This book packs a huge punch - and is a necessary read. The honesty, humility, outrage, and truths in this book are so refreshing and educational - personal but also the experience of so many people.
Dr Ayaz Virji is a doctor, father, Muslim, and American. Tired of working in a busy hospital where the main focus is getting patients in and out, he decides to move to a small town in Minnesota to take over a position in the hospital there. He moves with his wife and kids, and after a short period of adjustment to small town America, they find themselves thriving in the community. Dr Ayaz Virji helps expand the hospital, his wife Musarrat opens her own business, and their three kids appear to settle in well at school. And then Donald Trump is elected as president.
After Dr Ayaz Virji’s initial post-election outrage and fearful thoughts he decides to stay put and with the help of his wife and the local Lutheran pastor, Mandy France, sets up a community talk where he provides information on Islam and important truths on Islam, terrorism, women, and Sharia Law. His talk is a success and the group expands their horizons to other local towns with the idea of educating locals on Islam and creating a community of unity (“love thy neighbor”) rather than fear and hate. Some talks go well, others are outright scary, one town even going so far to book an anti-Muslim hate speaker to “counter” Dr Ayaz Virji’s talk. Still, he and his family have stayed put in their home and continue to educate and rise above the rising wave of hate in this country.
Dr Ayaz Virji and Musarrat are remarkable. Brave, human, caring. This book provides an immediate view of how the rising tide of Islamophobia hurts people all over the country every single day, and how ignorance continues to prevail thanks to a continuous rhetoric of hate spewed forth this administration, the media, and social media outlets like Twitter. Being spat on by a neo Nazi last year left its mark on me - I can’t imagine how painful it is to have to live with these types of assaults, aggressions, and micro-aggressions every single day.
This book is a necessary read, and I really hope that it finds itself in the hands of those who need to read it the most (I’m looking at you, people who voted for Trump because they thought he was going to make their lives better).
Thanks to Dr Ayaz Virji for his bravery and service to all Americans in need of education - it makes my heart hurt that he is doing this but soar because hopefully it is making a difference. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy!