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As a Muslim poet who writes about homosexual identity and the faith, Ali (like Kahf) also addresses the topic of the body as a site of God’s ongoing creativity. But he expands the possibility for recognizing the divine in the signs of God’s creation by pointing to the multi-layered realities of our individual identity and the tremendous diversity in those worlds that exist outside of us.

In: In-Between Identities: Signs of Islam in Contemporary American Writing

Taking seriously his Muslim faith in God’s creation of (and ongoing work among) human life, playwright Ayad Akhtar challenges his audiences to recognize human identity as a source of hope in a world otherwise permeated with acts of violence.

In: In-Between Identities: Signs of Islam in Contemporary American Writing

Willow Wilson’s best-selling autobiography, The Butterfly Mosque (2010), introduced her as someone who’s religious and cultural identities found a home somewhere in-between more traditional options. In the spirit of her personal insights, Wilson has created numerous characters that exhibit similar in-between traits. The religious significance of these subsequent identities is deepened by the journeys she narrates for her characters, voyages that carry them between everyday realities and the mysteries realms of spirits and jinn.

In: In-Between Identities: Signs of Islam in Contemporary American Writing

Introduces the two theoretical concepts that will guide this study, the notion of a Muslim American identity lived “in between” physical locations such as the United States and a country of origin, as well as between spiritual attitudes and religious assumptions, such as rigid orthodoxies and progressive interpretations. The introduction argues that the history of the Qur’an itself bears the marks of such in-between development, particularly in its notion of the world as a “sign” of God’s creativity.

In: In-Between Identities: Signs of Islam in Contemporary American Writing

Kahf’s poetry and prose provide not only a feminist perspective on the faith but, more specifically, they ground that perspective on an Islamic notion of the body as “sign” of God’s compassion and mercy.

In: In-Between Identities: Signs of Islam in Contemporary American Writing

This chapter begins with the fundamental insight of Sherman Jackson that Blackamerican Islam moves between the twin poles of faith and resistance. The work of hip hop artists Tyson Amir and Amir Sulaiman provide key examples of Jackson’s thesis, and together they reveal how the tradition has developed since the early work of a poet like Marvin X..

In: In-Between Identities: Signs of Islam in Contemporary American Writing

The chapter locates contemporary Islam in the United States as part of a culture of pluralism by detailing the findings of filmmaker Bassam Tariq and comedian/performer Aman Ali during their cross-country travel project titled 30 Mosques in 30 Days. It also examines the depiction of American pluralism in the work of artist Sandow Birk, who illustrated an English-language Qur’an with scenes from current American life.

In: In-Between Identities: Signs of Islam in Contemporary American Writing

Alameddine is not Muslim but Druz. However, his Lebanese heritage, coupled with his experiences in the U.S., make him an acute observer of the stories that multiple faith traditions tell about themselves and their respective cultures. In his novels, these tales interact in ways that suggest a basis for common ground between diverse religions and cultures.

In: In-Between Identities: Signs of Islam in Contemporary American Writing