The acclaimed, prizewinning novelist-author of The Moor's Account and The Other Americans-now gives us a bracingly personal work of nonfiction that is concerned with the status of Muslims in America as "conditional citizens." In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Laila Lalami confronts how racist notions and recent understandings of religious belief have shaped America's distorted view of its Muslim citizens. Tapping into history, literature, and politics, she starkly elucidates the rich history of Muslims in America and how its erasure has contributed to bigotry today; the racialization of Muslims as brown/black and how this affects Muslim identity even among nonreligious Muslims; the lack of basic literacy about Islam in much of the media, often leading to the promulgation of sensationalism; the promotion of falsehoods about Muslims-including, for example, that they want to impose sharia law in places like Oklahoma-and the effects of anti-sharia legislation; the culture's reaction to actual threats by Muslims, leading to even greater surveillance; and the privileging of only a few Muslim voices that support the status quo. Brilliantly argued and deeply personal, Conditional Citizens weaves together the author's own experiences with explorations of the place of Muslims in the broader American culture.
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