(RNS) — Research into early Muslim communities in America has long attracted writers interested in how Muslims developed a sense of identity on this continent.

In the 1990s, Abdullah Hakim Quick, a Canadian writer, penned “Deeper Roots: Muslims in the Americas and the Caribbean Before Columbus,” which became a staple of many Islamic bookstores. 

A new book, “Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped the Americas,” by Omar Mouallem, may meet the needs of a new generation of Muslims. Like Quick, Mouallem is Canadian, but his approach is entirely different. “Praying to the West” is part travelogue, part investigatory journalism. The book examines 13 mosques across North and South America, from above the frigid Arctic Circle to tropical Trinidad and Tobago.

While the book mainly includes

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