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Syrian Immigrant Khadra Shamy Is Growing Up In A Devout, Tightly Knit Muslim Family In S Indiana, At The Crossroads Of Bad Polyester And Islamic Dress Codes Along With Her Brother Eyad And Her African American Friends, Hakim And Hanifa, She Bikes The Indianapolis Streets Exploring The Fault Lines Between Muslim And American When Her Picture Perfect Marriage Goes Sour, Khadra Flees To Syria And Learns How To Pray Again On Returning To America She Works In An Eastern State Taking Care To Stay Away From Indiana, Where The Murder Of Her Friend Tayiba S Sister By Klan Violence Years Before Still Haunts Her But When Her Job Sends Her To Cover A National Islamic Conference In Indianapolis, She S Back On Familiar Ground Attending A Concert By Her Brother S Interfaith Band The Clash Of Civilizations, Dodging Questions From The Aunties And Uncles, And Running Into The Recently Divorced Hakim EverywhereBeautifully Written And Featuring An Exuberant Cast Of Characters, The Girl In The Tangerine Scarf Charts The Spiritual And Social Landscape Of Muslims In Middle America, From Five Daily Prayers To The Indy Car Race It Is A Riveting Debut From An Important New Voice Making peace with disillusionmentMohja Kahf presents an insider s loving view of Islam through this coming of age immigrant novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf Khadra Shamy, a young Syrian girl, moves to Indiana with her family to be missionaries to the evil Western world and help the American Muslims navigate the difficulties in clashes between shariah law and American law They face many difficulties as they build the small Dawah Center into an established Muslim community Khadra struggles between doing what is expected of a proper Muslim girl the limitations it puts on staying true to herself and the freedom that American culture offers As Khadra grows, she sheds her black and white thinking with the stages of childhood discovering that her idealistic view of Islam is not always perfectly practiced in Arab or American lands, that parents sometimes lie, and that she can be a good Muslim while also being an independent woman.The author advocates Islam as love, a woman s right to enter a mosque and pray and learn, and the importance of Mohammed s wives It also reveals that shariah law allows abortion up to 120 days, and wife initiated divorce showing how progressive Islam could be considered This is juxtaposed with one character s suicide bombing, polygamy, Holocaust denial, the delight the Muslims took in the Iranian hostage situation and the Iranian Revolution As Khadra grows older, she meets many who disagree with the views she was brought up with, and she begins to challenge them and herself to seek a way to tie her beliefs and new understanding together I enjoyed reading this novel for the inside take on Islam However, in my view, it is a little too easy to say, oh their interpretation is wrong, that is why they commit these terrible acts It is too easy to say that jihad ought to be a war of words, not violence, when it is obvious that many interpret passages of the Quran to be a call to violence I agree with the author that most Muslims are apt to desire peace as most people in general are than to wish to be a radical and possibly lose their lives, but it also seems like a pat answer Fundamentalists of any religion are dangerous, but the idea of martyrdom has drawn many after all Kahf mentions the Islamic challenges to freedom, yet seems to believe that these will fade away as Muslims encounter Western culture and assimilate only the good aspects of it This can be true for some communities, but certainly not all This is in rather direct opposition to Ayaan Hirsi Ali s portrayal of the Muslim interactions with the Western world and I am inclined to believe Ali, who has gone through much tribulation for challenging woman s freedom and place in Islam.For further reading check out Ayaan Hirsi Ali s two wonderful books A Caged Virgin and Infidel.I want to end with this quote by Khadra s father from The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf Brothers, do not for a minute think that we will stop protesting against the immoral and unfair policies of America outside, in the Muslim world May my tongue be cut off if I forget Jerusalem But let s face it here inside American, there are many good qualities Law and order, cleanliness, democracy, freedom to work and honestly seks the provision of the Lord, freedom to practice religion These are Islamic qualities America is like Islam without Muslims And our sick and corrupt Muslim home countries they are like Muslims without Islam 144. Blending retro Seventies nostalgia with a young woman s story of friendship and reconnecting with her culture, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf is an exciting and vibrant book with a lot of unexpected thrilling moments. Parts of this book I would rate five stars and parts of it I would rate less than one That s how it usually is with works that try to be super duper awesome sauce at social justice, but stop at the bare level of analyzing the genocide that is normalized discourse Look Freedom of diverse religions with the emphasis on the free of all religions necessarily limiting the abusive tendencies of any great Freedom of diverse religions intersecting with freedom of diverse races, again with the above emphasis great An almost 500 page semi casual look at the huge amounts of intricacies naturally involved in a religion that s be going on for the last 1400 years or so and is has will be the US current mascot enemy for an unknown number of years superb However, as I said in a status update and will say again Islamic eugenics is still eugenics, and no amount of self awareness will fix that if you still use sane as a measurement of worthy of life.I don t have much interest in sane and or able Muslims If they re anything like sane and or able Christians, they ll want me locked up and or sterilized and or dead on an instinctive level If you re going to write a book about Islam in the Real World, it s not going to be Real if I see ten white Muslim converts running around and no Arab Muslims in wheelchairs Or Arab Muslims with Down Syndrome Or Arab Muslims who can t follow all the rules and rituals of speaking and standing and moving and memorizing cause frankly, the fact that the majority of people fall into some prescribed range of acceptable when carrying on the tradition of any complex institution involved in centuries of canonized discourse is a luck of chemicals, not normality I would spend less time on this and on the fact that this is one of the best works I ve ever read in terms of the sort of valuable insight that I can usually only dig up on Tumblr, as well as on how bits and pieces of the writing of thought truly soared above and beyond its usual secular and contemporary tone, if the same horseshit qualifier didn t repeat itself over and over again of sane, sane, sane Intelligence as necessity for morality was thrown in at the very end, as if the you know, the less likely you re going to use what you know to keep yourself comfy.If I have any US citizens in my friends list who are also Muslim, I m not aware of them off the top of my head Assuming I have far non Muslim US citizens in my friends list, to those of you in this category, treat this as required reading Europe s got its own share of Islamophobia, but the US is what I know I spent time critiquing than praising, but this review is for my own benefit first, those of a few who I know have an active interest in my writing second, and the random pedestrian third, the last never being for Entertainment You can bypass this recommendation if you know the intricacies of Shia Sunni relations, Black Muslims, Assyrians, Palestinians, Syrian Jewish people, Saudi Arabia, polygamy, arranged marriages, LGBTQIA in Islam, and menstruation during Ramadan If you re looking for mental illness with regards to orthodox religions, sorry You ll have to join me in looking elsewhere. I d recommended Girl in the Tangerine Scarf for learning about Muslim American subcultures Starting this, I thought, Nice to see myself on the page, but this could get tedious after a while Even though my upbringing wasn t nearly as religiously observant as that of the protagonist, Khadra, the ideas were well worn for me I liked seeing the diversity of Muslim practice and cultures reflected here, which was a lot nuanced than the American popular perception e.g immigrant vs second generation, African American practice, Shia, Sunni, age vs youth and even other works written by Muslims In fact, you could say the whole book is about nuance and discussions around Islamic practice through Khadra s development and dilemmas.That s the real appeal for me, seeing Khadra s Islam evolve over time in response, which is common and another facet of Muslim life many non Muslims don t realize I was going to say, see, but it s a matter of deduction, since any person s views, particularly their relationship with religion and their selves, evolve over time Muslims are no different Khadra addresses many of the questions and debates circulating in the Muslim community naturally, not all of them Tangerine Scarf certainly doesn t convey all Muslim ways of life or views in the States, but I loved her frankness.Mohja Kahf s prose is lovely, her metaphors evocative She populates Tangerine Scarf with a lot of fascinating supporting characters only challenging to remember for non Arabic speakers, I d imagine, much as it s difficult for me to remember words in languages I don t know I read this book over months, so if anyone should have forgotten the characters, it s me, LOL Reading for context remedies that and difficulty with non English terms I didn t notice that many, but that may be because they re unremarkable to me I agree with another reviewer that this experience of fielding foreign words is useful for understanding Khadra s experience as a stranger in a new land, and I disagree with reviewers that this book is targeted towards Muslims It has little to offer Muslims, for whom most of this is old hat, unless one is very young or sheltered, except for the feminism perhaps That was nice I hope to see literature like this that reflects Muslims as they are, books to add to the complexity of the picture offered, voices Oh, and definitely read until the end or you ll miss the point of the book Four stars PS I really enjoyed that older characters played such an important role in the novel as well