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LOVE, INSHALLAH -English version-

After 9/11 the West has come to know Muslim women as victims of an oppressive religion. But on Valentine’s Day 2012 Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi, an international development consultant and a civil rights attorney respectively, made an attempt to lift the veil of stereotypes. Ms. Mattu and Maznavi put together a collection of 25 autobiographical stories that will let you peak through the keyhole of the homes of young Muslim-American women.

It is a pleasure for succulture to review our first foreign-language book, Love, InshAllah, a heart-warming and amazingly honest read that will make you smile, laugh, and sometimes shed an odd tear. These are truly human stories of the desire for belonging and of the longing to be loved, God willing!

A portrait refreshingly different from the common reclusive and voiceless “muslima” – the narratives stretch across the multitude of human realities under the influence of religion. It ranges from the story of Tanzila Ahmed, a child of Bangladeshi immigrants who nonetheless sees no contradiction in merging political activism, punk culture and Islam, to the wish of Molly Elian Carlson, a converted Caucasian American, to find her ideal Islamic husband on the Internet. Without mincing matters, these biographies teach us of the experiences of coming-out as a lesbian Muslim, of arranged marriage and of polygamy. Conflicted between tradition and modernity, expectations and beliefs, the women of Love, InshAllah all share the same pursuit of happiness and love.

The collection consists of five chapters. The first one is Allahu Alim which features seven tales of life changing journeys. And then Alif discloses about the first encounter with love, while International Habibi, is about love across cultures, nations and distances. In Third time’s the Naseeb three women tell how Cupid is sometimes a long time coming and in You’ve got Ayat the women shed light through their own experiences on the blending of the Internet with ancient traditions.

When walking through these stories, we forget about politics. We forget the stereotypes the media present to us but we get the key to common understanding. And as we go from room to room we learn to see the women of Islam are not to be generalized but are nevertheless connected by their love for Allah, for life, and for love itself.

A truly intriguing book.

Die deutsche Version dieses Artikels gibt es hier.

ISBN: 78-59376-428-9 | Publisher: Soft Skull Press | Released: 14 February 2012 | 307 Pages | Price: $15.95

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