ICCNC’s Islam and Authors series welcome Stephan Salisbury, author of “Mohamed's Ghost: An American Story of Love and Fear in the Homeland", in conversation with Jason van Boom. Please join us for an onstage conversation, audience Q&A and book signing.
Date and Time: Sat. Feb. 26, 2011 at 6 pm
Location: Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California (ICCNC)
1433 Madison Street (between 14th and 15th streets), Oakland, CA 94612
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (510) 832-7600
Tickets: $10 general, $5 students.
About the Author
Stephan Salisbury is the senior cultural writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer where he has been a reporter for three decades. He has covered everything from the Pennsylvania prison system, unrest in Ireland and Eastern Europe, the coup in Turkey, to the culture wars in the United States and disruptions of American life in the wake of September 11, 2001. He has received numerous awards and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize as part of an Inquirer team investigating local election fraud in 1995.
About the Book
Mohamed Ghorab had no hint one late spring morning that when he dropped his daughter off at school, his life would change forever. Federal agents and police surrounded him in front of terrified parents, teachers and school children. They hustled him off to jail and eventually deported him. His wife was detained at the same time. Agents raided the obscure Philadelphia mosque where Ghorab was imam, ransacking its simple interior and his house next door.
This was a fearful time in the life of America following 9/11, as prize-winning reporter Stephan Salisbury well knew. But he did not anticipate the extremity of fear that emerged as he explored the aftermath of that virtually forgotten raid. Over time, the members of the mosque and the imam's family opened up to him, giving Salisbury a unique opportunity to chronicle the demolition of lives and families, the spread of anti-immigrant hysteria and its manipulation by the government.
As he explored these events, Salisbury was constantly reminded of similar incidents in his own past—the paranoia and police activity that surrounded his political involvement in the 1960s and the surveillance and informing that dogged his father, Harrison Salisbury, a well-known New York Times reporter and editor, for half a century. Salisbury weaves these strands together into a personal portrait of an America fracturing under the intense pressure of the war on terror—the homeland in the time of Osama.
Link to "Mohamed's Ghost" Facebook
What Reviewers Say about "Mohamed's Ghost"
"In May 2004, the FBI and local Philadelphia police raided the Ansaarullah mosque and arrested its imam, Mohamed Ghorab, on the charges that his first marriage had been fraudulent; he was eventually deported to Egypt. The incident is the focus of Salisbury's harrowing but shapeless book, which examines the devastation of Philadelphia's Muslim community after the government invest igation and anti-Arab hysteria after 9/11. A Pulitzer Prize–winning staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Salisbury builds the text around the personal stories of the many people he interviewed over four years; along the way, he delivers harsh criticism of the government's investigative techniques and draws explicit parallels to his own family's experiences with government surveillance in the late 1960s. Though digressive and anecdotal, the text acquires cumulative power, especially in its vivid portrayals of Imam Ghorab, whom it follows from his childhood, and his wife, Meriem Moumen, who discovered religion as a single mother in her 20s. Their heartbreaking story gives this frequently diffuse text a human center." - Publishers Weekly
“[A] sympathetic, eloquent account.”- Philadelphia Inquirer
“Salisbury is a skilled investigative journalist.”- Star-Tribune
"This is a wrenching and outrageous story of our own shadow country conjured out of fear."
"Stephan Salisbury tells a dark and important story that has not been told before and that vividly conveys the texture of the lives of men and women caught up in a web of hostility and government interference."
"Drawing on his own history as an antiwar dissident, Salisbury writes compassionately of the families destroyed and the lives ruined by government-orchestrated repression. This is a vital document for our times, lyrical to an extent unexpected in a political book, yet imbued with a fervor that at every turn is made just by dogged, scrupulous reporting."
—Ken Kalfus, author of The Commissariat of Enlightenment and A Disorder Peculiar to the Country
"Stephan Salisbury has written a deeply reported, thoughtful meditation on what happens when a society decides it needs to spy on its own. Salisbury's immersive account of the real-life consequences that happen when an entire community is placed under suspicion makes it clear that covert government surveillance comes with costs that can't be measured on any balance sheet. Everyone agrees that abuses of power are bad, but Salisbury pushes readers to ponder the consequences—for individuals and for our open, democratic society—that accompany even the legal variety of permanent surveillance."
This Islam and Authors event is co-sponsored by:
—Michael Schaffer, author of One Nation Under Dog
- Center for Islamic Studies at Graduate Theological Union (GTU)
- California Institute for Integral Studies (CIIS)
- Islamic Scholarship Fund (ISF)
- Islamic Networks Group (ING)
- ILLUME Media
- Council for American-Islamic Relations- San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
- UC Berkeley Islamophobia Documentation and Research Project