Muslim Women:
Crafting a North American Identity

Shahnaz Khan

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"Finally, a book about and by North America's Muslim woman. A book that examines the dualism within both Orientalism and Islam. A rich textual narrative of what it means to be a Muslim woman, who comes from a different place, living in 'white Canada'."--Saraswati Sunindyo, University of Washington, Seattle

"Brings into the light the complex and contradictory ways in which Muslim women in marginalized locations negotiate, through resistance and collusion, the encounter with sexism and racism."--Minoo Moallem, San Francisco State University


Stereotypes depict Muslim women as exotic, oppressed by Islam, subject to rigid notions of how to be an authentic and proper Muslim. Moving beyond traditional Western, Orientalist, and patriarchal discourse, Shahnaz suggests how Muslim women living in North America form their Islamic identity.
Using interviews with 14 Muslim women from Canada, the author, herself an immigrant, examines how the women challenge and resist the stereotypes and achieve new ways of being Muslim. Her analysis provides an account of the trauma they experience during dislocation and of their behavior in everyday encounters with racism, sexism, and stereotyping in such areas as employment, education, and parenthood. Her conclusions challenge the perceptions of Islam as monolithic and static and, she argues, expose the hidden agendas of political strategies that seek to constrain diverse ethnic groups.
Resisting easy explanations about Muslim identity, this book makes a contribution to understanding the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion in the experience of Muslim women living in Canada. It will be of interest to scholars in women's and cultural studies, diasporic studies, and modern Islamic studies.

Shahnaz Khan is assistant professor of sociology and women’s studies at St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Canada. She has published articles on Muslim women and immigration in such journals as Signs, Legal Studies Forum, and Journal of Ethnic Studies.

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"a valuable and engaging contribution to the multiple experiences of Muslim women living in the West." - American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences
--American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences

"[This book] does raise dome important issues about the difficulties of forging a Muslim identity in an anti- Muslim environment." - Feminist Collection
--Feminist Collections

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