Muslims of Metropolis: The Stories of Three Immigrant Families in the West

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9780813543444: Muslims of Metropolis: The Stories of Three Immigrant Families in the West
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The Muslim population globally is comprised of hundreds of ethnic, linguistic, and religious sub-communities. Yet, more often than not, the public conflates these diverse and unrelated communities, branding Muslim immigrants as a single, suspicious, and culturally antagonistic group of people. Generalizations like these have compromised many Muslim immigrants' sense of belonging and acceptance in places where they have lived, in some cases, for three or four generations.

In Muslims of Metropolis, Kavitha Rajagopalan takes a much needed step in personalizing and humanizing our understanding of the Muslim diaspora. Tracing the stories of three very different families-a Palestinian family moving to London, a Kurdish family moving to Berlin, and a Bangladeshi family moving to New York-she reveals a level of complexity and nuance that is seldom considered. Through their voices and in their words, Rajagopalan describes what prompted these families to leave home, what challenges they faced in adjusting to their new lives, and how they came to view their place in society. Interviews with community leaders, social justice organizations, and with academics and political experts in each of the countries add additional layers of insight to how broad political issues, like nationalist conflict, immigration reform, and antiterrorism strategies affect the lives of Muslims who have migrated in search of economic stability and personal happiness.

Although recent thinking about immigration policy in the United States and Europe emphasizes the importance of long-term integration, a global attitude that continues to sensationalize divisions between Muslim and other communities thwarts this possibility. Integration cannot occur with policy solutions alone-people must feel that they belong to a larger society. Whether read as simple stories or broader narratives, the voices in this revealing book are among the many speaking against generalization, prejudice, and fear that has so far surrounded Muslims living in the West.

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About the Author:

Kavitha Rajagopalan has worked in international development and finance, and as a journalist in India, Germany, and the United States.

Review:

"Rajagopalan's book is well-written, compelling, and of broad interest, and does a wonderful job of following the journeys of three families as each leaves a majority-Muslim country and moves to a Western one." (John Bowen Washington University in St. Louis 2099-01-01)

"Through the microcosm of three Muslim families in Western cities, Kavitha Rajagopalan makes legible features of international migration easily obscured by questions of religion and racism. She brings to life sociocultural alignments in the larger story of globalization that in turn illuminate those thick microcosms. This is one of the most interesting accounts I have read about this subject." (Saskia Sassen author of Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages 2008-05-27)

"In Muslims of Metropolis, Rajagopalan has achieved a true masterpiece. The book is a refreshing, must read for anyone interested in an articulate, sophisticated, and objective presentation of the intricate, personal, heartwrenching, anxiety-ridden, and joy-filled moments in the lives of immigrants."
(Journal of Muslim Mental Health 2010-04-01)

"It seems that many texts dealing with the Muslim experience either totally miss the mark or simply present Muslims through some pornography of pain and tragedy. Rajagopalan's Muslims of metropolis are empowered....Rajagopalan's text is certainly an inspiring one." (Omer Shah SAMAR Magazine 2009-05-11)

"This work by Kavitha Rajagopalan is an important addition to the literature challenging negative stereotyping of Muslims while making a contribution to immigration or diaspora studies." (Journal of Intercultural Studies 2010-03-19)

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Rajagopalan, Kavitha
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Kavitha Rajagopalan
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ISBN 10: 0813543444 ISBN 13: 9780813543444
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