The Politics of Vulnerability: How to Heal Muslim-Christian Relations in a Post-Christian America: Today’s Threat to Religion and Religious Freedom

Pegasus. Mar. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781643136622. $27.95. POL SCI
Uddin (When Islam Is Not a Religion) takes a sociological view of U.S. society in an effort to better understand public rhetoric, especially relating to how people respond to changing demographics among the country’s Christian and Muslim populations. The book is divided into four parts. The first profiles those who feel most threatened by Muslims and their influence on society. Next, Uddin explains how majority groups feel threatened when they become a minority—and how they sometimes respond by calling for conformity. The third part explores the psychology of out-group members, who often feel victimized and engage in similar demagoguery. The author highlights how group differences can eventually lead to an “us” vs. “them” mentality. As a result, polarization intensifies until there is little common ground among the country’s different sub-populations. The last part of the book explores ways for people to find common ground. These pathways are more like general directions that people can take to promote greater understanding and harmony.
VERDICT From a sociological perspective, Uddin’s analysis is spot-on. However, there are other facets to this discussion, including the problem of asking people who are marginalized to reach out, which means these recommendations are primarily useful/actionable/practicable for people with privilege.
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