Tag Archives: keith ellison

Early praise for “Journey into America”

“Professor Akbar Ahmed turns his intrepid approach to cultural dialogue and inter-faith understanding onto American society, in this brilliant follow-up to “Journey into Islam”. His insights should be required reading for anyone grappling with national security, national identity and national cohesion in today’s complex era.” Colonel David Kilcullen, author of Washington Post Bestseller and Economist Book of the Year, The Accidental Guerrilla

“My friend, Professor Ahmed, came to America in the great tradition of Alexis De Tocqueville: a perceptive foreigner affectionately looking at America and American identity. This important new book advances his heroic, even dangerous, ‘five minutes to midnight’ effort to save us from our foolish mutual animosities. Pray his efforts are not too late.” Tony Blankley, The Washington Times and The Heritage Foundation

“What a wonderful, wonderful work! Dr. Akbar Ahmed has written an important book on Islam in the United States today. With the refreshing perspective of both Dr. Ahmed and his bright young traveling companions, this book presents great insight into the diversity and vibrancy of American Islam and its potential to help achieve the American promise.” Eboo Patel, founder and Executive Director of Interfaith Youth Core

“I have not read a work as insightful, erudite, and innovative on the challenge of American identity since Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Akbar Ahmed sets a new paradigm in the ongoing debate on defining American identity.” Melody Fox, Berkley Center at Georgetown University

“Journey to America is an essential pillar in the effort to build the interfaith bridge of understanding. It will inform, provoke, and inspire Americans of all colors, cultures, and faiths.” Congressman Keith Ellison

“If one wants to know why the world and not just America needs America to be America; if one wants stirring uplift and insight into the diversity and experience of being Muslim in America; if one wants to appreciate the genius of America’s founding fathers and the significance of their Bill of Rights; if one wants to absorb the experiences of different generations and different religions struggling together to understand the contemporary world; if one wants to understand how the constantly changing identity of the United States throughout the sweep of its history is relevant for today’s challenges; if one wants to appreciate how new useful knowledge can be created by what anthropologists call “participant observation research;” if one wants practical suggestions for building a better world at home and abroad together; then read Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam  by Akbar S. Ahmed and his intrepid team.” Dean Louis Goodman, American University, Washington DC

“An absolutely riveting journey into an America most Americans have no idea about – as the US faces up to the tensions within its own Muslim communities it could not be more timely.” Christina Lamb, The Sunday Times Washington Bureau Chief Continue reading

Georgetown University to host screening of “Journey into America” on September 15

Ramadan Mubarak.

Please come out and join us for a screening of the film hosted by the Berkely Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University. The event will take place in the ICC auditorium on September 15 at 6:00 with a discussion and Ramadan Iftaar afterwords in McShane Lounge.


Breakfast with First Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison

We sat down with Congressman Ellison in the members only dining room of the capitol, a large portrait of George Washington accepting British General Cornwallis’s surrender hanging behind. What Washington fought for and what America stands for is liberty for all, including freedom of religion. However Congressman Ellison’s election has redefined and challenged what many people see as “acceptable” limits of these standards.

Congressman Ellison told us of his conversion to Islam as a young man and about the controversy in detail over his swearing in on the Quran. The reception he received in congress, he said, was exceptional: “I didn’t know how the Democratic leadership was going to react to me so when she reached her hand out in a handshake and pulled me close in, she said, “You swear in on anything you want.” And she was then technically still the minority leader…and then we had a dinner before the big day for all the incoming freshman and she asked me to give the opening prayer and she made the point, well here Keith Ellison is giving the prayer and it’s just like any prayer we might hear anywhere. And I have to say though it was fraught with controversy it was a welcoming environment because Speaker Pelosi made it that way and I thank her for that.”

Congressman Ellison has become a symbol of the promise and beauty of America. What does America mean to him?:

“American identity is an essential commitment to American principles. American identity is rooted is a system of ideas. And this is different from other places around the world where your national identity might be a mixture or race, color, religion, a certain culinary orientation, certain holidays. But in America our holidays are the 4th of July—Independence Day—our holidays are Thanksgiving, a very American holiday. Our cultural ethos is fairness, rule of law, freedom of expression. These are American ideas.

“Americans I think have a certain sense of optimism. Americans think they can solve problems whereas people from other parts of the world are more fatalistic and feel like, well this is how it’s always been and this is how its gonna be. That’s not an American attitude. Americans think, ‘well if it’s not right what re we gonna do about it?’

“I’m proud to be an American. It’s a great thing. Has there ever been a country in the rest of the world that started out taking the land from the Indians, dragging Africans to do the work, denying the right of half the population of women to participate in civic life and then within a few hundred years solving these problems internally. I mean Canada didn’t come down here and make us get along better. We worked it out. It wasn’t easy, people lost their lives, people lost their careers, there were prices paid. But now we live in a time when a black man is president.”

On another note, we are honored that Congressman Ellison has agreed to be on the panel after the premiere of our documentary “Journey into America” at the ISNA convention in Washington on July 4th.

World Premiere of “Journey into America”

We’re extremely excited to announce that the documentary part of the “Journey” will be premiered at the annual  ISNA Convention on July 4th at 9:00 p.m.  A fitting date.

This is huge news for us. To see this all come together is a testament to the support we have received from so many people. Thank you all.

We continue to work on the book and hope to have some more exciting news on its release soon. But, for now, we continue to write, and write. And write.

Full details of the world premiere below: Continue reading