Monday, March 24, 2008

Who Speaks for Islam by authors John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed

Who Speaks for Islam by authors John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed (Gallup Press, 2008) is Gallup's largest study of Muslim populations worldwide and challenges the conventional wisdoms and the inevitability of a global conflict as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue. Gallup's authors argue that the world still does not fully understand Islam and Muslims, arguing that Islam and Muslims are misunderstood. The authors seek to put the Muslim people in perspective.

The book is based on six years of research and more than 50,000 interviews representing 1.3 billion Muslims who reside in more than 35 nations. The authors compiled the polling data in one of the largest polls ever conducted. And no organization better conducts polls than the Gallup Organization.

Gallup Press,

Young Jesus by author Jean-Pierre Isbouts

Jean-Pierre Isbouts book "Young Jesus: Restoring the Lost Years of a Social Activist and Religious Dissident" may well offer the closest retelling of the world's most famous biography, Jesus Christ. Isbouts, the author of the National Geographic's "The Biblical World," puts the life of Jesus in the context of the times in which he lived, based on extensive research.

The book was also mad einto a TV movie "Young Jesus: An Interfaith Perspective" which brings together the Jewish, Christian and Muslim context of historical Jesus, focusing on his childhood and adolescence.

Published by Sterling Publishing, New York, 2008,

On the Hills of God by author Ibrahim Fawal

Author Ibrahim Fawal's novel "On the Hills of God" (Black Belt Press, 1998) is one of my favorite books, one of the few great Palestinian novels in English that tells the story of the Palestinian experience in English and more importantly, compelling. The story is about Yousif, a Palestinian in 1947 Palestine who falls in love for the first time, with a young Palestinian girl and with Palestine itself.

Fawal was born in Ramallah, Palestine, and graduated with a Masters degree from UCLA in Film. He worked as the "Jordanian" assistant director on the classic film "Lawrence of Arabia."

Get more information at

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People by Jack A. Shaheen

Author Jack Shaheen has been studying the impact of Hollywood on ethnicity and race for decades and his latest softcover book, "Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People" by Olive Branch Press is a comprehensive examination of the incidents of that impact. It is a Roger Ebert volume of every movie and film ever made and a short description of the films themselves, describing the impact, positive or negative, on the actuality of the Arab image. This huge collection of 574 pages covers every film from A to Z in essential detail with a powerful introduction.

Every Arab American understands the hate inspired against their culture from Hollywood films, some unintentionally and others by such notorious Arab haters as Canon Films (Golan-Globus) which is given a separate chapter entry, have vilified a people in the most vicious form of hate that in most countries is today a violation of existing laws. But hatred of Arabs is tolerated and is an industry in Hollywood, where hate is a common commodity. Films by notorious anti-Arab haters as Chuck Norris distort the reality that Americans have never had a chance to know the truth about the Arab World. The feeding of that vicious stereotype by Hollywood producers bent on political and selfish motives has perpetrated ignorance and misunderstanding that in many ways has laid the foundation for today's conflict, violence and terrorism.

Buy it from

The Arab American Experience in the United States and Canada, edited by Michael W. Suleiman

Michael Suleiman has been for years carefully documenting the Arab experience, among only a handful of Arab American authors who have published books on the history of the Arab experience in America. This book, "The Arab-American Experience in the United States and Canada" (published in April 2006 but still very notable today) attempts to bring together the most comprehensive collection of notations and citations of every article, essay, dissertation, magazines, Arab American newspapers, academic journals, in English and Arabic, and the few published books that share that unique experience.

So much has been written (only a very few books, however) and Suleiman does a tremendous service to bring it together in a powerful collection of every aspect of Arab American life.

This is a researcher's dream and reflects the dream of a researcher who has spent 25 years examining this until-now collected experience. Bibliography entries include author name, date, title, pages, publisher, location and a brief description.

As a young researcher myself, I recall having hand-written 500 index cards with similar notations and comments that filled two small boxes.

Published by Pierian Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting, Edited by Nicholas Tromans

Tate Publishing has published a phenomenal book of photographs and essays titled "The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting (1830-1925)" to coincide with the equally phenomenal displays of the same name at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut (ongoing through April 27) that also features during the same time a second display, "Pearls to Pyramids: British Visual Culture and the Levant (1600-1830)."

"The Lure of the East" features approximately 90 paintings displays encounters between British artists and the Arab World, sponsored by the Sharjah Art Museum, UAE, the Pera Museum in Istanbul, the British Council and organized by Tate Britain. "Pearls to pyramids" features nearly 90 pieces of art depicting the history of British cultural interchange with the Middle East through trade, toruism archeological exploration, and military interests. The collection is phenomenal.

If you love the history of the Middle East and especially the Arab World, you will love the reprints of oil paintings and art in this softcover booklet from portraits of Arabs in full regale of the period to harems, Mosques, buisness rooms covered in carpets, Col. T.E. Lawrence, panoramic views of cities like Cairo, and gatherings of nomads on Camel back, and reflecting the lure of once pristine Palestine and the Holy Land which is today consumed in hate-driven conflict. The paintings offer a glimpse into the past, into history forgotten by today's headlines featuring the works of artists from the period including William Holman Hunt, John Frederick Lewis, Joshua Reynolds, David Roberts and Stanley Spencer.

The collection of some 90 paintings are accopanied by essays authored by Rana Kabbani, Fatema Mernissi, Christine Riding and Emily M. Weeks.

The web site for the Center is:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Howling in Mesopotamia" by Author Haidar Ala Hamoudi

"Howling in Mseopotamia" is about the return of Iraqi American Haidar Ala Hamoudi to his native homeland of Iraq following the toppling of the oppressive regime of dictator Sadam Hussein. Although he returned with hope, he was consumed with fears and concerns for his life. He grew up in America, in Ohio's large Iraqi-American community, and immigrated to Baghdad in 2003. Published by Beaufoort Books in New York (2008), Hamoudi offers an insight into the tragedy and transformation of Iraq that few others can provide with such intimacy and firsthand knowledge. Iraq isn't just a news story to Hamoudi. It is his life. Excellent, easy read.

"Arab on Radar" by Author Angele Ellis

Angele Ellis has written a fascinating book of poetry on Arabs in America called "Arab on Radar" (Six Gallery Press, 2008). The title poem and five other poems appeared in MIZNA, the leading Arab American writing journal and has been favorably reviewed by RAWI ( The book of poetry helps readers understand the challenges that Arabs are facing in today's post-Sept. 11, 2001 world. We encourage you to check it out.

The Art of Column Writing: Author Suzette Martinez Standring

The Art of Column Writing (Marion Street Press, 2008) is an excellent collection of essays from some of the nation's best columnists, sharing their insights into a specialized craft of opinion writing and commentary. It's not something anyone can do or that every journalist can achieve with success. Standring brings in two dozen of the country's best writers to share their thoughts on column writing in general, or specialized writing.

We highly recommend this book.