I finished reading Paula Jolin’s In the Name of God today. It took me a while to get through this book. It wasn’t a difficult read or anything, but some of the book’s content was hard for me to handle personally.
Nadia is a devout Muslim teen living in Syria. She strongly feels that the laws of Islam should govern, if not the world, then at least her small part of it. She struggles with her cousins’ acceptance of the worldly ways of America and the rest of the Western world. She feels that all around her should embrace God and the Islamic faith. When her cousin, Fowzi, is arrested for speaking out against the Syrian government and in favor of an Islamic state, Nadia feels that she must do something. She meets a stranger who helps her to embrace Islamic fundamentalism. She eventually contemplates making the ultimate sacrifice, as many do in the Arab world, of becoming a martyr in the name of Islam. Will she do it? Will her views change? I’ll leave that for you to figure out.
As a Christian in America, this book was troubling for me. I found myself putting it down quite a bit when the content troubled me too much, but I had to keep reading. Strangely enough, I identified with Nadia. I’m not Islamic, and I don’t fancy becoming a martyr, but I, too, struggle with reconciling my faith with what is going on in the world. This book made me really think about my own spiritual life.
I really think In the Name of God is an excellent book to open up dialog about the differences between Islam and other religions and the Arab and Western worlds. What misconceptions are there on both sides? How can we resolve our issues? Can there ever be peace? Only time will tell…