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~FREE PDF ♬ The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf ☤ Syrian immigrant Khadra Shamy is growing up in a devout, tightly knit Muslim family in s Indiana, at the crossroads of bad polyester and Islamic dress codes Along with her brother Eyad and her African American friends, Hakim and Hanifa, she bikes the Indianapolis streets exploring the fault lines between Muslim and American When her picture perfect marriage goes sour, Khadra flees to Syria and learns how to pray again On returning to America she works in an eastern state taking care to stay away from Indiana, where the murder of her friend Tayiba s sister by Klan violence years before still haunts her But when her job sends her to cover a national Islamic conference in Indianapolis, she s back on familiar ground Attending a concert by her brother s interfaith band The Clash of Civilizations, dodging questions from the aunties and uncles, and running into the recently divorced Hakim everywhereBeautifully written and featuring an exuberant cast of characters, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf charts the spiritual and social landscape of Muslims in middle America, from five daily prayers to the Indycar race It is a riveting debut from an important new voice Mohja Kahf s fiction debut tells the story of Khadra Shamy, a Syrian Muslim girl who, at a young age, moves with her family to the United States during the 1970s, and grows up in Indiana Khadra s parents struggle to raise their children in accordance with Islamic values, while awash in a mostly Caucasian, Christian, and very American environment The reader follows Khadra s journey to understand herself as an American Muslim well into adulthood She travels to Syria after her marriage breaks do Mohja Kahf s fiction debut tells the story of Khadra Shamy, a Syrian Muslim girl who, at a young age, moves with her family to the United States during the 1970s, and grows up in Indiana Khadra s parents struggle to raise their children in accordance with Islamic values, while awash in a mostly Caucasian, Christian, and very American environment The reader follows Khadra s journey to understand herself as an American Muslim well into adulthood She travels to Syria after her marriage breaks down, and while there, learns her mother s secrets and the meaning of prayer She lives in Philadelphia, away from the confines of the Indiana community she was raised in, and discovers Jewish friends and a passion for photography And finally, the reader follows Khadra when she is finally able to go home again.Khadra s childhood and adolescence are peopled with other Muslim families with a wide variety of backgrounds There s Aunt Khadija and Uncle Jamal al Deen, who came to orthodox Islam by way of the Nation of Islam the Abdul Kadir family, Cambodian Muslims who work as doctors and engineers, rather than as full time members of the Dawah Center and Tayiba Thoreau s family, which consists of a Muslim American convert married to an African woman from Kenya Through Khadra s childish perspective, Kahf creates a community of families born of differing backgrounds As Khadra grows up, the reader also is introduced to the very real tensions that occur within the American Muslim community, as a result of immigrant beliefs about Islam colliding with converts beliefs There are also hints and mild suggestions that though the immigrant Muslims purport to hold different values from their American counterparts, there aresimilarities than they would think.Most of my complaints with Kahf s book are related to writing I found the first half of the book, which describes Khadra s childhood and coming of age in Indiana, most engaging It somewhat mirrored my personal experiences, but in terms of writing, I felt that it was too imitative of the style of Sandra Cisneros Kahf herself has admitted in interviews that she has included direct quotes as tributes to her favorite writers including Cisneros There is no doubt that the quality of the writing was quite good, but I think I would have liked it better if it hadof an original effect, rather than the imitative effect that I perceived.There is a certain chick lit element to the book that I found irritating It almost seemed as if a romantic possibility had been thrown into the book to make itappealing to a certain type of audience or to make the bookmainstream I wasn t and still am not entirely sure what the point of that side plot was.The book lacks a plot, which would not be a huge problem for me if some of the other issues were resolved Indeed, one of my favorite books, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, has the same sort of trajectory as Kahf s does it is simply the story of a girl growing up in a certain time and in a certain place, and how she develops as a person The plot in Kahf s book is a girl growing up as a Muslim in America, and some may argue that that is enough of a plot as it is Along the same lines, in terms of the structure of the book, the ending felt incomplete and was easily forgettable.On a personal note, at times I found the content of the book unnervingly familiar On the other hand, the book is almost too familiar, and may have lent to my dislike of it I think I may be entering a phase, personally, where I ve heard enough of the points that often get raised about political and religious progress in conversations among Muslims, so that when those discussions were described in the book, I got impatient It seemed that there was nothing there I hadn t heard already However, I recognize that to readers who haven t grown up in similar situations, these discussions would be new, and perhaps, interesting.I read a couple of reviews by non Muslims online because I was curious to see whether they had had the same reaction I personally would not recommend this book to non Muslims who want to learnabout the tenets of Islam It seems like it would beappropriate as a casual read to understand one of many types of environments in which American Muslims grow up Most of the reviews I read by non Muslims saw the book as an eye opener to both Muslims living in the United States and those abroad in the Middle East Many of them do note, however, that a glossary and guide to Kahf s invocation of Arabic terms would have been useful, and that they did not have a greater understanding of Islam as a religion Parts of this book I would rate five stars and parts of it I would rate less than one That s how it usually is with works that try to be super duper awesome sauce at social justice, but stop at the bare level of analyzing the genocide that is normalized discourse Look Freedom of diverse religions with the emphasis on the free of all religions necessarily limiting the abusive tendencies of any great Freedom of diverse religions intersecting with freedom of diverse races, again with the above Parts of this book I would rate five stars and parts of it I would rate less than one That s how it usually is with works that try to be super duper awesome sauce at social justice, but stop at the bare level of analyzing the genocide that is normalized discourse Look Freedom of diverse religions with the emphasis on the free of all religions necessarily limiting the abusive tendencies of any great Freedom of diverse religions intersecting with freedom of diverse races, again with the above emphasis great An almost 500 page semi casual look at the huge amounts of intricacies naturally involved in a religion that s be going on for the last 1400 years or so and is has will be the US current mascot enemy for an unknown number of years superb However, as I said in a status update and will say again Islamic eugenics is still eugenics, and no amount of self awareness will fix that if you still use sane as a measurement of worthy of life.I don t have much interest in sane and or able Muslims If they re anything like sane and or able Christians, they ll want me locked up and or sterilized and or dead on an instinctive level If you re going to write a book about Islam in the Real World, it s not going to be Real if I see ten white Muslim converts running around and no Arab Muslims in wheelchairs Or Arab Muslims with Down Syndrome Or Arab Muslims who can t follow all the rules and rituals of speaking and standing and moving and memorizing cause frankly, the fact that the majority of people fall into some prescribed range of acceptable when carrying on the tradition of any complex institution involved in centuries of canonized discourse is a luck of chemicals, not normality I would spend less time on this andon the fact that this is one of the best works I ve ever read in terms of the sort of valuable insight that I can usually only dig up on Tumblr, as well as on how bits and pieces of the writing of thought truly soared above and beyond its usual secular and contemporary tone, if the same horseshit qualifier didn t repeat itself over and over again of sane, sane, sane Intelligence as necessity for morality was thrown in at the very end, as if theyou know, the less likely you re going to use what you know to keep yourself comfy.If I have any US citizens in my friends list who are also Muslim, I m not aware of them off the top of my head Assuming I have farnon Muslim US citizens in my friends list, to those of you in this category, treat this as required reading Europe s got its own share of Islamophobia, but the US is what I know I spenttime critiquing than praising, but this review is for my own benefit first, those of a few who I know have an active interest in my writing second, and the random pedestrian third, the last never being for Entertainment You can bypass this recommendation if you know the intricacies of Shia Sunni relations, Black Muslims, Assyrians, Palestinians, Syrian Jewish people, Saudi Arabia, polygamy, arranged marriages, LGBTQIA in Islam, and menstruation during Ramadan If you re looking for mental illness with regards to orthodox religions, sorry You ll have to join me in looking elsewhere I thought this book really captured what its like to grow up as an American Muslim the author s attention to detail helps to capture the little idiosyncracies contradictions within the community the struggles the American born have in confronting reconciling with immigrant Islam The main character s journey through various phases types of Islam was done especially well I also thought the book was good in showing the problems issues within the American Muslim community while not demonizi I thought this book really captured what its like to grow up as an American Muslim the author s attention to detail helps to capture the little idiosyncracies contradictions within the community the struggles the American born have in confronting reconciling with immigrant Islam The main character s journey through various phases types of Islam was done especially well I also thought the book was good in showing the problems issues within the American Muslim community while not demonizing any group peoples Really enjoyed reading it nice to see a well written work with characters I can really relate to The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf is long and dense, but well worth the investment Though this story is about Khadra, a Syrian American Muslim who grows up in Indiana in the 1970s and 80s, it s really the story of finding a balance between your parents beliefs and histories and your own This could be the story of almost any child of immigrants, with slight modifications for culture and religion The plot is too complex to go into detail here, but if you re looking for a book that explores the c The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf is long and dense, but well worth the investment Though this story is about Khadra, a Syrian American Muslim who grows up in Indiana in the 1970s and 80s, it s really the story of finding a balance between your parents beliefs and histories and your own This could be the story of almost any child of immigrants, with slight modifications for culture and religion The plot is too complex to go into detail here, but if you re looking for a book that explores the complexities of being a Muslim in America, you ve found a good starting point This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here It is nice that there is a Muslim fiction book out And on top of that, it all happened in Indianapolis One problem though We read it in school and it wasn t appropriate It was kind of extreme Some naive paren tmight pick it up from the library and take it home for their 12 or 13 year old child to read The problem is that it can easily confuse ANYONE If you don t discuss it with someone who has read it, you deen can be altered Lucky enough for me, I had my english teacher and the rest of It is nice that there is a Muslim fiction book out And on top of that, it all happened in Indianapolis One problem though We read it in school and it wasn t appropriate It was kind of extreme Some naive paren tmight pick it up from the library and take it home for their 12 or 13 year old child to read The problem is that it can easily confuse ANYONE If you don t discuss it with someone who has read it, you deen can be altered Lucky enough for me, I had my english teacher and the rest of my class to discuss it with The girl in the book immigrates from Syria and moves to Indianapolis area It takes place in the 70s and 80s It goes from when the girl, Khadra, is young and her innocent parents try to protect her and her siblings from the evils of America My first problem was the language In the first few pages, the F word shows up quite a few times Other words show up throughout the book but in the beginning is what bothered me the most If it wasn t for the fact that I was reading it for a grade, I would have put it down right away I kept reading and noticed other things on the way As the girl matures, we hear about everything Literally, EVERYTHING Right when she hits puberty, we know her graphic reaction Kind of awkward when reading it in class, with Muslim boys with you Anyway, then when she firsts starts feeling attraction for boys the first being her brother s best friend , we laugh about her shyness But then, it is time for her to get married When she does get married, we see the horror she goes through when she marries a demanding husband When she describes her, ahem, joyful times, we stare at the pages in shock Is this really an Islamic book Should we even be reading this But then again, I remember I have to read this book to pass my class so I continue I read about how she accidently got pregnant but doesn t want to have a baby Deciding to get an abortion, she drives to the clinic with her non Muslim friend We read about when she gets a divorce Before her marriage, she goes for Hajj I was thinking, okay so maybe the book gets better from here Was I wrong She gets raped During her time in Saudi Arabia, in MECCA And WE read about it How sad We read about her struggles with hijab We read about how she started as a hijabi We read about when she questions it We read about when she takes it off We read about when she puts it back on We read about when she takes it off AGAIN We read about when she becomes a liberal hijabi She puts it on when she feels like it We read about how she is friends with this other not practicing muslim guy, with whom she discusses about deepening the friendship physically I was in shock about their discussions I don t even feel like continuing about the book any I think I will take a break about this review and move on Please, if you do read this book, read it with care In about 15 years, Muslim Fiction is going to claim it s rightful place as a distinct and thriving genre, and The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf will be the first book in the canon.Mohja Kahf s book is a wildly familiar look into life in a Muslim American family that rings true for people in all corners of the country and probably Canada While some of the other reviews here say this is a good read for non Muslims who want a primer on the lives of Muslim Americans, let me say that I don t think In about 15 years, Muslim Fiction is going to claim it s rightful place as a distinct and thriving genre, and The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf will be the first book in the canon.Mohja Kahf s book is a wildly familiar look into life in a Muslim American family that rings true for people in all corners of the country and probably Canada While some of the other reviews here say this is a good read for non Muslims who want a primer on the lives of Muslim Americans, let me say that I don t think y all are the primary audience of this book Kahf writes from what is obviously very personal experience, but this is by no means a primer This is a raw, uncensored, gotta ask your imam if that s true afterwards type of book If you don t know anything about Muslims, this will be a very confusing ride for you.Anyway the actual book It s clear from the get up that Kahf is a talented writer, moving effortlessly from 3rd person narration to the flow of stream of consciousness from Khadra s perspective It s good stuff While Khadra is not always this loveable, do no wrong protagonist, she comes across as a real human a strong perk of writing such realistic fiction She is not a hero or villain, role model or scare tactic she is just Khadra from Indianapolis, and she s the character that we all need to read sometimes to remind ourselves that our experiences are painful, amazing, unhappy, difficult, and above all that, normal Making peace with disillusionmentMohja Kahf presents an insider s loving view of Islam through this coming of age immigrant novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf Khadra Shamy, a young Syrian girl, moves to Indiana with her family to be missionaries to the evil Western world and help the American Muslims navigate the difficulties in clashes between shariah law and American law They face many difficulties as they build the small Dawah Center into an established Muslim community Khadra struggl Making peace with disillusionmentMohja Kahf presents an insider s loving view of Islam through this coming of age immigrant novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf Khadra Shamy, a young Syrian girl, moves to Indiana with her family to be missionaries to the evil Western world and help the American Muslims navigate the difficulties in clashes between shariah law and American law They face many difficulties as they build the small Dawah Center into an established Muslim community Khadra struggles between doing what is expected of a proper Muslim girl the limitations it puts on staying true to herself and the freedom that American culture offers As Khadra grows, she sheds her black and white thinking with the stages of childhood discovering that her idealistic view of Islam is not always perfectly practiced in Arab or American lands, that parents sometimes lie, and that she can be a good Muslim while also being an independent woman.The author advocates Islam as love, a woman s right to enter a mosque and pray and learn, and the importance of Mohammed s wives It also reveals that shariah law allows abortion up to 120 days, and wife initiated divorce showing how progressive Islam could be considered This is juxtaposed with one character s suicide bombing, polygamy, Holocaust denial, the delight the Muslims took in the Iranian hostage situation and the Iranian Revolution As Khadra grows older, she meets many who disagree with the views she was brought up with, and she begins to challenge them and herself to seek a way to tie her beliefs and new understanding together I enjoyed reading this novel for the inside take on Islam However, in my view, it is a little too easy to say, oh their interpretation is wrong, that is why they commit these terrible acts It is too easy to say that jihad ought to be a war of words, not violence, when it is obvious that many interpret passages of the Quran to be a call to violence I agree with the author that most Muslims areapt to desire peace as most people in general are than to wish to be a radical and possibly lose their lives, but it also seems like a pat answer Fundamentalists of any religion are dangerous, but the idea of martyrdom has drawn many after all Kahf mentions the Islamic challenges to freedom, yet seems to believe that these will fade away as Muslims encounter Western culture and assimilate only the good aspects of it This can be true for some communities, but certainly not all This is in rather direct opposition to Ayaan Hirsi Ali s portrayal of the Muslim interactions with the Western world and I aminclined to believe Ali, who has gone through much tribulation for challenging woman s freedom and place in Islam.For further reading check out Ayaan Hirsi Ali s two wonderful books A Caged Virgin and Infidel.I want to end with this quote by Khadra s father from The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf Brothers, do not for a minute think that we will stop protesting against the immoral and unfair policies of America outside, in the Muslim world May my tongue be cut off if I forget Jerusalem But let s face it here inside American, there are many good qualities Law and order, cleanliness, democracy, freedom to work and honestly seks the provision of the Lord, freedom to practice religion These are Islamic qualities America is like Islam without Muslims And our sick and corrupt Muslim home countries they are like Muslims without Islam 144 I d recommended Girl in the Tangerine Scarf for learning about Muslim American subcultures Starting this, I thought, Nice to see myself on the page, but this could get tedious after a while Even though my upbringing wasn t nearly as religiously observant as that of the protagonist, Khadra, the ideas were well worn for me I liked seeing the diversity of Muslim practice and cultures reflected here, which was a lotnuanced than the American popular perception e.g immigrant vs second ge I d recommended Girl in the Tangerine Scarf for learning about Muslim American subcultures Starting this, I thought, Nice to see myself on the page, but this could get tedious after a while Even though my upbringing wasn t nearly as religiously observant as that of the protagonist, Khadra, the ideas were well worn for me I liked seeing the diversity of Muslim practice and cultures reflected here, which was a lotnuanced than the American popular perception e.g immigrant vs second generation, African American practice, Shia, Sunni, age vs youth and even other works written by Muslims In fact, you could say the whole book is about nuance and discussions around Islamic practice through Khadra s development and dilemmas.That s the real appeal for me, seeing Khadra s Islam evolve over time in response, which is common and another facet of Muslim life many non Muslims don t realize I was going to say, see, but it s a matter of deduction, since any person s views, particularly their relationship with religion and their selves, evolve over time Muslims are no different Khadra addresses many of the questions and debates circulating in the Muslim community naturally, not all of them Tangerine Scarf certainly doesn t convey all Muslim ways of life or views in the States, but I loved her frankness.Mohja Kahf s prose is lovely, her metaphors evocative She populates Tangerine Scarf with a lot of fascinating supporting characters only challenging to remember for non Arabic speakers, I d imagine, much as it s difficult for me to remember words in languages I don t know I read this book over months, so if anyone should have forgotten the characters, it s me, LOL Reading for context remedies that and difficulty with non English terms I didn t notice that many, but that may be because they re unremarkable to me I agree with another reviewer that this experience of fielding foreign words is useful for understanding Khadra s experience as a stranger in a new land, and I disagree with reviewers that this book is targeted towards Muslims It has little to offer Muslims, for whom most of this is old hat, unless one is very young or sheltered, except for the feminism perhaps That was nice I hope to seeliterature like this that reflects Muslims as they are,books to add to the complexity of the picture offered,voices Oh, and definitely read until the end or you ll miss the point of the book Four stars PS I really enjoyed that older characters played such an important role in the novel as well Normally this book would beof a 4 than a 5, but given our current climate of Islamphobia and Muslim extremism, I feel like the spiritual journey taken by Khadra Shamy is one that is important for us all.Khadra Shamy s family is from Syria They re Muslim Her parents come to America to attend college in Colorado and upon graduating, her father finds himself accepting a position at a Muslim outreach center in Indianapolis, IN It s the 70s in the Heartland, and Muslims are viewed with sus Normally this book would beof a 4 than a 5, but given our current climate of Islamphobia and Muslim extremism, I feel like the spiritual journey taken by Khadra Shamy is one that is important for us all.Khadra Shamy s family is from Syria They re Muslim Her parents come to America to attend college in Colorado and upon graduating, her father finds himself accepting a position at a Muslim outreach center in Indianapolis, IN It s the 70s in the Heartland, and Muslims are viewed with suspicion and hatred, which is the social structure young Khadra learns to navigate Khadra s parents are strictly observant They are halal and haram Khadra grows up to believe the way her parents have taught her She enters into what should be a perfect marriage, and this is where her journey of self discovery truly begins Traveling to Syria to visit family and then moving to Philadelphia, Khadra slowly learns what it is that she believes and why During this time, she discovers different narratives for the same events For example, her parents taught her to support the over throw of the Shah of Iran and believe that the Iranian students were correct But then she has a Persian roommate, who breaks down in a terror describing how her mother was killed on the streets during the Revolution by women wearing the hijab and shouting propaganda She finds that one of her best friends is a Jewish woman, who completely understand her religious observances and respects them They have everything in common, except Israel Khadra learns from her aunt how her uncle was killed by Jewish settlers when he tried to flee Palestine, but she also learns to see other perspectives.Eventually she returns to IN to do a story on a Muslim conference There she is reunited with many of her old friends She learns that her ruthless piety as a teenager made them wary of her, but she also discovers that she has a place among them They understand her and love her.In what can only be described as delicious irony, the story comes to a close with her baby brother, Jihad, professing love for the Mormon girl, whose family were close friends with the Shamys all through Khadra s childhood At this point she realizes how much her family has assimilated into American culture, yet how they ve also maintained their sense of self Indiana is no longer a hostile place with KKK members looking to rape and kill Muslim women driving alone It has grown and changed as much as Khadra has.I feel that this story is so important because everyoneno matter their beliefsshould have a period of reflection, painful growth, and shedding of one s skin Khadra remains a devout Muslim woman throughout She keeps her hijab because it makes her feel safer andfree, for example But her practice of Islam becomes less narrow minded and ritual bound She sees the forest for the trees At a time in our world s history when we have greater understand and acceptance of others , we also find ourselves in situations where we wish to use racism or hate or anger to fuel our decisions We being the collective we of humanity What I found beautiful about Khadra s story is that she could have closed herself off entirely and stayed firmly within the bounds as she d been taught by her parents and community, but instead, she takes a spiritual journey and becomes true to herself while still having an open heart for others We needKhadras in the world right now.Peace be with us