Normal muslim dating pals

On the matter of prayer, for instance, the book speaks several times about the obligatory five daily prayers, but also, in response to a question, it assures a teen he can still be a Muslim if he doesn't fulfill that requirement.

As for the , photos in the book include girls with and without the head scarf – as is the case in real life. "I think God probably cares more about what's in your head than what's on your head," Yasmine says.

A few days later, all of a sudden his pals at school told him, "You can't play soccer with us anymore." When he asked them why not, they responded, "Because you're a Taliban."The youngster was shocked and scared, but his family helped him see that his friends' reaction "came from ignorance, not from hate," he says.

Since then, Imran, his older sister Yasmine, and their mother, Dilara, have been hard at work on a dual project: to write a book that could dispel that ignorance and at the same time help Muslim youths deal with the many issues that confront them.

The family discussed their five-year project in a recent phone interview from their home in Paradise Valley."I wanted to dispel negative stereotypes and show we are normal Americans like anyone else," says Yasmine, a high school senior who will enter Yale University next year."The American Muslim Teenager's Handbook," published in August, is the first book of its kind, directed at filling a void Yasmine noticed as she searched the Youth/Teens section in a local Barnes & Noble bookstore.

Sprinkled with humor, the lively paperback describes the essential beliefs and practices of Islam and includes questions and comments from Muslim teens across the United States."In addition to doing research of our own, we sent out a survey to 44 Islamic schools," explains Dilara, who teaches at a weekend Islamic school in the Phoenix area.

For young American Muslims, navigating adolescence has proven especially daunting since the events of Sept. They must sort out not only who they are individually but also how they fit into a society that knows little about them but holds a host of impressions."I went to bed on Sept. 11th, I became a Muslim in people's minds," says Imran Hafiz, a high school sophomore in Phoenix. He was only in fourth grade back then, but that shift in perceptions affected Imran directly.

Yet the handbook leaves no doubt of the family's deep commitment to their faith.

They spent a year on research, three years in discussion and writing the book together, and another year getting it edited and published."It's been great – I've never felt so proud or open about my faith, and people are genuinely interested," Imran enthuses.

Indeed, the handbook exudes an Am­­er­ican perspective, upbeat and nonjudgmental.

It encourages teens to discuss their questions and issues with parents, friends, and others, but ultimately to make their own responsible choices about their faith practice."The handbook is meant to provoke discussion, not be the definitive guide to Islam," Yasmine explains. No one on the outside has a right to judge that."This approach has spurred criticism from some conservative Muslims, however, who are keen on following strict rules.

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