Amy Waldman's debut novel asks us to take a long look at our post-9/11 selves and be disappointed.
What happens when an anthropologist who happens to be a Pakistani, a former diplomat and a member of the Incident Management Team of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security shows up at 100 American mosques armed with questionnaires and a few white student research assistants? For the most part, nothing very controversial.
The U.S. would seem to be prime ground for deep and chronic social conflict. Yet the evidence indicates that Americans get along fairly well in spite of having many different religions, including the growing number who subscribe to "no religion."
Religious freedom has become a potent rallying cry. That is an excellent development—provided we avoid turning the issue into a partisan weapon in the confrontation between Christianity and Islam.