Letters to a Young Muslim by Omar Saif Ghobash

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    One of time’s most anticipated books of 2017 a bustle best nonfiction pick for January 2017 a Chicago review of books best book to read in January 2017 an amazon best of January 2017 in history a stylist magazine best book of 2017 included in new statesman’s what to read in 2017.

    From the ambassador of the UAE to Russia comes letters to a young muslim 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 son 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 son 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.

    Publisher: Picador.
    Publication date: 01, 02, 2018


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    About the Author
    Omar saif Ghobash is the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Russia. In addition to his post in Moscow Ambassador Ghobash sponsors the Saif Ghobash Banipal prize for Arabic literary translation and is a founding trustee of the international prize for arabic fiction in collaboration with the Booker prize in London. Ambassador Ghobash studied law at Oxford and math at the University of London.
    Editorial Reviews

    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 Kareem Abdul Jabbar The New York times book review.

    Ghobash encourages a search for nuance in a world consumed with a polarizing partisan us versus them mentality.This is not another exhausting 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.

    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.

    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.

    Thoughtful reflections by a muslim diplomat about questions of faith culture and modernity. Letters to a Young Muslim is a personal testimony to the debate unfolding in the Arab world about the identity of the state and the role of the sacred in the private and public sphere. An informative memoirs. Fawaz A. Gerges Professor of international relations at the London school of Economics and political science.

    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 wisdom and perhaps most importantly it is a sincere father’s heartfelt yearning for his sons generation to resist the rise of theocratic fascism Ed Husain author of the Islamist.

    An honest critique of self and society but his insights can also serve as a road map for the future of muslim societies. Drawing on his own life experiences Ghobash in a series of beautifully written letters to his sons addresses some of the most pressing issues about islam as a faith tradition in a cosmopolitan world. Unsurpassed in its candidness Ghobash is a rare voice among Arab leaders who is confident and ready to tackle major challenges such as religiously motivated violence democracy freedom faith doubt and cosmopolitanism with wisdom and courage. A must read for anyone who wants to take the pulse of a crucial region of our world. Refreshing and effortless reading filled with hope. Ebrahim Moosa, professor of Islamic studies and co director of the Contending modernistic program in the Keough school of global affairs at the university of Notre Dame.

    Omar Ghobash has written a timely and incisive book about the hopes and aspirations of Muslims beyond the headlines that have shaped western attitudes towards Islam. Looking at once to both the formative traditions of the Islamic faith and the challenges the modern world has put before young muslims Ghobash provides an empathetic and learned view one that strives for understanding and balance. Addressing young muslims Ghobash provides an intimate and passionate view of Islam looking into the future. At a time when extremism threatens islam from within and reaction to it isolates Muslims this book is a must read for Muslims and non-Muslims young and old alike who are keen to understand how faith binds them and their aspirations could bridge the divide that separates them. Vali Nasr Dean and Professor of International Politics at Johns Hopkins University’s school of advanced International studies.

    From the publisher
    A child who grows up a member of a disparaged group, one despised with fierce intensity, will eventually ask, why do they hate us so the literary device of answering that question directly both adds a dimension of heartfelt sincerity to the writing and shames those who have caused the question to be asked in the first place. Ghobash is especially qualified to take on this task intelligence and focus illuminate his words. The compassion and humility his faith gives him is an inspiration to readers whether they are young followers of Islam looking for answers or curious non-Muslim readers looking to better understand the religion. In the end 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 Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
    11, 14, 2016.
    This deeply personal book of letters written from Ghobash to his two sons reveals what it is like to be a muslim parent amidst the increasing ideological polarization of the global war on terror.Speaking from his own history of pain loss and trepidation, Ghobash the united Arab Emirates ambassador to Russia attempts to guide his children through the philosophical currents impassioned conversations and global context of terror neo imperialism and the crisis of authority in the Islamic world. He advises his sons and by extension other muslim youth to make decisions on how to harmonize their lives as faithful, peaceful muslims in a tech rich pluralistic and thoroughly modern world. Ghobash offers his compassionate and cultivated advice on the basics of Islamic history the sheer diversity of its practice, and what to do when one faces islamophobia or encounters violent radicalism in fellow Muslims. Above all, he instructs his children to take responsibility as individual Muslims and not to follow others on a path toward dichotomous thinking and violent reactions. He urges them to pursue a middle path that is simultaneously true to Islam and yet effectively and energetically engaged in the modern world. This is a fantastic book for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

    Publishers weekly
    11, 15, 2016.
    How does a father pass on to his two sons the essential elements of moderate Islam Ghobash ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Russia does so through a number of letters addressing particular subjects relating to the faith. The author is concerned that his sons understand that genuine Islam is a religion of peace and openness one that engages with people from different political religious and cultural backgrounds. He stresses that radical Islam with its hatred of the West and its embrace of violence does not represent the true character of Islamic teachings and practice. To readers who are outside observers of these messages delivered through letters Ghobash provides a perspective on the religion that has not received much attention in American media in the last couple of decades. He also gives a vision of a possible future where moderate Islam is dominant and is a positive force in the world. VERDICT a useful work for anyone who has an interest in Islam as well as college students writing on the religion in general or its social and political elements. John Jaeger Dallas Baptist Univ. Lib.

    Library Journal
    An appeal to critical thought and broad values for young Muslims. Ghobash ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Russia, presents a series of open letters crafted for his young sons as they grow up Muslim in the modern world. The author has a unique background his mother is Russian and his father was Arab. Moreover his father was assassinated when a supporter of the Palestinian cause mistook him for another man who was a political target. The author was a young boy at the time of his father's death, and he has spent a lifetime reflecting on what senseless violence did to him and his family. He has written these letters to his own sons born in 2000 and 2004 in order to provide them with written accounts of his own values and thoughts on Islam. Throughout, he asks them to consider varying points of view do their own research and make up their own minds. Ghobash seems most intent on convincing his sons to think for themselves rather than to allow clerics scholars and activists to influence their thinking. The author states unequivocally Islam is a religion of peace and then spends an entire chapter discussing  what that statement really means given the reality of violence in the world. He urges his sons to see the world through the prism of responsibility as he himself does doing what is right and caring for the needs of others.We need to take responsibility for the Islam of peace he concludes. Ghobash takes largely liberal views on many issues such as the role of women in society. He seems interestingly reticent on proclaiming strong views about the leadership and direction of Islam or passing anything but the most general judgment upon extremists. Laced with Western pluralism and liberalism the author tries to push back the rigid moralist of Islam as he has often known it. Certainly heartfelt the book is also reserved and largely unemotional.

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