Children of Dust – Ali Eteraz



Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: HarperONe: 1st Edition (October 13, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061567086
ISBN-13: 978-0061567087 
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Since 9/11 there has been a lot of anger and distrust in this country towards Muslims. I’ve always tried to keep an open mind about things. I’ve never truly understood everything about the Muslim faith. Having a background as the son of a Baptist Minister there seemed to be many conflicts in beliefs. Taking that as a basis though, when this book came along I thought it would be an interesting tale to read. I also felt like it may help, to at least understad Muslim’s a bit better.

The Story is broken down into 5 sections. Each section is one part of how Ali Eteraz grew and changed in his religion.

The first section starts with young Abir ul Islam. When Abir was born, his father made a convent with Allah that Abir would be a faithful servant. This section deals with both the good and bad aspects of any religion. During his childhood children were often beaten, and otherwise abused for not learning their lessons well. This was one of the most difficult sections to read. You have this child who is trying to stay true to his faith, while at the same time, that faith allows bad things to happen.

Americanism – In this section, Abir, now Amir ur Islam and his family has moved to America. He wants to embrace some of the American culture, like Boy Meets World. His parents are trying to hold on to their religion. The majority of this compares how the two cultures can sometimes collide.

Fundamentalism – In this section, Abir, now Abu Bakr Ramaq had completely wrapped himself within the muslim religion. He looks on disdain at those women who fail to cover their faces, or who wear pants.

Post Modern – Abu, now Abir ul Islam travels back to Pakistan in order to find a Muslim wife. While there he faces the extremism that is going on within the Muslim world. He learns how far that goes while he’s there and begins to see a need to change.

Reformer – Abir, now Ali Eteraz begins working on reforming Muslim views. From the way I read things, he began to see the extremist view as going against the Muslim faith. A lot of this change in his views seems to have come about in the wake of 9/11.

There were some surprising similarities. These came about in the guise of their prophets. Sulayman, Daud, Ibrahim, Ismael, Yunus, Nuh, Musa, Isa, Lut, and Yusaf. Western (Christian) cultures would know them as Solomon, David, Abraham, Ishmael, Jonah, Noah, Moses, Jesus, Lot, and Joseph.

I found his journey through the different phases fascinating, sad at times, humorous at others. I don’t see it as a lot different than the journey many take when beginning to follow a religious idea. The main thing, and what I set out to prove to myself at least was that it’s not the religion of a person that’s bad. You can be a good, religious person whether your Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or any others. You can also be a bad religious person and be in any of those same groups, it’s how you use and interpret what you read in the holy books you follow that can determine good or bad.

I’d recommend this book. Maybe not to the very close minded, but anyone who wants to possibly see what all the different aspects of Islam are about, and maybe understand a different culture.

*Disclaimer* A review copy of this book was provided by FSB Associates. Thanks to Anna and Julie at FSB Associates.

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