Because America seems to have a bit of trouble distinguishing Muslims from terrorists, I’ve decided to supply a handy dandy reading list. Books are delightfully decorated passports to empathy, so take a look at these novels about Muslims NOT. BEING. TERRORISTS.
Sophia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik
WELL AREN’T WE FEELING WITTY. Sophia Khan is the most charming hijabi to ever grace literature. When tasked with writing a Muslim dating book, Sophia sets forth on a clumsy adventure with a lovable family by her side. Destroying stereotypes and quipping at social issues is all bundled in. Consequently, she’s not a terrorist!
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
This Pakistani page-turner pokes at the faults in arranged marriages. With insights to South Asian culture, both the good and bad is exposed. Also, the protagonist and family is Muslim. And. Not. Terrorist.
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
While the protagonist of the book is a homeless boy, Magnus Chase, his best sassy buddy is Samirah al-Abbas. As Sam totes a warrior’s hijab, she collects the souls of slain warriors off battlefields—the least terrorist-y thing you could do. In other words, Sam is a Muslim and not a terrorist! Whew! Do you sense a theme here? I feel like we’re really making progress.
If you prefer to delight in the latest and the greatest, fret not. Here’s a collection of snazzy 2017 releases featuring Muslims! (Do we still have to say “not being terrorists”? Have you gotten the message yet?)
The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain (Release Date: January 12, 2017)
In a quaint English village, the only Muslims are the four Amir sisters—Fatima, Farah, Bublee (BUBLEE BUBLEE BUBLEE my first-born child will be named this), and Mae. (Basically, Little Women but Muslim? I think yes.) Each sister fosters a secret life. None of these secret lives involve being a terrorist. They’re Muslim, but they’re not terrorists. Getitgotitgood.
Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali (Release Date: June 13, 2017)
This tale whirls around “an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.” Now, take a look at that title for me. It lists Saints. It lists Misfits. You see what it doesn’t list? Terrorist.
The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian (Release Date: August 8, 2017)
This dazzling novel is about a proudly Iranian-American Muslim girl. While delving into family, culture, self-discovery, and sweet-sixteen birthday bashes, everything is kept authentic. Most authentic of it all is the Muslim representation. As in, the protagonist is not a terrorist. Thus, an authentic Muslim.
Have any books revolving around non-terrorist Muslims expanded your vision? How so? Have any other diverse books educated you? How did they serve as a route to empathy? Chat with me on the wonders of literature, chums!