Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think (Review)

Book cover for "Who Speaks for Islam?" by John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed.Title: Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think

Authors: John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed

Publication Year: 2008

Pages: 230

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Purchased from Chapters.ca

From the cover:

In a post-9/11 world, many Americans conflate the mainstream Muslim majority with the beliefs and actions of an extremist minority. But what do the world’s Muslims think about the West, or about democracy, or about extremism itself? Who Speaks for Islam? spotlights this silenced majority. The book is the product of a mammoth six-year study in which the Gallup Organization conducted tens of thousands of hour-long, face-to-face interviews with residents of more than 35 predominantly Muslim nations — urban and rural, young and old, men and women, educated and illiterate. It asks the questions everyone is curious about: Why is the Muslim world so anti-American? Who are the extremists? Is democracy something Muslims really want? What do Muslim women want? The answers to these and other pertinent, provocative questions are provided not by experts, extremists, or talking heads, but by empirical evidence — the voices of a billion Muslims.

If you really want to learn about what “real” Muslims think and believe, this is definitely the book for you.

Who Speaks for Islam? is the compilation of a lengthy study of attitudes and opinions of Muslims in over 35 countries. It includes thematic sections on the most common topics – including gender and relations with “the West”/America. A lot of the responses were things that I somewhat expected, but there were lots of other results that seemed to come out of the blue in a way. Beyond the thematic sections, the book is then broken down into short, simple, easy to understand chunks of information. There’s a bit of repetition throughout the book, but that’s because there’s overlap between the topics that were addressed in a lot of cases.

If you’re looking for a book that really delves into the “Muslim psyche”, and you want to learn more about Muslims beliefs and attitudes than what is presented in the mainstream media, pick up Who Speaks for Islam?. You won’t regret it.


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.

3 thoughts on “Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think (Review)”

  1. Sounds very interesting! I might try to find this one. It’s something very different than what I’d normally read, and since I’m trying to incorporate more nonfictino into my reading, this may be a perfect choice. Thanks for posting!

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