BOOK CORNER: Author addresses problems faced by Muslims in book

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By Marissa Wells

Contributing Writer

“Broken: The Failed Promise of Muslim Inclusion,” by Evelyn Alsultany, is a thought-provoking new book that discusses the inclusion of Muslims in diversity initiatives in the U.S. over the last decade or so.

“Broken” is partly inspired by the author’s own experiences as an Arab-Muslim (and Latina) American woman who, from a young age, witnessed racism and prejudice towards her family in everyday interactions with people.

“The media and U.S. government have portrayed Arabs and Muslims as a threat to U.S. national security for decades; but it was not part of conversations about racism and discrimination until recently, not even in the niche spaces that I belong to — ethnic studies in academia,” Alsultany said.

“Broken” is made up of five chapters that highlight the possibilities and pitfalls of what has become a common approach to diversity in the U.S.

“I argue that Muslims get included in diversity initiatives through what I term ‘crisis diversity,’” Alsultany said.

She also looks at the role institutions like the media and Hollywood, universities, corporations and law enforcement play in diversity and anti-racism.

“It was important for me to write this book because I want anti-racism and diversity work to succeed and am concerned that its promise will not be fulfilled if we approach it through crises, metrics, and other means that limit the potential to create a truly inclusive society,” Alsultany said.

“Broken” is intended for all persons interested in how to create a more inclusive and diverse society.

“I hope that readers will gain an understanding of how and why efforts to promote diversity fail or fall short and in doing so, imagine and devise more effective alternatives to anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion,” Alsultany said.

In addition to being an author, Alsultany is an associate professor at USC’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences in the department of American Studies and Ethnicity. She is based in Pasadena. For more information about the author and her work, visit

Alsultany has a book signing at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 at Vroman’s and at 6p.m. Dec. 8 at Village Well.

“Broken: The Failed Promise of Muslim Inclusion” is available for $30 (hardcover) and $16.50 (electronic) on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the NYU press website and other major booksellers. It’s also sold in stores at Vroman’s in Pasadena and Village Well in Culver City.

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