Letters to a Young Muslim

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What to expect

In a series of personal letters to his sons, Omar Saif Ghobash offers a short and highly readable manifesto that tackles our current global crisis with the training of an experienced diplomat and the personal responsibility of a father. Today’s young Muslims will be tomorrow’s leaders, and yet too many are vulnerable to extremist propaganda that seems omnipresent in our technological age. The burning question, Ghobash argues, is how moderate Muslims can unite to find a voice that is true to Islam while actively and productively engaging in the modern world. What does it mean to be a good Muslim?

What is the concept of a good life? And is it acceptable to stand up and openly condemn those who take the Islamic faith and twist it to suit their own misguided political agendas? In taking a hard look at these seemingly simple questions, in Letters to a Young Muslim Ghobash encourages his sons to face issues others insist are not relevant, not applicable, or may even be Islamophobic. These letters serve as a clear-eyed inspiration for the next generation of Muslims to understand how to be faithful to their religion and still navigate through the complexities of today’s world. They also reveal an intimate glimpse into a world many are unfamiliar with and offer to provide an understanding of the everyday struggles Muslims face around the globe.

Critics Review

  • Letters to a Young Muslim is an honest and self-critical guide to the dilemmas facing young Muslims around the world. The book is full of brave questions and wisdom, and perhaps most important, it is a sincere father’s heartfelt yearning for a son’s generation to resist the rise of theocratic fascism.

    Ed Husain, author of The Islamist
  • Letters to a Young Muslim is much more than a father’s advice to his impressionable young sons. It is a call to a generation of Muslims to reclaim their faith from the bigots and assert their individuality. It is a powerful celebration of common humanity and compassion over religious particularity and hatred and deserves to be read widely by people of all faiths and none.

    The Sunday Times Book Review
  • Ghobash encourages the reader to accept a modern, enlightened path that embraces diversity, not just within Islam but among all religions . . . It is this sort of wisdom that creates hope for a world in which people are smart enough to work together toward a common good rather than claw at one another while slowly sinking in quicksand.

    The New York Times Book Review
  • A gentle, cautious work, which addresses thorny questions with a parent’s compassion and a diplomat’s delicate tread.

    Harper's
  • Ghobash encourages a search for nuance in a world consumed with a polarizing, partisan us-versus-them mentality. This is not another exhausting cri de coeur about why Muslims deserve sympathy. It’s something more personal and intimate than that: a collection of letters from a father trying to empower his son to challenge an aggressive Islamist movement while simultaneously navigating oversimplified narratives surrounding his religion.

    Slate
  • ‘I think that we need to look at Charlie Hebdo, and the Bataclan, and Orlando and ask ourselves if this is not precisely what some of us are taught by our religious leaders.’ When an Arab diplomat has the courage to raise questions such as this, we must all pay attention and express admiration. To ask, as Omar Ghobash does, why the Islamic world in his lifetime has been so riven by violence, and to say that at least part of the answer lies within Muslim societies, is more than an act of bravery. It constitutes a clear step in the direction of a desperately needed social and religious reformation. Every Muslim, stands to gain from Ghobash’s call for an improved and more individualistic approach to Islam.

    Niall Ferguson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford

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