After the terrifying events of September 11th, Ranya Idliby, an American Muslim of Palestinian descent, faced constant questions about Islam, God, and death from her children, the only Muslims in their classrooms. Inspired by a story about Muhammad, Ranya reached out to a Christian mother in her daughter's class, who then found me through a friend, in order to write an interfaith children's book, linking the three Abrahamic religions. After just a few meetings, our differences led to misunderstandings and conflict. Our project nearly fell apart. So we decided to tape our conversations and write an adult memoir that looked honestly at our concerns, stereotypes, and misunderstandings about one another. After hours of soul-searching about the issues that divided us, we grew close enough to discover and explore what united us.
The Faith Club became a New York Times bestseller and has spawned interfaith discussion groups in living rooms, churches, temples, mosques, and and classrooms. A memoir of spiritual reflections, it is told in three voices, allowing readers to feel as if they are eavesdropping on the authors’ private conversations, provocative discussions, and often controversial opinions and conclusions. My co-authors and I wrestled with the issues of anti-Semitism, prejudice against Muslims, and preconceptions of Christians at a time when fundamentalists dominate the public face of Christianity. We wrote about our families, our losses and grief, our fears and hopes for ourselves and our loved ones. And as we revealed our deepest beliefs, we experienced the blossoming of a profound interfaith friendship and the birth of a new way of relating to others.
Pioneering, timely, and deeply thoughtful, The Faith Club’s caring message has resonated with people of all faiths.
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