Murrow professor’s book examines America’s tumultuous relationship with Islam

Closeup of Lawrence Pintak.
Lawrence Pintak

A book by Washington State University professor Lawrence Pintak examines the damage caused by the anti‑Muslim rhetoric of the 2016 presidential campaign in the context of centuries of stereotyping of Muslims and decades of U.S. policies that brought simplistic solutions to the complex problems of the Middle East.

“America & Islam: Soundbites, Suicide Bombs and the Road to Donald Trump” punctures key stereotypes that shape American perceptions of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims, such as the notion that Islam is a monolith, as epitomized by President Donald Trump’s comment during the campaign that “Islam hates us.” Pintak, a former CBS News Middle East correspondent and founding dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, also examines the role of the media in fueling anti‑Muslim sentiment.

“America has a long history of adopting morally wrong and strategically dangerous policies, and then correcting course,” said Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Lebanon and Kuwait. “Pintak shines light on the dangers and then shows a way forward. May we be wise enough to take it.”

“America & Islam” explores the impact of Trump’s first year in office on both American Muslims and the country’s relationship with the Middle East and the broader Muslim world. He speaks with Pakistanis who viewed Trump as “the American Taliban,” Gulf Arabs who welcomed what they called his “strong man” approach to governing, and American Muslims who were at first shaken by Trump’s victory and then energized, leading to a record number of Muslims running for office in the 2018 midterm elections.

“Insightful, well‑written, challenging,” former CBS News anchor Dan Rather said of the book. “Pintak is both a globe-trotting journalist and a distinguished scholar. He’s not afraid to challenge assumptions, group-think and the powerful.”

This is Pintak’s fifth book on the disconnect between the U.S. and the world’s Muslims.

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