THE WAR WITHIN OUR HEARTS

Written for today’s urban Muslim boys, this guide to faithful living is wise and understanding. Twenty-eight short chapters are divided into two sections: “Problems” and “Solutions,” in which the authors, both school administrators who understand teen language, acknowledge that modern culture and technology are often at odds with the teachings of the Qu'ran. Peppered with slang, chapters individually address teen problems such as peer pressure, parents, immodest dress, depression and social networking. Through Qu'ran quotes and stories of Islamic prophets and scholars, readers are encouraged to act in ways that are in keeping with their religion but do not promote isolation from modern society. The end of each chapter in the “Problems” section offers life tips that are Qu'ran-focused but often universally applicable, such as “Always be encouraging towards others with fewer blessings…than you.” In the “Solutions” part of the book, chapters end with tips on becoming more involved in the faith. The copyediting, design and binding leave much to be desired, but readers who pick this up will find the man-to-man advice practical and uplifting. (Religion. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84774-012-0

Page Count: 183

Publisher: Kube Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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WOMEN IN AMERICAN RELIGION

A brisk, informative history of the myriad roles women have played in America’s religious history. Braude (Harvard Divinity School) has difficult tasks in this slim, generously illustrated volume: to survey hundreds of years of religious history; to maintain a disinterested tone—even when describing the fringes of organized religion—to employ language and explore ideas that will not exclude the lower strata of her target audience (12 and up). She begins by disputing the notion that “women have had little importance in US religious history,” and proceeds to establish her counterclaim with five brief chapters, each of which features a two-page insert focusing on an important woman or religion. Although her text revisits the familiar (e.g., New England witchcraft, the Shaker movement, Mormon polygamy, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union), it also spotlights numerous figures who have disappeared into the gloom of history, most notably Jarena Lee, an African-American woman who “heard the call from God” in the early 19th century and traveled throughout the South- and Northeast “giving hundreds of sermons each year.— In a volume of this sort, objectivity is a virtue, and Braude achieves it, although one wonders if younger readers, charmed by the impartial prose, will believe that Shaker founder Ann Lee did in fact experience a visit from Jesus, who “revealed [to her] that celibacy was the path to salvation.— In similar passages throughout her volume, Braude declines to add any salt of skepticism or pepper of irony. Her survey is inclusive—the popular religions appear alongside the unpopular (though there is no discussion of cults), religious beliefs of Native Americans and African-American slaves receive brief treatment—and her analysis of the long struggle of women to achieve official sanction and ordination is particularly effective. (She reveals the alarming news that only half of “American religious groups currently ordain women.—) Clear, fundamental, and comprehensive within its limited format. (Photos)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-19-510676-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1999

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THE CAT I NEVER NAMED

A TRUE STORY OF LOVE, WAR, AND SURVIVAL

Now a professor in the U.S., Sabic-El-Rayess was 16 when the Serbian siege on her city of Bihać, Bosnia, began in 1992.

Overnight, her life changed: She went from being a typical teenager, excited about her new volleyball shoes and seven-tiered birthday cake, to fleeing bullets. It felt as if overnight Sabic-El-Rayess went from attending her multiethnic STEM school to learning that the Serbs in her life, including her best friend and her favorite teacher, had fled; having received advance warning, they left Muslims, like her family, and Catholics behind to endure the impending siege. Sabic-El-Rayess’ innocence was soon swept away by the realities of war: She witnessed homes being blown up, bombs killing her childhood friends, and deprivation turning people against each other. Sabic-El-Rayess found unexpected solace in adopting Maci (“cat” in Bosnian), a stray calico who followed a Muslim refugee family into town. Maci quickly became a source of comfort for the family, who even credited her with saving their lives. The story boldly tackles the rawness of human emotion in times of severe distress, putting on full display the ways war brings out both the best and worst in people. Sabic-El-Rayess’ viewpoint as an adolescent girl juxtaposes her dreams of the future against fears of losing loved ones, rape camps, and starvation. The crude realities of war are animated by the combination of both graphic scenes of violence and intimate displays of affection and warmth.

Unforgettable. (additional information, author’s note, resources) (Memoir. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0453-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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