Rarely have I read a book that is as timely, informative and engaging as Journey into America: the Challenge of Islam by Dr. Akbar Ahmed, considered one of the foremost Islamic scholars in the world.
Beginning in 2008, he and his young research team set out across America, visiting at least 75 cities and 100 mosques as they talked to thousands of American Muslims, and interviewed non-Muslims on their views of Islam.
It was an anthropological study, so the data is reported in dozens of fascinating stories that underline the key findings. Dr. Ahmed and two members of his young research team are the lead guests this week on Interfaith Voices. (The show will be posted by Friday, August 13).
A major theme running throughout the book is relevant for those of all faiths, including Catholics.
Dr. Ahmed and his team sought to understand how Muslims see themselves as part of America, and how non-Muslim Americans see Islam. So they asked the pivotal question: What does it mean to be an American? They asked that question across the country, and developed a typology of “American identities:”