Review: Letters to a Young Muslim, by Omar Saif Ghobash


Letters to a Young Muslim
by Omar Saif Ghobash

Edition: 2017
Pages: 272
Publisher: PICADOR





Summary: From the Ambassador of the UAE to Russia comes a bold and intimate exploration of what it means to be a Muslim in the twenty-first century.

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, 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.


Rating: 4/5

Review: 
I will start by saying that I received an online copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange of a honest review.

"Letters to a Young Muslim" was one of the many books I wished for at Netgalley. Of course I was really excited when my wish was granted by PICADOR and they sent me an online ARC of this book. 
We are facing difficult times, always threatened by our own fears, by the challenges of tomorrow and also by our beliefs and moral values. It is impossible not to hear the fear of some social groups in the news, as well as misconceptions about Islamism, migrants and terrorists, as if all of them fit in one whole box and are all the same (which we are pretty aware it's not truth). Because of that, I'm with the group that defends the need to bring to the light modern and moderate voices, to discuss this subjects with open minds and that are willing to reflect altogether about this issues that can contaminate or save our future world.
For what it's written on this book, Mr. Omar Saif Ghobash is as much needed as courageous for  being so outspoken about many subjects. I truly believe this book probably will not be well received near the conservative sections of Islam and considering his position and profession,  I am amazed by what he did and profoundly touched.
However, his book isn't preaching anybody, neither the reader or the receptor of his message. This is exactly what it aims to be. A collection of letters that hopefully will help his eldest son to grow up as a stir young man, with his own values and beliefs well developed, but structured upon reflection and introspection. I found the organization of the book very interesting and structured, with chapters that went from role models, the analysis of the violence and its repercussions on nowadays, the need of dialogue between the west and western world, the temptations of any faith (but specially the Islamic faith) when facing other realities and ways of living, the need of learning further knowledge and the importance of comparing it with their own beliefs in order to create better and educated versions of themselves, always facing the dichotomies of the world and finding the better answers to deal with them.
What I also liked here was a honest and transparent analysis of the world, without running away from further analysis and even some conscience and logic criticism when facing the dogmas of his own religion. They naturally had some influence and dictate his existence as a religious person but this logical constructions are also fundamental and adapted to the reality of XXI century.
It's a book for reflection, and I indicate it to everybody: the moderate voices, the more controversial ones, the doubtful and  the minds which are lost and in need of some seeds to wake up to the reality we face today. We need more active voices defending the civilization as a system that will work better with communication, friendly approaches to the unknown, and always with the aim to grow peacefully and for all.



Cláudia
About the author:
 
Addicted to the library Claudia loves to read on the move and we can usually find her sitting in a train or bus reading while commuting to and from work. But don't be fooled she is also keeping an eye on the landscape and all around her. She is an avid defender of sustainability and volunteering and it's as easy to find her starting a new project as it is to find her chatting with her friends. She is a dreamer and loves good stories so she keeps looking for them in her personal life.

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