This is a novel about Fatima, a young American Muslim whose parents immigrated to the US from India in the 1970's. Although she was born in the USA, Fatima isn't quite sure if she completely belongs. Her Desi upbringing combined with her Islamic morals, seem to be at odds with everything around her. She is Neither This Nor That.
"I felt that there was a need for our youth to read a book that they could relate to and realize that they are not alone," says Lisle, IL resident and author, Aliya Husain. "It seems like almost all other youth have some literary outlet to turn to when they want to read about any subject of interest or topics that relate to their people. The American Muslim youth haven't been given that same attention even though there is a dire need in our community for it."
The story is set in the pre-9/11 era. Challenges such as those the protagonist, Fatima, faces have gotten exponentially more difficult for Muslim youth now. "Fatima faces the same struggles that almost all American Muslim youth face. In the 70's and 80's these included culture classes and ideological differences in faith. Now our youth must deal with outright slander and character assassination simply because they are Muslim," says Ms. Husain.
The book is intended to help American Muslim youth deal with just such dilemmas. It shows them a way to come to terms with all of their identities without becoming an apologetic Muslim. It helps them build confidence and pride in their Muslim identity. According to Husain, "For the average American youth, this book opens their eyes to what is going in within the head of an American Muslim teen. It lets them see what types of struggles the Muslim boy or girl down the street may face. I think they will be very surprised to find out how similar Muslims are to all other youth."
Ms. Husain identifies in more ways than one with the protagonist. "I was born and raised in Morrisville, PA so I've lived Fatima's life and know how Muslim American youth feel. My family is originally from Hyderabad, India and there was a very strong cultural influence in our home. But we knew that our faith was different than our culture and, in our home, faith superseded all. This indoctrination of faith really helped us through all of the difficulties we faced at school and with our non Muslim friends. I am blessed with a very sensible father who guided me with tremendous wisdom . And of course, the prayers of my mother are the reason we made it through adolescence in this society without losing our identity."
"Till now there were hardly any Young adult novels that reflect the American Muslim population," she elaborates. It was this void that Ms. Husain set out to fill by writing Neither This nor That. Read it to discover what will become of a feisty young girl who struggles to find who she truly is...
Neither This Nor That is now available on www.amazon.com . For speaking engagements contact firstname.lastname@example.org