It’s Not About the Burqa

“We are not asking for permission any more. We are taking up space. We’ve listened to a lot of people talking about who Muslim women are without actually hearing Muslim women. So now, we are speaking. And now, it’s your turn to listen.”

It’s Not About the Burqa was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it did not disappoint. One idea that comes up again and again in this anthology of essays by Muslim British women is the idea of superficial representation. Muslim women are being embraced by advertisers everywhere these days, but they are only welcome insomuch as they tap a new market for revenue. But as soon as one of these women wants to express an opinion—about global justice or racism or life—she is no longer welcome. This anthology pushes back against that kind of representation, and in it, seventeen women stand up and speak their truth. View Post

Internment

A YA dystopian novel set in a near-future US where Muslims are placed in internment camps? Yes, please! (If this premise sounds outlandish to you, then perhaps you aren’t living in the same world I am and/or you’ve forgotten about the internment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s. Excluding an entire class of Americans based on unfounded fears happens to be a part of our history.) Samira Ahmed’s Internment creates this hypothetical world, and it was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019.

Bravo to Ahmed for writing this book, and I’m glad to see that it’s doing well in the YA market. I enjoyed seeing a beautiful tafseer of ayah al-kursi in a book put out by a major publisher. I hope readers of all backgrounds will see parts of themselves in the Muslim characters and have important conversations about oppression and silent complicity.  View Post

The Other Americans

The Other Americans comes out in the US today from author Laila Lalami, whose novel, The Moor’s Account, was nominated for the Pulitzer. 

The Other Americans is at once a family saga, a mystery, and a romance. Nora, the daughter of Moroccan immigrants, is sitting in a restaurant with a friend when she finds out that her father was killed in a hit and run crash. As the police try to find whoever is responsible, Nora reconnects with old friends and enemies and unearths secrets.   View Post

Nameless Soldiers

Thank you to E.N. Clay for offering to send me a copy of their book—Nameless Soldiers, which is the first in the End of Times series—in exchange for an honest review.

Ali, a computer science student at a Swedish university, is part of a group of Muslim hackers preparing for the end times and the coming of the mahdi. When a member of their group is arrested and their website is hacked, they have to scramble to complete their mission, all while a Swedish intelligence agency is closing in on one side and a group of djinn on the other.  View Post

The Tale of a Tiny Droplet

When I first saw this cute book, I thought it was about the water cycle. It’s actually not. It is the story of a tiny droplet living in a cloud. It sees a beautiful kingdom below on the ground, and it wants to live there. When it’s finally big enough to fall from the sky, it joins with a grain of sand in the air before falling into the ocean. It’s then taken in by an oyster and becomes a pearl. So, in fact, by the end of the story, it does get to fulfill its dream of living in the kingdom. It’s found by the Prince, who places it in a beautiful headdress for his mother, the Queen. View Post