ISLAM & AMERICA (Poetic Connections)
One of the best-selling poets in America is a 13 th century Muslim named Jelaluddin Rumi. His words are read aloud at open-mike poetry nights and invoked at wedding ceremonies. Mainstream bookstores carry well over a dozen books of his poems and stories. And the New York Times recently declared Rumi the most influential poet in America since the 1960s. Rumi’s popularity is all the more remarkable given the suspicions between America and the Muslim world. Much ink has been spilled detailing the differences between the two entities, ranging from dress codes to dating patterns to diets. Serious scholars have made their careers by suggesting that the two are incompatible.