We have been absent from posting lately due to the (sometimes overwhelming) task of writing and editing the book, but we are done. We are really excited about the contents–nine chapters divided into three parts: 1) American Identity 2) Islam in America and 3) Adjusting and Adapting.
First a reboot: We set out in September of 2008 with a team of six. Led by Professor Akbar Ahmed, the team consisted of Frankie Martin, Hailey Woldt, Craig Considine, Madeeha Hameed and Jonathan Hayden. We set out to discover America, it’s history and culture, and–of course–where Islam fits in. It was quite a journey, taking us to over 75 cities, big and small, across the vast continent. We spoke to people of all backgrounds, ranging from Bosnians, Kurds, and African Americans in over 100 mosques in Muslim communities. Jews, Mennonites, Mormons , atheists and more in non-Muslim communities. We spoke to scholars and activists, religious leaders and administrators, uncovered history and spoke to converts. We heard heartwarming stories and learned of struggle and disappointment. We traveled and traveled and came back home to DC to write the book and finish make the film.We had a lot of loyal followers on the blog and got a lot of coverage from the media, causing a minor stir in Alabama and breaking a story in Nebraska. The film is out (trailer can be seen here) and has been screened across the world (in Australia, France and Pakistan) at Universities, religious institutions and film festivals and is being translated into Arabic and Persian.
Finally, we’ve received some great comments on the book and Dr. Ahmed’s work. During an event at American University, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was introduced by Dr. Ahmed and had this to say:
After a visit to SOCOM and CENTCOM in Tampa, Professor Ahmed was given the certificate below:
Maya Soetoro-Ng had this to say about Ambassador Ahmed
Akbar Ahmed uses his remarkable life and multifaceted connections, his many friendships and his creative powers, to write, speak, and teach about the need for peace and social change. He draws upon the history of struggle as well as the powerful good that has come from successful cooperation and communication in order to discourage simplistic assumptions about the “other” and to encourage personal responsibility, empathy, and peace building. He brings us numerous examples of grassroots diplomacy that will help us all recognize the great potential inherent in broadening our definitions of ‘community’.