Spring 2008: Alumni Ink
War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims
By Mary J. Loftus
When Melody Moezzi 06L 06MPH, of Decatur, wrote War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims (University of Arkansas Press, 2007), she wanted to correct an imbalance she has observed in America since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
“I hope that we can be judged by the best and brightest among us, not the worst,” says Moezzi, a Muslim of Iranian descent who grew up in Dayton, Ohio. “I think what happened after 9/11 is that Muslims were judged by the worst.”
In War on Error, Moezzi profiles a dozen of her young American Muslim friends and acquaintances, including her own husband, Matthew (a “white American kid from upstate New York” who converted to Islam), a fellow Emory law school alumna, and a bisexual Sudanese American singer.
“I realized most Americans didn’t have a lot of Muslim friends, and I did. I thought if they ‘met’ them, perhaps they wouldn’t hate us as much,” Moezzi said during a recent reading at Emory. The book was turned down by two publishers who, it seemed to Moezzi, were only interested if she would “air dirty laundry and add a terrorist.”
Moezzi also has a regular column in Muslim Girl magazine and has written essays and articles for Parabola, Dissident Voice, American Chronicle, Urban Mozaik, and the Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine as well as speaking on NPR.
War on Error includes a foreword by Emory law professor Abduh An-Na’im, Moezzi’s mentor. “In the final analysis,” An-Na’im says, “the message Melody so effectively communicates through the narratives of her subjects is that there are countless ways to understand and practice Islam.”
Diversity is inherent in Islam, says Moezzi, but so is a certain sense of community. “Lunatics aside,” she says, “the great majority of us are pretty decent people . . . and not quite that scary after all.”