Islam: Culture, Diversity, and Religion

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Islam is the second-largest world religion. It is also the most misunderstood. These books provide a window for those who would like to learn more about the religion, its influence on culture, and the tireless work of Muslims who stand up against Islamophobia.

  • Muddy People: A Muslim Coming of Age

    2022 by El Sayed, Sara

    A darkly humorous, moving memoir and a heartfelt tribute to Sara's family. She discusses growing up Muslim and Egyptian-Australian. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped the Americas

    2021 by Mouallem, Omar

    A Canadian writer who has a complicated relationship with his faith visits 13 mosque communities, from Brazil to the Arctic. "Omar Mouallem has excavated so many buried stories of Islam’s relationship with this part of the world, and in doing so created a timely, vital, and thoroughly readable biography" (Omar El Akkad). Suggested by Andrew.

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  • Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family

    2022 by Chaudry, Rabia

    In her candid and engaging memoir, Rabia recounts how her life has been shaped and complicated by her relationship with food and culture. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Hijab Butch Blues: A Memoir

    2023 by H, Lamya

    In this hopeful, reflective, and thought-provoking memoir, a queer Muslim immigrant examines her South Asian identity and Islamic faith. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X

    2020 by Payne, Les

    This Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, based on nearly three decades of assiduous research, offers a comprehensive look into the life of Malcolm X/El-hajj Malik El Shabazz, that strips away the iconic layers to present a rich, nuanced portrait of one of America's most famous and transformative Muslims. Suggested by Chris.

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  • What Is Home, Mum?

    2022 by Khan, Sabba

    In this deeply introspective, intimate, and moving graphic memoir, Sabba discusses her experiences, faith, and family in the South Asian diaspora community of East London and questions what belonging and home mean for an immigrant. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • In Sensorium: Notes for My People

    2022 by Islam, Tanwi Nandini

    The author, a self-described "American Bangladeshi Muslim femme," has written an ambitious, lyrical memoir that seeks to embrace multitudes. Perfume, its redolent allure and tangled history, is used as a lens through which the book explores, as *Publisher's Weekly *so aptly puts it, "exile and liberation." Suggested by Chris.

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  • A History of Islam in 21 Women

    2020 by Kamaly, Hossein

    This Islamic studies scholar presents and celebrates the lives of 21 women who made significant contributions to our world through their faith, intelligence, or determination, thus defying the stereotype of the "silent" Muslim woman. Figures include early religious figures from the Arabian Peninsula and around the globe. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • The Arab of the Future: A Graphic Memoir : A Childhood in the Middle East (1978-1984)

    2015 by Sattouf, Riad

    Using a delightfully engaging, cartoonish drawing style, the first volume of this popular ongoing graphic novel series/memoir immerses readers in Riad's complex Syrian/French heritage. This absorbing first volume offers a child's wide-eyed take on the author's itinerant childhood spent moving between France, Libya, and Syria, along with a deep focus on his craggy, pan-Arab father, once described by the New Yorker as "a kind of Arab Archie Bunker." Suggested by Chris.

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  • The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life

    2013 by Mattson, Ingrid

    A wonderful introduction to the Qur'an, the Holy Scripture in Islam, which was received during the Holy month of Ramadan, this book was written by a well-known Islamic scholar. It offers a balanced portrayal of the Qur'an and its place in historic and contemporary Muslim society. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • The Islam Book


    Written by seven experts and three consultants, this accessible and excellent primer covers every aspect of the Muslim faith and its history in short, concise excerpts. The layout of text boxes with context and quotations, sidebars, timelines, architectural diagrams, and other lively graphics help readers note key points and follow the narrative. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • 1001 Inventions: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization


    A sprawling but approachable overview of Muslim heritage, this book introduces Muslim contributions in medicine, technology, economics, civilization, and more. A treasure of fascinating information beautifully presented. Suggested by Chris.

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  • Contemporary Muslim Fashions


    This lavish fashion photography book presented by the de Young Museum explores all facets of contemporary Muslim modest dress, from historic styles to present-day designs to a major exhibition, and reveals the enormous range of self-expression through fashion by Muslim men and women. Along with the breathtaking photographs are illuminating essays and personal narratives by leading voices in the fashion industry that touch on everything from culture to history, politics to race, and self expression to social media. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Feast: Food of the Islamic World

    2018 by Helou, Anissa

    This gorgeously photographed and award-winning cookbook has more than 300 recipes from the Middle East, Africa, and Indonesia, and explores the history and tradition of Islamic cuisine. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Letters to a Young Muslim

    2017 by Ghobash, Omar Saif

    Omar Saif Ghobash is the current UAE Ambassador to France. Written in the similar vein as James Baldwin's "The Fire Next Time" and Ta Nehisi Coates' "Between the World and Me," the author offers advice to his sons on how to navigate and grow up Muslim without resorting to extremism. A short, highly readable, and though-provoking manifesto for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Muslim Women Are Everything

    2020 by Yasmin, Seema

    Inspired by the author's growing frustration with the proverbial submissive and oppressed Muslim women stereotype, this collective biography, accompanied by stunning illustrations, features riveting, inspiring, and stereotype-shattering stories that reveal the beauty, diversity, and strength of international Muslim women. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age

    2016 by Al-Khatahtbeh, Amani

    Amani Al-Khatahbeh is the CEO and founder of the popular, a collaborative blog and media outlet dedicated to changing the narrative of Muslims in the media. In her thought-provoking coming-of-age memoir, she shares her harrowing and candid account of what it’s like to be a young Muslim woman in the wake of 9/11 and the era of Islamophobia. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman

    2020 by Omar, Ilhan

    Following Ilhan Omar's life from Somalia to her first year in Congress, this memoir is both inspirational and poignant. Kirkus says "Page after page, Omar is by turns fierce, self-deprecating, and confident, and, with the assistance of Paley, she has produced a smoothly readable narrative. No matter a reader's personal politics, Omar's life should serve as an inspiration." Suggested by Paul.

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  • First Comes Marriage: My Not-so-typical American Love Story

    2018 by Al-Marashi, Huda

    There is always discussion within the Muslim community about "love marriages" vs traditional arranged marriages. This heartfelt, engaging memoir sits within that discussion. The author grew up and learned about love from television and movies, but sometimes that "romantic" notion collides with the complexity of love in real life. Suggested by Rummanah.

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