Born in Chicago and raised in Pueblo, Colorado, 25-year-old Asma Gull Hasan calls herself "a Muslim feminist cowgirl." Not a bad moniker for a woman who has taken on a subject as tough as a bucking bronco. There are over 6 million Muslims in America with 42 percent of them African-Americans, 24 percent from South Asia, and 12 percent Arabs. By far the largest contingent lives in California.

Hasan quotes Edward Said, a Middle East affairs commentator, who sees Islam as "a kind of scapegoat for everything we do not happen to like about the world's new political, social, and economic patterns." The author winces each time a Muslim is treated unfairly or slandered or is subject to stereotyping. Only a tiny fraction of believers are terrorists or raging fundamentalists, yet all Muslims have to bear the burdens of bigotry toward them.

Hasan's book will speak to young Americans. She offers lively opinions on a variety of subjects including Muhammad as a feminist, the mosque as a place for family gathering, the controversial teachings of Louis Farrakhan, full-time Islamic schools, and the biased portrayal of Muslims in many Hollywood films.