The largest ethnic body of Muslims in the United States is not Iranian or Egyptian but American blacks. Statistics are notoriously difficult to ascertain, but they probably number several hundred thousand. Their ranks include such artists as Ahmad Jamal (the jazz musician) and Queen Latifa (the rap singer) and such sports figures as Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson (the boxers) and Kareem Abdul Jabbar (the basketball player). This body of believers is deeply divided, with mainstream Muslim groups on the one side and an exotic growth of homegrown communities on the other.
Unfortunately, McCloud tells little about these interesting topics. Instead, she provides rudimentary information about the groups (who started the organization, when it split, and so forth) without explaining their key features or conveying their spirit. The chapter on women has a distinctly apologetic tone. To make matters worse, McCloud gets basic facts wrong about Islam (there is no Islamic practice of taking shoes off when entering a house) and betrays some very strange political ideas (in one passage, she refers to "the atrocities committed by the United States" in the outside world).
Oddly, writing on this subject as a Muslim made McCloud's task all the harder: "because I am a Muslim, many communities were even more suspicious than usual about my motivation." Routledge, publisher of shelves full of distinguished books on Islam, slipped up on this one.