Haroon Moghul is a Pakistani-American commentator on Islam and public affairs. He created the Islamic Center in NYU and a lot of his books and pieces have been published on major websites like CNN, Time, The Washington Post, Guardian, and many more.
Islam is one of the most feared, probably the most feared religion in America. When Americans think about Islam today they think terrorism. However terrorism is not a religion. In fact, terrorism can come from any religion. Americans are so distraught still from 9/11 that they stereotype Muslims as a whole instead of taking the time to see each Muslim in America for who they are. Islam is the religion of love. Haroon Moghul displays this in How to be a Muslim: An American StoryHaroon Moghul was a student leader at NYU’s Islamic Center when the World Trade Center had planes flown into them.
The media relied on him for answers he didnt have himself yet. He was a citizen who didn’t know how to respond just like any other during 9/11. Moghul was on a journey of his own, struggling with depression and trying to find what his purpose was, along with discovering what his faith truly was. The beginning of the book was engaging for me because it had a strong hook and made you want to read on. Moghul already threw out there that he was struggling with depression and wanted to kill himself, which is something that goes on in today’s world unnoticeably.
Suicide attempts are a major problem in teenagers, but Moghul writes this book to show that there is more to life. This book is his life. The details he used of how he was going to kill himself jumping off the bridge put a replaying skippet in my head of how he must’ve felt, thus making me feel very sorry for him. He also did a great job of being suspenseful because even though we know that he isn’t going to jump off the bridge, or else the book would be way too short, you’re still sitting there like “Is he going to do it oh my god?! No!” and then he gets a phone call from someone that stops him. Awesome. But also it sounds so like a movie. Person wants to kill himself then at that instant gets a phone call.
Haroon’s early story seemed similar to those of kids who come from immigrant parents or whose parents are very religious. These types of kids often struggle to find themselves or their own identity. The book dragged when he started talking about being a Muslim American during the 9/11 incident. After all the title is How to Be a Muslim in America. So how can you be in a Muslim in America? However, this book talks less of religion and more of what it is like to be a teenager. Moghul does a great job of informing readers what Islam is really about, not the version the media depicts with bombers and Al Qaeda.
The book would have been better if Moghul focused on not trying to show us how smart he was though, and just getting straight to the point in some of his memoirs. It’s already evident of how smart he is by his writing itself, and too much of trying to put big words together can confuse the reader. I feel as though if you write about your life you can put it into simpler terms. Why? Because there is no need to make your life sound so grand to the reader. The use of quotes from the Quran and having a scholar break it down made it easier for me to tie into the book. It means he paid attention to who his audience might be and their understanding of what the Qu’ran is and is about. As the book continued, I think too much space was dedicated to the author’s thoughts about Islam and not much struggles that shaped his life. We also learn about the authors first wife, girlfriend, and affair, but are told way too late that he has a current wife.
It would’ve been better if it was all in one spot. I think Americans should read this book and realize that Muslims in America are not to be feared. I can admit this book is a struggle to finish because one minute it’s exciting and then the next it is boring. I was disappointed by the ending though because I wanted to know what it’s like to be a Muslim in America not about him being a teenager. Identity is the major motif in this book.
Moghul is this adolescent boy who doesn’t know where his life is going or who he yet is. Throughout the book he experiences his troubles with his depression, his relationships, and being in the spotlight. However he knew how to overcome that and he became the author he is today.This book is highly recommended from me for people who are trying to find themselves or find their purpose in life.