Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Islam in America

Question: What inspired you to write American Islam

Barrett: If I had to give just a few syllables answer, it would be 9/11. I was working at the Wall Street Journal at the time. My main job was as an editor. In the days, and weeks, and months after 9/11, I spent all my time editing stories for the Journal’s front page about the fallout from 9/11 – most of it international, at least initially. And I edited many stories about Islam, and about Muslims, and about the turmoil that has enveloped that religion and its adherents. Almost all of that had to do with Islam overseas and Muslims outside the boundaries of the United States. I genuinely just began to get curious over time about Muslims in this country. And the Journal was chased from its offices by 9/11. The attacks took place literally across the street from the Journal offices, and for a year we were dispersed in different places. When the newspaper re-collected itself in its old offices and my work life became a little more normal again, I decided to carve out some time to work on a series of articles about Muslims in this country. And increasingly as I did those articles, I realized that one, that the American Muslim experience was entirely distinct from Muslim immigrant experiences elsewhere; and even more distinct from the experiences of Muslims in the predominantly Muslim world. And as I got deeper and deeper into that and found the tremendous variety in American Islam, and found the tremendous flux that exists within that subject area . . . that there is no one American Islam; there is no one model of American Muslim; and that Muslims themselves in this country, in a way that is mostly very healthy and very encouraging when you come to understand it, are engaged in an extraordinary debate over what it means to be a Muslim in a wealthy western society, particularly the United . . . that of the United States. That began to have the feel of having enough heft to be worthy not just of newspaper articles, but maybe of a book. And the struggle that the . . . that you mentioned that I used as the subtitle for the book, that subtitle is the internal struggle within Islam in this country. Much of what I write about in the book has to do with conflicts among Muslims in this country from many different backgrounds with many different understandings of their own religion as they try to sort out what it means to be a Muslim today in America.

Recorded on: 12/4/07

Following 9/11, Barrett saw and filled Americans’ need for greater understanding of American Muslims.

LIVE EVENT | Radical innovation: Unlocking the future of human invention

Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

Navy SEALs: How to build a warrior mindset

SEAL training is the ultimate test of both mental and physical strength.

Videos
  • The fact that U.S. Navy SEALs endure very rigorous training before entering the field is common knowledge, but just what happens at those facilities is less often discussed. In this video, former SEALs Brent Gleeson, David Goggins, and Eric Greitens (as well as authors Jesse Itzler and Jamie Wheal) talk about how the 18-month program is designed to build elite, disciplined operatives with immense mental toughness and resilience.
  • Wheal dives into the cutting-edge technology and science that the navy uses to prepare these individuals. Itzler shares his experience meeting and briefly living with Goggins (who was also an Army Ranger) and the things he learned about pushing past perceived limits.
  • Goggins dives into why you should leave your comfort zone, introduces the 40 percent rule, and explains why the biggest battle we all face is the one in our own minds. "Usually whatever's in front of you isn't as big as you make it out to be," says the SEAL turned motivational speaker. "We start to make these very small things enormous because we allow our minds to take control and go away from us. We have to regain control of our mind."
Keep reading Show less

New guidelines redefine 'obesity' to curb fat shaming

Is focusing solely on body mass index the best way for doctor to frame obesity?

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • New guidelines published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal argue that obesity should be defined as a condition that involves high body mass index along with a corresponding physical or mental health condition.
  • The guidelines note that classifying obesity by body mass index alone may lead to fat shaming or non-optimal treatments.
  • The guidelines offer five steps for reframing the way doctors treat obesity.
Keep reading Show less

NASA's idea for making food from thin air just became a reality — it could feed billions

Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.

Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
  • Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
  • The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Keep reading Show less

How COVID-19 will change the way we design our homes

Pandemic-inspired housing innovation will collide with techno-acceleration.

Maja Hitij/Getty Images
Coronavirus
COVID-19 is confounding planning for basic human needs, including shelter.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast