home books bio writings appearances contact
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
“I wish I could send a copy of The Muslim Next Door not just to every Muslim extremist, including Bin Laden and his likes, but also to the President of the United States and his staff, to all policy makers, and also to every single Islamophobe or self-hating Muslim in the world. If they read and understood this book, most certainly our world would become a much better place to live. Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the publishing world has generated a virtual flood of books on Islam and Muslims, and the vast majority of what has been published is no better than pseudo-intellectual drivel. In my view, however, The Muslim Next Door is solid intellectual gold! This book easily ranks as one of the best three books published on the Islamic faith in the English language since the tragedy of 9/11. It is a profoundly eloquent, consistently reliable, comprehensive, insightful, and often brilliant testament of what it means to be a Muslim and what the religion of Islam is all about. Refreshing in its honesty, accessibility, and humility, and truly impressive in scope and depth, this is an indispensable book. Indeed this book is a necessary read not just for those who are interested in learning about Islam, but even more so for those who believe that they have learned all there is to know about Islam.”

-- Khaled Abou El Fadl, J.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Immigration, Middle Eastern, and Islamic Law
UCLA School of Law
Author of numerous books, including The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists.
 
 
“Post 9/11 has seen an explosion of publishing on Islam. For many, the question is who do I read if I only have a limited amount of time and want to know what and why Muslims believe what they believe. The Muslim Next Door is an excellent place to start. Sumbul Ali-Karamali presents Islam as a living and lived faith. She combines scholarship with an engaging and accessible style and frank self-criticism that crystallizes the faith and commitment of a majority of mainstream Muslims in its unity and diversity".

-- John L. Esposito, Ph.D.
Professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University;
Director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown;
Author of many publications, including What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam and Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.
 
 
"Sumbul Ali-Karamali has provided me with a tremendously valuable window of insight into what it means to honor and live Islam in America's everyday world. The Muslim Next Door is both immensely personal and intellectually grounded, and it presents an informed dialog I would not normally be privy to. One of the most valuable weapons against fear and hatred is exposure to the Other, and this conversational book becomes part of a much-needed, ongoing discovery."

-- Lalita Tademy, Author of Cane River (an Oprah’s Book Club pick) and Red River
 
 
“Sumbul Ali-Karamali has written a book which is gripping, comprehensive and essential. With wit, honesty, and scholarship, she offers an account of what being Muslim means in a polarised world where the fault line is as grave as it is prejudiced. A masterpiece of simplicity that offers a groundbreaking testimony that will find its way to every household, in the US and beyond, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.“

– Chibli Mallat, Ph.D. in Islamic Law
Professor of Law and Politics of the Middle East, SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah; EU Jean Monnet Chair in European Law, Université Saint-Joseph, Beirut;
Principal counsel, Mallat Law Offices, Beirut;
Author of numerous publications, including The Renewal of Islamic Law and Introduction to Middle Eastern Law.
 
 
“This is a refreshingly frank and wonderfully accessible account of what it means to be an American Muslim woman today. Sumbul Ali-Karamali speaks from the heart as well as the head and she dispels many misconceptions about Islam today.”

-- Dr. Carole Hillenbrand
Professor of Islamic History, University of Edinburgh
 
 
"A beautiful book. At a time when most Americans are bombarded with misinformation about Islam and, in particular American Muslims, Ali-Karamali has written an elegant corrective -- a paean to the faith, practice, values, and beliefs of the world's second largest religious community. For anyone who truly wants to know what Muslims believe, this is the perfect book.”

-- Reza Aslan
Author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.
 
 
“Sumbul Ali-Karamali lives according to her faith with humor, good grace and brilliance, so when she shares her insights, they ring true. Her book is a classic you will remember because she has bared her soul. Sumbul mixes scholarly insight about Islam with a personal, well-considered perspective on being a mainstream American Muslim. She brings perspective to the words and customs of Islam. Sumbul's charming openness about family life, her honesty about her own questions, her simplicity about living practically, and her down-to-earth view of reality make the book really worth reading. I was a Catholic nun in my early life, so took particular interest in this modern, savvy woman's faith, which was, to be frank, a little scary to me. This book is fascinating; I couldn't put it down. I recommend it whole-heartedly to people of good will who are grappling with questions about Islam and Muslims in America today.”

-- Ann McCormick, Ph.D.
Educator and founder of The Learning Company
 
 
"Sumbul Ali-Karamali has produced an intelligent, sensitive and highly readable study of Islam as it is experienced and interpreted by most Muslims. An important work that does an excellent job contextualizing common misperceptions of Islam, as well as challenging the distorted views of the extremists and the prejudices of the Islamophobes."

-- Dr. Ali Asani
Professor of the Practice of Indo-Muslim Languages and Cultures at Harvard University; Advisory Board of The Pluralism Project at Harvard University;
Board of Directors of the American Islamic Congress, promoting interfaith and interethnic understanding.
 
 
"There are few books that I would genuinely recommend to everybody I know, and you are holding one of them. Sumbul Ali-Karamali has written a lovely, lyrical and learned book about living Islam. Whether you are an expert in the subject or a novice, a skeptic or a believer, you will find this book a treasure."

-- Eboo Patel, Ph.D. in the sociology of religion
Author of Acts of Faith: the Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation;
Executive Director, Interfaith Youth Core
 
 
"Sumbul Al-Karamali has a gift for explaining the ins and outs of Islam in a language understandable by all. As a practicing Muslim, she puts a human face on a religion that is grossly misunderstood and often feared in America. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about Islam from someone who lives it."
-- Firoozeh Dumas, author of Funny in Farsi and Laughing Without an Accent
 
 
"An engaging and enlightening work. The author has provided an indispensable vade mecum for anyone interested in a sensitive and feminist perspective on Islam, free of the rhetoric and exaggerations common in contemporary public discourse. The book is conversational in tone and very readable and, although the subject is serious, the author has a gift for applying a lighter touch and humor at just the right moments. It should be read by everyone.“

-- Robert W. Hillman
Professor of Law
University of California at Davis
 
 
“Sumbul Ali-Karamali provides refreshing insight into an impressive range of issues concerning Islam. Her book is the journey of an American Muslim woman struggling with her identity, her tradition, and most importantly, her desire to simultaneously fit in with American culture while preserving her faith. Through the use of both personal anecdotes and extensive evidence from the Islamic tradition, she provides easy-to-read, credible, and thought-provoking analysis. Intended primarily for non-Muslims seeking to understand their Muslim neighbor, Muslims will also see much value in Ali-Karamali’s book.“

-- Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
Author of What’s Right with Islam: a New Vision for Islam and the West.
 
 
“These first ‘conversations with the Muslim next door’ provide a timely, candid and sensitive insight into the experience of growing up Muslim in America, along with a much-needed and impeccably researched explanation of the historical and cultural contexts of today’s Muslim world and the religion of Islam. I look forward to my students making good use of this book in my undergraduate classes, and I look forward to it soon being read by a much wider and general audience of all ages in both this country and abroad.”

-- Peter L. Hoag, Ph.D.
Department of Human Development
Department of Geography
California State University East Bay
 
 
“Ms. Ali-Karamali has written a wonderfully personal and accessible account of Islam and her life as a Muslim-American in The Muslim Next Door. The author is a thoroughly modern American woman who also happens to be a devoted Muslim as well as a holder of an advanced degree in Islamic jurisprudence from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. In addition to relating her own life growing up and raising a Muslim family in the United States, Ms. Ali-Karamali explains her faith and its traditions in a manner that will be thoroughly engaging, entertaining and, most of all, illuminating for non-Muslim readers. The book serves as a wonderful antidote to the prevailing myopic media view focusing on Islamist extremists to the exclusion of the vast majority of Muslims who share the same joys, worries and hopes of people everywhere. So is it possible for someone to be a Muslim and love Shakespeare, Star Trek, Thanksgiving dinners, and musicals like Singing in the Rain? If you are not sure, then buy this book and find out!”

--M.A. Aldrich
Author of The Search for a Vanishing Beijing: a Guide to China’s Capital through the Ages
 
 
The Muslim Next Door should be required reading in the West at this time. Ali-Karamali clearly knows her subject both on a personal and professional level....Just as important, Ali-Karamali writes lucidly on every imaginable aspect of her topic.

--Book review in January Magazine
 
 
"Sumbul Ali-Karamali's exceptional The Muslim Next Door: The Qur'an, the Media, and That Veil Thing is a conversational piece of work that illuminates numerous facets of the Muslim faith in terms and language that the average reader can understand. Ali-Karamali's book illuminates what it means to be a Muslim and what it means to live with honour and dignity. She is academic, yet never exclusive, in her approach to the subject matter. Always kind and credible, Ali-Karamali delivers point after point of intelligibility and authority....Sumbul Ali-Karamali's The Muslim Next Doorshould be required reading (along with a Qur'an) for anyone interested in the subject of Islam and its many misconceptions among Westerners. While we aim for a future in which harmony prevails and justice and compassion are tantamount, we must remember to combat the most portentous demon of them all: misinformation. Ali-Karamali's book does that beautifully."

-- Blogcritics Magazine