The past year has been a trying one for Muslims in the United States. The steady drone of anti-Islamic sentiment, growing since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, was catalyzed by a series of unfortunate incidents. We could mention among them the Fort Hood shootings, the failed attempt to detonate a bomb aboard an American-bound aircraft over Detroit, Michigan, the failed bomb attempt at Times Square in New York, the manufactured controversy surrounding the “Ground Zero Mosque” and the “Qur’an burning” event organized by a nondescript Florida pastor. Collectively, these and other events helped to amplify the voices of anti-Islamic bigots to a sometimes frightening pitch. Imam Zaid Shakir has written essays in response to many of the issues referred to above. This is a printed collection of some of those writings. This slender volume might prove beneficial to readers who are looking for insight into the ideas and personalities shaping the news, especially those readers who are not exposed to an Islamic perspective on the events of the day.
Imam Zaid Shakir is a Muslim American scholar, public speaker, and author who is a co-founder with Hamza Yusuf and Hatem Bazian, chairman of the board, and a senior faculty member of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California. He teaches courses on Arabic, law, history, and Islamic spirituality.
He is co-founder and chairman of United For Change since 2009. This effort through modern discourse, is to create awareness of the broadest and most consuming topics within the Muslim and interfaith community. The aim is to leverage the diversity through cooperation and goodwill and address the obstacles that have proven to be divisive.
The Chronicle of Higher Education stated, “Embodying an American story if ever there was one including proverbial bootstraps, military service, political activism, and deep religious commitment Zaid Shakir’s message of social justice in the face of poverty and racism he has known first hand makes him endlessly and, it often seems, effortlessly relevant. He is as approachable a man as I’ve ever met.” He is one of the signatories of A Common Word Between Us and You, an open letter by Islamic scholars to Christian leaders, calling for peace and understanding.