Wandering Lonely in a Crowd: Reflections on the Muslim Condition in the West (Review)

August 15, 2011

Book cover for "Wandering Lonely in a Crowd" by S.M. Atif Imtiaz.Title: Wandering Lonely in a Crowd: Reflections on the Muslim Condition in the West

Author: S. M. Atif Imtiaz

Publication Year: 2011

Pages: 164

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Review copy from the publisher, through LibraryThing

From the cover:

Wandering Lonely in a Crowd: Reflections on the Muslim Condition in the West is a timely collection of essays, articles, lectures, and short stories that reflect on the years between 9/11 and Barack Obama. They cover the themes of integration, community cohesion, terrorism, radicalization, cultural difference, multiculturalism, identity politics, and liberalism. Beginning with a raw and unedited response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and ending with Obama’s election, S.M. Atif Imtiaz covers the numerous facets of the debate that surrounds Western Muslims today. The book sets out a narrative for these years and a response that argues that Western Muslims should move away from identity politics towards Islamic humanism.

To be honest, this was one of my least favourite books so far this month.

The topics that Imtiaz discusses are interesting, as are his points of view. I particularly liked the unedited essay that opens the book, which he wrote shortly after 9/11. Sadly, though, the “unedited” theme seems to follow throughout the book. There are a lot of interesting ideas presented in the book, but the way that he used so many different formats just made it feel unorganized. I think that the intention in varying the formats was good, but it just didn’t follow through very well.

Having said that, if you can get past the pseudo-chaos, you might enjoy Wandering in a Crowd. I liked the ideas that Imtiaz put forth, even when they were sometimes a little bit more academic than I was expecting. If you’re looking for a straightforward read, though, then this is probably not the best choice for you.


This book is a part of the Ramadan Reading event happening here this month.

You can find other posts in the series by clicking on the image to the right, or by taking a look at the schedule of posts and reviews.

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