Upcoming Book on American Muslim Women (press release)
New Book Explores Lives of American-Born Muslim Women
WASHINGTON D.C. USA – March 14, 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.
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.”