My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Nonie Darwish’s fascinating peak into the mind of a Muslim woman, Now They Call Me Infidel (Sentinel 2006) takes the reader through her life as she shares the events that shaped her opinions and ultimately caused her to leave her homeland Egypt and make her life in America. It is a history of Egypt and why it changed from a middle class somewhat prospering nation that valued effort, hard-work, kindness, and honesty to a socialist society that ultimately destroyed the middle class of workers and the capitalist economy that scaffolded their lives, and the part that played in their move to a government of radical Islamic values.
Nonie Darwish was the daughter of a Muslim shahid–a man who was martyred for the Islamic cause. He, and Noni through him, was honored, almost worshipped for giving his life so the religion of Allah could move forward. Her life was blessed because of her father’s work. Nonie’s mother seemed to find her stride with the death of her husband (she did unusual activities for a female in Egypt like drive a car). Through her, Nonie was able to study, educate herself, and make decisions that other Islamic women were not able to do. She began to question some of the beliefs she’d grown up with, such as that all Jews were horrible and that women should serve their husbands.
Through Nonie’s experiences, we the reader get insights into innate differences between the Islam society and American. For example:
- No Arab could avoid the culture of jihad. Jihad is not some esoteric concept. In the Arab world, the meaning of jihad is clear: It is a religious holy war against infidels, an armed struggle against anyone who is not a Muslim
- God expected us to embrace jihad
- The word ‘shahid’ means ‘martyr.’ It is the highest honor bestowed on a Muslim and absolutely guarantees entrance to heaven. Shahaida can be achieved by being killed during jihad against the perceived enemies of Islam
- Because of that verse in the Koran, many Muslim men feel that it is within their legal and religious right to beat their wives
- At the time I left(1970’s), Egypt had a 70 percent illiteracy rate
- In the Muslim world there are no real distinctions between moderate or radical Muslims; all are Muslims
- The non-practicing Muslims are often as biased, extreme and supportive of jihad as the religious extremists
- I soon discovered that rabid anti-American feeling is rampant in the majority of US mosques
- Many American mosques show no respect to their host country. They have come with the agenda of changing the culture and not to be part of America.
- For those of us who fled tyranny, if not for America, where else could we run? If it weren’t for America, where would I be now?
One of the greatest take-aways from this book is that I am reminded why immigrants are the most patriotic of Americans for they see us for what we are, not for our failures.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature Fall 2021. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning