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Reviews An Aid to Better Understanding

Short Takes

Arabs and Muslims in the Media: Race and Representation after 9/11 2012. Pp. 272. HB $74, PB $23. Evelyn Alsultany New York University Press, New York

Adventures of the Salamander Micheal Klaus Schimdt 2012.. Vols 1-3, each 57-61 pages. PB. $15 ea. Michael Klaus Schmidt (self published) Author-illustrator Michael Klaus Schmidt weaves an adventurous story with colorfully detailed illustrations to create his book “The Adventures of the Salamander” series. This series shares a story about a salamander, Slippy who attempts to save his village from the demanding lizards. The lizards randomly invade and force every salamander in the village to bake what they are known best for, their pastries. Slippy manages to escape and attempts to get help from his neighbors. He encounters and forms friendships with different animals while creating a huge alliance to defeat the lizard invaders. Schmidt’s target audience are young children, intermediate readers, established readers and advanced readers. Through his illustrations, captions, main text, footnotes and appendices in each book help captures the targeted audiences. Schmidt also does a great job incorporating biology, classical myths, and encyclopedia references in his footnotes to not only share a capturing story of Slippy, but to also teach the readers content that they would be typically taught at school. While not addressing Islam directly, he hopes “that they will help to impart of the values which Muslims hold dear” (Ayesha T. Qazi)

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ost-9/11, there was an increase in both the incidence of hate crimes and government policies that targeted Arabs and Muslims and the proliferation of sympathetic portrayals of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. media. Alsultany examines this paradox and investigates the increase of sympathetic images of “the enemy” during the War on Terror. It should interest those who seek to eradicate injurious stereotypes of Muslims and Arabs. The new standard in racial and cultural representations, she says that emerged out of the 1990s multicultural movement involves balancing negative with positive representations, which means if the TV drama or movie storyline represents a Muslim or Arab as terrorist, then such a storyline also includes their  “positive” representation. However, such an approach, she explains does not solve the problem of stereotyping and even seemingly positive images can justify exclusion and inequality. 

Mired in the Colonial Past Islamicate Societies: A Case Study of Egypt and Muslim India Modernization, Colonial Rule, and the Aftermath Husain Kassim 2012. Pp. 176. HB. $60.00 Lexington Books, The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group

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assim, in this comparative study, argues that, in the cases of Egypt and Muslim India, the impact of colonialism has not been examined in depth. Finding that colonialism has ushered in a transformation of Islamic social thought through the introduction of Western ideas and modern institutions, and this change produced a crisis of identity in these cultures. Today, we see the effects playing out in all Muslim countries where this crisis extends to every institution: social and political to legal, cultural, and religious. Thus, he adds that both modernizing trends that reject the colonial past and attempts to return to pre-colonial forms of Islamic identity are unlikely to succeed. 

Islamic Horizons  March/April 2013

The One-State Condition: Occupation and Democracy in Israel/Palestine Ariella Azoulay & Adi Ophir (trans. Tal Hanan) 2012. Pp. 328. PB. $24.95 Stanford University Press Describing the current face of Israel as “Neither democratic nor Jewish,” how Azoulay and Ophir — both citizen — in their analytical study speak about the increasing fusion of state formation and colonial occupation. The book offers a unique source on the Zionist regime’s colonial presence: Israel’s structural, conceptual and bureaucratic regimes of settler, civilian and military authorities over the Palestinians. Jerusalem: Arab Social Life, Traditions and Everyday Pleasures Subhi S. Ghosheh 2012. Pp. 186. (Abridged edition) PB. $20.00 Olive Branch Press, Northampton, Mass. Ghosheh, a founding member of the Jerusalem Deportees Committee and a member of the Palestinian National Council, describing Jerusalem as “a city of unique grief,” states that the city has managed to maintain its Arabic culture and traditions—Islamic, Christian, and Jewish—and has emerged victorious time and time again. However, the over-awing Israeli occupation works to obliterate the city’s traditional Arab culture. Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics Ann Elizabeth Mayer 2012. Pp. 320. PB. $34.15. Fifth Edition Westview Press Mayer relates how regimes and institutions exploit Islam for political ends in order to justify policies inimical to human rights. The fifth edition provides an updates the consideration of government policies on Islam and human rights activism and how they are affecting developments in several Middle Eastern countries. And features a new chapter on the resistance of human rights for what she calls “sexual minorities” by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Muslim states. Sharing Eden: Green Teachings from Jews, Christians and Muslims Natan Levy, Harfiyah Haleem and David Shreeve Kube Publishing Ltd., and The Conservation Foundation, UK 2013. Pp. 106. PB. $8.99 The authors remind that respect for the environment is at the heart of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. They state that today’s concerns have their roots in the holy books and Prophetic actions. Levy is environmental liaison for the Chief Rabbi’s Office and the Rabbinical Expert for the London School of Jewish Studies’ Responsibility Unit, UK. Haleem is a trustee of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES), UK; and Shreeve is director of The Conservation Foundation, and environmental advisor to the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. 

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Profile for Islamic Society of North America

Islamic Horizons Mar/Apr 13  

Islamic Horizons Mar/Apr 13