IPBA BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AWARDS SILVER MEDALIST
A BOOKLIST AND KIRKUS BEST BOOK OF 2019
"Well-researched, cogently argued… avoids clichés and deeply examines the complex relationship between Islam and the West.”
—Booklist, starred review
White supremacist racism has many faces. A foreign policy that focuses on "American interests" and exploits foreign resources is one of those faces. Nowhere has this become more evident than in the Middle East.
Decades of covert intervention by the CIA in the Middle East came home to roost when Al Qaeda operatives hijacked American airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center towers on 9/11, horrifically killing 3000.
With Americans still in shock, George W. Bush asked, “Why do they hate us?” His bizarre answer, "They hate our freedoms," squandered an opportunity for national introspection. Instead, he unleashed the power of a $330 billion "defense" budget on the villages of Afghanistan and subsequently on Baghdad.
In the years after 9/11, Islamophobia became a mainstay in American society and in American political rhetoric. It was the unfettered hate speech toward Muslims that opened the door for closeted racists to come out into the open with hate speech toward all nonwhite groups.
In Why Do They Hate Us?, author Steve Slocum brings to light Islam's origins as a social justice movement and paints a beautiful portrait of Islam's peaceful mainstream. Why Do They Hate Us? is sprinkled with stories from the lives of everyday Muslims and anecdotes from Slocum’s five years living in Kazakhstan, allowing the reader to catch a glimpse of the true soul of Islam. You'll never look at Muslims in the same way again.
“In an era of rampant Islamophobia, Slocum's book is essential reading.”
—Todd H. Green, author of The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West
"Effectively countering pernicious, misinformed narratives, this is an essential contribution to interfaith studies."
In his comprehensive, helpful debut, Slocum, an aircraft design engineer and former missionary, encourages Christians to establish friendly relationships with Muslims. He begins by exploring the origins of Islam, introducing readers to the life of Muhammad, before delving into Koranic passages. Concentrating mainly on passages often cited as inciting violence, Slocum argues that the vast majority of Muslims view their religion as nonviolent. He then moves briskly through a history of the Middle East, covering the Islamic Empire, colonialism, and the rise of pan-Arabism. Exploring how Islam emerged from the Middle East to become a global religion, Slocum shares personal experiences from living in the U.S. and, as a missionary, in Kazakhstan, to highlight facets of the everyday lives of Muslims ("I know of no force more powerful than that of face-to-face interaction" to dispel unfounded fears, he writes), including a particularly affecting story of visiting a San Diego imam. While his sections discussing aspects of Islam that most Christians are fearful of or may be misinformed about notably, jihad and sharia are instructive, they often read like study guides. Slocum's most valuable contribution is his highly critical discussion of U.S. foreign policy, including a concise history of American involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, which he uses to answer President Bush's question, "Why do they hate us?" Effectively countering pernicious, misinformed narratives, this is an essential contribution to interfaith studies.