note the daily carnage in Allah’s name.

    Freedom to worship in the West is what Muslims can have. What Muslims cannot do is to try to push their faith and tyrannical political ideology into the faces and down the throats of the rest of the world! They demand respect for their religion, laws and cultural traditions. So does the non-Muslim world.