I tell a lie – the second book is a little gem and while it scores less on the academic front (in terms of analytical and theoretical framework) I am secretly deeply charmed by it.
Comprising 20 first-person narratives by Muslim women in a northern British town, their insights are gentle, engaging and by turns compelling.
And as I near my conclusion, one quote jumped out more than others.
Reflecting on meeting her Algerian husband at the age of 16 (circa 1980s), Rabia notes the manner in which religion in the context of relationships has emerged to the fore:
I never asked him anything about Islam. […] Nowadays, I think a young girl meeting a Muslim boy, it would be the first point of conversation […] I was just interested in him as a person but not where he’d come from or his culture or his religious background.
The final sentence is possibly the most innocent and beautiful I’ve read in a while.
Sure, it’s no Kundera, but its simplicity and veracity are so touching.
Maybe that’s how we used to be before 9/11.
Just a society falling in love for who the other person was, not where they were from or what denomination or faith.
I want to go back to that.
Because I am there already, even if certain elements in society still have to catch up to it.