Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Imam's Daughter: My Desperate Flight to Freedom

by Hannah Shah,
Zondervan, 2010

This book tells the fascinating true story of Hannan (now anglicized to Hannah), the daughter of a Pakistani Muslim Imam. Growing up in northern England and attending a public school, Hannah learned early on how very different her family was from that of English families. Watching the abuse of her mother by her father, and then experiencing his abusive hand herself, made her long for another kind of life.

At the age of sixteen, Hannah discovered that her parents were about to send her back to Pakistan for an arranged marriage to a man she had never met. Determined to resist this fate, Hannah ran away and took refuge in the home of a kind Christian teacher. As she got to know her teacher's family and attended their church, Hannah found something she'd never known before: a God who loved her just as she was. One Christmas Eve, she made the decision to leave her Muslim faith and become a Christian.

While not all Muslim families are like Hannah's, the book does have value for the window it opens into the world of some. Hannah's aim is not to bash Islam or people who practice its faith, but to share her own story and how she survived so that anyone in similar circumstances may know that there is hope and a way out. Hannah is a highly sought after speaker and her website offers resources for those who want to help women in distress, or those who are themselves such women. The Imam's Daughter is a book I couldn't put down, though it might be difficult for some, particularly if that reader has lived a parallel story.

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