Handbook to Islam
Dilara Hafiz's handbook for American Muslim teenagers dispels myths about Islam and helps educate non-Muslims.
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After 9/11, the word Muslim became synonymous with terrorist and un-American and Muslims in America faced a wall of prejudice. Eight years on, what does it mean to be an American-Muslim?
On "The Takeaway," Dilara Hafiz talks about the book she wrote with her two teenage kids: "The American Muslim Teenager's Handbook." Told by American publishers that the book would not sell well, and by Muslim publishers that they were too progressive, the book was released independently. It received rave reviews including a write-up in the "New York Times" and great sales numbers on Amazon. Simon and Schuster released the book nationwide recently.
Dilara Hafiz: "... we wrote this book to not only to explain the basics of Islam to American Muslims, but to also explain it to the non-Muslims who somehow feel that ... Muslims are the 'other.' We heard so many misconceptions about Islam, we just wanted to put out an entertainment, educational handbook to Islam."
Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States. Hafiz on how her book dispels the ignorance and distrust of Islam: "The combination of recognizing Abrahamic faith just like Judaism and Christianity. There's such a diversity of observance and opinion across the faith, and somehow, I feel Islam has been portrayed in a very monolithic manner; after 9-11 the extremists dominated the headlines and there was no room for the moderates to really speak up and say, 'hang on a moment, we're Americans, we believe in freedom of religion and we believe in equality and social justice -- we just want to be good, productive citizens.'"
One of the myths that Hafiz's book dispels is that Muslims worship Mohammed: "Muslims worship God, the One God, the God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus. And I think people sometime hear the word 'Allah' which is the Arabic word for God ... Muslims do worship the same god as Jews and Christians."
Hafiz says dialog is critical: "It's so important to promote an interfaith dialog in this country -- America is a pluralistic nation, as we heard our President remind us of that fact -- there are Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Atheists. And I think in order to really have a more productive civil dialog it does behoove us to learn a little bit about each other. We'll be so surprised to see the commonalities."
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