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On Books: ‘Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped The Americas’


Edmonton writer Omar Mouallem travelled 10,000 kilometres through twelve cities in five different countries across the Americas. He visited places of worship, and interviewed more than 100 Muslims in five different languages.

His aim was to try to capture the sweeping diversity of Muslims in the West for his new book, Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped The Americas. “Until recently, Muslim identity was imposed on me,” Mouallem writes. “But I feel different about my religious heritage in the era of ISIS and Trumpism, Rohingya and Uyghur genocides, ethnonationalism, and misinformation. I’m compelled to reclaim the thing that makes me a target. I’ve begun to examine Islam closely with an eye for how it has shaped my values, politics, and connection to my roots. No doubt, Islam has a place within me. But do I have a place within it?”

Here’s the extended conversation that Grant Stovel had with Mouallem on Friday, September 24, 2021. Praying to the West is available this week via Simon & Schuster.

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