What happens when a religion is demonized to such an extent that it is no longer deemed a religion – but an ideology? What effect does such a political refashioning of a religion have on the rights to free expression of its adherents? What are the implications of politicizing and secularizing a religion as it concerns religious liberty and diversity? How does this treatment of one religion set a precedent for treatment of them all?
In When Islam Is Not a Religion: Inside America’s Fight for Religious Freedom
(Pegasus Books, 2019), Asma T. Uddin
grapples precisely with these questions. Through weaving personal narrative, legal training, and historical grounding into her book, Asma breaks down prevailing stereotypes about Muslims and Islam, details the various mechanisms and consequences of religious bigotry and animus, and underscores the importance of religious liberty for all communities in a highly accessible and graceful language.
Asad Dandia is a graduate student of Islamic Studies at Columbia University.