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Standing Alone in Mecca by Asra Nomani

Since 9/11, I've been pretty interested in Islam. I have specifically been interested in women's roles in Islam. There is often a lot of information about it in the media, but I've really tried to read memoirs - things like Reading Lolita In Tehran and this book really hit the mark.  I learned about Ms. Nomani after watching the movie A Mighty Heart, which is about Mariane Pearl and her search for her husband Daniel. Asra is actually very close to the family, having worked with Daniel at the Wall Street Journal. She plays a prominent role in the movie.

This memoir is about Ms. Nomani's experiences during her hajj, which she went on with her son, Shibli, her parents and her niece and nephew.  She was very self-conscious during the hajj and afterwards, painfully so, about being a single mother - something that was frowned upon in Islam and sometimes led to death.

I generally really enjoyed this book, even though at times, the writing became pretty choppy.  I enjoyed feeling like I was getting a glimpse into Nomani's journal or diary and I enjoyed learning about the hajj, because as a non-Muslim, I will never be allowed to enter into the areas that she describes.  Generally a book that should be read.

3/100 for 2011


  1. Nice to hear about your interest in these issues. I wonder if you'd find the follo9wing blog of interestr: I am the author of it, and you can feel free to write any questions you may have, anytime.


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