This was going to be a very different post this weekend, however … Unless you’ve been living under a rock you will have heard of the shameful terrorist attack that has happened in Christchurch, leaving 50 people dead at last report and dozens more injured. This was perpetrated by an Australian white supremacist. My heart is broken for the victims, their families and all the New Zealanders who are shattered that this could have happened on their soil. My heart is also broken for Muslim people across the world who have to deal with yet another hate based attack against their people.
I could talk about how the Australian Liberal Party and their friends in One Nation and Sky News are directly responsible for allowing this hatred fertile ground within Australia. I could rail against the way the leaders of the party are using this tragedy to score political points by voicing solidarity with Muslim communities while a known white supremacist was on track to visit Australia and only had his visa cancelled after the shooting. I could also talk about how the media is reporting on this like it’s a surprise and not something they have helped fan the flames of. There are plenty of other professional writers and commentators making those points in a much more skilled way than I ever could.
Instead let’s talk about some great books by Muslim authors.
Yassmin Abdel-Magied came here as a toddler with her family to escape Sudan. Yassmin tells her story of growing up in Brisbane both before and after the September 11 attacks. At uni she specialised in engineering and became the only woman and only Muslim working on an Australian oil and gas mining rig out at sea. (Yassmin has been subjected to a lot of hate in the media and moved to England a couple of years ago. She has a new work of fiction out this month which I have yet to read. She is worth a follow on twitter @yassmin_a )
This wonderful book by Randa Abdel-Fattah tells the story of 16 year old Amal, who decides to wear the hijab full time. Everyone -friends, classmates, people in the street – has a reaction and think they should be able to voice it. This is an inspiring story of a young woman standing by her decisions and celebrating her faith.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is a graphic novel that follows Satrapi’s life and coming of age through the Islamic Revolution. It is a time of upheaval, loss and infinite sadness, and also a story of family love and resilience.
Who doesn’t love a Pride and Prejudice retelling? Ayesha is 27 and has set aside her dreams of being a poet to work in a stable job as a teacher so she can repay her wealthy uncle who has helped out her family since the death of her father. Her cousin Hafsa on track for an arranged marriage although she sees it more as a game and has a goal to reach 100 proposals. Ayesha meets Khalid through her friend and again through the local mosque and, while he grated at first, there is something about him that she likes, even though he seems very conservative. Then it’s announced that Hafsa and Khalid are engaged and it’s on like donkey kong. This is a fun debut from an #ownvoices author.
Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.