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GROWING UP MUSLIM by Sumbul Ali-Karamali


Understanding Islamic Beliefs and Practices

by Sumbul Ali-Karamali

Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-385-74095-1
Publisher: Delacorte

Ali-Karamali offers plenty of anecdotes about growing up Muslim in America in a conversational tone that is undermined by poor organization.

The work explores a range of questions that non-Muslims might have about followers of Islam. Ranging from a discussion of Muslim holidays or the kinds of clothes worn by Muslims to the development of Islam, the author explains these topics in a friendly, engaging manner. She provides several examples of Muslim practices around the world, going beyond her American experiences to reflect Islam’s diversity. Chapters are organized into three fact-filled sections on beliefs and practices, the development of Islam and current Muslim demographics. Unfortunately, beginning with the practical questions about food, fasting and fashion delays important concepts such as how jihad is not equivalent to terrorism and whether Islam mandates women wear face veils (in a word, no). Compounding this basic conceptual flaw, this organizational choice necessitates clunky references to later chapters. Moreover, it is not until Chapter 4 that cited figures or quotes are provided references, an example of sloppy scholarship.

Readers will find answers to basic questions about Muslims, yet they might not understand the bigger picture if they don’t hang in until the end.

(notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)