- “Letters to a Young Muslim” by Omar Saif Ghobash
- Relgious Memoir
- Read as a physical copy thanks to Picador sending me a review copy for an honest review
- 3.5/5 stars
- Finished February 1, 2017
From the Ambassador of the UAE to Russia comes a bold and intimate exploration of what it means to be a Muslim in the twenty-first century.
In a series of personal letters to his sons, Omar Saif Ghobash offers a short and highly readable manifesto that tackles our current global crisis with the training of an experienced diplomat and the personal responsibility of a father. Today’s young Muslims will be tomorrow’s leaders, and yet too many are vulnerable to extremist propaganda that seems omnipresent in our technological age. The burning question, Ghobash argues, is how moderate Muslims can unite to find a voice that is true to Islam while actively and productively engaging in the modern world. What does it mean to be a good Muslim?
What is the concept of a good life? And is it acceptable to stand up and openly condemn those who take the Islamic faith and twist it to suit their own misguided political agendas? In taking a hard look at these seemingly simple questions, Ghobash encourages his sons to face issues others insist are not relevant, not applicable, or may even be Islamophobic. These letters serve as a clear-eyed inspiration for the next generation of Muslims to understand how to be faithful to their religion and still navigate through the complexities of today’s world. They also reveal an intimate glimpse into a world many are unfamiliar with and offer to provide an understanding of the everyday struggles Muslims face around the globe.
I feel really weird giving this book three stars because it was absolutely lovely, and I would recommend it to many, it just wasn’t four stars for me. Don’t discount this small but mighty memoir however, because the writing is beautiful, and the message is wonderful. Ghobash writes in a series of letters to his son, about Islam and it’s relation to the world, and all of the things he’s learned. What I really loved about this book is that there wasn’t any hesitation in addressing the big topics, and really talking about them with his son. Why organizations like ISIS happen is a really important topic in our world, and especially why they’re bringing Muslims in. Ghobash addresses this phenomenally, in a way that I’m sure his son feels is personal, but also so very explanatory to those of us who aren’t part of that faith, or even part of that culture.
This book is a very quick read, one you could easily do in one sitting, and it would absolutely be worth your time. Parts of it made me feel like an outsider because I didn’t always know what he was referencing, but this book really wasn’t for me, so I understand why that was. I really loved the quote “I used to think that answers being black or white was a blessing. But after awhile they seem inadequate” because it’s so true at least for me. That’s one thing I really loved about this book, there were so many universal truths that one could apply.
I picked this book up the day of the Muslim ban here in the US. I want my voice to be a voice of love, not hate, and one of tolerance. I wanted to learn more about the Muslim faith which is why I requested this book in the first place. Either way, I’m so grateful for Picador for this review copy, and will absolutely be recommending to people!
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