Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Activism Through Reading: Book 1

A lot has happened since the start of 2017.  What has disappointed me the most is the Executive Order that banned persons from "terror" prone countries from entering the US for 90 days and suspended the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until it is reinstated for nationals of countries for whom members of Trump's Cabinet deem can be properly vetted.

The statement by Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham reflects how I feel about this ruling:

"Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism. At this very moment, American troops are fighting side-by-side with our Iraqi partners to defeat ISIL. But this executive order bans Iraqi pilots from coming to military bases in Arizona to fight our common enemies. Our most important allies in the fight against ISIL are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred. This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.” {source}

I do not like to discuss politics on my blog as it's just not something I've ever been comfortable with. But this is an issue that I feel so strongly about, especially after working in an ESL classroom with adult immigrants - most of which are refugees. I have seen the faces of our refugee population and I have heard their stories.  It is heart-breaking.  

I've given a lot of thought about what I can do to raise awareness about this issue.  And what I keep coming back to is books.  I have my own thoughts and feelings about this issue, but maybe I can raise even more awareness by reading books on the topic and suggesting that others read them as well.  I'm calling it my "Activism Through Reading" project. Every 6 weeks, I will select a title and announce it here.  Maybe no one besides me will read the book.  But even if one other person reads it and it opens their mind a bit more, I will call it a success.  


I'm starting by reading a book that will advance our knowledge of other religions, including the Muslim faith.  My first selection is "The Faith Club" by Ranya Tabari Idliby, Priscilla Warner and Suzanne Oliver. There are countless books about religion but I decided to pick a memoir-style book as memoirs feel very accessible. "The Faith Club" is a memoir of spiritual reflection in three voices that will make readers feel as if they are eavesdropping on the authors' private conversations, provocative discussions, and often controversial opinions and conclusions. The authors wrestle with the issues of antisemitism, prejudice against Muslims, and preconceptions of Christians at a time when fundamentalists dominate the public face of Christianity.  


If you are looking for a way to expand your understanding of the issues that are being debated in our world and particularly in the U.S., I encourage you to join me in reading this book.  My goal is to post my review and some discussion questions in 6 weeks, which falls around March 21st.  

I'm also open to suggestions for future books to read, so suggest away!

11 comments:

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Bravo! I would have to say that normally I do not like to talk about politics on my blog, or at work, or basically at all, but this year sure has been different, hasn't it? I will try to get a copy of that book for sure! I am almost finished with Adnan's Story, which along with giving the reader a lot of insight and extra details regarding the investigation and trial of Adnan, also talks about his faith. The author, who is a friend and neighbor of Adnan, doesn't drone on and on about it, but does a good job of giving you a taste of both the faith itself and some of the prejudices against it. I am enjoying it a lot. I can't wait to hear what you think about the books that you are reading for this project. I know that I have learned a lot through reading over the course of my life, and I still have a lot to learn! And it's always nice to have suggestions of what to read.

Charbelle4 said...

I have 2 extraordinarily beautiful friends who are from Mexico and I think of those who need refuge and while I understand the thought behind this and I also understand the danger it is my belief this was handled exceptionally erroneously. I remember in college taking a religions of the world class so I could better understand other beliefs. That's been so long ago now, time flies! I've taken to posting pictures of cute animals and funny videos on FB because of the state of affairs. I absolutely love this idea!

Alli said...

This is absolutely fantastic! There's a line I love from the Broadway show Kinky Boots, "You van change the world when you change your mind." I truly believe that and I believe that the best way to do that is to expand your horizons. You and I are lucky that we have the means to travel and live in cities that are multicultural, but I understand not everyone has that opportunity so I think books and films are an amazing way to expand your world without even leaving your couch. Bravo to you for doing this!

Jeanie said...

This books sounds fascinating and I may well add it to my list. Very timely. Like you, the immigration ban I find extremely disturbing and xenophobic. I, too, am in accord with McCain and Graham's statement. My mind whirls... Thanks for an intriguing recommendation.

Amber said...

I LOVE that you are doing this!!! I really want to read this book. Unfortunately my library does not have it but I am going to keep my eye out for it. I can't wait to see what else you recommend, I think reading is an amazing way to broaden our horizons and learn about people / cultures / circumstances that differ from our own and I think that is where true empathy starts to come from.

Carolina John said...

Fantastic! It's practically un-'merican to be this open minded. I like it.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I read this book in December 2012 with my book club and we had such a fabulous discussion. I actually passed this book along to a friend and will encourage her to visit your blog for the conversation when it happens!

Gracie said...

Completely agree with being as informed on current topics as possible. It's a tough time to know how exactly to respond to all the changes, drama, shock and awe politics, and vitriol!

Stephany said...

I love this! Just requested the book from my library!

The funny thing about what's happening in politics now is that it's about so much more than politics, which is why it's being discussed more and more. People who previously wouldn't talk about it (um, me) are now speaking out because these are human issues. Discriminatory issues. Issues that are going to have wide-ranging effects on America and how the world views us.

I think this is such a great way to be an activist because reading is one of the best ways to broaden our views on the world.

Sandra Bond said...

I love this! I am going to try and find this book at the library!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Yeah, politics is something I've never gotten into on my blog (or anywhere online really), but with what has been going on lately, it's hard to refrain. Great post!