Lifting Veil on Love and Islam

In a new anthology of essays about flirting, dating and sex published on Tuesday under the title “Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women.”

The two editors, Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi, sought to create a book that dispelled the stereotype of Muslim women as mute and oppressed. They gathered 24 portraits of private lives that expose a group in some cases kept literally veiled, yet that also illustrate that American Muslim women grapple with universal issues.

“Inshallah,” the Arabic word for “God willing,” was included in the title because “it captures the idea that everybody is searching for love,” Ms. Maznavi said.

The anthology joins half a dozen books in the last two years that have been written by American Muslim women about their lives.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, American Muslims have agonized about lying low versus stepping forward to convince other Americans that they are not a fifth column. Controversy erupts around even innocuous television shows like “All-American Muslim,” which presented five families in Dearborn, Mich., as inherently normal.

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