The Invisible Muslim
Journeys Through Whiteness and Islam
A searching personal reflection on the hidden nuances of race and religious identity.
Medina Tenour Whiteman stands at the margins of whiteness and Islam. An Anglo-American born to Sufi converts, she feels perennially out of place—not fully at home in Western or Muslim cultures.
In this searingly honest memoir, Whiteman contemplates what it means to be an invisible Muslim, examining the pernicious effects of white Muslim privilege and exploring what Muslim identity can mean the world over—in lands of religious diversity and cultural insularity, from Andalusia, Bosnia and Turkey to Zanzibar, India and Iran.
Through her travels, she unearths experiences familiar to both Western Muslims and anyone of mixed heritage: a life-long search for belonging and the joys and crises of inhabiting more than one identity.
Medina Tenour Whiteman is a writer, poet, translator and musician. She is the author of a collection of poetry, Love is a Traveller and We Are its Path, and Huma’s Travel Guide to Islamic Spain. She lives near Granada, Spain, with her husband and three children.
‘A sincere and nuanced reflection on race, identity and the author’s experiences as a white Muslim. … [with] beautiful prose and equally beautiful analogies.’ — The New Arab
‘Whiteman shows considerable insight, sensitivity, and perception to many of the issues she introspectively ponders over at great length … a wonderfully interesting and rewarding book, writing in an engaging and compelling style.’ — Muslim World Book Review
‘A remarkably balanced, well-researched account of the Muslim world, with nine pages of resource material expanded upon at the back of the book. Each chapter in her book is a mini travelogue comprising of life and historical events crafted with eloquent writing and sharp-witted humour.’ — The Daily Star
‘An important contribution to the conversation about diversity that deserves to be widely read. A rare perspective—peaceful, balanced, lucid and attractive. It might well be a glimpse into the future of a British Islam, confident in its identity, at ease with its setting.’ — Leila Aboulela, author of Bird Summons, Minaret and The Translator
‘A bold and beautifully written memoir of searing honesty and warmth. Whiteman gracefully grapples with the complex layers of identity, whiteness and culture as she maps out the landscape of her life, all the while drawing in history and belief in her uniquely eloquent style.’ — Remona Aly, journalist and broadcaster
‘Medina Tenour Whiteman has approached a unique, complicated branch of Muslim identity with sensitivity and nuance. This book shows that faith is more than adherence to ritual—it is also a means to find oneself.’ — Hussein Kesvani, author of Follow Me, Akhi