Muslims and American Popular Culture

by Iraj Omidvar and Anne R. Richards, Editors (Vol 1)
Anne R. Richards and Iraj Omidvar, Editors (Vol 2)


In American cinema and mass media, Muslims are closely associated with Arabs even though most Arabs in the United States are not Muslims but Christians, and despite the fact that most Muslims in the United States are not Arabs.

Print Flyer

February 2014


Pages 847
Volumes 2
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Race and Ethnicity/Middle Eastern American Studies

Offering readers an engaging, accessible, and balanced account of the contributions of American Muslims to the contemporary United States, this important book serves to clarify misrepresentations and misunderstandings regarding Muslim Americans and Islam.

Unfortunately, American mass media representations of Muslims—whether in news or entertainment—are typically negative and one-dimensional. As a result, Muslims are frequently viewed negatively by those with minimal knowledge of Islam in America. This accessible two-volume work will help readers to construct an accurate framework for understanding the presence and depictions of Muslims in American society.

These volumes discuss a uniquely broad array of key topics in American popular culture, including jihad and jihadis; the hejab, veil, and burka; Islamophobia; Oriental despots; Arabs; Muslims in the media; and mosque burnings. Muslims and American Popular Culture offers more than 40 chapters that serve to debunk the overwhelmingly negative associations of Islam in American popular culture and illustrate the tremendous contributions of Muslims to the United States across an extended historical period.


  • Identifies the contributions of Muslims to American fiction, poetry, music, food, architecture, and other cultural forms to document the breadth of their contributions
  • Highlights the ways in which Muslims have been, and continue to be, routinely depicted negatively in American literature, film, and religious discourse, and documents the potential effects that such depictions can have on individual Muslims and their communities
  • Offers readers useful tools that allow them to apply a critical eye to the representations of Muslims in the news
Author Info

Iraj Omidvar, PhD, is associate professor of English, technical communication, and media arts at Southern Polytechnic State University. He is a regular columnist for Tehran Bureau, a PBS Frontline-affiliated news organization on Iran. With Anne Richards, he is coediting the scholarly collection Travel Writing, Transculturalism, and Consciousness: The Occident as Other. Omidvar holds a doctorate in rhetoric and professional communication and was a Fulbright Fellow in Tunisia in 2007.

Anne R. Richards, PhD, is university ombuds and associate professor of English at Kennesaw State University. She has published the collections Complex Worlds: Digital Culture, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication with Adrienne Lamberti and Writing the Visual: A Practical Guide for Teachers of Composition and Communication with Carol David. Richards was a Fulbright Teaching Fellow in Tunisia in 2006–2007 and is one of 22 active Fulbright Ambassadors.



"This collection is a timely, valuable contribution to the current political and cultural debates about immigrants and immigration in the U.S. today. Highly recommended."—Choice

"Offering a wide range of information without sacrificing depth, this set examines the ways that Islam and Muslims are depicted in American pop culture. . . . The scholarly writing style and the presumption that readers have a solid understanding of major historical and current events make this unique set too advanced for most high schools but ideal for colleges and universities. Illuminating and timely."—School Library Journal

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