Out of all the cultures in the world… true Islamic values, as embodied in the Qur’an and the life of the Prophet Muhammad, most closely resemble American values.” So asserts Hasan, who has devoted much of her adult life (she is not yet 30) to combating anti-Muslim prejudice.

As in her first book, American Muslims, she passionately argues against stereotypes and in favor of an Islam that sounds a lot like Reform Judaism or liberal Christianity. This is the Islam she knew growing up in Pueblo, Colo., an American girl who looked Chicana and attended a Catholic school. Hasan’s version of Islam would have appealed to America’s founders with its advocacy of human equality, religious tolerance, property rights and self-improvement. It harmonizes just as well with 21st-century America’s spiritual inclinations: it is nonjudgmental, inclusive, open-minded, diverse, experiential, emotional and even feminist. “The Prophet Muhammad is personally responsible for the greatest advancement of women’s rights in a single time period,” she writes, noting that no Islamic justification exists for abuses such as female genital mutilation or stoning adulteresses; these stem from ancient patriarchal traditions that pre-date Islam. Not all American Muslims welcome Hasan’s interpretation of their faith or appreciate her enthusiasm for America (she recounts several experiences with such antagonists and suggests that they move to an Islamic country). Unfazed, she counters: “I’ll make my own tradition: one that embodies my own American Muslim ethnic culture.” This is do-it-yourself American religion at its most appealing. (Mar.)