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When Islam is not a religion
Asma T. Uddin

A galvanizing look at religious freedom in the United States through the prism of attacks on the constitutional rights of American Muslims. 

When Islam is Not a Religion

Uddin ... presents a brilliantly paced and rigorously detailed first book arguing for equal rights for Muslims in the United States ... This book will resonate with those looking for an accessible exploration of public policy with a sprinkling of legal drama. It will be in demand by those seeking to understand the erosion of religious freedom in America.

Library Journal (starred review)

Religious liberty lawyer Asma Uddin has long considered her work defending people of all faiths to be a calling more than a job. Yet even as she seeks equal protection for Evangelicals, Sikhs, Muslims, Native Americans, Jews, and Catholics alike, she has seen an ominous increase in attempts to criminalize Islam and exclude American Muslims from their inalienable rights. 

Somehow, the view that Muslims aren’t human enough for human rights or constitutional protections is moving from the fringe to the mainstream along with the claim “Islam is not a religion.” This conceit affects all Americans because the loss of liberty for one means the loss of liberties for everyone.

When Islam Is Not a Religion also looks at how faith in America is being secularized and politicized, and the repercussions this has on debates about religious freedom and diversity.

Woven throughout this national saga is Uddin’s own story. She combines her experience as a person of Muslim faith and her legal and philosophical appreciation that all individuals have a right to religious liberty. Uddin examines the shifting tides of American culture and outlines a way forward for individuals and communities navigating today’s culture wars. 

International Award

The International Religious Liberty Association, Liberty Magazine, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church honored Asma Uddin with the International Award for her eloquent and efficient advocacy.

“Ms. Uddin’s voice and influence is far-reaching—not just through her work in the courts defending people of many different faiths or her scholarly writing and articles, but also her passionate defense of the principles of religious freedom in the public sphere, through her many speaking and media appearances.”


The New

While tackling religious conflict as an attorney, Asma Uddin was struck by how little even self-described religious freedom advocates knew about the law. She was excited by strides made in the courtroom but also well aware that culture was lagging behind. “There needed to be someone who bridged the two spaces,” she says.

So Uddin, who is Muslim, wrote two books — “When Islam Is Not a Religion” and “The Politics of Vulnerability” — demonstrating how those who promote political or religious tribalism are only hurting themselves. “Many Christians are feeling a sense of vulnerability or a sense of being under siege,” she says. But when they lash out at other faith groups, it undermines their own cause.

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Photography by Fred Siegel

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