How Fundamentalism Stole My Mind---and Doubt Freed My Soul
By Amir Ahmad Nasr
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9781250016799, 336pp.)
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
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Amir Ahmad Nasr is a young Muslim man with something explosive in his hands: a computer connected to the Internet. And it has the power to help ignite a revolution and blow apart the structures of ignorance and politicized indoctrination that too often still imprison the Muslim mind.
Part memoir, part passionate call for liberty, reason and doing work that matters, My Isl@m tells the tale of how the internet opened the eyes and heart of a once fearful young Muslim to a world beyond the dogmatism of his upbringing, and recounts his transformation into a defiant digital activist.
In his honest, provocative, and courageous debut, Nasr–a popular Afro-Arab Sudanese blogger–steps out from behind the curtain of anonymity and emerges as a voice of a new generation of tech-savvy liberal Muslims.
Set in war-ravaged Sudan, oil-rich Qatar, multi-cultural Malaysia, the United States, Turkey and the new frontiers of cyberspace, My Isl@m is a fascinating prelude to the Arab Spring and a disarming and uplifting tale of doubt, soul-searching, and finding freedom.
A poignant, honest, and uplifting memoir of how blogging and the internet opened the eyes and heart of one young Muslim man to a world beyond his religious fundamentalist upbringing
Described by The Economist as "puckish" and by WIRED as a "formidable speaker," AMIR AHMAD NASR is a veteran digital activist turned author, entrepreneur, and culture hacker. He regularly sheds light on one of the most important emerging trends of our time: how tech-savvy Millennials are hacking business, culture, religion, and politics.Known as the cheeky voice behind the acclaimed sociopolitical blog The Sudanese Thinker—which he wrote anonymously until the revelation of his identity five years later during the Arab Uprisings of 2011—Amir has shared the stage with Nobel Peace Laureates, former presidents, and fellow activists, and has been featured by The New York Times, The Guardian, The Weekly Standard, The New Yorker, BBC, Al Jazeera, and France24, amongst many others. He's a digital nomad and travels internationally very regularly. He writes at www.AmirAhmadNasr.com/blog
"My Isl@m displays the charm of a good blog: irreverent, nonchalant, open to fresh ideas, generous to other writers, ostentatiously unpretentious and secretly grandiose. Mr. Nasr appears to be convinced that his own intellectual trajectory from medieval-style Quran-memorizing to thoughtful dude, digitally loquacious,reflects a deep trend in world history, with the Internet as prime mover. He never openly states this conviction. And yet it animates the book, and the possibility that he may be right imparts to his pages an electric glow, as if from an LCD screen."—The Wall Street Journal
"Structured wittily around a love affair with Islam, Nasr’s account is straightforward, fluent and full of lively allusions for further readings. A candid, cosmopolitan look at the experience of Islam in the digital age."--Kirkus Reviews
"Nasr seamlessly blends memoir with political thought and activism. The book smoothly follows his journey out of a simplistic understanding of Islam, through rationalism and semi-atheism, towards a conversion to Sufism. Personal history—particularly his expatriate childhood—is the book's strongest aspect, delivered in Nasr's casual, conversational tone. Nasr's insight into the world of young Arab bloggers, including many of the activists behind the Arab Spring, makes this a valuable and enjoyable read."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)"Amir is one of the most exciting and dynamic Muslim voices to come on the stage in years. Read this funny and enlightening book and find out why." – Reza Aslan, international best-selling author of No god but God and How to Win a Cosmic War
"As a former Christian fundamentalist, I deeply resonate with Amir's faith journey. Regardless of your religious background, if you're struggling with belief or if you're curious about how the digital revolution is impacting religious thought and empowering a new generation of young activists, this book is a must!"– Michael Dowd, bestselling author of Thank God for Evolution "This is the passionate, skeptical, tech-savvy voice of a new age of Islam. Through the lens of his own life, Nasr sheds light on a generation of revolutionary life-hackers poised to change the global conversation about religion and politics."--G. Willow Wilson, author of The Butterfly Mosque and Alif the Unseen "My Isl@m is a beautiful story about love, heartbreak, and redemption. Read it, and be inspired."--Salman Ahmad, lead-singer of Junoon and author of Rock & Roll Jihad "My Isl@m is a love letter to freedom of speech. As Nasr wrestles with oppression, mental and physical, personal and political, his story consistently turns on his ability to find new information, often from surprising sources, and eventually from his own ability to speak as well as listen."--Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody "My Isl@m is an important and significant book, especially at this time in our history. Amir shows both the downside and, as important, the beautiful upside of Islam as a religion, particularly when it is viewed through an Integral lens, which is how religion in general will need to be viewed if it is to survive into the future as a positive force. This is the right message, at the right time, from the right person."--Ken Wilber, author of A Brief History of Everything
"The post 9/11 world has seen an outpouring of vitriol against the Muslim faith. This book provides an antidote to such thinking, from a man who grew up immersed in an environment too few of us understand. This is a brave and moving work that touches on Palestine, terrorism, web activism, love and life in a way that shows the nuances within Islam. I salute the desire to reject fundamentalism. It makes us question what the ‘war on terror’ has done to us all."--Antony Loewenstein, best-selling author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution"Like every age, ours is one of political and religious unrest, of fanaticism, persecution and rebellion. But today, people have the technological tools to be heard–despite the powers that be. The Internet is not only a force for quick communication, but for unheard-of access to education. And Amir Ahmad Nasr shows in his powerful, timely and provocative work how he was able to move beyond a narrow worldview into one that embraces liberty, freedom, brotherhood and even belief. My Isl@m is an essential book for these dangerous, exciting times." –Michael R. Drew, co-author, Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future