Thursday, 6 March 2008

Islam in Indiana, Wimples on Woman's Day:A Book and a Video to Recommend

The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf by Mohja Kahf was the book for one of my book groups this week. I had to miss it, and I’m sorry because I’m sure the discussion was lively.

The author, now a professor of literature at the University of Arkansas, has written a first person story about one young Muslim woman raised in Indiana and her complex relationship with the US, Islam and her own essence. She says that she wanted to call it Henna’ed Hoosiers, but that the publisher said that wouldn’t cut it. Maybe, but it gives some idea of the complexity of the story and the long journey the narrator makes.

It reminded me of Miriam Toews’s A Complicated Kindness, a book which won many awards when it was published in Canada a couple of years ago. It has the same clear-eyed regard for a closed and intense religion (Toews comes from Mennonite background) where love, anger and rejection are all mixed up together in a good story.

Definitely worth reading if you’d like to know more about Muslims in North America, and people of faith in general.

Also definitely worth a look is a video that morphs faces of women from art. The link was sent to me as a Woman’s Day Greeting, which seems to me very appropriate. It’s also available on YouTube, but I like this one better because you’re not distracted by extraneous visuals. (And do you see a similarity between some of the headgear worn by these lovely ladies, and the hidjab? Plus ça change etc.)

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