Psychology and Religion Collide in the Journey of an American Muslim by Stephanie Arel

After the horrific events of September 11, 2001, Haroon Moghul, the undergraduate leader at New York University’s Islamic Center, was called upon to be a representative voice for Muslims in America even as he negotiated his own relationship with Islam. He recounts his religious journey, alongside personal encounters with suicide and bipolar disorder, in his recently published memoir: How to be a Muslim: An American Story. Recognized by Ausuma Zehanat Khan in The Washington Post as “an extraordinary gift,” the memoir offers, what Khan calls, “an authentic portrait of a vastly misunderstood American community.”

The vulnerability and honesty exemplified in Moghul’s writing actualizes a pathway for understanding his experience of Muslim life in the United States post 9/11. His personal perspective and sensitivity foster an empathic response. Emma Green of The Atlantic recognizes his focus on a more intimate encounter with religion, pinpointing how Moghul’s narrative represents “writing about Islam…

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